Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in History






Muravʹev, Nikolai Nikolaevich, graf, 1809-1881, Siberia (Russia) -- History



Physical Description

1 online resource (vii, 304 leaves, maps. 28 cm.)


The essential objective of this study was to reveal the degree to which one man, Nicholas Muraviev, was instrumental in bringing about Russia's annexation of The Amur basin, as well as the territory that became the Maritime Province of Siberia. Introductory chapters provide: a) a background summary of Muraviev's education and of his career prior to his service in Siberia and b) a brief historical survey of the area in which his achievements raised Russia to the position of a Far Eastern Power. The main body of the study comprises an analytical narrative of Muraviev's activities during the decade that culminated in the Chinese capitulation at Aigun in 1858. Closing chapters explain the factors that turned the newly acquired territories into a burden for the Russian Government until it decided to build the trans-Siberian railway, and set forth some conclusions regarding the historical significance of Muraviev's role as Russia's pro-consul in Eastern Siberia.

Extensive use was made of the prime single source of information on Muraviev's life, Ivan Barsukov's Graf N. N. Muraviev-Amurskii, po ego pismam, ofitsialnym dokumentam, razskazam sovremmenikov it pechatnym istochnikam (materialy d1ia biografii). Also of significant assistance was the bibliography contained in J. L. Sullivan's doctoral dissertation, Count N. N. Muraviev-Amurskii, a full-scale biography. Sullivan's dissertation preceded two important works bearing on the Muraviev period in Siberia and drawn on extensively in the present study; R. K. I. Quested's The Expansion of Russia in East Asia, 1858-1860, and P. I. Kabanov's Amurskii Vopross. Among other particularly valuable sources was P. V. Schumacher's long article, K istorii priobretenia Amurai. Snoshenias Kitaem s 1848 po 1860 g.” contained in Russki Arkhiv, which, together with Russkaia Starina and Krasny Arkhiv, also contain numerous other documents, memoirs and contemporary accounts that were consulted. Of signal value, too, among the special studies, surveys and reference works consulted was the introductory chapter of Andrew Malozemoff's " Russian Far Eastern Policy, 1881-1904. A complete selected bibliography is included.

The research undertaken for this study has led to the conclusion that had it not been for Muraviev's imagination and ingenuity, his willingness, on occasion, to flout authority and his dedication and extraordinary stamina, the annexation to Eastern Siberia of almost 400,000 square miles of territory might never have taken place.

Muraviev was sometimes impatient, perhaps sometimes insufficiently impressed by broader politico-military considerations that dictated what he regarded as an inexcusably over-cautious attitude toward Russo-Chinese relations in St. Petersburg. He also tended to exaggerate the immediate benefits that would accrue to Russia once she acted boldly on the Amur. Yet the salient fact remains that it was the intensity with which he pursued his idee fixe, both with words and actions, the years of his methodical preparation, with minimal support from the Russian Government, that made it possible for that Government to nullify the Treaty of Nerchinsk and to extend the Russian Empire's realms on the Pacific's shores down to the Korean frontier. It took important external factors, such as the Crimean War, and the resulting replacement of Muraviev's nemesis, Nesselrode, and his clique, with more capable and far sighted officials, to bring Muraviev's plans to fruition. But to say this is simply to say that the authorities in St. Petersburg, viewing the confluence of events on the international scene, finally recognized that in Muraviev they had the right man at the right place at the right time.


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