The effect of Russia on British policy before 1914 was different from that of any other power. This singularity sprang form the peculiar nature of the two states. Each, to an extent not possessed by other powers, had the luxury of withdrawing — Britain behind the Channel; Russia behind a barrier created by sheer distance — from European affairs, and neither had an effective means of striking a direct blow to each other. Anglo-Russian relations in Europe were always pursued in the context of the relations between the Great Powers generally. Therefore, Britain always had allies when dealing with Russia about Continental issues.
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