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1 - Russia’s Steppe Frontier and the Napoleonic Generation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 November 2020

Alexander Morrison
Affiliation:
New College, Oxford
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Summary

The decisions which triggered the Russian conquest of Central Asia were taken by the generation of soldiers and statesmen who came of age during the Napoleonic Wars – Nesselrode, Chernyshev, Speranskii and above all Count Vasily Perovskii, Governor of Orenburg during the 1830s. This chapter argues that Russia’s victory against Napoleon transformed the self-perception of the Empire’s ruling elite: Russia was now unquestionably a European Great Power, and as such the constant raiding, rebellion and other forms of ‘insolence’ on her steppe frontier could no longer be tolerated. An account of Russian relations with Persia and Afghanistan is followed by an overview of the empire’s relationship with the Qazaqs from the early eighteenth to the early nineteenth century, and the growing Russian frustration with the khanate of Khoqand, and above all with Khiva.

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The Russian Conquest of Central Asia
A Study in Imperial Expansion, 1814–1914
, pp. 52 - 82
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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