Pan-Slav Movement

Pan-Slav Movement:

In the Treaty of Paris 1856, the Sultan of Turkey had promised that he would not torture his Christian subjects but would work for their progress and well-being. It was futile to expect this from an imperialistic government. The Christian subjects enjoyed all facilities on paper but not in reality. They had grown sick of a number of monstrosities. When they saw Greece, Serbia, and Romania enjoying the privileges of independence, they were overpowered by a desire to revolt against Turkish rule. Pan-Slavism or the Pan-Slav movement was an outcome of this feeling. The main objective of this movement was to bring together all Slav people of Europe. The Russian government supported this movement because the Russians were also Slavs and the Czar was the head of the Greek Church. Most of the people in the Balkan peninsula belonged to this race and were followers of the Greek Church. So after the Crimean War encouragement to the Pan-Slav movement became the mainstay of Russia’s Balkan policy. Russian detectives infested the Balkan states. They tried to awaken the Slavs and roused them to revolt against the Sultan of Turkey. A Pan-Slav Congress was convened in Moscow in 1867 and to keep it secret it was called a Science Congress. The Slav representatives of the Balkan states attended this Congress which was inaugurated by the Czar himself. A central Pan-Slav committee with its headquarters in Moscow was appointed and a sub-committee that had branches in all the main states of the Balkan peninsula was set up at Bucharest. Slav students were offered many facilities at the University of Moscow. Thus Russia sought to strengthen her position in the Balkan peninsula. Taking advantage of the Franco-Prussian war in 1870, Russia rejected the terms and conditions regarding the Black sea contained in the Treaty of Ens and began to fortify Sevastopol as well as to reorganize his navy on the coast of the Black sea. On the other hand, when Austria was expelled from Germany she also chose the Balkan peninsula for the expansion of her power. Thus on the one hand Russia was encouraging the Slav movement and on the other Austria was opposing it. This made their clash in the Balkans inevitable.

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