Table of Contents =
PART ONE: Hovering Background
PART TWO: Foundations of Russian Frontier and Imperialist Expansion
PART THREE: Tragic Half-century of "The Great Game"
PART FOUR: Major Moments in the Century After the Collapse of the Russian Empire


The hovering background
In the left margin,
"E" [east] or
"S" [south] or
"W" [west in bold-face]
suggest main direction of action =

E -------- 1223:1328; THE GOLDEN HORDE (Mongol [Tatar] Dominion) Russia was for one century the victim of frontier expansion
E -------- 14th-16th centuries: Stroganov north [a chronological LOOP]
E -------- 1552:Muscovite Russia took the Tatar stronghold Kazan
W 1558:1583; Twenty-five-year Livonian Wars

MAP suggesting global European imperialist, mercantilist context
Outline MAP of Eurasia
A good read (with a good JANUS catalogue summary) =
Steven Seegel, Mapping Europe's Borderlands: Russian Cartography in the Age of Empire



The foundations of Russian frontier and imperialist expansion were laid in the first three centuries
The main moments quantified =
E n=10
S n=08
W n=06

E -------- 1580s:Yermak [Ermak]
E -------- 1600s:Voevody [LOOP] NB!: Siberian Prikaz, Khabarov & freebooter voevody
S ---- 1654:Cossacks accept Moscow authority
E -------- 1689au27:Nerchinsk Treaty as a result of "bump" against China
S ---- 1697mr: Peter I and his "Grand Embassy"
W 1700:1721; Russia and Sweden fought the Great Northern War
E -------- 1741:1867; Russian America
E -------- The Bashkirs [LOOP], Eastern Siberian indigenous peoples
W 1760:Seven Years War
S ---- 1773:+; Pugachev rebellion exposed domestic political consequences of frontier expansion
S ---- 1783ap08:Crimea and Catherine II's "Greek Project"
E -------- 1799my08:Russian America Company founded [try Rezanov LOOP]
W 1805:1815; The Napoleonic decade
W 1814:1815; The Congress of Vienna

E -------- 1815:1817; Hawaiian episode
S ---- 1820s:1860s; Central Asia lured Russia away from the New World [MAP]
S ---- 1830s:1860s; Shamil

Outline MAP of Eurasia


The tragic final half century of "The Great Game" [ID],
from the Crimean War to World War One =

S ---- 1839:+; The prelude to serious English/Russian global competition. "The Great Game" was under way
E -------- 1853:+; Manchuria & Maritime Provinces [Putiatin LOOP involves USA] [MAP]
W 1853:1856; Crimean War
E -------- 1867:Russia sold Alaska to USA [LOOP]
S ---- 1877:1879; Russo-Turkish War (NB! how the war was "S", but the diplomacy became very "W")
E -------- 1904:1905; Russo-Japanese War
W 1914:+; World War One: Two fronts

Outline MAP of Eurasia




Revolutionary Civil War and Western Allied military intervention [LOOP]

Disintegration of Russian Empire one of the great geo-political events of modern history [MAP]

USSR & internal colonization: the Gulag system

World War Two =

*--Precipitating events:
Japan invaded China
Hitler turned toward Eastern Europe

*--Four phases:
1.a. Hitler-Germany settled with USSR and together they took Poland
1.b. Hitler-Germany then turned against "The West" for quick and near total victories
2. Hitler-Germany then returned to its main objective, a war against "Bolshevism" and the Soviet Union
3. Japan attacked the USA
4. Western front revived

Cold War and its aftermath






Some Documents 


We proclaim to all our faithful subjects that, in our solicitude for the preservation of that peace so dear to our heart, we have put forth every effort to assure tranquility in the Far East. To these pacific ends we declared our assent to the revision, proposed by the Japanese Government, of the agreements existing between the two Empires concerning Korean affairs. The negotiations initiated on this subject were, however, not brought to a conclusion, and Japan, not even awaiting the arrival of our last reply and the proposals of our Government, informed us of the rupture of the negotiations and of diplomatic relations with Russia.

Without previously notifying us that the rupture of such relations implied the beginning of warlike action, the Japanese Government ordered its torpedo-boats to make a sudden attack on our squadron in the outer roadstead of the fortress of Port Arthur. After receiving the report of our Viceroy on the subject, we at once commanded Japan's challenge to be replied to by arms.

While proclaiming this our resolve, we, in unshakable confidence in the help of the Almighty, and firmly trusting in the unanimous readiness of all our faithful subjects to defend the Fatherland together with ourselves, invoke God's blessing on our glorious forces of the army and navy.

1904fe10:JAPAN'S DECLARATION OF WAR ON RUSSIA [*From the English translation in the London Times, February 11, 1904.] [RFP2,1:168-70]

We, by the Grace of Heaven, the Emperor of Japan, seated on the Throne occupied by the same dynasty from time immemorial, do hereby make proclamation to all our loyal and brave subjects:

We do hereby declare war against Russia. We command our army and navy to carry on hostilities against her with all their strength, and we also command all our officials to make effort, in pursuance of their duties and in accordance with their powers, to attain the national aim, with all the means within the limits of the law of nations.

We deem it essential to international relations, and make it our constant aim, to promote the pacific progress of our Empire in civilization, to strengthen our friendly ties with other States, and thereby to establish a state of things which would maintain enduring peace in the East, and assure the future security of our Empire without injury to the rights and interests of other Powers. Our officials also perform their duties in obedience to our will, so that our relations with all Powers grow steadily in cordiality.

It is thus entirely against our wishes that we have unhappily come to open hostilities against Russia.

The integrity of Korea has long been a matter of the gravest concern to our Empire, not only because of the traditional relations between the two countries, but because the separate existence of Korea is essential to the safety of our Empire. Nevertheless, Russia, despite her explicit treaty pledges to China and her repeated assurances to other Powers, is still in occupation of Manchuria, and has consolidated and strengthened her hold upon it, and is bent upon its final absorption. Since the possession of Manchuria by Russia would render it impossible to maintain the integrity of Korea, and would, in addition, compel the abandonment of all hope for peace in the Far East, we expected, in these circumstances, to settle the question by negotiations and secure thereby a permanent peace. With this object in view, our officials by our order made proposals to Russia, and frequent conferences were held during the last half year. Russia, however, never met such proposals in a spirit of conciliation, but by her prolonged delays put off the settlement of the pending question, and, by ostensibly advocating peace on the one hand, and on the other secretly extending her naval and military preparations, sought to bring about our acquiescence. It is not possible in the least to admit that Russia had from the first a sincere desire for peace. She has rejected the proposals of our Empire; the safety of Korea is in danger; the interests of our Empire are menaced. At this crisis, the guarantees for the future which the Empire has sought to secure by peaceful negotiations can now only be sought by an appeal to arms.

It is our earnest wishes that, by the loyalty and valor of our faithful subjects, peace may soon be permanently restored and the glory of our Empire preserved.

1905se05:USA NH Portsmouth | Russian-Japanese Treaty of Peace [From Treaties and Agreements with China, 1894-1919, edited by John V. MacMurray.] [RFP2,1:170-72]

His Majesty the Emperor of Japan on the one part, and His Majesty the Emperor of all the Russias on the other part, animated by the desire to restore the blessings of peace to Their countries and peoples, have resolved to conclude a Treaty of Peace. . . .

ARTICLE I.� There shall henceforth be peace and amity between Their Majesties the Emperor of Japan and the Emperor of all the Russias and between Their respective States and subjects.

ARTICLE II.� The Imperial Russian Government, acknowledging that Japan possesses in Korea paramount political, military and economical interests, engage neither to obstruct nor interfere with the measures of guidance, protection and control which the Imperial Government of Japan may find it necessary to take in Korea.

It is understood that Russian subjects in Korea shall be treated exactly in the same manner as the subjects or citizens of other foreign Powers, that is to say, they shall be placed on the same footing as the subjects or citizens of the most favored nation. It is also agreed that, in order to avoid all cause of misunderstanding, the two High Contracting Parties will abstain, on the Russo-Korean frontier, from taking any military measure which may menace the security of Russian or Korean territory.

ARTICLE III.� Japan and Russia mutually engage:

1. To evacuate completely and simultaneously Manchuria except the territory affected by the lease of the Liao-tung Peninsula.

2. To restore entirely and completely to the exclusive administration of China all portions of Manchuria now in the occupation or under the control of the Japanese or Russian troops, with the exception of the territory above mentioned.

The imperial Government of Russia declare that they have not in Manchuria any territorial advantages or preferential or exclusive concessions in impairment of Chinese sovereignty or inconsistent with the principle of equal opportunity.

ARTICLE IV.� Japan and Russia reciprocally engage not to obstruct any general measures common to all countries, which China may take for the development of the commerce and industry of Manchuria.

ARTICLE V.� The Imperial Russian Government transfer and assign to the Imperial Government of Japan with the consent of the Government of China, the lease of Port Arthur, Talien [now known as Darien.] and adjacent territory and territorial waters and all rights, privileges and concessions connected with or forming part of such lease and they also transfer and assign to the Imperial Government of Japan all public works and properties in the territory affected by the above mentioned lease.

The two High Contracting Parties mutually engage to obtain the consent of the Chinese Government mentioned in the foregoing stipulation.

The Imperial Government of Japan on their part undertake that the proprietary rights of Russian subjects in the territory above referred to shall be perfectly respected.

ARTICLE VI.� The Imperial Russian Government engage to transfer and assign to the Imperial Government of Japan, without compensation and with the consent of the Chinese government, the railway between Chang-chun (Kuancheng-tzu) and Port Arthur and all its branches, together with all rights, privileges and properties appertaining thereto in that region, as well as all coal mines in the said region belonging to or worked for the benefit of the railway.

The two High Contracting Parties mutually engage to obtain the consent of the Government of China mentioned in the foregoing stipulation.

ARTICLE VII.� Japan and Russia engage to exploit their respective railways in Manchuria exclusively for commercial and industrial purposes and in no wise for strategic purposes.

It is understood that that restriction does not apply to the railway in the territory affected by the lease of the Liao-tung Peninsula.


ARTICLE IX.� The Imperial Russian Government cede to the Imperial Government of Japan in perpetuity and full sovereignty, the southern portion of the Island of Sakhalin and all islands adjacent thereto, and all public works and properties thereon. The fiftieth degree of north latitude is adopted as the northern bound�ary of the ceded territory.


Japan and Russia mutually agree not to construct in their respective possessions on the Island of Sakhalin or the adjacent islands, any fortifications or other similar military works. They also respectively engage not to take any military measures which may impede the free navigation of the Straits of La Perouse and Tartary.




Eastern Siberia





Central Asia