By Mark Bassin
Until eventually the mid-nineteenth century, the Amur zone were a digital terra incognita for the Russian public. besides the fact that, the region's annexation succeeded in stirring the desires of the country's most eminent social and political visionaries, who declared it "civilization's most vital step forward." A decade later, this enthrallment and optimism had evaporated. Mark Bassin examines Russia's perceptions of the recent territories, putting the Amur enigma within the context of Russian Zeitgeist mid-century, and gives a brand new viewpoint at the dating between Russian nationalism, geographical id and imperial growth.
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Additional resources for Imperial Visions: Nationalist Imagination and Geographical Expansion in the Russian Far East, 1840-1865
23; Maikov, Rasskazy, p. 49. e. the determination of the relationship of the Asian and American continents – but rather to prepare the way for Russian expansion south along the North American coast. Polevoi, “Glavnaia zadacha”; Fisher, Bering’s Voyages. Romanov, “Prisoedinenie,” pp. 332–333; Sgibnev, “Vidy,” p. 319; Kabanov, Amurskii vopros, 52 p. 26. Des veränderten Russland, p. 124. Early visions and divinations 31 government in Moscow. In 1756, following the advice of Chirikov, an oﬃcial entourage was dispatched to China to negotiate for Russian navigational rights on the Amur, but the mission was unsuccessful.
15 Thus after nearly four decades, the Russians were expelled from the Amur valley under circumstances which subsequently would make it possible to claim that they had been forcibly and unjustly evicted from the region entirely against their will. The Chinese, it would be asserted, had in eﬀect stolen territories which their northern neighbors had rightfully claimed and settled, and which moreover were valued very highly. There is some degree of accuracy in this argument, to be sure, but it is worth noting at this point that in certain respects it is misleading.
Des veränderten Russland, p. 124. Early visions and divinations 31 government in Moscow. In 1756, following the advice of Chirikov, an oﬃcial entourage was dispatched to China to negotiate for Russian navigational rights on the Amur, but the mission was unsuccessful. Catherine II included the exploration of the Amur estuary in the instructions for what was intended to be the ﬁrst world voyage from Kronstadt to the North Paciﬁc in 1786, but this mission was cancelled before it could begin. Finally, in 1805 a special embassy headed by Gavril Golovkin was sent to China to negotiate, among other things, for Russian navigational rights on the Amur for the purposes of supplying Kamchatka.