Armchair Chicherin in the Italian hotel. Where was the Treaty of Rapallo signed?

In April 1922  the Treaty of Rapallo was signed between the RSFSR and Germany (Weimar Republic), and in September, when all the republics of the USSR joined it, it worked on a full scale. But he was not imprisoned in Rapalla. And where?

There's something behind this

Santa Margherita Liguria — the town is small. Usually tourists go to Genoa, Rapallo or pretentious Portofino — the most famous resorts. And passing it, at best, they see off the window.

A few years ago, when I went to                went wedding in Italy, I stayed in the old Hotel Imperiale in  this picturesque town. A wedding ceremony was scheduled there, and the hotel became a gathering place for all those invited. The holiday turned out to be bright, tasty, though quite chamber.

Photo: AiF/Marina Mishunkina

After that, I visited Santa Margherita —  — travel (visiting  young spouses) or on rest. And invariably stayed or went to the hotel where I had my first warm acquaintance with this region. Something unknown drew me there.

And only this year in a conversation with Vladislav Bitsa, the manager of the hotel (with whom we managed to make friends over the years), I finally understood why I always wanted to return here. There was a feeling that I didn know everything about this place, that there was some understatement in the majestic hotel.

We, Russians, however, like Italians, tend to beauty and style, know our roots and care of history. And here unobtrusive sophisticated beauty, wonderful decor you encounter everywhere — in the garden cascading down to the sea, in restaurant at breakfast, in fantastic shadows cast by Murano chandeliers in the evenings, in exquisite architecture and monumentality of the building itself. But somewhere in the depths of my soul I knew that there is something else.

Photo: AiF/Marina Mishunkina

And for sure! It turns out that it was here, in a very beautiful hall with exquisite furniture and painted ceiling-dome, exactly 100 years ago the fateful Rappal Treaty between Germany and Russia was signed. The Russian delegation was headed by People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs Georgy Chicherin. For the young Land of Soviets, this was a real breakthrough in building diplomatic relations and, in fact, recognition of the RSFSR in the world community.

Breakthrough of isolation and recognition of nationalization< /h2>

The results of the First World War were summed up at the Genoa Conference. The RSFSR (as a new young state) was to some extent an unrecognized outcast. Germany, as the losing side — too. It turns out that the results of the First World War pushed them to that treaty.

Although it is a fact: in the two largest wars of mankind, Germany and Russia were opponents, but in the interwar period they became good partners. It was then that the young Soviet republic established its first political and economic ties with a recent enemy. By becoming partners, both countries strengthened their positions in future negotiations with other states.

As U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger later noted, “The signing of the Treaty of Rapallo was inevitable, because the Western allies predetermined this event by ostracizing the two largest European powers through the creation of a belt of small states hostile to each other, and also through the dismemberment of both Germany and the Soviet Union.”


Photo: AiF/Marina Mishunkina

To be absolutely precise, the Treaty of Rapallo was signed on April 16, 1922. And in September, all other republics of the USSR joined it. That is the document was fully operational.

According to it each side waived territorial and financial claims to each other after the Brest-Litovsk Treaty of 1918 g. The two also agreed to normalize diplomatic relations and to cooperate in the spirit of mutual goodwill in satisfying economic needs».

The signing of the Rapallo Treaty was a triumph for Soviet diplomacy in those years. Germany recognized the nationalization of German private and state property in the RSFSR and the annulment of royal debts by the Soviet government. This was the main task of the Soviet diplomats, with which they coped with honor. After all, Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars Vladimir Lenin, voicing the “people's order”, spoke of the “primary need to achieve the annulment of the multimillion-dollar debts of the tsarist regime, and” it was not easy. The size of the German share capital nationalized in Soviet Russia was estimated in Chicherin's memo dated 2 March 2, 1922 at 378 million rubles of that time.

Photo: AiF/Marina Mishunkina

In addition, for us, the treaty marked the end of the international diplomatic isolation of Soviet Russia. And for Germany (the Weimar Republic) it was the first equal treaty after Versailles. By the way, it was concluded without specifying the period of entry into force, i.e., the provisions entered into force immediately after signing.

At the same time, our countries secretly established military cooperation. The Red Army got the opportunity to use the technical achievements of the German military industry and to study the modern organizational methods of the German General Staff. A Reichswehr — the opportunity to secretly train groups of pilots, tankmen and experts in chemical weapons on the territory of the USSR, and to train their officers in handling new weapons, the manufacture and ownership of which Germany was prohibited.

Why here?

The signing ceremony took place in what is today the Imperiale Palace Hotel in Santa Margherita. Previously, it was a private villa, kindly provided by the Italian side for a meeting of representatives of Russia and Germany.

But why the treaty, which is called Rapallo, was signed here, and not in neighboring Rapallo (only 5 km from Santa Margherita) or at least in Genoa? The question is open. Moreover the conference was called Genoa, and meetings at the highest level were held in Rapallo.

Photo: AiF/Marina Mishunkina

Getting to the truth now, after 100 years, is no longer easy. But I think the answer is obvious: Russia needed a separate (from the venue of the Genoa Conference) platform for a bilateral closed meeting in order to be able to privately discuss Lenin's order and other crucial issues for the young Soviet republic. And our diplomats were able to elegantly organize it all and bring it to life, that is, they did it brilliantly. Chicherin returned, according to the recollections of eyewitnesses, with a sense of accomplishment. He was impatient to report to Ilyich that the order had been completed.

I managed to walk around the halls that hosted delegations of the two countries 100 years ago, and even to sit in the armchair, in which I was sitting in  the time of the signing of the Treaty of Rapallo Georgy Chicherin, at a table, which keeps the memory of this historical event.

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Photo: AiF/Marina Mishunkina

And it was nice to see how carefully the modern owners of the hotel-mansion treat history, despite world collisions, how they keep relics in their original form, and are proud of their involvement to the events of those years. You can read Russian words on old photographs and documents. Ordinary Italians have always appreciated friendship with Russia and, in my opinion, they appreciate now 


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