You are here

Re-writing the Russian Conquest of Central Asia

Russian expansion into Central Asia in the 19th century is usually seen either as the product of lobbying by big capitalist interests in Moscow, or as a wholly unplanned process driven by ‘men on the spot’ who slipped beyond St Petersburg’s control. This paper is a micro-study of one of the campaigns which immediately preceded the fall of Tashkent in 1865, during which Russian forces under General M. G. Cherniaev united the Orenburg and Siberian ‘lines’ of fortification to create what was meant to be a permanent new frontier on the steppe. It demonstrates that neither of these explanations is satisfactory – economic calculations played a minor role in Russian decision-making, while there was an authorised plan for expansion in the region. The paper also considers this episode as portrayed in Khoqandi sources, which demonstrates that the Russian campaigns were profoundly disruptive to the world-view of Islamic elites in the region.
Alexander Morrison is Professor of History at Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan. From 2007-2013 he was Lecturer in Imperial History at the University of Liverpool. From 2000 – 2007 he was a Prize Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, where he wrote his doctorate on *Russian Rule in Samarkand 1868 – 1910. A Comparison with British India*. This was published under the same title by Oxford University Press in 2008. In 2012 he won a Philip Leverhulme Prize. He is currently writing a history of the Russian Conquest of Central Asia.



Tuesday, October 21, 2014. 05:30PM


History Corner, Room 002


CREEES Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies




Free and open to the public. RSVP requested.