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Theme 2. Russian conquest of Central Asia and Russian-British rivalry in the region

Themes and content of lectures

Theme 1. Introduction to the course. Subject, object and tasks of the course

Concept of ‘Central Asia’ narrow and wide meanings. Concept of ‘Great game’ as a notion referring to political rivalry and struggle between the Russian Empire and Great Britain for domination in Central Asia in the second half of the XIX – early XX centuries (1907). Notion of “Chinese Central Asia” (Eastern Turkestan, Xinjiang province of China). Struggle of the great powers for domination in this part of Central Asia.


Theme 2. Russian conquest of Central Asia and Russian-British rivalry in the region

The Russian expansion into the Kazakhs steppes since 1731 and full inclusion of them into the territory of the Empire in 1847. Beginning of the Russian conquest of the heart of Central Asia in the early 19th century.

The forces of the khanates were poorly equipped and could do little to resist Russia's advances, although the Kokandian commander Alimqul led aquixotic campaign before being killed outside Chimkent. The main opposition to Russian expansion into Turkestan came from the British, who felt that Russia was growing too powerful and threatening the northwest frontiers of British India. This rivalry came to be known as The Great Game, where both powers competed to advance their own interests in the region. It did little to slow the pace of conquest north of the Oxus, but did ensure that Afghanistan remained independent as a buffer state between the two Empires.

After the fall of Tashkent to General Cherniaev in 1865, Khodjend, Djizak, and Samarkand fell to the Russians in quick succession over the next three years as the Khanate of Kokand and the Emirate of Bukhara were repeatedly defeated.

In 1867 the Governor-Generalship of Russian Turkestan was established under General Konstantin Petrovich Von Kaufman, with its headquarters at Tashkent. In 1881–85 the Transcaspian region was annexed in the course of a campaign led by Generals Mikhail Annenkov and Mikhail Skobelev, and Ashkhabad (from Persia),Merv and Pendjeh (fromAfghanistan) all came under Russian control.

Russian expansion was halted in 1887 when Russia and Great Britain delineated the northern border of Afghanistan. Bukhara and the Khanate of Khiva remained quasi-independent, but were essentially protectorates along the lines of the Princely States of British India. Although the conquest was prompted by almost purely military concerns, in the 1870s and 1880s Turkestan came to play a reasonably important economic role within the Russian Empire

Because of the American Civil War, cotton shot up in price in the 1860s, becoming an increasingly important commodity in the region, although its cultivation was on a much lesser scale than during the Soviet period. The cotton trade led to improvements: the Transcaspian Railway from Krasnovodsk to Samarkand and Tashkent, and the Trans-Aral Railway from Orenburg to Tashkent were constructed. In the long term the development of a cotton monoculture would render Turkestan dependent on food imports from Western Siberia, and the Turkestan-Siberia Railway was already planned when the First World War broke out.

Russian rule still remained distant from the local populace, mostly concerning itself with the small minority of Russian inhabitants of the region. The local Muslims were not considered full Russian citizens. They did not have the full privileges of Russians, but nor did they have the same obligations, such as military service. The Tsarist regime left substantial elements of the previous regimes (such as Muslim religious courts) intact, and local self-government at the village level was quite extensive.

Annexation of the territory of the Kokand Khanate and making the Khiva and Bukhara kahanates the protectorates of the Russian Empire in 1876. Deliniation of the interests of the Russian and British Empires in 1887. Colnization of Central Asia by the Russians.

Date: 2015-12-17; view: 1588

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