BARBARA JELAVICH, editor (Bloomington, Ind., U.S.A.) Bulgaria and Batum, 1886 The following despatch sent on July 21, 1886, by Sir Robert Morier, the British ambassador in St. Petersburg, concerns the Russian reaction to a strong British protest against the Russian violation of Article 59 of the Treaty of Berlin, which referred to the status of the port of Batum.l At the Congress of Berlin the inability of the Russian and British representatives to come to a clear agreement on the city had led to the adoption of ambiguous wording in the final treaty. Here it was stated: "His Majesty the Emperor of Russia declares that it is his intention to constitute Batum a free port, essentially commercial." In 1886 conditions in the city and, more important, the Russian humiliation in the Bulgarian crisis of 1885, when Alexander of Battenburg succeeded in uniting Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia against Russian opposition, led Alexander III in June to act to restore Russian prestige. He therefore decided to cancel the free port privileges of the city and thus to abrogate Article 59. The governments were notified at the beginning of July. The only open opposition came from the British government. The Russian
Southeastern Europe – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1974
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