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The Russian origins of the second Anglo–Afghan War


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doi:10.1017/S0026749X1500044X First published online15May2017

Beyond the ‘Great Game’: The Russian origins of the second Anglo–Afghan War


Department of History, Philosophy and Religious Studies, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Nazarbayev University, Astana, Kazakhstan



Drawing on published documents and research in Russian, Uzbek, British, and Indian archives, this article explains how a hasty attempt by Russia to put pressure on the British in Central Asia unintentionally triggered the second Anglo–Afghan War of1878–80. This conflict is usually interpreted within the framework of the so-called ‘Great Game’, which assumes that only the European ‘Great Powers’ had any agency in Central Asia, pursuing a coherent strategy with a clearly defined set of goals and mutually understood rules. The outbreak of the Second Anglo–

Afghan war is usually seen as a deliberate attempt by the Russians to embroil the British disastrously in Afghan affairs, leading to the eventual installation of ‘Abd al-Rahman Khan, hosted for many years by the Russians in Samarkand, on the Afghan throne. In fact, the Russians did not foresee any of this. ‘Abd al-Rahman’s ascent to the Afghan throne owed nothing to Russian support, and everything to British desperation. What at first seems like a classic ‘Great Game’ episode was a tale of blundering and unintended consequences on both sides. Central Asian rulers were not merely passive bystanders who provided a picturesque backdrop for Anglo–Russian relations, but important actors in their own right.

The research for this article was funded by the British Academy and the Leverhulme Trust. I would like to thank Evgenii Abdullaev, Raushan Abdullaev, Alima Bissenova, Ian Campbell, Valery Germanov, Beatrice Penati, Scott Savran, David Schimmelpenninck van der Oye, Charles Sullivan, Tom Welsford, Zbigniew Wojnowski, and the reviewers forModern Asian Studiesfor their comments on earlier drafts.



How consistent and pertinacious is Russian policy! How vacillating and vague is our own!

Robert Bulwer-Lytton,1885.1

At the crossroads of Sary-Qul, near the village of Jam, at the southwestern edge of the Zarafshan valley in Uzbekistan, there is an obelisk built of roughly squared masonry, with a rusting cross embedded near the top. The worn inscription on a marble tablet at the base records that the monument was erected in 1913, probably as part of the300thanniversary celebrations of the Romanov dynasty, over the burial place of the men of the ‘Jamskii otryad’ (Jam Force),

‘who were ordered on the expedition to India in1878’ (seeFigures1 and2).2

The existence of this monument raises a number of interesting questions: first, how did it manage to survive into the twenty-first century, when almost every other Tsarist memorial in Central Asia was obliterated in the Soviet period? Second, what was this ‘expedition to India’? Is this some sort of proof that British paranoia regarding Russian intentions towards India was justified, as the dominant ‘Great Game’ narrative of Anglo–Russian relations in Central Asia would have us believe?

The answer to the first question remains unclear (possibly it was simply overlooked)—but this article will provide an answer to the second. The ‘Pokhod v Indiiu’ (‘Expedition to India’) commemorated on the1913monument at Sary-Qul was an often-overlooked aftershock of the wider ‘Eastern Crisis’ in European diplomacy which culminated in the Russo–Turkish war of 1877–8. It was conceived as a response to British manoeuvring that would rob Russia of the spoils of her victory in that conflict—the annexation of territory in Bessarabia and Transcaucasia, and the creation of a ‘Greater Bulgaria’ under Russian

1Lord Lytton to Sir Fitzjames Stephen, May 1885 Oriental and India Office Collections, British Library (OIOC) Mss Eur F132Lyall PapersNo.22, f.55; please note that two sets of dates are used throughout this article—Russian documents use the Julian calendar, which was12days behind the Gregorian calendar used in British documents. In the text I have stuck to Gregorian dates, but those in the footnotes reflect those given in the source.

2I visited the monument and took these photographs in the summer of2008. For a more recent account of its present state see ‘Dzhamskii Otryad’Pis’ma o Tashkente24 May2012http://mytashkent.uz/2012/05/24/dzhamskiy-otryad/, [accessed20August 2016].


Figure1. (Colour online) The1913memorial to the Jam Force, Sary-Qul. Source:

C Alexander Morrison.

influence—which had been secured by the Treaty of San Stefano on3 March1878. This settlement would be revised to Russia’s detriment at the Berlin Congress in July that year, with Bulgaria cut down to size, and much European territory returned to the Ottomans. While this averted a possible European war and preserved Russian territorial concessions in Bessarabia and Batumi (much to the disgust of British diplomats) it still prompted keen resentment among Russia’s military and diplomatic elite.3

3David Schimmelpenninck van der Oye ‘Russian Foreign Policy 1815–1917’ in Cambridge History of Russia vol. 2 D. C. B. Lieven (ed.) (Cambridge: Cambridge


Figure2. (Colour online) The memorial inscription.Source:C Alexander Morrison.

There was never any fighting at Jam, but some soldiers died there of disease; in 1878the Jam Force formed the largest of three columns ordered to march towards the Afghan frontier at Shirabad and Kerki in an operation designed to threaten and alarm the British by staging extensive troop movements in Russian Turkestan. The popular historian Peter Hopkirk melodramatically described this as a ‘30,000-strong force, the largest ever assembled in Central Asia’ aimed at invading India through Afghanistan.4 Beryl Williams’

account of Central Asia during the ‘Eastern Crisis’ is more accurate and sober, but like almost everything published in English on this topic, suffered from a lack of direct access to Russian archives.5 Russian

University Press,2006) pp.565–6; William FullerStrategy and Power in Russia1600–

1914(Toronto: The Free Press,1992), pp.320–2; T. G. OtteThe Foreign Office Mind.

The Making of British Foreign Policy1865–1914(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,2011), pp.120–1; M. S. AndersonThe Eastern Question1774–1923(London:

Macmillan,1966), pp.195–219; Charles and Barbara JelavichRussia in the East1876–

1880 (Leiden: Brill,1959), pp.4–6, 79–84. This disgruntlement was particularly true of Russia’s former ambassador at Constantinople, Count N. P. Ignat’ev, a diplomatic éminence griseand powerful figure in the empire’s Asian policy who was largely responsible for negotiating San Stefano: B. M. Khevrolina Nikolai Petrovich Ignat’ev. Rossiiskii Diplomat(Moscow: Kvadriga,2009), pp.320–9.

4Peter HopkirkThe Great Game. On Secret Service in High Asia(London: John Murray, 1990) p.380.

5Beryl Williams ‘Approach to the Second Afghan War: Central Asia during the Great Eastern Crisis,1875–1878’International History Reviewvol.2(1980), pp.216–


historiography, beginning with the works of M. A. Terent’ev and A.

E. Snesarev (both officers of the General Staff) has tended to stress British duplicity and the purity of Russian motives in seeking to protect Afghanistan’s independence.6 The standard Soviet accounts of this episode describe it as a case of ‘self-defence’, in conformity with their general argument that Britain was always the sole aggressor in Central Asia.7Post-Soviet scholarship from Central Asia turns this caricature on its head, attributing only the most dastardly and aggressive motives to the Russian conquest, and casting Central Asian resistance in anachronistically nationalist terms.8Unlike most of the other scholars who have written on this subject, Tatiana Zagorodnikova and Evgeny Sergeev have had access to both Russian and British archival sources.

Sergeev concludes that ‘it appears absolutely incorrect to depict this project and all the steps taken by Kaufman and his subordinates as a mere nonaggressive stroll, or rattling the sabre on the Turkestan frontier in order to teach a lesson to the snobbish British’. Instead he argues that this episode was meticulously planned, and aimed at invading northern Afghanistan and, ultimately, destabilizing the British in India.9 Zagorodnikova’s collection of documents on the subject is more cautious—she writes that, from the outset, the Indian Expedition was intended as a demonstration, or as a diversionary manoeuvre, not a serious invasion force, and that it lost momentum after the signing of the Treaty of Berlin on13 July1878. Conceived in a fit of pique, St Petersburg quickly got cold feet over the operation, although Russia’s ‘man on the spot’ in Central Asia—the

38; see also John Lowe Duthie ‘Pragmatic Diplomacy or Imperial Encroachment?

British Policy Towards Afghanistan, 1874–1879’ International History Review vol. 5 (1983), pp.475–95.

6M. A. Terent’ev Istoriya Zavoevaniya Srednei Azii 3 vols (St Petersburg: V. V.

Komarov,1906) vol.2, pp.427–547; A. E. SnesarevAvganistan(Moscow: Gosizdat’, 1921) reprinted asAfganistan(Moscow: Russkaya Panorama,2002), pp.216–23.

7G. A. KhidoyatovIz istorii Anglo-Russkikh otnoshenii v Srednei Azii(Tashkent: ‘Fan’, 1969), pp.261,265; N. S. Kinyapina, M. M. Bliev, and V. V. DegoevSrednyaya Aziya vo vneshnei politike Rossii(Moscow: Izd. MGU,1984), pp.306–7.

8Kh. N. Bababekov Anglo-Russkoe sopernichestvo v Srednei Azii XIX vek (Tashkent:

Institut Istorii Narodov Azii,2006), pp.1–7.

9Evgeny SergeevBol’shaia Igra1856–1907. Mify i realii rossiisko-britanskikh otnoshenii v tsentral’noi i vostochnoi Azii(Moscow: KMK,2012), p.162; Evgeny SergeevThe Great Game1856–1907. Russo-British Relations in Central and East Asia(Washington, D.C.:

Woodrow Wilson Centre Press,2013), p.183.


governor-general of Turkestan, K. P. von Kaufman (1818–82)—urged a more aggressive line.10

Alongside the troop movements of the Indian Expedition, the Russian war minister, D. A. Miliutin (1816–1912), also ordered Colonel N. G. Stoletov (1834–1912) to lead a Russian embassy to Amir Shir ‘Ali Khan in Kabul. The Stoletov mission has been seen as a masterstroke by the Russians, a cunning ploy to embroil the British disastrously in Afghan affairs; it led directly to the deposition of Shir

‘Ali and the forcible imposition of a British diplomatic mission at Kabul led by Captain Louis Napoleon Cavagnari; the envoy and his escort were massacred by a mob in September1879, leading to further hostilities. This was followed by a shattering defeat of British forces at the battle of Maiwand, and the eventual installation on the Afghan throne of ‘Abd al-Rahman Khan (1844–1901), hosted for many years by the Russians in Samarkand and considered by some to have been a Russian client; he is remembered today as the ruthless creator of the modern Afghan state.11

Scholars have tended to assume that the Russian authorities foresaw and intended these outcomes when despatching Stoletov to Kabul in the spring of1878, part of a wider discourse that assumes a relentless and sinister logic of Russian expansion in the region.12 M. Hassan Kakar claims that the ‘real purpose’ of the Stoletov mission ‘was for Russia to embroil the British in Afghanistan, so hoping that the latter would recall the Indian troops that they had sent to Malta in support of the Ottomans, with whom Russia was then at war’, while he describes ‘Abd al-Rahman’s return as happening ‘with the connivance of the Russian authorities’.13J. A. Norris writes that the

10T. N. Zagorodnikova, ed. ‘Bol’shaia Igra’ v tsentral’noi azii: ‘Indiiskii pokhod’

Russkoi armii. Sbornik arkhivnykh dokumentov(Moscow: Institut Vostokovedeniya,2005), pp.30–1,39.

11The standard (and now rather outdated) account of ‘Abd al-Rahman’s reign, based on a mixture of British and Afghan sources, is Hasan Kawun KakarGovernment and Society in Afghanistan. The Reign of Amir ‘Abd al-Rahman Khan (Austin, Texas:

University of Texas Press,1979) and Ashraf Ghani ‘Islam and State-Building in a Tribal Society: Afghanistan1880–1901’Modern Asian Studiesvol.12(1978), pp.269–

284.; see also J. L. Lee The ‘Ancient Supremacy’. Bukhara, Afghanistan and the Battle for Balkh,1731–1901(Leiden: Brill,1996), pp. 530–93for an account of ‘Abd al- Rahman’s brutal campaign of conquest in Afghan Turkestan.

12For a critique of this tendency see Alfred J. Rieber ‘Persistent Factors in Russian Foreign Policy’ inImperial Russian Foreign Policy,Hugh Ragsdale (ed.) (Cambridge:

Cambridge University Press,1993), pp.315–22.

13M. Hassan Kakar A Political and Diplomatic History of Afghanistan, 1863–1901 (Leiden: Brill, 2006), pp.26,39; quite apart from the fact that the Russians and


Russians ‘encouraged’ ‘Abd al-Rahman to return to Afghanistan after Ya’qub Khan’s deposition and flight.14Gerald Morgan also refers to von Kaufman’s ‘skilful finessing’ of his relations with Afghanistan in bringing about the second Anglo–Afghan war, though acknowledging that the Russians failed in their principal object, which was to influence the outcome of the Congress of Berlin.15Medlicott and Weeks suggest that skilful diplomacy by Count Petr Shuvalov brought the crisis to an end, and even Barbara Jelavich assumes that the outcome of the

‘Eastern Crisis’ strengthened the Russian position in Central Asia, although she does not refer to Afghanistan.16 In earlier work I also attributed too much deliberate foresight to Russian policy towards Afghanistan in this period.17

All these judgements are based on a retrospective reading of events—the second Anglo–Afghan War, while not quite as disastrous as the first, certainly did count as a debacle for the British, but the Russians would have needed mystical powers of divination to have foreseen this when they ordered their manoeuvres in Central Asia in April 1878. Terent’ev was scathing about the Stoletov mission, portraying Stoletov himself as timid and vacillating, and describing the treaty he signed with Shir ‘Ali as ‘still-born’—which was just as well since, in his judgement, it both exceeded his instructions and placed almost all the obligations on Russia.18 Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most pertinent historical judgement comes from the doyen of Afghan historians, Fayz Muhammad, in his Siraj al-Tawarikh: ‘as the saying goes, “Fate laughs at the best laid plans,” the results were completely

Ottomans were no longer at war by the summer of1878, Kakar provides no reference for his first statement; it is repeated without comment by Thomas BarfieldAfghanistan.

A Cultural and Political History (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2010), p.140.

14J. A. Norris ‘Second Anglo-Afghan War1878–80’ Encyclopaedia Iranica vol. II, Fasc.1, pp.37–41http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/anglo-afghan-wars, [accessed 20August2016].

15Gerald MorganAnglo-Russian Rivalry in Central Asia,1810–1895(London: Frank Cass,1981), pp.180–1.

16Barbara Jelavich ‘Great Britain and the Russian Acquisition of Batum,1878–

1886’ Slavonic and East European Reviewvol.48(1970), pp. 55–7; W. N. Medlicott and Richard Weeks ‘Documents on Russian Foreign Policy,1878–1880: Section I:

August-December1878’Slavonic and East European Reviewvol.64(1986), pp.81–99.

17A. S. MorrisonRussian Rule in Samarkand1868–1910. A Comparison with British India(Oxford: Oxford University Press,2008) p.34.

18Terent’evIstoriya Zavoevaniyavol.2, pp.445–55.


the opposite of what was intended’.19Examining documents from the Russian side, it becomes clear that the Russians did not anticipate that their embassy would provoke the British to invade Afghanistan, and were utterly dismayed when it happened. Their failure to provide any assistance to the beleaguered Shir ‘Ali revealed the weakness of their position in Central Asia and was seen as a severe blow to Russian prestige. Rather than being ‘installed’ in Kabul by his Russian patrons, ‘Abd al-Rahman seized his opportunity and secretly escaped from Russian territory without informing his erstwhile hosts, who may have passively accepted this, but certainly did not provide any active assistance.20 His subsequent ascent to power owed nothing to Russian support; however, James Hevia’s claim that the British deliberately and willingly ‘installed’ ‘Abd al-Rahman on the Afghan throne is equally wide of the mark.21 Instead he owed his success partly to his own political ruthlessness and acumen, and partly to British desperation as they cast about for someone (anyone) to whom they could hand over power before retreating.

Drawing on published documents and research in Russian, British, Uzbek, and Indian archives, this article will explain how a hasty attempt by the Russians to put pressure on the British in India unintentionally triggered the second Anglo–Afghan War and provided the opportunity for ‘Abd al-Rahman Khan to seize power. Russian foreign policy is a neglected field, and this episode sheds significant light on the mentalities and decision-making processes that lay behind the diplomacy of the ‘Eastern Crisis’ and the Berlin Congress.22The British, while sometimes portrayed as on the defensive in their foreign relations in this period,23were in fact undone by the overly aggressive way in which they responded to Russian moves, just as they had

19‘Events of1294/January1877–January1878’History of Afghanistantrans. and ed.

by R. D. McChesney, M. M. Khorrami. (Brill Online,2014); Fayz MuhammadSiraj al- Tawarikh(Kabul: Maṭbaʻah-i Ḥurufi Dar al-Salṭanah,1912–1914), vol.2, p.339c. On Fayz Muhammad and his text see Robert D. McChesney ‘“The Bottomless Inkwell”.

The Life and Perilous Times of Fayz Muhammad “Katib” Hazara’ inAfghan History through Afghan Eyes, ed. Nile Green (London: Hurst & Co,2015) pp.97–129.

20A. A. Semenov‘Begstvo’ Abdur-Rakhman-Khana iz Tashkenta v Afganistan(Tashkent:

Tip. Pri kantselyarii Turkestanskogo General-Gubernatora, 1908) reprinted in Kaufmanskii Sbornik. Izdannyi v pamyat’ pokoritelya i ustroitelya Turkestanskogo Kraya, General -Ad’yutanta K. P. fon-Kaufmana1-ogo(Moscow: Tip. I. N. Kushnerev,1910), pp.100–17.

21James Hevia The Imperial Security State. British Colonial Knowledge and Empire- Building in Asia(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,2012), p.94.

22Lieven ‘Introduction’ inCambridge History of Russiavol.2, p.3.

23D. C. M. PlattFinance, Trade, and Politics. British Foreign Policy1815–1914(Oxford:

Clarendon Press,1968), p.357.


been40years previously during the first Anglo–Afghan War.24Hugh Ragsdale long ago suggested that the myths surrounding the Russian threat to India should be discarded, Malcolm Yapp has played down the significance of the ‘Great Game’ even from the British perspective, and Benjamin Hopkins has provided an excellent general critique of the concept, highlighting the importance of local rulers in the formation of British policy.25 However, there is still an assumption in the little scholarship that exists on British and Russian foreign policy in Central Asia in the later nineteenth century that, whether swayed by strategic, economic, or purely ideological motives, both powers could act more or less as they saw fit, treating the region as a giant ‘chessboard’

(to use G. N. Curzon’s phrase)26 in which local rulers and other actors were wholly deprived of agency, mere victims of the whims and manoeuvrings of the European great powers.27 During 1878–9 there was an unusual crisis in Anglo–Russian relations, where the two powers came close to war over the ‘Eastern Question’; this article demonstrates that this crisis can neither be adequately understood within the framework of purely European diplomatic history which has dominated scholarship on the Berlin Congress, nor within the

‘Great Game’ paradigm that dominates the history of Central Asia in the nineteenth century.

The origins of the Indian Expedition

The possibility of striking at India through Afghanistan in order to put pressure on the British in the Balkans seems to have been suggested

24Alexander Morrison ‘Twin Imperial Disasters. The Invasions of Khiva and Afghanistan in the Russian and British Official Mind,1839–1842’Modern Asian Studies vol.48(2014), pp.253–300.

25Hugh Ragsdale ‘Evaluating the Traditions of Russian Aggression: Catherine II and the Greek Project’Slavonic and East European Reviewvol.66(1988), pp.91–117;

M. A. Yapp ‘The Legend of the Great Game’Proceedings of the British Academyvol.111 (2001), pp.179–98; B. D. HopkinsThe Making of Modern Afghanistan(Basingstoke:

Palgrave Macmillan,2008), pp.34–47.

26G. N. CurzonPersia and the Persian Question2vols (London: John Murray,1892) vol.1, pp.3–4.

27This tendency is particularly pronounced in SergeevBol’shaia Igra/The Great Game.

Despite its title, Piruz MojtahedzadehThe Small Players of the Great Game. The Settlement of Iran’s Eastern Borderlands and the Creation of Afghanistan(London: Routledge,2007) is also unable to escape from this assumption, and is largely concerned with establishing Iranian territorial claims to what is now western Afghanistan on the grounds that the British-created borders are illegitimate and rode rough-shod over local agency.


almost simultaneously by Russia’s proconsuls in the two neighbouring regions of the empire, Turkestan and Transcaucasia. On2April1878 the Turkestan governor-general, von Kaufman, sent a short telegram to the chief of the General Staff, Count F. L. Geiden (1821–1900), suggesting that England’s interests in Asia could be threatened by a reinforcement of the Turkestan garrisons, and the advance of a force to the Amu-Darya at Shirabad, in concert with an advance from the Caucasus and Petro-Alexandrovsk towards Merv.28 On 5 April the head of the Caucasian Mountain administration, Major-General V.

A. Franchini (1820–92), despatched a memorandum ‘on war against England in Afghanistan’ to the deputy commander of the army of the Caucasus, Prince D. I. Svyatopolk-Mirsky (1825–99). He noted a number of obstacles, notably the lack of support that could be expected from Persia, and the difficulty of finding enough horses.

Above all, they would have to be very cautious about the attitude of the Afghans themselves: ‘Muslim fanaticism cannot serve us as a weapon in the war against England, in the eyes of the people we ourselves are unbelievers; we have only just humiliated the caliphate, only just beaten off the outbursts of fanaticism in the Caucasus.’29 Russia could, however, take on herself the role of protector of Amir Shir ‘Ali Khan’s independence. It was important not to make the first aggressive move, but if the British were to invade first and the Russians then respond, they would appear as the liberators of Afghanistan.30 The conviction among the Indian Army’s general staff that they needed to hold advanced positions beyond the frontier passes to secure Afghanistan would thus work to the Russians’ advantage. Franchini’s memorandum was forwarded to the viceroy of the Caucasus, Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolaevich (1832–1909) by Svyatopolk-Mirsky. In his covering letter he was still more bullish, writing that the importance of

28Von Kaufman to Geiden 23 March 1878 Russian State Military-Historical Archive [RGVIA] F.846 ‘Voenno-uchenyi Arkhiv. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya Rossii’ Op.1D.17ll.3-4in Zagorodnikova‘Bol’shaia Igra’,p.44.

29Dokladnaya zapiska nachal’nika Kavkazskogo Gorskogo Upravleniya ‘O voine protiv Anglii v Avganistane’26March1878RGVIA F.1396‘Shtab Turkestanskogo voennogo okruga’ Op.2 D.103 ‘O Dzhamskom pokhode’ ll.4-ob. Also reproduced in Zagorodnikova ‘Bol’shaia Igra’, pp. 45–9, though from a different source. The last comment was a reference to the suppression of the rebellion among the

Gortsy’ (mountaineers) of Chechnya and Daghestan in1877. See V. O. Bobrovnikov Musul’mane Severnogo Kavkaza. Obychai, pravo, nasilie(Moscow: Vostochnaya Literatura, 2002), pp.79–81.

30‘O voine protiv Anglii v Avganistane’26March1878RGVIA F.1396Op.2D.103 ll.4-ob.


British possessions in India for her power and prestige far outweighed that of Russia’s in Central Asia. He was even optimistic on the

‘Muslim fanaticism’ question, believing that this was more dangerous for Britain than for Russia, whose relations with the Muslim world he fondly believed would improve, now that her honour and interests among the Balkan Christians had been satisfied. He concluded that

‘we must appear in Asia in the quality of defenders of the native population from English dominion’.31 It seems that many minds in Russia’s military and foreign policy establishment were mulling over ways in which a land-based empire could strike at the interests of a maritime power; among the more fantastical was a suggestion from College Counsellor P. I. Pashino (1836–91) that the Russians send a secret agent to Bangkok to forge a hostile alliance against England between Siam and Burma.32Some of these schemes were leaked to the Russian press, whence they made their way into British intelligence reports.33

On the16April1878Miliutin convened a special meeting on Asian affairs, attended by Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolaevich; Count N. P.

Ignat’ev (1832–1908), formerly head of the Asiatic Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and lately ambassador in Constantinople;

Nikolai Karlovich Giers (1820–95), standing in for A. M. Gorchakov (1798–1883), whom he would succeed as foreign minister in1882, and N. A. Kryzhanovskii (1818–88), the governor of Orenburg. Its purpose was to consider yet another proposal, this time from Baron Nikolai Egorovich Tornau (1812–92),34 for what Miliutin described

31Svyatopolk-Mirskii to Miliutin28March1878RGVIA F.1396Op.2D.103ll.12 19ob. Also in Zagorodnikova‘Bol’shaia Igra’, pp.49–52, from a different source.

32Pashino to the Minister of Foreign Affairs28March1878RGVIA F.846Op.1 D.17ll.55-58obin Zagorodnikova‘Bol’shaia Igra’, pp.53–5; Pashino was the author of one of the first post-conquest descriptions of Central Asia, which included the earliest lithographs of the region to appear in Russia—P. I. PashinoTurkestanskii Krai v1866 godu(St Petersburg: Tip. T. I. Tiblen,1866). He was expelled from the region in1866 after the governor, General N. I. Romanovskii, accused him of being too involved with the ‘natives’ and passing on bazaar rumours: Romanovskii to Stremoukhov26 June1866in A. G. SerebrennikovTurkestanskii Krai. Sbornik materialov dlya istorii ego zavoevaniyavol. XXI1866g Ch.I (Tashkent: Tip Turk. V.O.,1915) Doc.181, pp.316–8.

By1878he was presumably a fairly marginal figure.

33Williams ‘Approach to the Second Afghan War’, p.233.

34‘Zapiska barona N. E. Tornau o polozhenii anglichan v Indii i ob usloviyakh pokhoda na Indiiu cherez territoriiu Persii’ 19February–29 March 1878 RGVIA F.846 op.1 D.17ll.8-13in Zagorodnikova‘Bol’shaya Igra’, pp.56–9; Tornau was a senator and member of the State Council, whose proposals seem to have received a hearing partly owing to endorsement from Count Geiden, and partly on the strength


in his diary as a ‘fantastical project for an expedition to Herat through Afghanistan’.35 In the subsequent memorandum recording the committee’s deliberations, which was circulated to the general staff, this was formulated in more moderate terms as ‘whether, in the event of a breach with England, we should take some sort of measures in Central Asia at the same time as military action in European Russia’.36 Miliutin began by outlining Russia’s strategic position in Central Asia, noting that while her territory there was not directly adjacent to British India, it might still be considered at threat from an English attack; on the other hand, Russia was also in a position to threaten East India from her Central Asian territories:

in view of the relative position of the two states, and in view of the current behaviour of England, remaining entirely passive on the Central Asian frontier would be decidedly inconvenient, and on the contrary, in order to forestall any thoughts the English government might have towards in Central Asia, and in order to threaten their interests in East India, we should now take suitable measures, both from the direction of Turkestan and that of the Caspian Sea.

Tornau’s proposal was a forced alliance with Persia, occupying the country around Astrabad in the East, and pushing towards Najaf and Karbala in the West, before marching across Khurasan to Herat and India. Kryzhanovskii sounded a note of scepticism, remarking that an assault on India could not be contemplated with fewer than 150,000 troops, and that transporting the supplies for these would be impossible.37 Giers added that Tornau’s plan was completely

of his supposed expertise on the Muslim world, as he was a noted scholar of Islamic law: N. E. TornauIzlozhenie nachal musul’manskogo zakonovedeniya(St Petersburg: Tip.

Sobst. E. I. V. Kants.,1850).

35D. A. MiliutinDnevnik1876–8(Moscow: ROSSPEN,2009), pp.408–9.

36D. A. Miliutin ‘Ministerstvo Voennoe doklad po glavnomu shtabu chast’

Aziatskaya’8April1878Archive of the Foreign Policy of the Russian Empire (AVPRI) F.161I-5Op.4 1878No.1ll.1-9; it appears to have been circulated to most of the Asian military districts—there is another copy in RGVIA F.1396Op.2D.103ll.20-28, and in the National Archives of Georgia in Tbilisi: NAG F.545Op.1D.1154ll.174–

179ob. The text is reproduced in P. M. Shastitko, ed.Russko-Indiiskie otnosheniiia v XIXv.

(Moscow: Vostochnaya Literatura,1997), pp.205–8, and in Zagorodnikova ‘Bol’shaya Igra’,pp.80–4, from a further copy held in RGVIA.

37This would, indeed, remain the key structural obstacle to any Russian invasion of India. See Alexander Morrison ‘Camels and Colonial Armies. The Logistics of Warfare in Central Asia in the Nineteenth Century’Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orientvol.57(2014), pp.443–85. The British General Staff had also realized this by the1880s, in London if not in Delhi: HeviaThe Imperial Security State, pp.168–9.


impracticable, and Miliutin also poured cold water on the idea of any decisive attempt to drive the British out of India altogether at this juncture, partly because Russia had need of her troops elsewhere, and partly because, coming so soon after the war in the Balkans, the financial strain would be too great. Instead he suggested that there were cheaper measures, more suited to this particular conjuncture, which would simultaneously reinforce Russia’s military position in Central Asia and make the British fear for the stability of their dominions in India. He endorsed von Kaufman’s earlier proposal for a double-pronged assault with the Turkestan forces, reinforced from western Siberia, marching to Shirabad on the Amu-Darya, and those from the Caucasus to Merv. Von Kaufman was a professional officer in the mould preferred by Miliutin, and had been appointed to his post on the latter’s recommendation; the two were close political allies. It was important, he added, not to upset the amir of Afghanistan, and for that purpose he suggested sending ‘a reliable person, or even an official embassy, which should explain that the advance of our forces is not intended to pose any kind of threat to Afghanistan, but on the contrary could be useful to them as a means of supporting their independence against the English’.38In his diary he noted with satisfaction the tsar’s endorsement of these ‘more appropriate’ measures, though he did not mention the embassy.39 Thus the decision to send a Russian embassy to Afghanistan—much the most fateful to take place at this conference—emerged almost as an afterthought beside the main question of military manoeuvres.

One week after the meeting in St Petersburg, the tsar approved the despatch of an embassy to Amir Shir ‘Ali under Major-General N. G.

Stoletov, who in1869had founded the Russian fortress at Krasnovodsk on the Caspian and who had recently distinguished himself in the fighting in Bulgaria. Stoletov’s main aim was to reinforce the amir’s distrust of the British and stiffen his opposition to their meddling in Afghanistan. He was to inform the amir that the tsar had always viewed Afghanistan as a bulwark against British influence over the independent governments of Central Asia. In times of peace he could

38For another account of these discussions, see Alexander MarshallThe Russian General Staff and Asia,1800–1917(London: Routledge,2006), pp.135–7. Dietrich Geyer also refers to the episode in passing in Russian Imperialism. The Interaction of Domestic and Foreign Policy, 1860–1914 (Leamington Spa: Berg, 1987), p. 96;

Khidoyatov gives a full and reasonably accurate account inIz istorii Anglo-Russkikh otnoshenii, pp.259–61.

39MiliutinDnevnik1876–8, p.409.


be assured of Russian support in pressing for his independence with the cabinet in London and in the event of a war between Britain and Russia, support could become more concrete. Thus the amir should not look on the appearance of Russian troops on his frontier as a threat, but as a friendly gesture which he could call upon in his negotiations with the British.40Stoletov’s instructions added some suggestions as to how he could achieve this, pointing to British duplicity in the past in its relations with India, China, and Turkey, and the contrast with Russia’s benevolent attitude to Central Asian rulers in Bukhara, Khiva, and Kashgar (the instructions pointedly did not mention Khoqand, whose khan had been deposed and territory annexed by Russia as recently as 1876). Stoletov could flatter Shir ‘Ali by pointing out that, while the Ottoman sultan was in the pocket of the English, ‘he had the prospect of being the head of the strongest and most powerful Muslim kingdom, and to become the successor to the Turkish Sultan’. Should they succeed in establishing an alliance, a hostile reaction could be anticipated from England, and it would be necessary for the amir to resist them.41 However, Stoletov’s orders unconsciously assumed that the amir would be able to defend himself with relative ease, and also that there would be no effective British reaction for some time unless news of a Russo–Afghan alliance became public. As Alfred Rieber has suggested, this was a period when the hawkish ‘national’

group of statesmen based in the War Ministry, the empire’s Asian periphery, and the Asian department of the Foreign Ministry were in the ascendant in the formation of Russian foreign policy, partly because of the passions aroused by the recent conflict with Turkey, partly because of Foreign Minister Gorchakov’s increasing senility. It is worth noting, however, that there seem to have been no dissenting opinions to this course of action from either the Finance or the Foreign ministries, who could usually be relied upon to advocate a more conciliatory policy.42

40‘Proekt sekretnago otnosheniya k Turkestanskomu General-Gubernatoru’ 25 April 1878‘Na podlinnom proekte Sobstv. E. I. V. rukoiu napisano ‘byt’ po semu’

AVPRI F.161I-5Op.4 1878No.1ll.13-15; Giers repeated this information in a letter to von Kaufman on the same date: RGVIA F.1396Op.2D.103ll.69-71ob, which is also in Zagorodnikova‘Bol’shaya Igra’, pp.90–1, from a different source.

41Orders from Major-General Mozel’ to Major-General Stoletov 26 May 1878 AVPRI F.161I-5Op.4 1878No.1ll.19-25

42Rieber ‘Persisent Factors’, pp.351–3.


Russian views of British India

Russian plans were based on the premise that British rule in India rested on fragile foundations—a weakness that, so they believed, had been fully revealed with the1857Rebellion. Russian knowledge of the system of governance in India was patchy, but generally characterized by excessive optimism regarding the sympathy the Indian population were supposed to feel for Russia and their readiness to revolt against British rule. In1857, when he was the military attaché in London, Ignat’ev’s despatches revealed a certain Schadenfreude at the outbreak of the Mutiny and scepticism at the ability of the British to suppress it, while General Staff publications on the subject underlined British foolishness in relying on ‘native’ troops.43The state of Russian thinking on India during the Eastern crisis is revealed in a memorandum by General A. K. Geins (1834–92), a former member of the Steppe Commission (in which capacity von Kaufman had relied heavily on his judgement)44 and, at this date, governor of Turghai province. Miliutin’s committee drew upon Geins’s work in its deliberations and it also seems to have been circulated to von Kaufman in Tashkent. Geins began by noting that the British had no more than one soldier for every1,000 inhabitants, but ‘the power of the British government in India is based not so much on the army, as on the moral superiority of a higher race, on the predominance of English strength, and on the conviction of the natives of the necessity of their conquerors’. Geins devoted considerable attention to the recruitment patterns of the Indian Army, noting the decision to shun caste Hindus after the1857Rebellion, and the disproportionate number of Muslims. He claimed that Sunnis and Shias in the army hated each other and that Indians of all faiths were resentful of a policy which did not allow them to become commissioned officers or rise above the rank of subadar. This, he claimed, meant that the Government of India did not trust its own forces.45 The British themselves had investigated the consequences of a Russian attack

43N. P. Ignat’ev, military attaché in London, to the War Minister A. V. Dolgorukov 26July1857in ShastitkoRussko-Indiiskie Otnosheniya, pp.105–18; K. L’vovich ‘Ocherk Vozmushcheniya Sipaev v Ost-Indii’Voennyi SbornikNo.1(1858), pp.107–38.

44See A. K. GeinsSobranie Literaturnykh Trudov A. K. Geinsa2vols (St Petersburg:

Tip. M. M. Stasiulevicha,1897), which contains his diaries from his time on the Steppe Commission in1865–6.

45‘Zapiska general-maiora A. K. Geinsa o politicheskom polozhenii i anglichanakh v Indii, o chislennosti i sostoyanii ee voisk, o ee naselenii’2April1878RGVIA F.1396


on India hundreds of times and, despite their usual bombast, revealed unease on this subject, even in their newspapers. ‘Basing ourselves on the authority of the English themselves, we can without any mistake or exaggeration acknowledge as certain the following fact: the situation of the English in India is hopeless, and raises in them the apprehension that an external enemy could strike a heavy blow against the might of England from that quarter.’46 There were only 120,000 English among a vast native population and the army was unreliable and might turn its guns on its masters. While he dismissed most of the Hindu population as passive, devoid of energy and initiative, and able to put up with any form of oppression, he considered that the Muslims had not lost their ‘robustness of body and spirit, energy and courage’ and might pose a significant threat. While the assumption that Muslims were dangerous was common to most Russian colonial officials, these last lines suggest that Geins had also imbibed a good deal of the British ‘martial race’ theory.47 He went on to repeat many popular British conspiracy theories regarding the1857‘Mutiny’, notably that it had begun as a pan-Islamic uprising orchestrated by the senile Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, in collusion with Persia and the Ottoman empire.48

Geins concluded with some consideration of the Afghan situation.

British relations with Kabul had deteriorated severely after a period of rapprochement, but Shir ‘Ali Khan also distrusted the Russians.

Were the British to send tens of thousands of men to Kabul, even if they avoided the catastrophes of 1841, they would still only control the territory they were able to occupy directly with their forces. The situation of the British would then be very similar to that the Russians had encountered in the Caucasus before it was ‘cleansed’ and settled with Russians—constant guerrilla warfare. He believed the British would rather see the Russians invade and have to deal with Afghan resistance themselves, something the Russians must be careful not to do. Instead they could consider making use of their pensioner in

Op.2D.103ll.42ob-45ob; also reproduced in Zagorodnikova‘Bol’shaya Igra’, pp.62–80, from a different source.

46‘Zapiska general-maiora A. K. Geinsa’2April1878RGVIA F.1396Op.2D.103 ll.47-8

47David Omissi The Sepoy and the Raj. The Indian Army 1860–1840 (London:

Macmillan,1994), pp.10–46.

48‘Zapiska general-maiora A. K. Geinsa’2April1878RGVIA F.1396Op.2D.103 ll.48-50; see William DalrympleThe Last Mughal. The Fall of Delhi,1857(London:

Bloomsbury,2006), pp.439–41.


Samarkand, ‘Abd al-Rahman Khan, of whom Geins had heard that he was ‘an able and energetic man and an outstanding soldier’. If Shir

‘Ali refused a Russian embassy, then a good tactic might be to give

‘Abd al-Rahman a large sum of money and despatch him to Balkh to make trouble. Von Kaufman had clearly read Geins’s memorandum, and made a similar suggestion to Miliutin, saying that he would recommend Stoletov use the threat of Russian support for ‘Abd al-Rahman whose ‘name is very popular in Afghanistan, especially in the northern part’, to force Shir ‘Ali to negotiate.49Overall one thing emerges very clearly from Russian analyses of the British position on the Indian frontier—namely that they would be unlikely to risk an invasion of Afghanistan because it would prompt an uprising among their Indian Muslim subjects, and that, were they to do so, they would find themselves unable to control the country even in the short term.

Reading Russian accounts of the state of British rule in India, and comparing them with British correspondence regarding its Central Asian frontier in the same period, it is clear that the Russians spectacularly misjudged the mood within the Anglo-Indian and British metropolitan political leadership, whose attitude towards Russia had hardened significantly as the ‘Eastern Crisis’ progressed.50 With hindsight, 1878 appears as a high-water mark of bumptious, self- confident British imperialism, embodied in Disraeli’s aggressive manoeuvrings in Berlin (which secured Cyprus for the British empire), Sir Bartle Frere’s triggering of the Zulu War in Natal, and, above all, the figure of Robert Bulwer Lytton (1831–91), viceroy of India from1876–80. Lytton’s fondness for pomp and circumstance is well known (the neo-medieval heraldry of the imperial durbar of 1877 where Victoria was proclaimed empress of India was very much his personal idea).51 When it came to relations with Afghanistan, this translated into a powerful sense of the respect due to the British empire (and to himself as viceroy) from the amir, a respect that Lytton had felt was distinctly lacking well before the Stoletov mission arrived

49Von Kaufman to Miliutin15May1878RGVIA F.1396Op.2D.103ll.72-3; also in Zagorodnikova ‘Bol’shaya Igra’, pp.97–100, from a different source.

50OtteForeign Office Mind, p.126.

51On the1877durbar see B. S. Cohn ‘Representing Authority in Victorian India’

in hisAn Anthropologist among the Historians and Other Essays(Delhi: Oxford University Press,1987), pp.632–82; David CannadineOrnamentalism: How the British Saw their Empire(London: Allen Lane,2001), pp.44–8.


in Kabul.52 He was also well primed to react to any suggestion of a threat from Russia. In a short note from 1876Lytton dismissed the

‘waiting policy’ which successive viceroys had inherited from Sir John Lawrence (1811–79, viceroy1859–64):

The neighbour we have now to fear is not Afghanistan, but Russia. And the danger with which we are most immediately menaced by Russia is not the loss of territory, but the loss of that political influence orprestigewhich is the most pacific safeguard of territory. Shere Ali may wish to remain stationary; we may wish to remain stationary; but the Russian power in Central Asia cannot remain stationary. Its position is too weak. Small bodies gravitate to great ones. If Afghanistan does not gravitate towards the British, it must gravitate towards the Russian Empire. And between bodies of equivalent gravity the attractive force of the one that is in movement will always exceed that of the one which is motionless.53

Lytton’s planetary analogy might have been worthy of Donald Rumsfeld at his most gnomic, but it indicated a serious intent, as he went on to insist that the aim of British policy must be to establish a permanent mission in Kabul. Later that year he was complaining of the over-friendly tone of von Kaufman’s letters to Shir ‘Ali (which the British regularly intercepted)54and he continued to rail against what he called the ‘Lawrentian or inactivity policy’.

Intercepted Russian correspondence regarding (quite genuine) plans for campaigns against the Akhal-Tekke Turkmen in Transcaspia added fuel to the fire and led Lytton to argue that an ‘active’ policy and the acquisition of a more defensible frontier were essential given ‘that it is impossible to retain an independent barbarous State between two great civilized powers, and that sooner or later Russia and England must touch in the East’. He noted ‘that a wild Russian invasion of India is not the danger we foresee and seek to guard against’, but instead that a Russian presence close to the Indian frontier would be likely

52Duthie argues that Lytton also toyed with the idea of dismembering Afghanistan altogether and annexing the Qandahar region, with British agents stationed in the north of the country. See Duthie ‘Pragmatic Diplomacy’.

53‘Mission to Cabul’ 1876OIOC Mss Eur E218Lytton Papers No.125aViceroy’s minutes and notes relating to Afghanistan and the frontiers of India,1876and1877, f5.

54Lytton Memorandum12August1876OIOC Mss Eur E218Lytton PapersNo.125a ff.16-17; he was still complaining of this a year later: ‘There can be no doubt that the communications between General Kauffman and Shere Ali Khan exceed the requirements of mere exchanges of courtesy; and are regarded as something much more than complimentary by the person to whom they are addressed’ Lytton to Salisbury3May1877IOR/L/P and S/7/13Secret and Political Letters from Bengal and IndiaNo.11, pp.733–4.


to cause significant unrest and subversion within India itself.55 This conformed to Geins’s assessment of English fears (which was, after all, based on published works by Indian staff officers) with the crucial distinction that this was driving Lytton towards a more, rather than a less aggressive policy.

Both Lytton and his predecessor, Lord Northbrook, had made concerted efforts to draw up a new treaty with Shir ‘Ali that would involve a permanent British mission in Kabul, and in 1876–77 one of the amir’s ministers came to Peshawar for talks, but these proved abortive; Sayyid Nur Muhammad Shah, the amir’s envoy, claimed that he had no authority to negotiate a binding treaty, and settled the matter a few weeks later by dying (he had been in ill health for some time). The amir attempted to prolong negotiations by sending another envoy, but Lytton had already decided that he was only playing for time.56In short, well before the Russians began debating how they could use their position in Central Asia to put pressure on the British, Lytton was already looking for an excuse to despatch a British mission to Kabul, by force if necessary. In sending Stoletov there, the Russians were unwittingly about to give him a perfect pretext to abandon the policy of inactivity.

TheJamskii Otryad

Ten days after the meeting of the special committee on Asian affairs, Miliutin wrote to von Kaufman, ordering him to begin manoeuvres in Turkestan. He began by saying that a complete breach with England and a consequent European war looked more and more possible. The complement of active troops in Turkestan was to be raised to 12,000 men, with the addition of 8,000 reinforcements from Western Siberia, which should enable a force of 20 battalions

55Lytton Memorandum ? August1876OIOC Mss Eur E218Lytton PapersNo.125a ff.34-37; this was indeed the general British attitude throughout the second half of the nineteenth century—see M. A. Yapp ‘British Perceptions of the Russian Threat to India’Modern Asian Studiesvol.21(1987), pp.647–65.

56Lytton to Salisbury 10 May 1877 Parliamentary Papers 1878–79 [C.2190]

Afghanistan. ‘Correspondence respecting the relations between the British Government and that of Afghanistan since the accession of the Ameer Shere Ali Khan’ No.36, pp.170–2.


to be despatched immediately to Shirabad on the Afghan frontier.57 Having been reassured that the reinforcements would arrive fully equipped, and on the despatch of an additional force of Cossacks from Orenburg to serve as a reserve for Turkestan, von Kaufman issued orders for the formation of the Turkestan force on26May. The main body consisted of the3rd,5th,6th, and9thTurkestan Line battalions, together with two companies of the17thand the3rdWestern Siberian line battalion. The cavalry was made up of the 4th Orenburg-Ural Cossack regiment, four sotnias (companies) each from the 2nd and 3rdOrenburg and1stSiberian Cossacks, another twosotnias from the 5th Siberian Cossacks, two-and-a-half batteries from the Turkestan artillery brigade, the 1st and 5th Orenburg Cossack horse artillery, and a rocket battery. This force was to advance from Tashkent to Samarkand, and thence to Jam, where it would await further orders.

The other two columns, advancing from Petro-Alexandrovsk in the Amu-Darya region to Charjui, and from Marghelan in Ferghana to Qizil-su, and thence through Qarategin to Shirabad, were smaller, each consisting of six companies of infantry and twosotnias of Cossacks, though the Ferghana column was to be further reinforced en route.58 On 27 May von Kaufman wrote to Miliutin that military operations were now well under way, and that all the different columns would meet at Samarkand, and march on from there to ‘the border point [with Bukhara], the Jam depression (urochishche)’ where they would prepare for the onward march to the Afghan frontier.59On24June von Kaufman issued preliminary instructions giving the marching orders for the further advance to Shirabad, and on26June he announced his imminent departure from Tashkent to join them in anticipation of the final order from St Petersburg to move forward.60By6July the force consisted of 48 companies of infantry (most from the5th Turkestan line battalion), 19 sotnias of Orenburg and Siberian Cossacks, 40 guns, and eight rocket batteries—of these10companies and8sotnias were at Jam and 13 companies at Sary-Qul, with the remainder

57Miliutin to von Kaufman13April1878RGVIA F.1396Op.2D.103ll.29-34;

also in Zagorodnikova‘Bol’shaya Igra’, pp.85–9, from a different source.

58Von Kaufman to Miliutin 14 April1878 RGVIA F.1396Op.2 D.104 l.10in Zagorodnikova ‘Bol’shaya Igra’,pp.95–6.

59Von Kaufman to Miliutin15May1878RGVIA F.1396Op.2D.103ll.72-3; also in Zagorodnikova ‘Bol’shaya Igra’,pp.97–100, from a different source. Apparently the Tsar read this copy himself.

60‘Prikaz No.249/253 po deistvuiushchim voiskam Turkestanskogo Voennogo Okruga’12and14June1878in Zagorodnikova‘Bol’shaia Igra’,111–13.


divided between Andijan and Samarkand.61 Von Kaufman inspected the troops at Sary-Qul in person on 12July and pronounced himself fully satisfied with their morale and sanitary condition.62The troops were accompanied by a considerable supply train, largely carried on camels.63

On18July von Kaufman reported that12,356men of the Turkestan force were now stationed at Jam, Anzherli, Sary-Qul, Samarkand, and Katta-Qurghan, awaiting further orders to move on to the Amu- Darya.64 However, they were never destined to march any further.

On 30 July, von Kaufman received what must have been a bitterly unwelcome telegram from Miliutin informing him that the tsar had decided that in view of the current state of affairs (by which he meant the outcome of the Berlin Congress), the military demonstrations in Turkestan and from Krasnovodsk should be cancelled and all troops return to barracks.65The Congress’s conclusion had revealed Russia’s European isolation, and initial annoyance was directed primarily against Berlin and Vienna rather than London, with whom Alexander II now desired a rapprochement.66 Von Kaufman’s orders dismissing the troops came two days later, though he wrote to Miliutin on 2 August that the men of the main force at Jam would have to remain in place a little longer while commissariat arrangements were made, and also that there had been some deterioration in the

61Report24June1878RGVIA F.1435‘Shtaba Voisk Syr-Dar’inskoi Oblasti’ Op.2 D.2‘O vystuplenii glavnogo otryada voisk iz Tashkenta v Dzham’ ll.7,27,36,56ob;

‘Dislokatsiya voisk glavnogo deistvuiushchego otryada’ 3 July 1878 Central State Archive of the Republic of Uzbekistan [TsGARUz] F..I-1Op.27D.1303l.137.

62‘Prikaz No.3 po deistvuiushchim voiskam komanduiushchego voiskami Turkestanskogo Voennogo Okruga’1October1878in Zagorodnikova‘Bol’shaia Igra’, pp.118–9.

63The Tashkentcaravanbashiwho had supplied some of the commissariat animals later complained that nine of his camels had been stolen by four workers who were then apprehended in Bukhara: Petition from Babakhan Muhammadjan to the Turkestan G.G.27November1878TsGARUz F.I-1Op.29D.359ll.1-2.

64Von Kaufman to Miliutin6July1878AVPRI F.161I-5Op.4 1878No.1ll.50-52;

also in Zagorodnikova‘Bol’shaia Igra’, pp.122–3, from a different source.

65Telegram Miliutin to von Kaufman18July1878RGVIA F.846Op.1D.17ll.142- obin Zagorodnikova‘Bol’shaia Igra’, p.129.

66Jelavich ‘Great Britain and the Russian Acquisition of Batum’, pp.55–6. Not long after this Alexander II and Bismarck would seek to end Russian isolation by reviving theDreikaiserbundbetween the three continental monarchies: Barbara and Charles Jelavich ‘Bismarck’s Proposal for the Revival of the Dreikaiserbund in October1878’

Journal of Modern Historyvol.29(1957), pp.99–101.


Figure 1. (Colour online) The 1913 memorial to the Jam Force, Sary-Qul. Source:
Figure 2. (Colour online) The memorial inscription. Source:  C Alexander Morrison.

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