Home / Articles / “The M.P. for Russia”: Olga Novikova, William Gladstone, and the Crisis of 1878
In 1878, the United Kingdom and Russia stood on the brink of war, as they clashed over the Straits of Bosporus, the balance of power in the Balkans, and the intersection of their empires on the Afghan frontier. Yet, the crisis was not just a matter of foreign policy; it inspired bitter debates about identity and loyalty at home. In Britain, public relationships with Russian citizens brought accusations of treason. British politicians conducted secret liaisons with the Russian ambassador. At the center of the scandals stood Olga Novikova, a well-connected aristocrat, nationalist activist, and friend of influential journalists and Liberal Party leaders.