The Russian Question at the Entente Conference in Cannes




“Russian question”, international relations, international consortium, reparations, tsarist debts, Cannes Conference, Entente, Lloyd George, Aristide Briand


This article aims to explore the significance of the “Russian question” at the Entente conference in Cannes, putting it into the European political context of October 1921 – January 1922. The author pays special attention to the two important rounds of the international negotiations, i. e., to the Anglo-French discussions in London in December 1921 and to the meeting of the Entente Supreme Council in Cannes itself (6–13 January 1922). The “Russian question” was one of the three key topics of these conferences; however, to the other matters (German reparations and Anglo-French security pact), it is under-researched. Besides the published diplomatic documents, the author refers to new evidence drawn from the national archives of France, Great Britain, and Belgium. The article concludes that the negotiations in London and Cannes mirrored the “Russian question”, as it stood in European politics at the end of 1921 and the beginning of 1922. D. Lloyd George, UK prime minister and initiator of the Genoa conference, was eager to use the “Russian question” as a means to further British interests, transform the Soviet regime, and reconstruct and appease Europe. It involved reducing tensions as a result of a non-aggression pact that did not impose any obligations on the UK in Eastern Europe. From the trade and economic points of view, the emphasis was put on the international consortium aimed at consolidating Western business in Russia, giving German industry leadership in the field. Nevertheless, an important part of eventual German profits in Russia would go to France and the UK as reparations. The development of the Cannes conference, which resulted in the resignation of the French cabinet led by A. Briand, showed that the “Russian question” was not only a topic of high politics, but also directly concerned the wider public and elites. Accelerating Briand’s dismissal, Lloyd George found a more stubborn opponent in his successor, R. Poincaré. As the prologue to Genoa, the Cannes meeting outlined some of its future problems as well.

Author Biography

Iskander Magadeev

PhD (History), Associate Professor, Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University).

76, Vernadsky Ave., 119454, Moscow, Russia.

ORCID 0000-0002-6521-2202


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How to Cite

Magadeev, I. (2022). The Russian Question at the Entente Conference in Cannes. Quaestio Rossica, 10(2), 723–738.