Izvolsky, Aleksandr Petrovich

Izvolsky, Aleksandr Petrovich əlyĭksänˈdər pētrôˈvĭch ēzvôlˈskē [key], 1856–1919, Russian diplomat instrumental in fostering the Triple Entente with France and Great Britain. He rose in the diplomatic service and in 1906 was appointed foreign minister by Czar Nicholas II. In 1907 he reached an agreement with Great Britain ending the rivalry between the two powers in the Middle East: Persia was divided into three zones, one Russian, one British, with a neutral zone between; Afghanistan was recognized as being under British protection; and Tibet was declared neutral. This agreement, in conjunction with the Franco-Russian alliance formed in the 1890s and the Anglo-French accord in 1904, marked the emergence of the Triple Entente. In 1908, Izvolsky attempted to open the Dardanelles to Russian warships through an agreement with the Austro-Hungarian foreign minister Aehrenthal. In return for Russian acceptance of Austrian annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria agreed to support the opening of the straits. Austria failed to keep its part of the pact, and Izvolsky suffered a humiliating diplomatic defeat. Appointed (1910) ambassador to France, he endeavored to strengthen Franco-Russian ties. After the Russian Revolution he remained in France.

See his memoirs (tr. 1920).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Russian, Soviet, and CIS History: Biographies