The Emergence of Modern Russia, 1801-1917

By Sergei Pushkarev; Robert H. McNeal et al. | Go to book overview

10
Foreign Affairs
From the Peace of Paris to the Beginning
of World War 1

Imperial Expansion in Asia

Since Russia's efforts to extend her influence in the Balkans and the Near East had been frustrated by her defeat in the Crimean war, Alexander II concentrated on extending and securing the boundaries of the empire in the Caucasus, in Central Asia, and in the Far East. Russia returned to its activity in the Balkans in the crisis of 1876-1878, but in the meantime considerable territory had been acquired in Asia, and by 1885 the southern boundary of the Russian state between the Black Sea and the Sea of Japan assumed approximately its present shape.

Under Alexander II the half-century-old struggle for the Caucasus was ended. To break the resistance of Muslim mountaineers in the eastern Caucasus, the viceregent of the Caucasus, Prince A. Bariatinsky, launched in 1857 a well-planned advance into the regions of Chechnia and Daghestan. The prolonged and heroic resistance of the mountain tribes headed by Shamyl was finally crushed, and in 1859 Shamyl surrendered to Prince Bariatinsky in the Daghestan village of Gunib. After Prince Bariatinsky left his post because of illness, the Russian forces, commanded by General Evdokimov, completed the conquest of the Cherkess areas in the western Caucasus by 1864.

To prevent the resumption of mountain warfare, the Muslim inhabitants of especially hostile mountain villages (auls) were given the choice of resettlement on the plain or emigration to Turkey. Around 200,000 emigrated to Turkey, while the majority submitted

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