The Boxer Rebellion and the Standpoint of the Russian Press

  • Published on
    09-Feb-2017

  • View
    216

  • Download
    2

Transcript

This article was downloaded by: [Tufts University]On: 08 October 2014, At: 13:54Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registeredoffice: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UKThe Journal of Slavic Military StudiesPublication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/fslv20The Boxer Rebellion and the Standpointof the Russian PressAlena Eskridge-Kosmach aa Francis Marion UniversityPublished online: 15 Aug 2013.To cite this article: Alena Eskridge-Kosmach (2013) The Boxer Rebellion and theStandpoint of the Russian Press, The Journal of Slavic Military Studies, 26:3, 414-438, DOI:10.1080/13518046.2013.812483To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13518046.2013.812483PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLETaylor & Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (theContent) contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor & Francis,our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warranties whatsoever as tothe accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinionsand views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors,and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor & Francis. The accuracy of the Contentshould not be relied upon and should be independently verified with primary sourcesof information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for any losses, actions, claims,proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoever orhowsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to or arisingout of the use of the Content.This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Anysubstantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing,systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms &Conditions of access and use can be found at http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditionshttp://www.tandfonline.com/loi/fslv20http://www.tandfonline.com/action/showCitFormats?doi=10.1080/13518046.2013.812483http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13518046.2013.812483http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditionshttp://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditionsJournal of Slavic Military Studies, 26:414438, 2013Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLCISSN: 1351-8046 print/1556-3006 onlineDOI: 10.1080/13518046.2013.812483The Boxer Rebellion and the Standpointof the Russian PressALENA ESKRIDGE-KOSMACHFrancis Marion UniversityThe article is devoted to the examination of the reaction of theRussian press towards the Boxer Rebellion in China. The eventsconnected with the Boxer Rebellion in China had a very stronginfluence on Russian society and its press. The development ofBoxer Rebellion and the suppression of it made Russia define itsposition on the question of China and at the same time becameone of the most important topics for the Russian press in 1900. Thediscussion of the problem revealed the different points of view andthe different approaches towards the solution of this problem inRussian Far Eastern policy.INTRODUCTIONThe incompetence demonstrated by the Chinese armed forces and thedegradation of the Chinese bureaucratic apparatus during the war betweenChina and Japan encouraged the Great Powers to occupy new territoriesof China. The partition of China into spheres of influence and its enslave-ment by the powers excited a potentanti-imperialist rebellion in the country.A number of local protests against missionaries and Chinese Christians tookplace in 18981899. The movement started in Shandong province and spreadover to Zhili and Shanxi to become a great civil disturbance in May 1900.It would later be called the Boxer Rebellion.1 Russkoe Bogatstvo, St. Petersburg, What to Do in China, No. 8 1900, pp. 111122.Alena Eskridge-Kosmach is an Assistant professor in the Department of History at FrancesMarion University in Florence, South Carolina.Address correspondence to Alena Eskridge-Kosmach, Associate Professor of History,Department of History, Francis Marion University, 126 Lake Way, Cheraw, SC 29520. E-mail:AeskridgeKosmach@fmarion.edu414Downloaded by [Tufts University] at 13:54 08 October 2014 The Boxer Rebellion 415RUSSIAN PRESS ON THE CAUSES OF THE BOXER REBELLIONThe Boxer Rebellion enjoyed the sympathy of the ruling clique, and finally itwas used by the government as a lever of pressure on foreign governments.In June, the Boxers reached Beijing. On July 20, the German envoy waskilled in Beijing. Then the Boxers laid siege to the diplomatic missions of themajor powers. For some time, the threat to Europe and European enterprisesunited the forces of all the powers, including the United States and Japan,against their common enemy. On June 4, the troops of the united forces tookDagu Fort by storm. On July 2, Tianjin fell into their hands too.1 The Beijingattack began For part of the Russian press, the Boxer Rebellion, the attacksagainst missionaries and Chinese Christians, and the siege of the EuropeanPowers embassies in Beijing were unexpected and not quite clear. SomeRussian newspapers and magazines stuck to more definite versions of theseevents.For instance, according to Novosti newspaper, the movement was pro-voked by the policy of Great Britain in China: The current crisis in China, infact, resulted from its own actions. The palace coup dtat in Beijing togetherwith all its consequences was instigated by an attempt on the part of Britishagents to carry out reforms which were of no use to the country but didirritate the people.2 Yet Severny Courier newspaper expressed an opinionthat the Great Fist Movement could not have resulted only from randomexternal factors. The anti-European movement was caused by many influ-ences: a hatred of Europeans and a dim awareness of a disaster to come the breakup of the Chinese state. Anyway, it was inherently associated withthe fight among various European states in their strife to possess the Chinesemarket.3Nedelya, a populist-liberal newspaper, presumed that popular move-ments in China are natural, they accompany even the good epochs in thehistory of the country to correct poor government and social order. Nowthat state decline has occurred, they are still more evident. According tothe newspaper, stagnant China was undergoing a mournful moment in thehistory of all dying states. It was being overtaken by its neighbors piece bypiece, territory by territory. Simultaneously, its government was enforcinglaws that were clearly aimed at turning the local population into an assetfor the Europeans. And the greatest population in the world, the peoplecomprising not less than a fourth of the global population, the people witha most ancient and refined civilization discover themselves in the net ofimminent dreadful slavery.4 St. Petersburgskie Vedomosti newspaper consid-ered missionaries to be the main culprits behind the disturbances in China.According to the newspaper, missionaries had to behave modestly and at2 Novosti, St. Petersburg, 8 June 1900, p. 4.3 Severny Courier, St. Petersburg, 8 June 1900, p. 17.4 Big Fists, Nedelya, St. Petersburg, 4 June 1900, p. 13.Downloaded by [Tufts University] at 13:54 08 October 2014 416 A. Eskridge-Kosmachleast demonstrate respect to the things dear to the Chinese to let them saveface. They had to bear in mind that to lose face was considered a disgraceby everyone in China, from a tramp to a nobleman. The newspaper empha-sized the contrast: We Russians seem to understand the Chinese better inthis respect that other Europeans do. For the time being, there hasnt beenan important effort in the Middle Kingdom . . . This is the reason for our rel-atively privileged position in the capital of the Celestial Emperor.5 Anotherauthor from the same newspaper examined the reasons for events in Chinain a more scrupulous manner in his article. In his view, the European atti-tude to China had been extremely aggressive then. It was demonstratedby economic enslavement, enhancement of political clout by settling in thecountrys territory, and missionary propaganda that served political purposesand simultaneously sowed discord among the Chinese masses. Then theauthor wrote:In view of the foregoing, an unmeant question comes to mind: who isthe guilty party if even the imperturbable and peaceful Chinese startedto move, feeling the methodic strokes of the aliens undermining notonly their national self-esteem but also their independence. If a sense ofjustice is not dead in the usually civil Europe, Europe has to confess thatit wasnt always correct in its relations with China and that it has to belargely held responsible for the tragedy that has happened.6Finally, the author called upon Europe to refer to Russia and learn fromits experience: It would be extremely instructive for Europe to refer to thehistory of mutual relations between Russia and China. The history shows thatRussia has co-existed with its colossal neighbor in peace and harmony formany ages, their mutual relations remaining always friendly and benevolenton both the sides.7For Russkie Vedomosti, a liberal newspaper, this hostility to theEuropeans is largely justifiable, and it may be explained by their offhandrule in China.8 Yet the newspapers point of view was that the circumstancecould not alter the attitude of European states and that of the United Statestowards the Boxer Rebellion so long as there was massive European andAmerican investment in China, guaranteed by customs duties. Commercialintercourse with China brought hundreds of millions in profits to Europeand the United States. Besides, almost all the great states had acquired ter-ritory in China with not only commercial but also strategic value some timeago. In this setting, as the newspaper put it,5 St. Petersburgskie Vedomosti, St. Petersburg, 1 July 1900, p. 18.6 St. Petersburgskie Vedomosti, St. Petersburg, 18 June 1900, p. 19.7 Ibid., p. 20.8 Russkie Vedomosti M., 2 June 1900, p. 30.Downloaded by [Tufts University] at 13:54 08 October 2014 The Boxer Rebellion 417the issue of the real causes for the rebellion, its moral issues and theguilty parties naturally loses its topicality in the eyes of all the interestedpowers. These powers are concerned only with the eventual outcomeof the Boxer movement because if it succeeds, their economic interestsshall be affected and the results of their many years work in China shallbe destroyed.9The liberal publication Herald of Europe was of the same opinion: Theenlightened foreigners approach the Chinese only as loot-seekers: not onlythe traders but also the bearers of culture and religion lead squadrons andpave the way for the seizure of territories. The magazine did understand themood that created the Boxer entity and led to the popular struggle againstforeigners in China and presumed that large-scale military intervention couldnot be avoided.10Liberal newspaper Novoye Vremya interpreted the movement as aprotest against the intrusion of European culture in China. In this case, asthe newspaper had it, Europe had to face the music in China.11 From thenewspapers point of view,the movement is an almost exact repetition of all the previous frequentanti-European movements conditioned by a whole range of causes thatderive not so much from the economic background but from the originaldifference between Chinese and European cultures which have inevitablyexperienced a particularly severe conflict as conditioned by historicalnecessity.12The newspaper also aired the view that the new Big Fist movement wasnothing more than a mere cats paw of the horrible and almighty Chinesebureaucracy that deemed it necessary to show their fist to the Europeans.From its point of view, the fight was tough and did not offer the prospects ofrapid victory for Western Europe, however hard the latter tried to force its civ-ilization upon the Chinese. Novoye Vremya newspaper, together with Heraldof Foreign Literature magazine, viewed the events in China as a conflict oftwo cultures, even though the latter publication was limited to the conflict asa pure struggle of the two civilizations, considering that Chinese civilizationwas deemed to be stamped out of existence as a result of the victoriouseastward procession of European civilization. The magazine writes:Two civilizations are arguing. Two histories have come face to face andone of them has to surrender. Is it necessary to add that the one that hasbeen concealing its decay has to disappear? China is going to preserve9 Ibid., p. 31.10 Herald of Europe, St. Petersburg, No. 8, 1900, pp. 365371.11 Novoye Vremya, St. Petersburg, 11 June 1900, p. 115.12 Loc. cit.Downloaded by [Tufts University] at 13:54 08 October 2014 418 A. Eskridge-Kosmachits national identity for a long time if the powers do not agree to divideit. Yet China, being the home of obsolete notions and stagnations, islikely to quit the world stage. Its present struggle, the entire huge massof people that appeared on the surface of its political life from the abyssof obscurity, is merely a ghost that foreshadows its imminent demise.Its the agony of China. The commercial intercourse instituted with it bythe states, the exploitation of Chinese natural resources, the spreadingrailways, the expansion of Christian missions all this shall dramaticallyalter the frame of mind of the Chinese. In other words, they have tobecome the non-Chinese. The population of the Celestial Empire is awareof it, too; that is why its ready to view each church, each Europeanmerchant, each foreigner in general as an ominous enemy to be opposedby all means because its a matter of life and death that is at stake . . .13Hereinafter the author notes, As a matter of fact, does it matter which sectslaughters Christians? Let it be called big fist,, black flag, or big feet,the fact remains the same. All Chinese people are a sect to be faced by theEuropean Powers.14In the authors opinion, . . . in China we can see one of the character-istic types of struggle between two civilizations that has nothing to do witheconomic considerations. One might say that the great states are raiding theCelestial Empire only to sell their goods. They do mean such expansion, butthis expansion is rather a consequence than a cause15The author also reflects: In that period European civilization expresseditself also in its determination to discover the parts of the globe that hadbeen wrapped in mystery. This was the target and specifically the stateswhich considered themselves to be most civilized viewed it as a satisfactionof their natural need in a civilizing mission. This is what we face in China atthe moment. The magazine continued:The Celestial Empire can exist as a state only until the western civiliza-tion in its victorious global expansion starts to invade its vast territories.However, the time has come for it to come and to invade. Do I haveto add that someday western civilization is going to annihilate this giantand gain its foothold in the place it has been dreaming of for manycenturies?16The author concludes: The economic life of the European peoples shallbe intensified by as many as 400 million people added to the massive pop-ulation of consumers. Still, it is going to be one of the further phases of the13 Novoye Vremya, St. Petersburg, 11 June 1900, p. 117.14 Fight of the Two Civilizations and Fist Law in China, Herald of Foreign Literature, St. Petersburg,No. 7, 1900, pp. 321324.15 Ibid., pp. 324326.16 Ibid., pp. 326330.Downloaded by [Tufts University] at 13:54 08 October 2014 The Boxer Rebellion 419development of civilizations. It shall be a natural consequence of any civiliz-ing mission. We enlighten this kingdom of gloom thus lighting the way forourselves . . .17A book by Russian philosopher Vl. Soloviev called Three Conversations,where the author set forth an idea of pan-Mongolism and predicted theinvasion of Christian Europe by the yellow tribe, was published in themidst of the manifestations of unrest in China. In contrast to Herald ofForeign Literature magazine, Vl. Solovievs prophesy about the future ofChristian Europe in its conflict with the yellow race was rather pessimistic.The book produced a strong impression on Russian readers and provokedardent discussion in the Russian press. His pessimistic conversation with S. N.Trubetskoy about the end of world history with reference to Chinese events,made the mood of the Russian public still more gloomy.18V. Golmstrem, the newspapers journalist, strongly disagreed with thecultural conflict version. He placed his article Asia Is Awakening in St.Petersburgskie Vedomosti newspaper, airing the following speculations: . ..They wish to make the world believe that two races, the two cultures withdifferent philosophies are opposing each other. However,the Russians cannot share such views because in fact its competitionshaded by high-flown talk. If we move eastward, inspired by the idea ofa gap between the two races, in order to destroy the relations betweenthe two philosophies, then we are prophets of violence violence ofone culture exercised over another culture, a foreign one. It means wecause clashes and slavery for the representatives of one of these cultures.It means we are paving the way for a future conflagration, still moredramatic. The idea of antagonism of the races is exactly what causesantagonism. This is a radical but fatal and inevitable error of any westernexpansion in the East.19Thus, the views of the Russian press adhering to various doctrines that ana-lyzed the reasons for Boxer Rebellion were dramatically different from eachother. It was the ambiguousness that somehow influenced their assessmentof Chinese events.RUSSIAN PRESS ON THE POLICY TOWARDS CHINA INCONNECTION WITH BOXER REBELLIONMonarchist newspaper Novoye Vremya considered Western missionaries tobe the main culprits behind the Chinese events and expressed sympathy with17 Ibid., pp. 330332.18 Death of V. Soloviev.Herald of Europe, St. Petersburg, No. 9, 1900, pp. 412420.19 St. Petersburgskie Vedomosti, St. Petersburg, 17 July 1900, p. 21.Downloaded by [Tufts University] at 13:54 08 October 2014 420 A. Eskridge-KosmachChinese Boxers even when Russian troops headed by captain Dobrovolskyplayed a leading role in the storm of Taku (current Tanku) and Tianjin.The newspaper called upon the Russian regime to implement a cautiouspolicy concerning China and not to pull the chestnuts out of the fire for theforeigners.20 As for the appeals of the British press to cooperate with Russiain solving the Chinese issue, the newspaper stated:[The] Russian attitude to China is not quite identical with the Europeanattitude. Russia must remember that over four hundred versta milestones(a Russian unit of distance equal to 1.067 kilometers) of Russian frontiersadjoin China. A state touches another state, its not merely a contactestablished by foreign concessionaires. Our relations with China arethe relations of friendly neighbors, not slave driver-concessionaires whocame to snatch a lot of money. We would have deceived our traditionsand our interests if we behaved differently defending various slave driversof China, starting with opium suppliers. The status of Europeans in Chinais critical at the moment, though maybe not as critical as it is describedby the British press. Still more cautiously shall Russia consider its properrole in this European crisis.21The newspaper posted the following sad statement when it was fol-lowing the participation of Russia in the popular movement suppression inChina: Its doubtless that we have enough forces to suppress the movementin China but if we do so, we forever repudiate the legacy we have had.Russia has never been out in such an ambiguous and dangerous predica-ment against proper spirit as the current one in the East. First of all, letus state the fact to be seen and to be heard that the Russians, beinghonest fellows, stand for the Boxers a bit and are made indignant by theobtrusiveness, treachery and egoism of the Europeans who provoked awild riot in China. This riot has been maturing in quiet resentment fora long time, the resentment the missionaries and catholic and protestantmerchants have been unaware of.22In the opinion of Novoye Vremya newspaper, Europe had to take onepath to achieve secure safety guarantees for Europeans not to attemptChinas breakup. Its not difficult to defeat the Chinese army; its difficult togovern China against the peoples will and the will of the ruling class closelyconnected to it.2320 Novoye Vremya, St. Petersburg, 1 June 1900, p. 118.21 Novoye Vremya, St. Petersburg, 14 June 1900, p. 119.22 Ibid., p. 120.23 Novoye Vremya, St. Petersburg, 11 June 1900, p. 120.Downloaded by [Tufts University] at 13:54 08 October 2014 The Boxer Rebellion 421If we stir up an ant hill, who will be attacked by the ants? A neighbor!They will crawl silently and God save us from such crawling! There isnothing more dangerous from an economic, political, any point of view.China is silent. China is embraced by the Great Ocean. China is bunched,with an irresistible centrifugal strife its dear for its neighbor to buy andnot to be sold for any price. China as they want it to be the one it hasalways been and the one that is strengthening nowadays: accessible toneighbors in some points or accessible as in Kyachta-Mamaychin wereceived their goods and sold our goods. The Europeans are invading,they poked a hole in the dangerous ant-hill with their sticks because whowas there to threaten them?!24The open door policy proposed by the United States, Germany, andGreat Britain was criticized by Novoye Vremya newspaper. In the newspa-pers opinion, the undesirable competitors were going to inflict losses on theRussian crown while their boost in the territory adjoining Manchuria maywell have threatened Russia in a serious way. Russians, due to the specificgeopolitical location had certain reasons for peaceful co-existence with theChinese and the people of Asia in general. People of the western civiliza-tion had harder times in understanding the Chinese mentality. This is whyforeigners in any place in China may cause disturbances.Open the door to all the Southern China, intrude into its very heart,exploit, evangelize with the sword its your business. Yet we cannotopen the doors of Northern China to you. They were punished for obtru-siveness in China, but they start talking about the places in China to beused freely and the places to carry out the allowed business while theprevious riot is not over yet!! Arent the Germans and the Englishmen toomuch in a hurry?25In view of the foregoing, the newspaper Novoye Vremya consideredthat Europe had to recognize that the basis for proper understanding is theawareness of a threat, to the representatives of the great states, too.26 Forthe time being, in the newspapers opinion, we have to free the diplomaticworkers in Beijing and the Europeans of all nationalities gathered under theirpatronage and protection.27As for the warfare conducted by Russian troops together with otherstates, the newspaper remained in line with the Russian government in assur-ing the readers that . . . now, more than ever before, it has to be borne inmind that in fact the great powers did not conduct warfare with China and24 Novoye Vremya, St. Petersburg, 14 June 1900, p. 121.25 Novoye Vremya, St. Petersburg, 9 October 1900, p. 122.26 Novoye Vremya, St. Petersburg, 1 July 1900, p. 123.27 Loc. cit.Downloaded by [Tufts University] at 13:54 08 October 2014 422 A. Eskridge-Kosmachall the actions of the military troops of the alliance partners were taken tomanage the rebellious Boxer gangs and the regular units that joined them.28As for Manchuria, the newspaper was sure that if the Beijing govern-ment is not capable of enforcing order in the districts of Manchuria crossedby the railway, we have to replace it and introduce our government in thesedistricts.29The editor-in-chief of Novoye Vremya newspaper, A. Suvorin, paid care-ful attention to the publications dedicated to the issue of China and regularlyexpressed his point of view on the events in China in the column calledShort Letters. In his opinion, there is something going on in China thatnobody can understand. Europe sends its troops there but it doesnt meanthat Europe knows the real standing of China and what to do with it. Thatis why prudence and cautiousness are required even more than any timebefore.30As for Manchuria, Suvorin assumed the Amur lacked effectiveness as afrontier that was meant to provide real security for Russian settlements onthe left bank. Yet he did not believe that a part of Manchuria had to betaken over to secure the Amur River basin. Instead, the Russian monarchistpolitical writer proposed that the Russian regime should occupy some pointson the road and empower the population with an assignment to maintainorder on the route. Yet in Suvorins opinion, new territories didnt have to bejoined to Russia only for the sake of the road itself. Otherwise, accordingto his own words, this construction that has been draining our assets forten years, is going to exhaust us.31 Moreover, Suvorin believed, China is notour enemy even if and when it considers itself to be one. We have to maketremendous efforts in this regard. Surprisingly for everyone, he proposed tocreate a Tripartite Alliance Russia-China-Turkey for this purpose:We have been engaged in warfare for too long, and we have accumu-lated enough land resources. Its high time that we seek alliances and apeaceful life the lack of which hinders our progress. If Russia enteredinto the Tripartite Alliance, Russia-Turkey and China, its standing wouldbe brilliant. Nevertheless, we are so reluctant to admit to being one-thirdAsians, we are so concerned about being in Europe and to lag behind itwhile its already been 50 years that we are moving to the East, to theEast of Genghis Khan. There seems to be an invisible hand dragging usthere and we dont seem to resist.They do listen to us more in the East, they do understand us more andwe have more business to do there. We have no common business with28 Novoye Vremya, St. Petersburg, 18 September 1900, p. 123.29 Novoye Vremya, St. Petersburg, 1 July 1900, p. 124.30 Novoye Vremya, St. Petersburg, 18 September 1900, p. 125.31 Novoye Vremya, St. Petersburg, 21 July 1900, p. 126.Downloaded by [Tufts University] at 13:54 08 October 2014 The Boxer Rebellion 423Europe in China. Let me repeat, we need a Tripartite Alliance, Russia-Turkey-China; this is the alliance of three empires that we need as our most practicalbusiness . . .32According to Suvorins concept, the alliance didnt have to be a peer-to-peer one: Thus, Russia with the two subordinate states makes up a wholethird of the global population, while the whole European population withoutRussia is only 280 million. The projected Tripartite Alliance is going to havetwice the European population.33Concerning Suvorins Tripartite Alliance,bourgeois and monarchist newspaper Novosti reacted ironically:Suvorin has put forward a daring project. We have no common businesswith Europe in China . . . Of course! And where do we put France? Still,an alliance of healthy Russia with two ill states China and Turkey isan inspired political combination, isnt it?34 Instead of Suvorins proposalto create an alliance with China, Novosti considered it necessary to enterinto alliance with Japan which was the only one in their opinion thatcould balance the forces of the naval powers.35Moreover, the newspaper strongly disagreed with Suvorin, Ukhtomsky andtheir newspapers who thought that China had to be preserved the way itused to be, China for the Chinese. From its point of view: . . . China cannotbe isolated in the same way it used to be any longer. China is so muchintegrated in the sphere of European interests, it has become subject topeaceful exploitation and it has demonstrated such ability for emigration (toThe United States and India) in its turn that one has to forget the past andthink about the future to solve the issue of China.36The newspaper did not share the idea that China should be let alone.On the contrary, it tried to speed up the process of Sinicisms amalgamationwith Europeanism, restore the public order under a secure Chinese govern-ment, and put it under the auspices of Europe, just as happened with India,to avoid a repetition of the events that took place in 1900. Alongside that,the newspaper considered that the issue of the urgent breakup of China onwhich it had previously insisted had to be postponed, insofar as attempts tosolve it could have provoked new and quite serious complications.37As for the open door policy of the United States, Germany, andGreat Britain for China, as distinct from Novoye Vremya newspaper, Novostiwelcomed it: Such opening of a tightly closed door with a multi-million pop-ulation and inexhaustible resources is not a whim of the great powers but a32 Novoye Vremya, St. Petersburg, 28 July 1900, p. 127.33 Loc. cit.34 Novosti, St. Petersburg, 29 July 1900, p. 5.35 Novosti, St. Petersburg, 1 August 1900, p. 6.36 Novosti, St. Petersburg, 30 July 1900, p. 7.37 Novosti, St. Petersburg, 15 June 1900, p. 7.Downloaded by [Tufts University] at 13:54 08 October 2014 424 A. Eskridge-Kosmachconsequence of the historic law already implemented in The United Statesand in Africa. With reference to the dangers following opening the doors toChina described by Novoye Vremya newspaper, Novosti presumed that theyare not likely to be taken seriously: the Chinese mass of population willundoubtedly remain where it is and nothing is going to happen. The mostimportant matter for the powers, in the newspapers opinion, is to agreeabout shared practical means of turning China into a country accessible tothe public from European and other countries.38RUSSIAN PRESS ON THE MILITARY ACTIONS OF RUSSIA INCONNECTION WITH THE BOXER REBELLION AND ON THEFUTURE POLICY OF RUSSIA TOWARDS CHINAAddressing the subject of the military operations of Russian troops, Novostinewspaper remained in line with the Russian government and consideredthat military operations were not war with China. All the military actionswere aimed first of all to hold off an attack of the Chinese army onproper frontiers and then to suppress revolutionary elements of the CelestialEmpire.39 Novosti newspaper commented on Russian politics in Manchuriaas follows:The conquest of the right bank of the Amur is to be considered a com-pletely lawful act of revenge for the breach of peace treaties and arequired compensation for the moral damage inflicted on Russia dueto the forced conscription and sending of troops to the far-off Asianfrontier.40 Thus, in the newspapers opinion, the Russian take-over ofthe right bank of the Amur, coupled with the end of construction ofthe Siberian and Manchuria ways, offers access to the Far East notonly to Russian industry but to European industry as well. This is theinterpretation that can be only welcomed by the whole world.41Russkaya Mysl, a liberal printed media outlet, was of a different opinionconcerning Suvorins alliance with China:Certainly, peaceful co-existence with China is desirable, but it wouldhave been strange if we made an alliance with Turkey, as some Russianpolitical writers propose it.42 Besides, the magazine stood against joiningthe territory of China to Russia because in its opinion, we shouldnt38 Novosti, St. Petersburg, 20 October 1900, p. 8.39 Loc. cit.40 Novosti, St. Petersburg, 6 August 1900, p. 9.41 Loc. cit.42 Russkaya Mysl, No. 8, 1900, pp. 242244.Downloaded by [Tufts University] at 13:54 08 October 2014 The Boxer Rebellion 425exhaust our forces by joining semi-barbaric tribes and elements that aretotally foreign to us. Our state is growing externally too much, whichmay affect the power of our national spirit.43 Yet, as far as Manchuriawas concerned, in the magazines opinion it was necessary to have somebuttress positions on the right bank of the Amur to prevent future Chineseattacks.44Herald of Europe, the liberal magazine, expressed sympathy with themood of the Boxers, yet it did not share Suvorins sympathy with the Chinesebig fists, believing it was only a misunderstanding on the part of the publi-cation, that found something similar to its own favorite persistently patrioticideas.45Suvorin was opposed by a famous historian A. Vasiliev in Zhizn, a liberalprinted media outlet. In his opinion, all of Suvorins philosophy, moralsand rights that consist of the idea that if it turns out that we are fightingagainst the people, the people are ruthless; if it turns out that we are fightingagainst Chinese government that is against the emperors widow whodeposed the emperor from his throne and usurped the power then weshouldnt attack Beijing. According to A. Vasiliev, this course of ideas cannotbe contested; it has to be combated, and we are doing it in the columns ofour magazine called Zhizn (Life). According to A. Vasiliev, Russia didnthave to attack Beijing, but the reasons were different. To begin with, inthe turnover of goods by sea, only 1 percent of trade with China belongedto Russia, while Sweden and Norway had five percent. Even if we addedcommercial intercourse with China by land, Russia still had negligible tradewith China as compared to other powers; secondly, Russia was already ina difficult cultural and economic position even without China: We have toresort to foreign assets at home practically any time. We lack merchants andslabs of iron and we dont have accessible prices for them. From time totime we experience famines, and we are forced to maintain giant militaryforces to patrol the western border. The conclusion of A. Vasiliev was: Wedont need China at the moment. The only policy is to protect what we haveachieved in the Far East and render the required assistance to the originalChinese civilization.46Military actions in China were actively supported by another monarchistnewspaper, Moscovskie Vedomosti. In the newspapers opinion, Russia wasand has been guided by the only wish to save the Chinese state fromspelling disaster and reinforce it for its further independent existence. YetRussia may achieve this aim only through active participation in placat-ing the overdriving Chinese zealotry. What is more, in the newspapers43 Ibid., pp. 258260.44 Ibid., pp. 242244.45 Herald of Europe, St. Petersburg, No. 8, 1900, pp. 371.46 Concerning the Events in China, Zhizn, St. Petersburg, No. 8, 1900, pp. 371372.Downloaded by [Tufts University] at 13:54 08 October 2014 426 A. Eskridge-Kosmachopinion, Russia shall be entitled to air its opinion about future supportof China only if it takes active participation in dangerous and difficultoperations to suppress the rebellion.47 This is the only way, in the news-papers opinion, that other great states can understand all this authorityinherent to Russia in the affairs of the Far East. Besides the politicalmotives, as Moscovskie Vedomosti assumed, Russian military operations inChina were also necessary because the railway that was being built neededprotection, while Russian trade in China needed protection, not to serveEuropean interests as it was interpreted by some short-sighted Russianpoliticians.48Moreover, from the point of view of Moscovskie Vedomosti newspa-per, the cooperation with Chinese rebels for which Russian political writersclamored was really bizarre: These Russian political writers, the newspaperstated, wished that Russia remain strictly neutral with reference to thesezealous wrong-doers and they gave humble advice to withdraw Russiantroops from China since Russians had to get along with them, even ifthe rumor about the Russian Emperors death in Beijing had turned outto be true.49 Moscovskie Vedomosti newspaper called such political writersirrational, Cinephiles, and their point of view Chinephilia. In the news-papers point of view, first of all, Russia should render a genuine friendlyservice to the government of China and assist it in a rapid and radical sup-pression of the riot. As for friendship with China, the newspaper said, Ourmain mistake wasnt the fact that we considered China a weak, peaceful state,even though it was a mistake our representatives committed in China. Ourunforgivable mistake was that we were counting on a sentimental eternalfriendship with China.Then the newspaper remarks:When a few years ago the emperor Wilhelm P released to the public hisfamous painting that depicts a horrible whirlpool of eastern barbarismapproaching Europe, there were people here in Russia who smiled scorn-fully at the prophecy. They were totally convinced that the whirlpool wasnot going to affect Russia anyway, because there was a fraternity betweenthe peoples of Russia and China that Europe could only dream of.The newspaper developed the same topic and expressed the opinion thata fraternity of the peoples could have appeared only if the peoples wereChristian.47 Moscovskie Vedomosti, 11 June 1900, p. 10.48 Loc. cit.49 Moscovskie Vedomosti, 23 June 1900, p. 11.Downloaded by [Tufts University] at 13:54 08 October 2014 The Boxer Rebellion 427It (the fraternity) could have appeared if all the peoples of the Earthand also of all their representatives were ardent followers of gen-uine Christianity inspired by high ideas. Its only Christianity alone thatpromises eternal peace genuine love for ones neighbors based not onsubjective feelings or general philosophical reasoning, but on an explicitbelief in true life, the newspaper wrote.Besides, in the newspapers opinion, These tribes assess the genuineChristian qualities of Russia not when they neighbor Russia but when theyvisit it . . .50 Thus, a large monarchist printed medium express discord withRussias peaceful policy in China after the war between China and Japanand called for violence.In reply to the critics of the violent attitude towards China published byGrazhdanin newspaper, Moscovskie Vedomosti explained that sympathy withChinese Boxers was the same as sympathy with anarchism.51 As for the inter-ests of Russia itself, Moscovskie Vedomosti stated: Territorial expansion is andremains extremely favorable for the economic development of Russia, andwe would have radically undermined our forces if we suppressed externalexpansion of the state due to our concern about its internal development.52As for the future of Manchuria, occupied by Russian troops, RusskyVestnik magazine, which that had the same owner as Moscovskie Vedomostinewspaper, published an article by N. Emelyanov, Russia and Manchuria,in which the author aired his own thoughts about the issue. In the authorsopinion, Russia was authorized to seize Manchuria no more than GreatBritain was authorized to seize Transvaal and the Orange State and addthem to its domains.Yet such seizure was unlikely to be attractive for Russia since firstly itcould have become the start of Chinas breakup, which was undesirablefor the Russians; secondly, Russia was large enough to strive for newacquisitions; thirdly, it was a seizure of undoubtedly rich land, but a landpopulated with 1220 million people foreign to the Russian language, reli-gion, ideas, and traditions that did not promise any assimilation with theRussians even in the distant future. It would have required a sacrifice toogreat from Russia while Russia had already done too much for other periph-eral states. In the authors opinion, besides seizure, there was one moreoption: invasion. Yet the author believed that this option had no benefitsfor Russia. And finally, there was the third way to solve the issue, whichthe author believed to be the most convenient for Russia. Manchuria had toremain governed by China, under the Chinese law and by Chinese officials,50 Moscovskie Vedomosti, 23 June 1900, p. 11.51 Loc. cit.52 Moscovskie Vedomosti, 9 August 1900, p. 12.Downloaded by [Tufts University] at 13:54 08 October 2014 428 A. Eskridge-Kosmachbut its government had to be subject to Russian control that would preventany hostile operations towards Russia.53Analyzing the situation in the Far East, a famous Blackhundredist polit-ical writer of Moscovskie Vedomosti newspaper, L. Tikhomirov, in his articleChina, Russia, and Europe assured that an active policy in the Far East wasalmost inevitable for Russia given its historic conditions and from a practicalstandpoint.Moreover it was mandatory from the conceptual point of view evenif it wasnt inevitable from the practical point of view.54 As distinct fromMoscovskie Vedomosti newspaper, the liberal newspaper Russkie Vedomostiwas concerned about the fact that Russian involvement in military operationstogether with other powers could cause deterioration in Russias dominantposition in China. The newspaper considered that Russia had no valid reasonto behave in that way: In the present setting, Russia has no valid reasonsto change the quiet and prudent but decisive and consistent conduct it hasadhered to before, a conduct that has made its position in China exclu-sively advantageous.55. Taking into consideration the powers competitionfor China, the newspaper warned that at the moment China was more thanever a scene of violent rivalry between the powers. It also warned that a warin the Far East initiated by one of the powers could easily become war withEuropean powers that believed that the strengthening of Russian influencein the Far East jeopardized their interests.Besides, in the newspapers opinion, of all the great powers, it wasRussia that had its interests least damaged by the latest events in China.In particular, the newspaper presumed that the Boxer movement was threat-ening Chinese Christians most of all, because Russia had never undertakenresponsibilities associated with their protection, and European missionaries,because Russia had never advocated their religion. Other Christian and espe-cially Catholic powers found themselves in a dramatically different position.Even though the national Chinese movement was directed against foreignnationals inhabiting the Celestial Empire, Russia was least affected becausethe number of Russians dwelling in China was relatively small as comparedto the number of Britons, Americans, and the French. There were only1,600 Russians living in China. And finally, as for trade and industrial interestsof the great powers in China most threatened by the Boxer movement, Russiacame after the other powers, lagging behind even such countries as Swedenand Norway.56The newspapers Moscovskie Vedomosti and Novosti were most ardentlyopposed by St. Petersburgskie Vedomosti. In their opinion, Novosti in this53 Russia and Manchuria, Russky Vestnik, No. 5, 1901, pp. 251258.54 Moscovskie Vedomosti, 1900, Nos. 241, 242, 244246.55 Russkie Vedomosti, 9 June 1900, p. 10.56 Ibid.Downloaded by [Tufts University] at 13:54 08 October 2014 The Boxer Rebellion 429case were of the same mind as the political writers in their aspiration to bedominant patriots. Eager to do so, they even took the trouble to prove thatwar with China favored the interests of Russia. As a matter of fact, as St.Petersburgskie Vedomosti remarked, Novosti was judging from their inherentpolice views, transferring them from the internal policy to the internationalpolicy. They are eager to beat up rebels everywhere for an imaginary rescueof the motherland.As for Russian trade interests in China, the newspaper observed: Itturns out that we import from China to the amount of 41.5 million, while theexport in China amounts to 5.5 million only. As for Moscovskie Vedomosti,the newspaper St. Petersburgskie Vedomosti wrote the following: MoscovskieVedomosti literally stun with their logic. Maybe they are counting on thelack of reasoning in their readers. It concludes victoriously: Thus, our inter-ests are close to the interests of the Chinese government itself; we shouldtake measures to restore the public order there. From the point of viewof St. Petersburgskie Vedomosti, these measures could have required a fewthousand killed or wounded, while Russia didnt have to sacrifice even onesoldier for that. On top of that, the Chinese did not attack Russians anddid not perceive them as foreign devils. According to St. PetersburgskieVedomosti, sacrifice in the name of the so-called common interests withWestern Europe would have been absurd too, because there were no com-mon interests in general and even more, Russian interests had nothing incommon with European interests.57National liberal newspaper Nedelya, just like the liberal RusskieVedomosti, believed that Russia had no need to fight with China, but it con-sidered Japan a dangerous enemy of Russia: There are no grounds and noreasons to rush into the struggle by spending our already limited forces inthe East. Its not China that jeopardizes Russia. Whatever was the unrest inthis unlucky country, Russia has an irreconcilable enemy in the East. It isJapan that had been explicitly preparing for war against us.58Later, the newspaper observed:Its not a Japanese but a Chinese fist we should bear in mind, as much asany other big fist threatening us from Europe. A positive outcome of theBoer war can free Great Britain, viewed by Japan as a wartime ally. Thus,relatively soon we may face a serious danger in the East. Serious dangermay arise in the East. The danger is even greater than the unrest of theChinese mob. If we send our ground troops into the heart of Chineseterritory, suppress peoples rebellions, casual and often imaginary allof this signifies we are breeding hostility in the population in the rearof our struggle with Japan and undertake tough foreign assignments. All57 Concerning the Events in China, St. Petersburgskie Vedomosti, St. Petersburg, 11 July 1 1900, p. 5.58 Nedelya, St. Petersburg, No. 23, 1900, p. 17.Downloaded by [Tufts University] at 13:54 08 October 2014 430 A. Eskridge-Kosmachthe vigilance of our policy is required by the real armed forces directedagainst us by the great sea states, Great Britain and Japan, not by the BigFist of Chinese villages.59Besides the warfare in China, Nedelya newspaper was even more con-cerned with the future of China, that is, what is to be done with China whenthe war is over: On the second day after the pacification of China, as thenewspaper had it,. . . a serious threat will appear. An obvious question will arise what isto be done next? What is to be done with the Celestial Empire, the largestone in the world in terms of its population and also the most peculiar? Dowe have to divide it definitely between the great states of the west, as themost daring politicians proposed, or let the patient die in his disability,satisfied with the newly detached regions?60And then:China is not an independent state any longer, not a member of the polit-ical family of the peoples. Its already a common liege territory, and ifits rights are violated, nobody feels indignant. The supreme power inthis vast country has transferred to another hemisphere, to the Europeanpolicy chambers. Its clear that such an ambiguous position cannot lastlong. The largest of the states which is falling apart is deemed to comeout of existence at least as far as the current peculiarities of the coun-try are concerned. In the newspapers opinion, the Chinese are not RedIndians and not blacks. They were already civilized when the inhabi-tants of Hellas and Rome were wandering about wearing karosses madeof animal skins. China has a most ancient philosophy, a most refinedindustry and agriculture, too sophisticated for Europe. Chinese domes-tic activities seem anarchical. According to our reckoning, they havebarbaric roots and surprisingly high moral principles. Most importantly,through the millennia, Chinese culture acquired almost permanent formsand instincts. Like a huge ancient forest has the Chinese race becomestraight and tall and reached all the well-being possible on Earth, strangeas it may seem to the Europeans.Then the newspaper writes:Its extremely unusual to conquer such people because it eagerly sur-renders to the conquerors. China threatens to adopt and to process theconquerors, as it has happened before. Its like protoplasm: it digests59 Loc. cit.60 Nedelya, St. Petersburg, No. 24 1900, p. 18.Downloaded by [Tufts University] at 13:54 08 October 2014 The Boxer Rebellion 431the particles that have come into it. Instead of making profits, they mayfell victim to this inert and overpoweringly enduring mass. The collapseof the countrys regime threatens not only China but Europe itself. Thebreakup of Turkey that is going into its second century caused so manymurderous wars, but the breakup of China is menacing no lesser dis-cord. Fight against this misfortune with maximum cautiousness beforeits too late, because a prospective war would become an unjustifiablecatastrophe for Russia.61Instead of breaking up China or leaving it alone as some printedmass media outlets proposed, Nedelya newspaper proposed internationaltrusteeship to China: We believe a third way to be more efficient: not theconquest of China and not granting it complete independence but interna-tional trusteeship of this vulnerable member of the political family.62 In thenewspapers opinion, the trusteeship would be not of the people but justof the government. Let the population of China be unconditionally free inits internal life, let it obey any power it wishes, but any power recognizedby it should be subject to international control having only one purposenot to let such power acquire arms and jeopardize its neighbors. In thenewspapers point of view, a small squadron in Beijing and a somewhatwidespread, even consular, secret service in the country would be enoughbecause in reality the colossal empire is as helpless as Switzerland or Hollandor still more helpless.63As the events in China unfolded, Russian political writers took a keeninterest in the post-war prospects of China. Russkie Vedomosti newspapercriticized the international trusteeship proposed by Nedelya by calling itdisingenuousAs we know, consular secret service does exist even at the moment.On the other hand, its impossible to follow China. Even if we admit thatthe Chinese government agreed to leave a small squadron in Beijing, canit prevent the formation of Boxer gangs in a province or the appearanceof other revolutionaries eager to slaughter Christians or expel red-haireddevils and foreign devils from neighboring European lands and fromBeijing itself?64The political observer of the liberal magazine Russkoe Bogatstvo(Russian Treasure), Russian populist S. Yuzhakov, found two options tosolve the issue. From his point of view, the preservation of the current unjust61 Loc. cit.62 Nedelya, St. Petersburg, No. 24, 1900, p. 19.63 International Trusteeship, Nedelya, St. Petersburg, 3 September 1900, p. 30.64 Resonance and Impressions, Russkie Vedomosti, 8 September 1900, p. 7.Downloaded by [Tufts University] at 13:54 08 October 2014 432 A. Eskridge-Kosmachsystem of European treaties with China that deprived China of its indepen-dence and simultaneously the preservation of the independence of Chinesegovernment and military institutions were the things that created groundsfor such dangerous evolution as the Boxer Rebellion. In view of the forego-ing, he proposed the following options to Europe: either the elimination ofthe unjust system of European treaties with China accompanied by completerestoration of its independence, or the withdrawal of independent Chinesemilitary institutions and their replacement by local autonomous entities sub-ject to Europe-wide protection and control. In Yuzhakovs opinion, the firstsolution was the only dignified and rightful one.65Russian prince and famous philosopher S. N. Trubetskoy, was alsointerested in the events in China. He conceived a passion for the idea ofpan-Mongolism under the influence of his friend Vl. Soloviev. The Russianphilosopher proved the necessity of Chinas breakup in his article pub-lished in St. Petersburgskie Vedomosti because of his disagreement with theannouncements of the powers that they did not have territorial claims toChina. His arguments could be summarized as follows:It [China] remained obsolete and sleepy for many centuries. From timeto time, it shook itself free from the overly greedy and disturbing blood-suckers that were arriving from the outside. But now, when Europe putsits tentacles of iron into the very heart of China to suck its juices, itcannot remain asleep any longer. It shall rise to its feet and gather itsoverwhelming forces. We will be exhausted by the burden of militarism.All our forces will be busy in guarding the immense frontiers of theSiberian desert from the hordes of this most populated country in theworld. And it will last only until four Chinese wont be able to make oneof us surrender.66Further, the author writes: here is still a chance to ensure our safetyfrom the coming Mongol Yoke. The task is not easy, but our future dependson how we undertake it. There isnt any sacrifice we can stop at. Underpenalty of such danger, the Russian philosopher gave a piece of advice:In such an important minute, the policy of the great state cannot beguided by the mean calculations of befuddled financiers. This policy shallbe large-scale, courageous and fearless. We are not seeking to acquirenew territories, but if the course of events forces us to do so, we mustaccept it too. . . the others will help us. The more the others take, thebetter for us because we are not guided by greed.65 What to Do in China, Russkoe Bogatstvo, St. Petersburg, No. 8, 1900, pp. 111122.66 Letter to the Editorial Board, St. Petersburgskie Vedomosti, St. Petersburg, 31 August 1900, p. 2.Downloaded by [Tufts University] at 13:54 08 October 2014 The Boxer Rebellion 433And if the breakup of China is a folly, show me another way to avoid thehorrible looming struggle.Cessation of every intercourse with China is impossible also, continuedthe author, as it is impossible to return to the previous order because thingssimilar to current events will inevitably repeat themselves and become moreand more dangerous. The breakup of China, in S. Trubetskoys opinion, isthe only way. If that too is impossible, the Chinese have won, even thoughtheir defeats are shameful. And they are going to understand it, to realize itand to take pride in their victory.67The press vigorously responded to the article by Prince S. N. Trubetskoy.Chief Editor of the Novoye Vremya newspaper, S. Suvorin, strongly disagreedwith the Russian philosopher and stuck to the following point of view:Of course, one shouldnt sacrifice the honor and dignity of the greatstate for the sake of mean goals, but one should take into accountproperty losses and moral losses that are inevitable and unimaginablyhigh. If Prince Trubetskoys proposal were the principle of our policy,we would have spent well one hundred million on this Cinecism bynow. On the contrary, then milliards would have been spent: for what?To hide them in Mongol steppes? This is why in my opinion sometimes alarge-scale, courageous and fearless policy is the one that is not afraidof the things that may take place in future but is afraid of the current con-sequences, of the consequences that can stop the life of a great countrystill struggling with culture in the European Plain. The policy that seesonly a dawn of the new day.Courage and fearlessness is not always in moving forward, to fights andvictories, to avoid future ghosts, but its also in abstinence, peacefulnessand correct calculations.68Then Suvorin puts it as follows: Let China think it has won a victory. Letit even believe Russia surrendered. Let it cheer up the yellow race that pridesitself in being unconquerable. If we retain our territories, we have the wayto prove it that is mistaken, on occasion. Yet, if we abandon these frontiers,we will put immediately impose the Mongol Yoke on ourselves.69 He addsregarding a Chinese invasion:I see no reasons to presume that the yellow race is going to immediatelyattack Russia and Europe as soon it has armed and is reinforced, as princeS. N. Trubetskoy believes. Why shouldnt it stay for a long time in Asia,developing its own culture and gradually and reasonably freeing itself67 Ibid., p. 3.68 Novoye Vremya, St. Petersburg, 2 September 1900, p. 30.69 Loc. cit.Downloaded by [Tufts University] at 13:54 08 October 2014 434 A. Eskridge-Kosmachfrom European exploitation and trade? Why do we have to believe thatthe spirit of Genghis Khan, the spirit of the XII century must awaken inthem to defeat Europe? And finally, why wouldnt this yellow race dashto India to replace Great Britain there? Anyway, its much more useful forus to remain in peace with this country, even help it, than kill it.70As for the idea of Chinas breakup, Suvorin ardently opposed it: After thebreakup of Poland its already been one hundred years; it is not to bebrought in line with Germans and Russians. The breakup of China wouldtake too many material resources and an intelligence far higher than that ofthe Europeans.71One more representative of the Russian aristocracy, Prince D. Nertelev,argued against S. N. Trubetskoys idea in St. Petersburgskie Vedomosti news-paper. In his opinion, . . . its clear that we should let China sleep anddevelop its own life because this life does not interrupt even when its sleep-ing, or let it die with its own death not causing it convulsions that could beunsafe for the neighbors.72 Then the prince remarks:If China were engaged in constant raids on the territories of Europeanstates, such measures could have been justified as necessary self-defense.On the contrary: first, all its juices were sucked, its population was ledto despair and hate of everything European, and then abuse the dangerposed for European civilization as a reason to break up China a bittoo Machiavellian.As for the interests of Russia, the author remarks: If the breakup did takeplace, the result could not be better. In such a situation we would have afew neighbors, each of them being more restless if not more dangerous thanChina.73Moscovskie Vedomosti took the proposal by Prince S. N. Trubetskoy dif-ferently. In their opinion, Prince Trubetskoy merited special gratitude forhis correct statement of the question and coverage of the issue of China.The newspaper did not limit itself to the ready solution of the issue as itconsidered it by far too daring. Yet, it agreed that we are seeing the start ofa great European-Chinese crisis that is essentially a Russian-Chinese crisis.74Liberal newspaper Russkie Vedomosti, as far as it is known, did not agreewith the idea of international trusteeship of China. It was against Chinasbreakup too:70 Novoye Vremya, op. cit., p. 31.71 Loc. cit.72 The Breakup of China, St. Petersburgskie Vedomosti, St. Petersburg, 8 September 1900, p. 40.73 Loc. cit.74 Moscovskie Vedomosti, 7 September 1900, p. 6.Downloaded by [Tufts University] at 13:54 08 October 2014 The Boxer Rebellion 435Strict control over Chinese provinces is impossible since European troopscannot guard each province. Even the prohibition of military supplies toChina and the arrival of European technicians and instructors in Chinais unlikely because all of these efforts are going to spark only a new,more dangerous and organized movement. One never knows which stateexactly will rise up. Finally, a complete breakup of China is impossiblein general. We could talk about the sphere of influence of the pow-ers in Manchuria (Russia), Shandong (Germany), Fujian (Japan), in theprovinces of the lowest Yang-tze-kiang (England), in Yunnan (France).Who is going to guard the vast Szechuan, Gansu, Tibet and ChineseTurkestan, Shanxi, Shaanxi, etc.? Who can undertake control over thesevast, multimillion provinces that are so poorly known that one can getlost after having entered them? No, it needs not a small squadron or con-sular secret service but a great coalition of the European states, the UnitedStates and Japan, a coalition that proclaims a sort of crusade against Chinato occupy all its essential points with proper military forces, organize itsadministration, finances, etc. in one word, to master China. Presentlyits up to poets and prophets to dream about it; its not up to soberpoliticians who understand what is possible and what is not.75Then the newspaper remarked:It would have been odd to dream about forced conversion of the Chineseinto Europeans and Christians. It would have been, none the less, oddto seek guarantees for 350 millions of Chinese people not even daringto think about struggling with invading foreigners in the future. Onehas to admit that mere violence, trade and concessions do not makeChina familiar with European culture and that the best way to changethe opinion of the Chinese about Europeans would be to make themfamiliar with the best aspects of European culture in the provinces underEuropean control. To make Chinese adolescents familiar with Europeanknowledge, to exploit local mineral wealth rationally, to promote localagriculture, industry, trade, roads, education, small loans, etc. in a rea-sonable way. To promote and assist in the implementation of still morerightful grounds of local management and courts.76As for Russia, Russkie Vedomosti newspaper wrote:One can hardly be secure in the safety of its frontier without securinga certain buffer at the frontier, in a form free from Chinese troops andwith reinforcement of the territory. Such territory shall be influenced byRussians, if necessary, for this influence and control to be manifested in75 Resonance and Impressions, Russkie Vedomosti, 8 September 1900, p. 7.76 Ibid.Downloaded by [Tufts University] at 13:54 08 October 2014 436 A. Eskridge-Kosmachthe forms capable of sharing the ideas promoting the development andreinforcement of links between Russia and its population.77In the newspapers opinion, military forces and railway guards would berequired alongside with something based on knowing the country, itspopulation, language, its necessities, and its readiness and capability ofintroducing positive conditions for culture.Are we going to succeed, taking into consideration our relatively poorcultural effort, our lack of knowledge of our East-Asian neighbor, thedifficulties of implementation of the things introduced with so much effortin the original Russia on a far-off periphery? This is the puzzling issue. Thesolution of it shall condition further progress of the forecasted Chineseinvasion, concludes the newspaper.78Herald of Europe called for the breakup of China: Diplomacy shouldhave promoted the natural breakup of the Chinese Empire and the formationof a few independent states from it instead of taking care of its integrity underthe unlimited rule of Chinese emperors. Thus, as the magazine put it, Europecould avoid the revenge of the Celestial Emperor for the profaned nationaldignity of China.79Thus, as for China and this issue, the Russian press and Russian politicalwriters held extremely different points of view. The ones that felt sympathywith the Chinese government and the Boxers were those whose ownerswere connected with the external policy of Russia or those close to suchpersons. Well-informed persons, such as A. Suvorin and E. Ukhtomsky, werewell aware of the contradictions concerning the issue that existed amongthe noblemen of the Tsar employed at external power institutions. Satisfiedwith the results achieved by the amicable policy in China as they were, thematter of their concern remained the changing situation in China that couldhave provoked intervention from other states that could have underminedRussian influence on the court in Beijing. An important platform of S. Vitte,the minister of finances, Novoye Vremya newspaper supported the politicalline of this prominent person concerning China. At first, it promoted analliance between Russia and China and at the beginning of 1901 it has alreadyadopted an opinion that Russia has a particular right to occupy Manchuria:We have occupied almost all Manchuria almost without fighting. We couldhave proclaimed it Russian land by right of conquest. That is why Russia isentitled to have its own opinion on the issue of China and can claim privateaccord with the representatives of local Chinese administration.8077 Ibid, p. 8.78 Loc. cit.79 Herald of Europe, St. Petersburg, No. 1, 1901, pp. 390392.80 Novoye Vremya, St. Petersburg, 14 January 1901 and 19 March 1901, pp. 34.Downloaded by [Tufts University] at 13:54 08 October 2014 The Boxer Rebellion 437As for E. Ukhtomsky, he was still more aware of the intimate detailsin connection with Chinese officials as a participant in Vittes diplomacy inChina. As early as June, when Li Hongzhang sent a telegram to Vitte that theChinese government was ready to initiate separate negotiations with Russia,Vitte wished to secure an exclusive right for Russia in China this time too.He was hoping to succeed as before, when he held brilliant negotiationswith the mighty official Lee. S. Vitte and Nicholas II immediately decidedto send Ukhtomsky to China. One can imagine that the editor-in-chief of St.Petersburgskie Vedomosti instructed the editorial board to demonstrate a pub-lic pro-Chinese position when he was leaving Moscow to see his old Chinesefriend under Vittes authority, hoping for one more diplomatic success.However, the situation in China was developing so quickly that whenUkhtomsky arrived in China he turned out to be of no use. Russian armedtroops accompanied by other invaders had already celebrated victory inBeijing after the Boxers defeat and plunder of the city.81 Russian diplo-matic workers and military in China had already forced local Manchurianauthorities to enter into a secret separate accord about Russian occupationof Manchuria for an unlimited term, passing over the Qin government. Theyjoined in the public note to the Chinese government and acted upon the ini-tiative of Vittes financial agent, D.D. Pokotilov. The only thing that remainedwas to make the government of China recognize it officially.Meanwhile, the aggressive attitudes and publications in the Russianpress did their bit. At the beginning of 1901 the Russian press started tospread the idea of creating yellow Russia.82 Appeals to war with Chinaprovoked mass slaughter of the Chinese in Russia. Even some people whodid not belong to the Chinese race suffered. Violence erupted in the city ofBlagoveschensk, where thousands of unarmed Chinese people were shot ordrowned in the Amur River. Russian liberal intellectuals were sympathetic tothe poor Chinese.83Thus, the military actions, the outrage of the troops of the Tsars gov-ernment, and the cruelty that the Chinese had to suffer in Russia left adeep imprint on the Chinese people. From that time on, Tsarist Russiabecame associated with most aggressive and cruel international forces inChinese national consciousness.84 This grievance and hatred towards theEuropeans, towards Russians in particular, has remained deep in the heartsof the Chinese nation for a long time.8581 D. Yantchevetsky, the correspondent, wrote: In 1900 Beijing was plundered by the civilized alliesso severely as it was plundered and ravaged by the Manchu, Mongols and other semi-barbaric nomadsof Asia. V. Datsyshena, Russian-Chinese War of 1900, Beijing Crusade, p. 107.82 Petersburgskie Vedomosti, St. Petersburg, Herald of Russia, No. 4, 27 April 1901.83 Russkoe Bogatstvo, No. 9, 1900, pp. 215225; The Utopia of Blagoveschensk, Herald of Europe,St. Petersburg, No. 7, 1910, pp. 231241.84 I. Popov, China and Russia at the Brink of War for 300 Years, Moscow, Russia: 2004, p. 249.85 Ibid.Downloaded by [Tufts University] at 13:54 08 October 2014 438 A. Eskridge-KosmachAs Chinese policy was forced to surrender to Russia, the Russian presswas split into two main groups. They were split not according to their ide-ology but according to the issues of external policy. Thus, the monarchistpress, such as the newspapers Moscovskie Vedomosti and Novosti and themagazine Herald of Foreign Literature followed the official policy and wel-comed the new external policy of Russia with reference to China. Anothergroup of monarchist newspapers, such as St. Petersburgskie Vedomosti andNovoye Vremya and part of the liberal press such as Russkie Vedomostiand Nedelya expressed deep concern associated with the change from theRussian peaceful expansion into China. The periodicals of the latter partplace every manner of blame on Western Europe regarding the events inChina and the forced military actions of Russia in China. Such followers ofthe aggressive policy in China were noted to be Vl. Soloviev and PrinceS. N. Trubetskoy, who frightened their readers with the inevitable cominginvasion of the yellow race in Europe. They also insisted on the breakup ofChina after the Boxers had been placated.There were followers of peaceful expansion into China who stuck todifferent points of view. Monarchist political writers, such as A. Suvorin andE. Ukhtomsky, were against the West and convinced of the advantages ofthe Russian attitude to Chinese as compared to that of the Western countries.Another part of the followers of peaceful expansion, representatives of theliberal group, were making their judgments in accordance with the practicalinterests of China and were opposed to changing the traditional Russianpolicy in China and the idea of its breakup.Still, they welcomed the joint actions of Europe in the course of eventsin China in 1900 and did not forget to express their cultural and ideologicalcloseness to Europe.In general, notwithstanding the different points of view of the Russianpress on the changing Russian external policy in China, the views of news-papers and magazines did not change essentially. They had small differencesand defended different methods. In their opinion, these were the forms thatRussian expansion in the Far East had to take under specific conditions. Theaggressive expansion of Russia into the Far East provoked the fatal end ofthe Empire in the Far East and expressed itself in the social and politicalcrisis of 1905 that further radically affected the Russian press.Downloaded by [Tufts University] at 13:54 08 October 2014

Recommended

View more >