The preliminary peace treaty concluded in the village of San Stefano (the western suburb of Constantinople) on March 3, 1878, between the Russian and Ottoman Empires ended the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-1878. The treaty was signed by Nicholas Ignatiev and Aleksandr Nelidov on behalf of the Russian Empire and by Saffet Pasha and Sadullah Bey on behalf of the Ottoman Empire.
This treaty was of great importance for the liberation of the Balkan peoples from the Ottoman Empire.
The San Stefano Treaty recognized the independence of Serbia, Montenegro, and Romania, expanding their territory. Bosnia and Herzegovina were to form an autonomous region. A new autonomous Slavic principality was to be created in the Balkans as well – Bulgaria, which was to include ethnic Bulgarian territories in Moesia, Thrace, and Macedonia.
A special treaty article (the 16th) implied administrative reforms in Western Armenia. The successful course of the war for Russia and the liberation of part of Western Armenia by Russian troops also gave hope for the liberation of the Armenian political circles.
The European powers, however, did not want to accept these conditions. Great Britain and Austria-Hungary aimed at all costs to prevent Russia from gaining access to the Mediterranean Sea through its satellite Bulgaria.
As a result, the San Stefano Treaty would be almost completely revised at the Berlin Congress to the detriment of Russia, Bulgaria, and Montenegro.
Nevertheless, the treaty had historical significance for the further development of the Armenian issue. For the first time in history, the name of Armenia and Armenians were mentioned in an international agreement.