The character of the international relations in 1906-1914 was determined by the aggravation of economic contradictions between the powers of the world in the struggle for marketing outlets and sources of raw materials, political divergences between them, formation of military and political blocks and arms race. Except for these factors the foreign policy of Russia was influenced by the results of the unsuccessful Russian-Japanese War, the Russian revolution of 1905-1907.
The Chairman of Council of Ministers P.A. Stolypin supported the position of "peace by all means", which became basic in the cautious policy of the Russian diplomacy.
On the 18th of August 1907 in St. Petersburg the English-Russian agreement, delimiting spheres of influence of two powers in Iran, Afghanistan and Tibet was signed. The English-Russian contract of 1907 was accomplished by the creation of the Triple Alliance (Russia, France and Great Britain) - the Entente, which resulted in the division of Europe into two military and political blocks. With the assistance of England and France Russia could normalize its relations with Japan: in 1907 the general political agreement, the fishing convention and the trade treaty were signed, in 1910 Russia and Japan concluded the confidential contract, which fixed the cooperation between the two countries in protection of their interests in Manchuria.
The essential influence on the foreign orientation of Russia were the events on Balkan Peninsula, in particular the Bosnian crisis of 1908-1909, caused by the decision of Austria-Hungary to annex Bosnia and Herzegovina. Germany supported this decision, and after unsuccessful diplomatic struggle Russia was compelled to recognize the annexation, despite the risk "to lose the fruits of century efforts, to lose the role of great power" as the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Russia A.P.Izvolsky (1906-1910) expressed.
In 1910 Izvolsky was replaced in the rank of the Minister for Foreign Affairs by Stolypin's son-in-law S.D. Sazanov (1910-1916). He served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 1883, in 1907 he rose to the rank of the councillor in England, and then the ambassador in Vatican. During his ministry service Sazonov got profound effect on tsar, continuing his policy of rapprochement with England and Japan without aggravation of relations with Germany. Attempts of Germany to tear off Russia from its allies were not successful. Russia rejected the German proposal of the general political agreement, having limited to the conclusion on the 6th of August 1911 in St. Petersburg the Russian-German agreement on Iran and construction of the Baghdad railway, which did not touch the main questions.
In 1911 the activity of the Russian diplomacy was concentrated on Balkan Peninsula. Russia promoted the formation of the union of the Balkan states (Serbia, Bulgaria, then Greece) that started on the 27th of September (9th October) 1912 the war against Turkey in response to the slaughter of Albanians and Macedonians. At the end of 1913 relations between Russia and Germany strained because of the sending to Turkey of a group of German officers and generals who took major command posts in the Turkish army. The group was headed by general Liman Von Sanders, who gave the name to this military mission. In conditions of aggravated relations with Germany and Austria-Hungary the ruling circles of Russia were inclined to the opportunity of armed conflict with the German bloc. The big program of strengthening of the defense was accepted. Although with delay, Russia joined the arms race. In the spring of 1914 Russia proposed England to sign the navy convention; in July the English government confirmed its intention to act with Russia against the Austrian-German bloc.