Russia, Sunday, 26th July

Morning Sazonov meets by chance Pourtalès on the train from Tsarskoe Selo to St Petersburg. They both have summer houses near Tsarskoe Selo.
Sazonov indicates Russia has peaceful intentions and is willing to find a means of procuring legitimate satisfaction for Austria-Hungary. They discuss mediation options.
Pourtalès suggests direct talks between Russia and Austria-Hungary even though this would require some modification of Vienna's position.
Sazonov says the balance of power in the Balkans is a vital Russian interest and Russia cannot tolerate the reduction of Serbia to a vassal state of Austria.

Afternoon Acting on word from Pourtalès, Szápáry goes to see Sazonov and the two men meet in a friendlier mood. Sazonov thinks Austria-Hungary's aims are legitimate but not pursued safely.
He wants to review the ultimatum to Serbia.
Szápáry is happy to do this but reminds Sazonov he has no instructions from his government to go beyond the ultimatum.
They study the ultimatum point by point. Sazonov says he thinks many points could be made acceptable with minor amendment. Szápáry says he will report Sazonov's views to Vienna. [More]

Afternoon Pourtalès reports to Berlin the view in St Petersburg that the ultimatum could be made acceptable. If Vienna modifies its demands direct talks between Austria-Hungary and Russia should take place and if they succeeded then St Petersburg would be ready to "advise" Belgrade to accept the revised document.
Pourtalès adds he has the impression Sazonov's friendlier attitude is the result of news from Paris and London. He is mistaken.

Afternoon Sazonov telegrams the Russian embassy in Vienna suggesting that the government there authorise Szápáry to start talks with him for a "joint revision of some articles of the ultimatum".

Evening The German military attaché, Major Eggeling, asks Pourtalès to tell Berlin he regards it "as certain mobilisation ordered in Kiev and Odessa; Warsaw and Moscow doubtful, the rest probably not yet".

Late evening Pourtalès sees Sazonov to give him the warning from Berlin that Russian military measures directed at Germany might easily call forth German countermeasures. Sazonov is startled.
He tries to reassure Pourtalès and tells him mobilisation will only be ordered if Austria-Hungary takes a hostile attitude to Russia. He also tells him about what he sees as the satisfactory talk with Szápáry.

Later Sazonov asks Sukhomlinov to see the German military attaché to give further assurances.

Brief Russia's crisis management and its consequences [More]