The Russian Consulate in Singapore and British Expansion in Southeast Asia (1890-1905)

By Snow, Karen A. | Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, September 1994 | Go to article overview

The Russian Consulate in Singapore and British Expansion in Southeast Asia (1890-1905)


Snow, Karen A., Journal of Southeast Asian Studies


I

Russia's foreign policy concerns in Southeast Asia evolved primarily from predominant strategic and economic interests in China and the Far East. By stabilizing and expanding and securing its Eastern frontiers, opening trade, and establishing a naval port in Vladivostok in 1860, Russia had acquired a substantial foothold in the area by the second half of the nineteenth century but, in the process, had to maintain that foothold in rivalry with the other major European imperialist powers and Japan.(1) The establishment of a port in Vladivostok required the maintenance of a sea-route for naval and supply vessels from the Black Sea to Vladivostok, which led to the expansion of Russia's strategic interests in Southeast Asia, especially with the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. By the 1850s Singapore was utilized by Russian ships as a coaling and provisioning station and by 1857 the government had appointed a vice-consular official, Hoo Ah Kay as its representative in this bustling port.(2)

One of Russia's major rivals in this area was Britain, a country which, with the aid of Austria and France, had inflicted a humiliating defeat on Russia in the Crimean War (1855-56). Imperialist competition between Russia and England had already occurred in Afghanistan, Turmen, and Persia.(3) In these areas a form of "defensive imperialism" had led Russia into conflicts with Britain with the aim of monitoring the latter's territorial advances and asserting a presence when those advances impinged on the boundaries of its own empire. The excursion into Central Asia compensated for Russia's weakness in Europe and allowed it, without too much cost, to participate in the imperialist expansion of the period. The advances in Central Asia had also, and most importantly for the theme of this article, given Russia a western border with China through Sinkiang by the 1880s. Trade interests in this area could be threatened by British expansion into territories close to this part of China.(4)

By the 1890s Russia also began to develop its trade and territorial interests in northern China, a process which drew it into conflict with British trade interests in Southern China. In anticipation of a further struggle with England Russia began, from the 1860s onwards, to build up its naval defences. The Pacific Ocean Squadron based in Vladivostok had already visited Malacca and Bangkok in 1882, a demonstration of naval strength that left its impression on the countries of Southeast Asia, especially Siam and the imperialist powers in the region. In 1880 a "Volunteer Fleet" of merchant vessels was also established to traverse the waters of this vital sea link between Russia and its Far East stations.(5) By the end of the nineteenth century Russia was pursuing an even more active foreign policy in the Far East, motivated intially by economic interests and the desire for national prestige, but later by foolhardy imperialist designs on Korea. During the 1890s, under the guidance of the dynamic Minister of Finance Sergei Witte, the Russian government had undertaken a policy of intensive industrialization spurred on by the construction of a Trans-Siberian railway. Emphasizing the "peaceful penetration" of China's borders to further this process and expand economic gains, Russia gradually established a presence in Mongolia and Manchuria. Later, however, Witte's policy was replaced by the more militarily aggressive Asiatic Mission of Tsar Nicholas II under the influence of the Minister of the Interior V. Plehve and N. Bezobrazov. This policy inspired the occupation of the Liaotung peninsula in 1898 and the establishment of a naval base at Port Arthur and eventually led to conflicts with Japan over Korea, and contributed to the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905.(6)

This Asiatic Mission of the last Russian tsar was also to have substantial impact on Russia's foreign policy interests in Southeast Asia. Tsarevich Nicholas, then heir to the Russian throne which he later occupied as Nicholas II, took a world tour in 1891 which included stopovers in Southeast Asia, including Bangkok and Singapore, and in the Far East, where he inaugurated the Trans-Siberian railway in Vladivostok. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Russian Consulate in Singapore and British Expansion in Southeast Asia (1890-1905)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.