Make Russia a superpower in the 19th century...

Menshevik

Ad Honorem
Dec 2012
9,420
here
I was listening to a podcast the other day that was saying that following Napoleon's defeat, there were fears by the remaining great powers (mostly Britain, iirc) that Russia was going to become too dominant. It led me to wonder, what would a Europe dominated by Russia look like? Just how powerful could Russia realistically have become?

What's needed for them to be a superpower? Ownership of Constantinople?

Could they challenge Britain for mastery of the seas?

What if they won the Crimean War?
 
Apr 2017
1,679
U.S.A.
This concern was prevalent in Europe up till the first world war, which is why they interfered constantly in Russian expansion into the ottoman empire. If left unchecked Russia could have easily conquered eastern Europe up to the german/Austrian borders. They also could have taken much of turkey and possibly Persia.
If they won the Crimean war the other powers would have been more adamant to contain Russia.
Very doubtful Russia could challenge Britain at sea, Germany at its height couldn't displace them.
 
Jan 2014
1,112
Rus
To overtake Britain Russia had to get more allies than Britain. Russia had to gather all displeased in Europe against Britain. Obviously that Russia wasnt capable for this. It hadnt sufficient authority in Europe for this.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
5,397
Sydney
ever heard of the Holy Alliance of Prussia , Austria and Russia ? it was broken by Austria ,
Naval Supremacy was never a Russian goal , they are a continental minded power
on the Whole Russia has ever been defensive in outlook and sentiment ,
the one exception was to push the Turks out of the Eastern Balkans
which opposed them to Britain who defended the right of the Turks to slaughter Bulgarians
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,935
Yes, the Holy Alliance, Austria and Russia the driving agents, putting down Liberal revolutions all over Europe for several decades is a pretty good guide to what a Russia-dominated 19th c. Europe might have looked like. In the end the Liberal revolutionaries got too much for them though.

Arguable Russis WAS the dominant superpower in European politics for the first decades after the end of the Napoleonic wars.
 
Jun 2017
2,996
Connecticut
I was listening to a podcast the other day that was saying that following Napoleon's defeat, there were fears by the remaining great powers (mostly Britain, iirc) that Russia was going to become too dominant. It led me to wonder, what would a Europe dominated by Russia look like? Just how powerful could Russia realistically have become?

What's needed for them to be a superpower? Ownership of Constantinople?

Could they challenge Britain for mastery of the seas?

What if they won the Crimean War?
Industrialization combined with their large population was what looked to make them a superpower and eventually sort of did in the USSR period. Don't think they could challenge the UK for the sea's, even if they had the capacity too, it was more of a priority for the UK. The biggest geographic change would be Constantinople as you've mentioned, honestly by 1914, not all too many places Russia could expand that they hadn't already(I think there was a thread on that). Look for the Tsar to have declared himself Roman Emperor if he succeeded.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,750
SoCal
I was listening to a podcast the other day that was saying that following Napoleon's defeat, there were fears by the remaining great powers (mostly Britain, iirc) that Russia was going to become too dominant. It led me to wonder, what would a Europe dominated by Russia look like? Just how powerful could Russia realistically have become?

What's needed for them to be a superpower? Ownership of Constantinople?

Could they challenge Britain for mastery of the seas?

What if they won the Crimean War?
For Russia to become a superpower, earlier you absolutely need them to industrialize earlier. Industrial power tends to equal military might (or, more specifically, military potential)--which explains why Britain, Germany, and the U.S. were able to build such formidable militaries. Heck, in the case of Britain and the U.S., they were able to build extremely powerful militaries within just several years from a very low base (for instance, take a look at just how much the U.S.'s military expanded between 1939 and 1945).

For Russia to begin industrializing earlier--and for that matter, to abolish serfdom earlier--you would have probably needed a Russian defeat in some major war. Basically, Russia was complacent about changes as long as it believed that it remains the dominant European power. Indeed, had Russia won the Crimean War, it might have made reforms--and industrialized--later than it did in real life due to its continuing sense of complacency. Now, the question is how to get Russia to lose a major war before the 1850s and after winning the Napoleonic Wars.
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,782
Dispargum
Russia went into decline after 1850 because technology began to change very rapidly, and the Russians couldn't keep up. If you want to make 19th century Russia stronger, find a way to stop technological progress.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,750
SoCal
Russia went into decline after 1850 because technology began to change very rapidly, and the Russians couldn't keep up. If you want to make 19th century Russia stronger, find a way to stop technological progress.
Or Russia could simply do a better job of keeping track and utilizing these new technologies.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
5,397
Sydney
in 1815 the allied leaders present were invited to assist at the Russian Imperial army maneuvers near Paris , the top of a hill had been thoughtfully leveled to provide a good vantage point
as the tens of thousands troops were strutting their stuff , the guests got the message . Russia was a military giant .
Britain then warmed to the defeated France to re establish some balance against the conservative monarchies .
noticeably the Times stopped praising Russia as it had done during Platov visit and took the start of a Russophobia which would in time lead to the rather abtruse Crimean war

Russia was doing great stride under the very liberal Alexander II , who kept surviving repeated assassination attempt by revolutionaries until one finally got him
his devoted son Alexander III , believing than his father liberal leanings had been the death of him then froze Russia into a savage repression , deeming any modern idea as reprehensible Western poison .
his son Nicola II was a very nice and very stupid gentleman who under a charming personna was just as stubbornly reactionary as his fearsome father .

modernisation in russia then proceded only under the sting of military defeat