- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
352

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - XVI. Russia in the east. The yellow question

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THROUGH SIBERIA
in the East he was able to give the order " rule the
East " (" Vladi Vostok ").—But since 1905 Russia’s
policy on the Pacific has had to abandon the"offensive
for the defensive. She was forced to retire from
southern Manchuria, and instead of her ceaseless
expansion, she has had to devote her energy to strength
ening her position within the territory she now occupies.
We find a pregnant expression of how this great
question must appear to a Russian statesman in the
speech delivered by the Foreign Minister Isvolsky
in the Duma on March 11, 1908, when he maintained
that by the treaty of Portsmouth, Russia " had lost
nothing that was her historie inheritance, but had only
restored territory that had long been Japanese in
reality, such as South Sakhalin, or that had been
the fruit of enterprises which were not in keeping with
Russia’s real powers, such as the extension of the
Empire of the Tsar to the southern part of Manchuria
and the Kwan-tung peninsula. The heroism of the
Russian soldier remained unaffected, and the unity of
Russia unshaken.’’ And he further declared that thence
forward Russia would be clearly conscious that the
frontiers of her possessions in Asia were an immovable
historie inheritance, that any danger threatening them
was a danger to the whole Russian Empire, and that
it was therefore her highest duty to stake every
thing upon the preservation and development of these
possessions.
It is easy to understand that Russian public opinion
demands the maintenance of this position, cost what it
may. Should Russia be defeated in a trial of strength
with the yellow race—and such a trial seems inevitable
sooner or later—and should she lose her eastern terri
tories, perhaps as far as Baikål, her prestige as a great
Power would suffer so greatly that such a possibility
352

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