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The Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire (1821-1830) constituted the first breach in the Metternichean system established at the Congress of Vienna, which sought to preserve the status quo and protect legitimate rulers against liberal and nationalist revolts. The Greek struggle was the major diplomatic issue confronting the great powers in the 1820s and became something of a cause célèbre for European public opinion.

During the course of the "Greek affair," philhellenism developed into an international movement. It expressed deep appreciation for the classical and Byzantine heritage and strong interest in the fate of the Greek nation struggling to reconstitute itself as an independent nation-state. Philhellenes, be they in the West or in Russia, supported the Greek cause either through political, military, financial, and humanitarian assistance or through literary-artistic expression. After a brief introduction to the nature and chief characteristics of Russian philhellenism, this article will focus on one of its heretofore little known but vital manifestations - Russian humanitarian relief assistance.


Originally published in the Modern Greek Studies Yearbook 1 (1985): 31-62

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