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Diplomatic Missions and Consular Offices of Russian Empire on the territory of modern Arab states

24.10.2014 11:30 PM views: 3386 HISTORY Pavel V. Gusterin
Pavel V. Gusterin Center for Asia and the Middle East of The Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISS) Download PDF file

   In 1913, i.e. on the eve of the First World War, nine Russian embassies were functioning (in Austria-Hungary, Britain, Germany, Spain, Italy, the North American United States, Turkey, France and Japan) and 39 missions. The heads of 30 of them were Envoys Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ministers (in the Argentine Republic, Bavaria, Baden, Belgium, Bulgaria, the United States, Brazilian, Württemberg, with Hanseatic cities (Bremen, Hamburg, Lubeck), Denmark, Greece, China, Luxembourg, Morocco, Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the United Mexican States, the Netherlands, Norway, Oldenburg, the Paraguayan republic, Persia, Portugal, Romania, the Holy See, Serbia, Siam (Thailand), Uruguay, Montenegro, the Republic of Chile, Switzerland, Sweden), the heads of five - Resident Ministers - (in Brunswick, Hesse, Saxe-Weimar and Saxe-Altenburg, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Saxony), in Abyssinia (Ethiopia) - Charge d'Affaires in Bukhara - a political agent in Cuba and Ecuador – consuls1.

   As can be seen, from the Arab countries only relations with Morocco of the Russian Empire rose to the level of diplomatic mission, as it has always been the only independent from the Ottoman Empire Arab country2. Thus, Morocco became the first Arab country with which Russia established diplomatic relations, and the only Arab state with which diplomatic relations were established before the October Revolution.

   Special importance in the development of consular relations in the East had the rights and privileges that were granted by capitulations to the consuls of France - the first of European states, which decided to establish an alliance with the Ottoman Empire, which had been done in 1528. Franco-Turkish agreement on capitulations served as a model for a number of similar agreements with Ottoman Empire for other states: England (1580, 1675), the Netherlands (1612, 1680), Austria (1718), Sweden (1737), Denmark (1756), Prussia (1761) and Spain (1782)3.

   Russia, according to Kuchuk Kaynardzhiysky agreement concluded in 1774 (art. 11)4, acquired all the rights granted to France5 and according to the trade agreement concluded in 17836 has made more and more privileges. In this regard, in the second half of XVIII, consular offices of the Russian Empire appeared on the territory of the Arab states which were the part of Ottoman Empire. In 1784 Russian Consulate General were established in Egypt (the residence of the Consul General - Alexandria, since 1887 - Cairo) and in “Seide and other places in Syria”. Since 1796 Russian consulates and consular agencies had been being opened throughout Egypt: Aswan, Asyut, Beni Suef, GnRH, Damietta (Damietta), Zagazig, Ismailia, Cairo, Qena, Luxor, Mansoura, Mina (Minya), Raita (Al-Turba), Said (Port Said) , Sohag, Suez, Tanta, Fayoum, Esna (Isna).

   In 1820 consulate was opened in Beirut. In 1844 the consul in Beirut was named consul general of Syria and Palestine. In 1857, vice-consulate in Baghdad was opened, which was transformed into Consulate General in 1881. In 1871 consulate was established in Aleppo (Halab), in 1882 in Mosul, in 1890 in Jeddah, in 1897 Consulate General in Tangier7. Consular offices of the Russian Empire during various periods of XIX - early XX century on the territory of modern Arab states also functioned in Algeria, Bassora (Basra), Damascus, Djibouti, Jerusalem, Karbala, Lattakia (Latakia), Najaf, Najd (Riyadh), Oran, Tripoli (Lebanon), Tunisia, Hama and Homs8.

   After the October Revolution, some foreign institutions of pre-Soviet Russia continued to operate for some time obtaining financial assistance from the governments of host countries and from some allied countries. Thus, the diplomatic agency and consulate-general in Egypt functioned until October 1923. As soon members of the world community recognized Soviet Russian as new political reality and engaged with it in trade, consular and diplomatic relations, the former Russian authorities were refused to be recognized and to be given material assistance, after this they ceased to exist.

1 In 1914, due to the outbreak of the First World War Russian Embassies in Austria-Hungary, Germany and Turkey were closed as well as diplomatic mission in Bulgaria. By 1917 missions in Albania and Mongolia were opened. See: Yearbook of MFA of the Russian Empire. St. Petersburg., 1913–1916.

2 It’s not about the Emirate of Granada, which has never been conquered by the Ottoman Empire, but ceased to exist in 1492.

3 Encyclopedic dictionary of Brockhaus and Efron. Book. XVI (31). St. Petersburg., 1895, p. 96–97. See: Martens F.F. On consuls and consular jurisdiction in the East. St. Petersburg., 1873.

4 A Treatise of perpetual peace and friendship signed by Russian Empire and Ottoman Porte. PSZRI, book XIX. St. Petersburg, 1830, p. 957–967.

5 Former treaties between Russian Empire and Ottoman Porte didn’t contain information on consuls.

6 A Treatise on the trade, concluded in Constantinople between Russian Empire and the Ottoman Porte. PSZRI, book XXI. St. Petersburg, 1830, p. 939–956.

7 In 1891–1897 the interests of Russian citizens on Morocco have been entrusted to the representative of Spain..

8 See: Annuaire diplomatique de l’Empire Russie / Yearbook of MFA of the Russian Empire. St. Petersburg, 1861–1916.

Keywords russia, Damascus, empire, Najaf, Jerusalem, Algeria, Lattakia (Latakia), Karbala, Bassora (Basra), Djibouti