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Why Przewalski wanted to conquer China?
Material posted: Publication date: 07-10-2018
I rarely recommend books, but there are things that deserve attention. I want to recommend a book by canadian historian David Schimmelpenninck van der OYe " Towards the Rising sun. Imperial myth-making led Russia to war with Japan."

It is always interesting how one or another political course of the country and who influences him. And if you think that propaganda plays a role and in the minds of political leaders are always very cold and sober calculation, is forced to disappoint you.

The author did a tremendous job. For example, letters, memoirs, Newspapers, diaries, he shows how in the late 19th century was formed the idea of the far Eastern expansion of Russia.

The expansion of Russia to the East, railway construction in China, the war with Japan - it was due to the influence of "opinion leaders" of the young Emperor Nicholas II. The author gives different points of view of scientists and Ministers of those years on East from the Przewalski to the Witte and each of them would like to talk separately.

And this time I suggest you familiarize yourself with the point of view of Nikolai Przhevalsky. Without detracting from his merits before Fatherland in the field of geography, it is worth noting that the Chinese he was treated fairly biased. The superiority of Western civilization over the Chinese and the need for early conquest that is the main message of the analytical materials of Nikolai Mikhailovich.
In may, 1886, when Przhevalsky was resting at his estate after the fourth expedition, he was appointed a member of the special military Committee, which met in St. Petersburg to discuss issues related to China. Of interest are his thoughts, published in "Sketch of the present situation in Central Asia". He criticized Russian policy for its excessive passivity: "our first Embassy to China in 1653... all our relations to Median Empire based on retaining much-touted bicentennial of friendship, in fact our two centuries of flattery before China" [1]. As with Ottoman Turkey, the only logical policy Przewalski says the organization is aggressive war, in this case in Central Asia, as "...the situation of the Chinese in Mongolia, and especially in East Turkestan, a very shaky" [2]. Przewalski sees no other alternative than military action: "no matter How bad the war itself, but a bad peace is also not sweet: it is all of Europe" [3]. Rejecting any possible objections to the annexation of the territory of a sovereign state, the General is quoted by the lawyer Fyodor Martens, who wrote of China that "International law cannot be applicable in relations with half-civilized peoples" [4].
Przewalski proves that the coming conflict with China is justified by the desire of the local population go under the rule of the Romanovs: "the Nomads, Mongols, Dungans... and the inhabitants of Eastern Turkestan... have a strong hope to become subjects of the White Tsar, whose name along with the name of the Dalai Lama, is in the eyes of the Asiatic masses in a halo of enchanting power" [5]. He writes: "in the Midst of this bleak chaos in the present and future breaks to the unfortunate sufferers a bright ray of hope for Russia" [6].

Przhevalsky also recalls the first visit to Beijing in 1871: "I will Say frankly that I personally made a very bad impression of the capital. Hardly can enjoy the fresh person the town in which cesspools and a crowd of naked beggars are a necessary accessory best streets" [7]. In a letter to one friend he complains: "Fraud and trickery developed to extreme limits... Generally, the local Chinese — Jew plus Moscow mazurik, both in the square" [8]. Even the food was tasteless: "I don't know how others have to taste Chinese food... but for us Chinese food in the hotels seemed disgusting... the Chinese Themselves are not averse ye any stuff, and some of them even eat dogs," [9].

Przewalski notes that the officers "have no education, in most cases round the ignorant, but... they are only able to corrupt, not improve the morality of their subordinates" [10]. "On the clock of Chinese soldiers often sitting and drinking tea, or engaged in mending his own clothes; the heat cools himself with a fan... Discipline in the army exists only in the outer insubordination; theft and bribery developed to terrifying proportions; concepts of honor and duty are unknown. Soldiers go into battle only out of fear of punishment or hope of plunder" [11].

But the main drawback was the lack of moral principles. Milyutin, in a letter sent from the Chinese garrison at Hami in 1879 Przhevalsky wrote: "Manchu soldiers much resemble our riotous rural women, who more resemble their neudobopriemlemyh habits" [12].

Nikolai Mikhailovich was convinced that the Manchus will not be able to resist the Russian army: "a Brave enemy, with European arms, can move to any part of the Median state and to count on victory. On the number of defenders of the celestial Empire he has nothing much to care: one wolf makes running a thousand sheep, and this wolf are the European soldiers of the Chinese army" [13].

The political leadership of the Empire, fortunately, was much more restrained - the Przewalski's plans were never implemented. Most popular views, the Witte, the development of economic relations and the "peaceful penetration" to the East.


Tags: Russia , China

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