Libmonster ID: MD-918
Author(s) of the publication: Ya. S. Grosul, E. M. Russev
Educational Institution \ Organization: Academy of Sciences of the Moldavian SSR.

G. BEZVICONI. Contributii la istoria relatilor romino-ruse (din cele mai vechi timpuri pina la mijlocul secolului al XlX-lea). Bucuresti. Academia RPR. Institutul de studii romtno-sovietic. 1962. 347 p.

Romanian historians attach great importance to studying the friendly relations of the Romanian people with the peoples of the Soviet Union. After all, the historiography of bourgeois-landowner Romania, with rare exceptions, either ignored the numerous facts that testify to this, or gave them a misinterpretation thoroughly imbued with nationalist spirit. Many aspects of Romanian-Russian relations have already been covered in a number of works by Romanian historians P. Conetantinescu-Yas, A. Oceti, P. Panaigescu, A. Vianu, E. Stanescu, V. Costakel, D. Bogdan, S. Kalimaki, K. Sherban, Tr. Ionescu-Nishkov and others. But until recently, there was no comprehensive work that would adequately reflect the political, economic and cultural ties between Romania and Russia.

The first serious step to eliminate this gap was taken by the author of the peer-reviewed work, which is the fruit of many years of painstaking research. The chronological framework of the monograph is very wide - from the earliest times, when Slavic tribes appeared in the lower Danube region and in the Carpathian region, and until 1859, when the centuries-old national liberation struggle of the Romanian people led to the formation of the Romanian state. The author managed to draw a vivid picture of the development of Romanian-Russian relations.

Naturally, Mr. Bezvikoni pays special attention to political relations in general and inter-State relations in particular. He explores such cardinal issues as the military-political alliance of Moldavian gospodars Stefan III (the Great) and Peter Raresh with the Russian state; the participation of the Zaporozhye Cossacks in the national liberation struggle of the Moldavian and Wallachian peoples at the turn of the XVI-XVII centuries; the increased importance of Moldavia as a kind of diplomatic outpost in the 30 - 40s of the XVII century. Russia in the Ottoman Empire; the desire of the Moldovans to follow the path of the fraternal Ukrainian people, which was embodied in the appeals of the Moldavian gospodars with requests to accept them as Russian subjects; the Russo-Turkish wars of the XVIII - early XIX centuries, which led to the weakening of Turkish oppression in Moldavia and Wallachia; the activities of the Russian. military administration in the principalities in the late 20s-early 30s of the XIX century. and, finally, the role of Russia in the historical act of 1859.

Due place is given in the book to the hitherto least studied economic relations. The author emphasizes the beneficial impact that these ties had on the economy of the Danubian principalities. Literally bit by bit, G. Bezvikoni collects documented facts of trade exchange between the principalities and Russia and makes the first attempt to consider the development of economic relations between Romania and Russia in general. This is one of the main advantages of the monograph. Starting from the 15th century, when the principalities established trade relations with Lviv, G. Bezvikoni traced further their economic relations with Russia in the 17th century, determined the number of goods in circulation, and emphasized the harmful impact of the Turkish monopoly on the foreign trade of the principalities. The revival of exchange, the book notes, began after the Russo-Turkish wars of the XVIII century, which led to the weakening of Turkish oppression in the principalities. The author cites excerpts from customs books, from which it follows that already in the XVIII century, products of Russian industry (iron, steel, hardware, fabrics) began to arrive in the Romanian lands.

He covers Bezvikoni's cultural relations with Russia with great expertise. He examines Moldova's relations with Lviv, the opening of the Greek-Slavic-Latin Academy in Iasi (Moldova) and printing houses in Iasi and Targoviste (Wallachia), the distribution of Russian books in the principalities in the 17th century, the activities of Russian printers in Moldova and Wallachia in the 18th century, the increase in the number of translations from Russian, and the beneficial influence on creativity outstanding cultural figures of Moldova Nicolae Spafarii Milescu

page 149

and Dmitry Cantemir of their long stay in Russia, the progressive role of advanced Russian culture in the cultural development of the principalities in the first half of the XIX century, the impact of Russian literature on the classics of Romanian literature. Reading these sections of the book, you are convinced of the correctness of the ancient Moldovan scribe Dosifey, who lovingly said that the light comes to us from Moscow.

Familiarization with the monograph testifies to the author's broad erudition. He critically used the richest literature, both Romanian and Russian, pre-revolutionary and Soviet. The list of works used is probably the most complete bibliographic index of literature on the problem attached to the monograph on 33 pages in a compact font and is in itself a valuable reference book that specialists will repeatedly refer to. For the first time, archival material on Romanian-Russian relations in the 17th and 18th centuries, stored in the Library of the Academy of the Russian People's Republic, is also widely introduced into scientific circulation.

G. Bezvikoni skillfully combines the testimony of sources with literature data, drawing a vivid, impressive picture of the birth and development of the Romanian-Russian friendship, which has passed the test of time. The value of his monograph lies, first, in the fact that it is the first attempt to highlight the Romanian-Russian relations over such a long period, to summarize the development of this problem by Romanian historians. Secondly, it contains the most complete summary of available literary and archival sources on the ways of forming and developing ties between the Russian and Romanian peoples from ancient times to the end of the 50s of the XIX century. Third, the author draws on a wealth of documentary material that has hitherto been little used by researchers. Fourth, the monograph usually gives a correct assessment of the events described and convincingly proves (contrary to the claims of bourgeois historians) that Romanian-Russian relations played a positive role in the political, economic and cultural life of the principalities. This idea, which runs through the entire book, makes it more politically relevant. And, finally, fifthly, the reviewed work is of interest not only for specialists, but also for the general readership, it is quite accessible to them, since the presentation is conducted in a lively form.

Of course, G. Bezvikoni's monograph is not without some shortcomings.

The bibliography given at the end of it cannot, of course, replace the historiographical review. In the introduction, the author confines himself to a few general comments on the previous literature on the problem. But this is clearly not enough, given that we are talking about the final study. Moreover, it would greatly benefit if the author polemicized with his predecessors in the course of the presentation or at least in the footnotes.

The introduction also lacks a source analysis of archival material, which is so generously introduced into scientific circulation.

In an effort to identify the positive role of Russia in the destinies of the principalities, in the struggle of the Moldavian and Wallachian peoples for freedom and independence, G. Bezvikoni is inclined in some cases to reduce the motives of the tsarist policy only to motives of a purely altruistic nature. For example, having thoroughly examined the allied relations between Moldavian Ruler Stefan III and Grand Duke Ivan III (pp. 34-44), the author does not even mention the political interest of the emerging Russian centralized state in establishing such an alliance. But Stefan, by his actions in relation to Poland and Lithuania, to a certain extent facilitated the Moscow Grand Duke's policy of collecting Russian lands and establishing diplomatic contacts with Western Europe. A clear definition of the reasons that prompted Ivan III to pursue just such a line, and not any other, in relations with Moldavia, does not detract from the positive significance that the alliance with the Russian state had for her.

Elements of the idealization of the Tsarist policy in the Balkans are even more pronounced in the sections of the book where G. Bezvikoni writes about the Russo-Turkish wars of the XVIII-early XIX centuries. Touching upon the reasons for the military and political actions of tsardom and rightly noting the existence of contradictions between Austria and Russia, the author states that in the XVIII century. " The Habsburg court sought to compensate for its diplomatic failures by seizing territories liberated from the Ottoman empire."-

page 150

This could not but provoke opposition from Russia. Yet for centuries the Russo-Turkish wars have preserved the character of liberating the peoples conquered by the Turks" (p. 141). It turns out that the policy of tsarism in the Balkans was nothing more than a counteraction to the aggressive aspirations of Austria, and if Russia pursued any other goals in the wars with Turkey, they consisted only in the liberation of the Balkan peoples. Here Mr. Bezvikoni does not clearly distinguish between the aggressive aspirations of tsarism and the objectively progressive consequences of these wars for the destinies of the Balkan peoples.

We are not entirely satisfied with the author's assessment of the activities of the Russian military administration in the principalities at the turn of the XVIII - XIX centuries. Despite all the importance that this activity had for regulating the administration and finances of Moldavia and Wallachia, it must not be forgotten that the command of the tsarist army stood guard over the interests of the ruling classes and its actions were not always good for the broad masses of the people. Suffice it to mention the suppression of the class struggle in the principalities, which was revived during the Russo-Turkish wars. Documented, in particular, the reprisals of the tsarist troops with the Haiduks. In this case, the local population saw two Russias: one - exploitative (represented by the tsarist command), the other-exploited, represented by broad masses of soldiers, with whom the working people of Moldavia and Wallachia established the most friendly ties. It is characteristic that in the ranks of the Haidut detachments, side by side with the poor of the principalities, Russians are also fighting for the best share of the Romanian people.

This, as well as other facts, showed the class solidarity of the exploited masses of Russia, Moldavia, and Wallachia. In general, this topic should, in our opinion, have received more extensive coverage in the book. Events such as the joint struggle of the Moldavian and Ukrainian peasantry under the leadership of Mucha against feudal oppression at the end of the 15th century, and the participation of Moldavian workers in the Haidamak movement in Ukraine in the 18th century, are vivid evidence of the class alliance of the social lower classes of our peoples in their struggle against common enemies. It also seems to us that the author should have covered the question of the attitude of the leaders of the Southern Decembrist Society to the situation in the Danubian principalities, to the Hetaerist movement and to the peasant uprising in Wallachia under the leadership of Tudor Vladimirescu in the 20s of the XIX century.


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Ya. S. Grosul, E. M. Russev, Historical science abroad. Reviews and reviews. G. BEZVIKONI. RESEARCH ON THE HISTORY OF ROMANIAN-RUSSIAN RELATIONS (FROM THE EARLIEST TIMES TO THE MIDDLE OF THE XIX CENTURY) // Chisinau: Library of Moldova (LIBRARY.MD). Updated: 12.06.2024. URL: (date of access: 17.07.2024).

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