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The Catacazy Affair and the Uneasy Path of Russian-American Relations

  • Pocket

  • 2023

  • Engelsk

Constantin Catacazy whipped up scandal in Washington after his appointment there as Russian Ambassador in 1869, ignoring diplomatic protocol and defying social mores. By 1871, President Grant and his Cabinet requested that he be recalled. But the timing of this request overlapped with the visit of the tsar’s son to the USA - a celebrated diplomatic event symbolising the friendship and good will between the two nations. Consequently, Catacazy was allowed to travel with the tsar’s son, but only as a persona non grata. This tense resolution led many to worry about the future of the Russian-American friendship.With a keen sense of the human interest, Lee A. Farrow demonstrates that this affair was one of the earliest significant complications in the relationship between Russia and the USA. Using a lively micro-historical approach and fresh materials such as the letters of Catacazy and of Secretary of State Hamilton Fish from archives in the USA, UK and Russia, Farrow explores 19th-century politics and diplomacy, and the pre-suffrage power of women in the political arena through an investigation of the Washington wives’ reactions to the controversial figure of Olga Catacazy. The result is a cutting-edge analysis of this pivotal episode in modern history.
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