Russia on the Danube
Empire, Elites, and Reform in Moldavia and Wallachia, 1812–1834
One of the goals of Russia's Eastern policy was to turn Moldavia and Wallachia, the two Romanian principalities north of the Danube, from Ottoman vassals into a controllable buffer zone and a springboard for future military operations against Constantinople. Russia on the Danube describes the divergent interests and uneasy cooperation between the Russian officials and the Moldavian and Wallachian nobility in a key period between 1812 and 1834. Victor Taki's meticulous examination of the plans and memoranda composed by Russian administrators and the Romanian elite underlines the crucial consequences of this encounter. The Moldavian and Wallachian nobility used the Russian-Ottoman rivalry in order to preserve and expand their traditional autonomy. The comprehensive institutional reforms born out of their interaction with the tsar's officials consolidated territorial statehood on the lower Danube, providing the building blocks of a nation state.
The main conclusion of the book is that although Russian policy was driven by self-interest, and despite the Russophobia among a great part of the Romanian intellectuals, this turbulent period significantly contributed to the emergence, several decades later, of modern Romania.
About the Author
Victor Taki has a PhD from the CEU. He has taught at the University of Alberta, Dalhousie University, King's University and Concordia University of Edmonton. His research interests include Imperial Russia's Balkan entanglements and the intellectual history of the eighteenth and the nineteenth century.
"Victor Taki's latest book focuses on Russian policy in the Danubian principalities (Moldavia and Wallachia) and the development of Romanian statehood from the late eighteenth century until 1859. Deeply researched and cogently argued, the book presents an innovative thesis about Russia's vision for a well-ordered police state that challenges national historiographies and traditional stereotypes about Russian imperialism. We learn that St. Petersburg aimed to develop the region into a buffer zone against the Ottomans, and ultimately, the interaction between creative Russian statesmen and the traditional elites of Moldavia and Wallachia established a framework for the unification of the principalities to take place. By analyzing the conjunction between cultural policy, warfare, and institutional reform, the book makes a major contribution to our understanding of Russia and the formation of modern Romania."—Lucien J. Frary
"This outstanding book fills several important gaps in Russian and Balkan history: not only does it reconceptualize Russia's policy to the Ottoman Empire, it also corrects many accepted but questionable views in Western and Romanian historiography by bringing previously untapped evidence from the Russian archives. The book will be the main guide to the confusing developments that marked the end of Ottoman domination of Southeastern Europe in the context of the Napoleonic Wars and their aftermath. It sheds light not only on the emergence of Romania but also on the littleknown aspects of the Greek War of Independence and its effects on the Danube."—Denis Vovchenko
Other Titles in HISTORY / Europe / Eastern
Other Titles in Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900