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Smyrna was a dangerous, tumultuous outpost in 1821, especially for a Russian diplomatic official during the initial months of the Greek War of Independence. This is the most palpable conclusion from the personal diary of the Ionian Greek, Spyridon Iur'evich Destunis (1782-1848), who served as Russian consul general in Smyrna from 1818 to 1821. His unpublished diary, one of the richest files in the sizable Destunis collection housed in the Manuscript Section of the Saltykov-Shchedrin State Public Library in Leningrad, appears here in English translation for the first time. It offers an extremely valuable eyewitness account of the almost nonstop disorder and alarm which prevailed in Smyrna in the immediate aftermath of the outbreak of the Greek struggle. The diary merits close attention and scrutiny by historians of the Greek revolution, Ottoman government and society, and the Eastern Question.


Originally published in the Modern Greek Studies Yearbook 7 (1992): 145-68

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