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Count Karl Nesselrode

Count Nesselrode was a Russian diplomat of Baltic-German descent. He served as Russia’s Foreign Minister for 40 years, from 1816 until 1856, and guided Russian policy. Moreover, he was a leading conservative statesman of the Holy Alliance between Russia, Austria and Prussia. Already in 1796, Nesselrode entered the Russian Navy, which marked the beginning of his services for the Russian Empire. In 1814, he became State Secretary and held the position as the head of Russia’s delegation to the Congress of Vienna. In practice, Tsar Alexander I acted as his own foreign minister, diminishing Nesselrode’s position. In 1816, Nesselrode was made Foreign Minister, together with Count Kapodistrias. He accompanied Alexander to the Congresses of Aix-la-Chapelle, Troppau, Laibach and Verona. Later, in 1845, Nesselrode became Chancellor of the Russian Empire and subsequently became involved in the Crimean War as his efforts to expand Russia’s territory and influence in the Balkans and the Mediterranean led to conflicts with Britain, France and Turkey. Among others, these efforts led to the outbreak of the Crimean War (1853-1856). Britain and France were unhappy with Russia’s growing influence, and were determined to support Turkey and so restrict Russia. At the end of the war, Nesselrode attended the Paris Peace Congress of 1856 representing Russia in order to conclude an end to the conflict. Shortly afterwards, he retired from the Russian service.

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