Russo-Turkish War (1828–29)
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|Part of Russo-Turkish Wars|
Battle of Akhalzic (1828), by January Suchodolski
| Russian Empire
|100,000 men, initially|
The Russo-Turkish War of 1828–1829 was sparked by the Greek War of Independence. The war broke out after the Sultan, incensed by the Russian participation in the Battle of Navarino, closed the Dardanelles for Russian ships and revoked the Akkerman Convention.
Opening hostilities 
When the hostilities erupted, the Russian army consisted of 92,000 men, as opposed to the Ottoman forces commanded by Hussein Pasha. In June 1828, the main Russian forces, led by Emperor Nicholas I, crossed the Danube and advanced into Dobruja. Prior to that in April- May 1828, the Russian commander-in-chief, Prince Peter Wittgenstein, had moved into Romanian Principates Wallachia and Moldavia and occupied them.
Then the Russians laid prolonged sieges to three key Ottoman citadels in present-day Bulgaria — Shumla, Varna, and Silistra. Owing to the help of the Black Sea Fleet under Aleksey Greig, Varna was the first to be taken (September 29). The siege of Shumla proved much more problematic, as the 40,000-strong Ottoman garrison outnumbered the Russian forces. Furthermore, the Ottomans succeeded in cutting the Russians from supplies of provisions. The resultant famine and proliferation of diseases claimed more lives than all the hostilities undertaken during the war.
Turning fortunes 
As winter approached, the Russian army was constrained to leave Shumla and retreat back to Bessarabia. In February 1829 old Wittgenstein, whose cautiousness bordered on timidity, was replaced by more energetic Hans Karl von Diebitsch, while the tsar left the army for St Petersburg. On May 7, 60,000 soldiers led by Field Marshal Diebitsch crossed the Danube and resumed the siege of Silistra. The Sultan sent a 40,000-strong contingent to the relief of Varna, but the latter was annihilated by Diebitsch in the Battle of Kulevicha (May 30). Within several weeks, Silistra fell to the Russians (June 19).
Simultaneously, Ivan Paskevich, operating on the Caucasian front, took Akhaltsikhe, Erivan (from Persia), and Kars and, accompanied by the poet Alexander Pushkin, seized Erzerum in north-eastern Anatolia, thus marking the 120th anniversary of the Poltava (June 27).
On July 2 Diebitsch startled the Turks by launching a Transbalkan offensive, the first in Russian history since the 10th-century campaigns of Svyatoslav I. The contingent of 35,000 Russians moved across the mountains, circumventing the besieged Shumla on their way straight to Constantinople. Burgas fell ten days later, and the Turkish reinforcement was routed near Sliven on July 31. By August 28, Diebitsch advanced within 68 kilometers of Istanbul, causing panic on the streets of the capital. The Russian army caused much plundering and destruction on its path, an English traveller Sir Adolphus Slade wrote:
"In some mud cabins, hard by Yeni Bazar, an advanced post of Cossacks was lodged, in great distress for want of necessaries, which they were obliged to draw from Varna, two days distance. All Bulgaria they informed me, was in the same state, not a house standing, thus confirming what a Russian officer had before told me "the Turks did some damage, but we levelled all" The reason of their wanton destruction is difficult to understand, especially among people whom they were pleased to call co-religionists, allies,&c., but whom they treated worse than serfs. Pravodi, for example, a Christian place, they levelled to the ground, although it was not attacked. The adage, " where the Spahis' hoofs tread, the grass will not grow," may be applied with more reason to the Cossacks."
The Treaty of Adrianople 
The Sultan had no other choice but to sue for peace, which was concluded in Edirne on September 14, 1829. The Treaty of Adrianople gave Russia most of the eastern shore of the Black Sea and the mouth of the Danube. Turkey recognized Russian sovereignty over western (Black Sea) Georgia and parts of northwest present-day Armenia (the bulk of Georgia and Armenia had already passed into Russian hands as the result of the two Russo-Persian Wars). Serbia achieved autonomy and Russia was allowed to occupy Moldavia and Walachia (guaranteeing their prosperity, and full "liberty of trade" for them) until Turkey had paid a large indemnity. Moldavia and Wallachia remained under Russian protectorate until the end of Crimean War. Archaic slavery was abolished during this period. The Straits Question was settled four years later, when both powers signed the Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi.
- A Global Chronology of Conflict: From the Ancient World to the Modern Middle ... , by Spencer C. Tucker, 2009, p.1152
- Records of travels in Turkey, Greece, &c: and of a cruise in the Black Sea with the Capitan Pasha, Sir Adolphus Slade, page 59, 1833
- (Russian) Османская империя: проблемы внешней политики и отношений с Россией. М., 1996.
- (Russian) Шишов А.В. Русские генерал-фельдмаршалы Дибич-Забалканский, Паскевич-Эриванский. М., 2001.
- (Russian) Шеремет В. И. У врат Царьграда. Кампания 1829 года и Адрианопольский мирный договор. Русско-турецкая война 1828–1829 гг.: военные действия и геополитические последствия. – Военно-исторический журнал. 2002, № 2.
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