Cui bono information and record keeping? In his most recent work devoted to the study of British and French imperialism in the Levant in early modern history, Cornel Zwierlein has argued that “empires are built on ignorance.” It is, of course, true that during the old regime Western knowledge of things “Oriental” was patently defective, marked as it was by blind spots and glaring gaps; and if observed in the broader context of European colonialism in Asia, the British and French cases are hardly exceptional. Sanjay Subrahmanyam's Europe's India has shown compellingly that the Portuguese, too, blindly forged ahead in their imperial expansion into South Asia, with a good dose of improvisation. By focusing on a mission to Khiva, Bukhara, and Balkh in 1732, I set out to show that the Russian venture in Asia too was premised upon ignorance, among other things. More specifically, I argue that diplomatic and commercial relations between Russia and Central Asia developed in parallel with the neglect of intelligence gathered and made available in imperial archives. Reflecting on the fact that the Russian enterprise in Asia was minimally dependent on information allows us to complicate the reductive equation of knowledge to power, which originates from the “archival turn.” Many today regard archives as reflective of projects of documentation, which granted epistemological virtue to the texts stored, ordered, and preserved therein. The archives generated truth claims, we are told, about hierarchies of knowledge produced by states and, by doing so, they effectively operated as a technological apparatus bolstering the state. However, not all the texts which we find in archives always retained their pristine epistemic force. To historicise the uses, misuses, and, more importantly, the practices of purposeful neglect of records invites us to revisit the quality of transregional connectivity across systems of signification in the early modern period.