The russian-anglo-saxon confrontation. Who is to blame?

According to Russian experts, the Anglo-Saxon line is the main axis of confrontation in the geopolitical competition between the West and Russia. They believe that if not the Anglo-Saxons, then Russia would be able to realize its plans to conquer world domination. This rivalry, which began quite a long ago, has historical roots. At first, the Russian Empire (RE) competed with Britain. After the Second World War, the leadership in the Western world passed to the United States, and together with the United Kingdom they began to act in tandem. Russian politicians and experts persistently want to blame the Anglo-Saxons for such intense competition. According to their version, the Anglo-Saxons constantly attacked Moscow's interests, aiming to destroy or limit Russia's sovereignty. In this article, we will consider how objective the Russian claims are.

In principle, the interests of the above-mentioned empires should not have come into conflict. Russia was a mainland, Britain was a maritime empire. The territories of these powers did not even touch, if you do not consider the border in Alaska. But these areas were the most remote territories for both empires and were of no economic or geopolitical interest to either London or Moscow.  In terms of area, the British were ahead of the Russians by 6.7 million square kilometers and ranked first in the world in this indicator. Therefore, the British showed no interest not only in Russian lands, but also in the seizures in the European continent. They understood that the seizure of these territories would involve large bloody wars with other powerful empires and would require huge sacrifices and financial resources. In addition, further protection of these territories will take a lot of time, effort and money. They saw how the European powers, fighting among themselves, lose more than they gain.

Based on this, the British concentrated on the effective use of the potential of their colonies. They made huge profits due to their developed industry and trade. They sold in the colonies not only products produced in England, but also goods from European manufactories. In turn, colonial goods were also imported into Britain and other European markets. As we can see, there were no prerequisites for the British to set their eyes on the Russian lands or on their interests. But the situation with Russia was different. They had enough land – 19.2 million square kilometers. and according to this indicator, they were in second place in the world. But the archaic state administration, the rejection of political and economic reforms did not allow the effective use of these territories. Military spending and spending on public administration in the Russian Empire were much higher than in Britain, and their economic performance was among the worst among European countries. In 1750-1900, in terms of GDP per capita, RE lagged significantly behind not only Britain, Germany, the USA, France, but also Spain and Portugal, which are at the bottom of the table. Russia was an agrarian country and inferior to advanced countries in international trade. The number of industrial goods it could offer to the world market was limited. Without advanced industrial products, it was impossible to ensure the high efficiency of its international trade.

The territories captured in Siberia and the Far East were mostly deserted and were of no interest as a market. The fur trade from these possessions did not justify investments in these regions. According to Russian experts, only the Baku province became a profitable acquisition after the discovery of oil there. More funds were invested in the rest of the territories than they received profits.

Therefore, Russia decided to expand at the expense of the lands of the Persian and Ottoman Empires, where there were saturated and rich markets. Britain had established economic and geopolitical interests in Türkiye. It was a large market for British goods and geographically allowed to control the situation in the Mediterranean Sea, gave access to the African continent.  From Persia there was a direct route to India, the pearl of the British colonies. Therefore, the British helped the Persians and Turks in the wars against Russia.

At that time, the Ottoman Empire was very weak and it was called the "sick man of Europe" (1). Therefore, the Russians believed that it could be made their vassal. Here is what the Russian diplomat Konstantin Leontiev, who was in 1863-1871 in the diplomatic service in the Ottoman Empire, writes about this. "The 53-year war broke out not because of the political freedom of our fellow tribesmen, but because of the demands of the predominance of Russia itself within Türkiye. Our protection is much more important than their freedom–that is what they meant! The Sovereign himself considered himself entitled to subordinate the sultan as a monarch to the Monarch, and then, at his discretion (at the discretion of Russia as a great Orthodox Power), to do for the co-religionists what we please, and not what they wish for themselves."  This approach was seen and understood both in London and in other European capitals, therefore they jointly opposed Russian expansion in this region. Britain played the main violin in this struggle, which was clearly manifested during the Crimean War. Britain opposed Russia's attack on the Ottoman lands. France, other European powers, Austria and Prussia maintained friendly neutrality, although their sympathies were on the side of the anti-Russian coalition. The Russians lost this campaign because they went against the whole of Europe. Actually, their arrogance has always led to tragedies. And this is repeated today. We see how the Russians went against the entire West in Ukraine because of their great-power ambitions.

The Russian Empire planned several times to seize the British colony of India. Even nowadays, some Russian politicians have not stopped dreaming about the time when a Russian soldier will wash his boots in the Indian Ocean (2).

The first campaign was organized by Paul I.  In January 1801, the Don Military Chieftain Vasily Orlov received the emperor's rescripts with the order to lead cavalry to the border with India. To reach India, the Cossacks had to cross the expanses of Central Asia, the Pamir ranges and other territories. Ideas about the territories ahead were very vague. "My maps go only as far as Khiva and the Amur River, and then it's up to you to get information to English institutions and to the Indian peoples subject to them," the emperor instructed Orlov. But on March 24 of the same year, Paul I was killed and the Cossacks were ordered to stop the campaign and return back. Most Russian historians consider the assassination of Paul I to be a conspiracy organized by the British ambassador precisely because of the campaign in India. As you can see, the campaign itself was difficult to implement due to logistical problems and the lack of strong points along the way, which left the army without logistical support. But Paul I was ready to embody this adventure.  Russian thinking is typically Oriental and emotional. The reason for this campaign was the British conquest of Malta from the French in 1799. Prior to that, in August 1798, the British defeated the French fleet in the Mediterranean Sea, which left the French expeditionary force in Egypt without the support of Paris, and accelerated its defeat and withdrawal from that country. This increased Britain's influence in the region, where, due to the weak fleet, the RE could not strengthen its presence. That is why, being very jealous of the success of the British Empire, Russia decided to strike at its rear by organizing an overland campaign to India.  

Then another attempt was made to conquer British India. The Russians, wanting to recoup their defeat in the Crimean War, started this company in 1857. British India of the 19th century included, in addition to India proper, the territories of present-day Pakistan, Bangladesh and Burma. The population of these territories was 300 million, 20% of whom were artisans producing various products. The main financial basis of England's economic growth and prosperity for two centuries has been the income coming from this huge colony, which was well known in St. Petersburg. After losing the Crimean War and realizing that it would not work to expand further in the east-west direction, the Russians turned their eyes towards Central Asia. They considered India the "Achilles heel" of Britain and believed that the local principalities dreamed of liberation from English rule. There is information that Russian officials had contacts with the children of some Indian rajahs. The essence of the negotiations was to help these principalities in the fight against the British. The Sepoy Rebellion in India of 1857-1859 provided additional arguments to supporters of this idea.   

I.V. Vernadsky, a professor at Moscow University, in his book "Political Balance and England", published in 1855, when the Crimean War was still underway, warned that if a preemptive strike was not launched against Hindustan, "the British government will overcome China." Subsequent events showed that Moscow's concern was connected with the fact that it had its own plans for this region. China, having lost in two Opium Wars (1840-1842, 1856-1860), was forced to let the British into its domestic market.  The Russians also took advantage of this. But unlike the British, they were not content with only trade preferences, but forced a weakened China to agree to join 1.54 million square kilometers of the Far Eastern Chinese lands to RE. This case very clearly characterizes the expansionism of the two empires. One is fighting for the freedom of the market, the other is more interested in land grabbing. And this difference remains unchanged today. The British were content to lease Hong Kong, which was returned to China in the 90s of the last century. But when Deng Xiaoping mentioned the Far Eastern territories to Stalin, he did not even listen to him.

A note by General N.P. Ignatiev to Foreign Minister Gorchakov, written in 1863, is characteristic: "In order to be at peace with England and make it respect the voice of Russia, avoiding a break, it is necessary to bring English statesmen out of their pleasant delusion about the security of Indian possessions, the impossibility (for) Russia, to resort to offensive actions against England, our lack of enterprise and the accessibility of routes through Central Asia sufficient for us." Ignatiev's opinion was not isolated and coincided with the general vision of the military elite. At that time, the General Staff had prepared at least three plans for a campaign to India along different routes.  It is clear that both in the expert and in the military environment there is a consensus on the need to strike at British interests. Therefore, the political decision is not delayed for a long time and the conquest of Central Asia begins. In 1868, Russia occupied the Emirate of Bukhara and the Kokand Khanate, and in 1873 the Khanate of Khiva. Before that, the Kazakh Khanate had already been conquered in 1822. Having conquered Turkestan, the Russians reach the borders of Northern Afghanistan, which by default belonged to the British sphere of influence. It turns out that the Afghan path is impassable. In 1838-1842, the British, who entered Afghanistan for the purpose of conquest, lost 18 thousand soldiers, about half of their troops and were forced to leave this country. Therefore, the Russians did not dare to go further. And in 1907, an agreement was concluded between Britain and Russia on the division of spheres of influence.

Russian experts consider the support of the white movement (1918-1922) by Western states to be interference in the internal affairs of the country. 14 States participated in the intervention.  Then there was a civil war, and the West was on the side of the White Movement, which was perceived as a national democratic force. On the other hand, the West was afraid of the spread of Bolshevism to its territory, considering its ideas to be deadly to its civilization. Nowadays, the Russians themselves have come to the conclusion that the ideas of Bolshevism have caused great damage to Russia itself. It should be noted that at that time it was the British, unlike the French, who were hardliners, who argued that the occupation or collapse of Russia was impossible. Then the question arises, if the British, in the weakest period of Russia's statehood, were against its disintegration or dismemberment, then why should they be plotting this now, when Russia is a nuclear power.

Further, the USSR and Hitler hatched the idea of dividing not only Europe, but also the possessions of Britain.  In their opinion, at that time the United Kingdom was weakened, and it was possible to put an end to its world leadership. According to the secret protocols of Ribbentrop and Molotov, Germany and the USSR divided Poland, Moscow annexed the Baltic States, Bessarabia, Northern Bukovina, the Hertz region and part of Finland. But later it seemed to Hitler that he alone could bring this idea to life, and he attacked the USSR.

This is not the first time that the Russians have made a strategic mistake in choosing an ally. This was also the case in 1807, when the RE signed the Tilsit Peace Treaty with France from June 13 to 25 and joined the continental blockade of Britain applied by Paris and its allies. According to this shameful treaty (according to Russian historians), Russia pledged to help the French in all their wars. And then the war was declared not by the United Kingdom, which had every right to do so, but by Russia. The reason for this was the British attack on Denmark, which participated in the blockade of Britain. It should be noted that during this period, England was the only country successfully resisting the Napoleonic conquests. The only defeat to the French troops was inflicted by the British in Spain.   Napoleon tried to negotiate with Britain to recognize its colonial rule in exchange for the withdrawal of British troops from Spain and Portugal. The United Kingdom not only rejected this proposal, but also did not refuse to recognize the dominant role of France among other European States. Despite this British approach, RI chose to be friends with France. The Tilsit peace unleashed Napoleon's hands to conquer the whole of Europe. All that was missing was to "crush Russia," as he himself admitted before the Patriotic War of 1812. Unfortunately, even then the Russians did not understand that personalities like Napoleon tend to become the sole ruler of Europe. And so it happened – in 1812, Napoleon attacked Russia.

After World War II, leadership in the West and in the world passed to the United States. Moscow began to compete with Washington. This confrontation was called the Cold War.  After Churchill's Fulton speech, delivered on March 5, 1946, allied relations between the United States and the USSR turned into confrontation. The reason was Moscow's non–compliance with the agreements reached in Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam by members of the "big three" - the United States, Britain and the USSR, allies during World War II. According to these documents, Washington and London recognized Eastern Europe as a zone of geopolitical influence of the USSR and were not against the deployment of Soviet troops here, but did not consent to its Sovietization. Stalin assumed that "everyone" was spreading their system as far as they could go. But Moscow's appetites were not limited to Eastern Europe. In a conversation with Belgian Prime Minister Paul Spaak in Moscow in October 1956, Nikita Khrushchev admitted that in 1945, "we wanted the victory of the working class of France and other Western European countries. The leaders of capitalist countries correctly view us as a breeding ground for socialist contagion all over the world. Hence the tension." The approach of the Anglo-Saxons was different from that of Moscow: They did not seek to establish governments loyal to them in the countries of Europe they had liberated. For example, France, liberated by the Americans and the British, later began to pursue an anti-Anglo-Saxon policy.

The Soviets, not content with their presence in Eastern Europe, began to increase their influence around the world, in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America – the soft underbelly of the United States.

In all the countries that fell under Soviet influence, power was changed by armed means, and not by the will of the people. Moscow actually supported the putschists. This was the case in Cuba, Nicaragua, Grenada, Iraq, Syria and other countries. Cuba, with the help of Moscow, has become the main sponsor of the spread of the ideology of communism not only in Latin America, but also in Africa. They took an active part in the civil wars in Angola, Nicaragua, and Grenada, and at various times supported the rebel movements and Marxist regimes of Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Bolivia, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Algeria, and Ethiopia. Fidel headed a new association of independent states – the Non-Aligned Movement.

Therefore, when the Russians say that "we have never interfered in the US zone of influence in Latin America," they are at least lying.

Socialist-oriented countries occupied more than half of the world's territory.

     States with a communist government

     States that were considered moving towards socialism in the USSR

     Other socialist States

It should be noted that this expansion took place against the background of the collapse of the British and French colonial systems. Empires were collapsing, and their geopolitical influence was weakening, there was no need for expansion by the Soviets. It was possible to apply the diligence previously calculated on this to the economic development of your country. But the Russians felt that the moment had come, and they could realize their dream of establishing world domination. However, when the Soviet army entered Afghanistan in 1979, it overwhelmed the patience of the United States, which considered the primary task of its foreign policy to put an end to the expansion of communism. They increased the military budget, thereby dragging the Soviets into the arms race, lowered oil prices (Moscow's main income) and imposed sanctions on the latest technologies. Unable to withstand such an onslaught, the USSR collapsed. As we can see, everything was initiated by the Russians themselves.

After the fall of the Soviets, everyone expected that with the democratization of the Russian Federation, the confrontation with the West would become a thing of the past, and Russia would enter the camp of civilized countries. In the beginning, it was so – Moscow joined the "Big Seven", the G7, within the framework of which approaches to topical international problems in politics and economics were coordinated. Russia has become a member of most political organizations in Europe. In 2002, the NATO–Russia Council was established, where issues of development and cooperation between the parties were considered. However, with Putin's rise to power, everything has changed. Instead of civilized development, the Kremlin chose the path of restoring the USSR and on this basis began to interfere in the political relations of independent countries with the Western world. To which, of course, the West could not remain indifferent. At first, Washington and Brussels tried to somehow come to an agreement with Moscow here: they reacted badly to the war in Georgia in 2008, to the recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the annexation of Crimea, Lugansk and Donetsk. The Russians, mistaking this for weakness, issued an ultimatum to the West – NATO should withdraw to the borders of 1991, and attacked Ukraine. Here the cup of patience of the West has overflowed. European countries and the United States began to actively help Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression. But the latter again did not calculate ist strength.  Planning to take Kiev in three days, it has not been able to turn the tide of the war in its favor for the third year in any way.

From all the above, it can be concluded that the Russians did not see ways to dominate the world through the acquisition of economic, scientific, technological and cultural power by the country, but put world domination at the forefront through the seizure of new territories, which always led to conflict with the Anglo-Saxons.

  1. 1. It is generally believed that this is exactly what Russian Emperor Nicholas I called the weakening power during the discussion on the eve of the Crimean War of the "Eastern question" with the British Ambassador Seymour. (Больной_человек_Европы).
  2.  Alexander the Great coined this phrase about washing boots in the Indian Ocean, and "V. V. Zhirinovsky Russified it (
  3. Russian Russians, However,  he was  not the first Russian: Pavel I was one of them, and then the Russian commander I.F. Paskevich (Parmen Posokhov,

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