- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
379

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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THE AMUR DISTRICT AND AMUR RAILWAY
379
ended at Sryétensk, with the town of Blagovéshchensk,
the largest place in the Amiir District, and with
Khabarovsk, where it would connect with the Ussuri
line. In fact, an Amiir line was already surveyed and
staked out between the years 1893 and 1896, when it was
discovered that it would be both shorter and easier, and
cheaper besides, to lay a line from Transbaikalia
through Manchuria direct to the Ussuri line and Vladi
vostok. True, it would here pass over Chinese terri
tory ; but it was rightly supposed that there would be
no insuperable difficulty in coming to an understanding
with China. In this way the Eastern Chinese line was
constructed with Russian money. Soon a Russian
naval port was established at Port Arthur, which was
in many ways more favourably situated than Vladi
vostok. The Amiir line was now entirely abandoned,
and the attention of Russia was more and more directed
to Manchuria, which was more fertile and offered even
greater future possibilities than the Amiir District.
But then came the war of 1904-1905. After the peace
the southern part of the Russian railway passed into
the hands of the Japanese, and even in Northern Man
churia the position became such that the Russians
could no longer consider their railway connexion with
Vladivostok through Manchuria as sufficiently assured.
It was therefore natural that the project of a line through
the Amiir District should be tåken up again. It was
found to be necessary, for strategic reasons among others,
to establish a connexion with the extreme eastern
provinces by a continuous line of railway which lay
entirely on Russian territory, and was so planned as not
to be easily cut by a hostile force. It might have seemed
desirable to lay it through the most thickly populated
districts, near the Amiir ; but it would thus have run
along the Chinese frontier the whole way, and as it

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