Cover Osteuropa 10-12/2018

In Osteuropa 10-12/2018

The Ottoman and Russian Empires
A comparative analysis of their relationship

Fikret Adanır

Deutsche Fassung


For centuries, the Russian Empire and the Ottoman Empire dominated vast areas of southern and south-eastern Europe. When territorial expansion turned small principalities into empires, the Ottoman Empire developed a premodern system of integration in the form of the Millet System through the issuing of rights and privileges to non-Islamic religious communities. The Russian Empire coopted local elites, too, but it exerted stronger pressure for assimilation. The expansion of the Ottoman Empire to the northern shore of the Black Sea during the 15th century and the advance of the Grand Duchy of Moscow towards the south and east during the mid-16th century created the basis for competition between the two empires. From the second third of the 17th century onwards, Moscow and the High Porte waged an ongoing war that lasted for 200 years in the south of what is now Ukraine and in the Caucasus. In the long term, the Ottoman Empire was the weaker one. This was not so much the result of a more backward social order, but had to do with the fact that as a Christian state, the Russian Empire was better positioned within the European power system.

(Osteuropa 10-12/2018, pp. 7–49)