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6 - Britain through Russian Eyes: 1900–1914

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 September 2019

T. G. Otte
Affiliation:
University of East Anglia
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Summary

The aim of this chapter is to study Russian perceptions of Britain in the years before the First World War. Its focus will be on Russian elites – meaning the press, the legislature and naval, diplomatic and political leaders within the government – and it will confine itself to politics rather than to questions of culture. Particularly where policymakers were concerned, it is mistaken to look at their perceptions of Britain as if they were static and independent. On the contrary, context was crucial. This context was sometimes created by Russia’s own decisions, such as the shift in foreign policy focus back from East Asia to Europe in 1907. On other occasions it was decisions by other countries that mattered: the Anglo-French entente cordiale is an important example. In an international system widely perceived to be dominated by Britain and Germany, Russian perceptions of Britain were often above all else a reflection of Russian views of Germany. About the one point on which all Russian observers agreed in these years was that Britain was of vital importance.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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