Nejla Günay

Keywords: Ottoman Empire, Russian Tsardom, Bolshevik, 1917, Refugees


In Russia, the movements against the regime by the people started at the end of the 19th century. The abundance of the gains of Russia from the Berlin Treaty in 1878 disturbed England because of the role Russia played in the independence movements by the Balkan States and that they could also be very active in Anatolia and Asia. England provoked Armenians to keep Russia busy in Anatolia and Caucasus. It also provoked and supported Japan in the Far East for a war it could fight against Russia. Because of all these, the Russian-Armenian relations deteriorated after 1890. In the beginning of the 20th century, serious clashes between the Armenians, Azerbaijan Turks and Georgians in Caucasus. On these clashes, the worker class which supported socialism had a significant impact. Hence, the Russian Tsar had to announce Constitutionalism. England, who realized Russia was no longer a threat, formed an Alliance with Russia against Germany, and along with the French they joined World War I together.

The heavy burden that the World War I brought increased the disorder in Russia. The economic problems resulted in more polarized political views and the movements by the people finally led to a riot in which the Bolshevik and the Menshevik acted together. The events that started in March 1917 continued until the abdication of Nikolai the Second and the joining of the Petrograd Garrison to the Bolsheviks as well as the confirmation of the Bolshevik Program by the Second Soviet Congress on October 25th, 1917.

One of the biggest enemies of the Ottoman Empire in World War I was the Tsarate of Russia. Hence, the regime change resulted in one less enemy for the Empire to fight with. However, it also brought some additional problems with it. The extent of the refugees that came to the Ottoman Empire attracted the attention of numerous scientists and different academic studies have been performed on this issue. Some examples include the works of B. Bakar, K. Acar and U. Karadogan.

As is seen, the studies on this issue mostly focus on the Russian Refugees who came to Istanbul. On the other hand, the refugee problem is only one of the outcomes of the Bolshevik Revolution on the Ottoman Empire. The scope of this study is the Ottoman-Russian relations after the Bolshevik Revolution. This study will focus on two aspects: 1) The views of the Ottoman Government and Ottoman Intellects on the developments in Russia during the era of uncertainty after the Bolshevik Revolution, 2) the problems the Ottoman Empire faced due to this revolution, among which the epidemics that occurred in the eastern and western parts of the Empire, the assets that were sent to Russia from the Port of Trabzon, the invasion of Russian currency in the market, the defection of some Russian soldiers to the Ottoman Empire, the antics that were smuggled to Russia, some events that happened along the Ottoman-Russian border, and whether the refugees would be given citizens of an enemy state status could be included. This study will elucidate on how the Ottoman governors resolved these problems. Doing so, the views of the Ottoman elites on the new regime could be revealed. In this study, the main resources will be documents from the Ottoman Archives.