Imperial Visions: Nationalist Imagination and Geographical Expansion in the Russian Far East, 1840 1865. By Mark Bassin. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. Pp. xv, 329. $69.95
In 1857 Alexander Herzen boasted to Giuseppe Mazzini that Russia s annexation of the Amur river region in the late 1850s signaled one of civilization s most important steps forward (p. 2). With a foothold in the Far East, Herzen claimed, Russia appeared poised to capitalize on the Pacific as the Mediterranean of the future (p. 144). From the 1840s educated Russians celebrated the Amur river, the essential artery linking Russia through Siberia to its Pacific destiny, as a Russian Mississippi and the key to Russia s role as a maritime power and a civilizing force in Asia. By 1865, however, this Amur euphoria had abruptly dissipated. Dreams of the rebirth of a prosperous and, by some accounts, free Russia on the Siberian Mississippi faded as suddenly as they had appeared.
Volume (Year): 61 (2001)
Issue (Month): 03 (September)
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