July 01, 2007

The Grand Illusion

Russia’s hollow victory at Plevna, 1877

Toward the end of the 19th century, the Ottoman Empire was decaying and fracturing, riven by rising nationalism, ethnic tensions, and weak attempts to form a constitutional monarchy. Russia, meanwhile, wanted unfettered access to the Mediterranean (via Constantinople, present-day Istanbul) and also sought to “liberate” fellow slavs in Bulgaria from Ottoman rule. In 1877, war broke out. The main events of the conflict are provided here with contemporaneous editorials written by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, from his A Writer’s Diary.


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