On the Question of the Debts of Czarist Russia. The Soviet-French conference of 1926–1927

Publication type Article
Status Published
Affiliation: Institute of World History, RAS
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameNovaia i noveishaia istoriia
EditionIssue 5

In this article based on materials from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs archive, most of which have not yet been introduced into the academic circuit, the author examines the preparation, progress, and results of the Soviet-French conference in 1926–1927, where the question of repayment of debts of the Russian Empire, as well as the possibility of France's loans to the USSR were discussed. French documents show that the Soviet side from the very beginning indicated that the issue of paying off royal debts for it, due to the economic situation in the country, was inextricably linked with the provision of loans. The French delegation, although it did not recognize the connection between these two issues, was ready to discuss them in parallel and showed a real interest both in settling the debt issue and in providing loans. Despite considerable disagreement, the positions of the sides gradually converged during the negotiations, specific figures and details on key issues were agreed on, and a mutually acceptable outcome seemed quite possible.

However, the coming to power in France in July 1926 of the government of the National Association, headed by Raymond Poincaré, instead of the Left Bloc, which was constructively disposed towards the USSR, and, especially, the Anglo-Soviet flare-up, followed by a breakdown in diplomatic relations between Moscow and London, led to a rise in anti-Soviet sentiment in France and, consequently, a hardening of the French negotiating position, which ultimately led to the failure of the conference. French holders of Russian securities were primarily the ones who lost out.

Keywordsforeign debts, foreign loans, USSR, France, foreign policy, international relations, diplomatic negotiations, finances, credits, Christian Rakovsky
Publication date17.11.2022
Number of characters35665
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