In Britain and Russia the opposite reactions to the convention were rooted in shared assumptions. British liberal and radical circles condemned the ‘entente’ (as it became known by association with the Entente cordiale) because a rapprochement with a despotic regime tarnished Britain’s moral prestige, while officials feared it might result in losses to the wily and unscrupulous enemy.1 Russian liberals rejoiced that a rapprochement with the constitutional Britain would help them wrestle political power from the autocracy2 by tying its hands; the conservatives and the military opposed it for the same reason.3