Roads to Europe : Serbian Politics and the Railway Issue, by Momir Samardžić

By Momir Samardžić

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Of liberals with the vicarious regime”. During the first half of the 1870s most later progressives were part of the conservative opposition to Ristić’s regime. This united the older generation of conservatives from the Defenders of the Constitution time and a younger generation of Serbs, Ristić’s opponents, who were educated abroad during the 1860s. The term “young conservative” refers, to a certain extent, to a heterogeneous group of Belgrade intellectuals who were, above all, united by their discontent with the autocratic manner in which Ristić led the state, excluding from the levers of power all those who were educated enough to be able to confront him, especially if he were to allow their entry into the National Assembly.

The Porte did not consider it necessary to negotiate with the Serbian government on obtaining a concession on the territory of Serbia. This act was viewed in Belgrade as a violation of the autonomous position of the principality and they tried to confront not only the effort of the suzerain to give away a concession without an agreement with the vassal, but also the intention of the Porte to dispose freely of the land and natural resources of Serbia79. In 1852 the British engineers who with the sultan’s firman arrived in Serbia, without prior contact with the Serbian government and with the intention to make the necessary measurements for the future railway route, were expelled, and after a statement from the Tanzimat council in September of 1855, the State Council decided that Serbia was to request from the Great Powers to pressure the Porte into allowing the Serbian government to negotiate the construction of the route through its territory and grant a concession for the construction itself.

One of the most important conditions for overcoming the such deficiencies was the construction of a network of roads which would contribute to the development of the internal market as a prerequisite of faster economic development of Serbia, as well as connect the inland with the border export centers. 22 Momir Samardžic´ When the Serbian government in 1865 decided to hire the French engineer Kuss to recommend the most favorable route for the future Serbian railway, he added an opinion to his study on the need for Serbia to build a railway.

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