Natalya S. Maiorova
Kostroma State University
Artem D. Maiorov
St. Petersburg Mining University
The Far East in Russian foreign policy according to “Memoirs” by S.Yu. Witte
Maiorova N.S., Maiorov A.D. The Far East in Russian foreign policy according to “Memoirs” by S.Yu. Witte. Vestnik of Kostroma State University, 2023, vol. 29, № 2, pp. 18–23 (In Russ.). https://doi.org/10.34216/1998-0817-2023-29-2-18-23
DOI: https://doi.org/10.34216/1998-0817-2023-29-2-18-23
УДК: 94(571.6)”19/20”
Publish date: 2023-05-05
Annotation: The article is devoted to the analysis of “Memoirs” by S.Yu. Witte in the context of the study of the Far Eastern policy of the Russian Empire and contradictions between Russia and Japan, which had been growing only to cause the war of 1904-1905. S.Yu. Witte was a member of the political elite of Russia in the late 19th and the early 20th centuries and, as Minister of Finance and Chairman of the Committee of Ministers, he was involved in critical decisions on domestic and foreign policy matters. Witte's memoirs reflected his meetings with the Russian and German emperors, Japanese and Chinese statesmen, members of the imperial family, and ministers for the Russian Far East. This information is of great value, containing numerous details, lengthy descriptions and personal observations related to the penetration of Russia into China and the acquisition of new bases for the Pacific Navy. The reverse side of the memoirs is their subjectivity and the author's desire in a special way to emphasise his own historical correctness, despite the erroneous opinions and short-sightedness of Emperor Nicholas II and his ministers. S.Yu. Witte repeatedly reproached the political elite for inconsistency in actions, unwillingness to comply with the obligations assumed, and underestimation of the enemy. All these miscalculations had catastrophic consequences in the form of Russia's defeat by the Japanese and the attempted Revolution of 1905-1907.
Keywords: S.Yu. Witte, Nicholas II, Wilhelm II, Russian Far East, foreign policy, Port Arthur, Russo-Japanese War.
Literature list: Airapetov O.R. Istoriia vneshnei politiki Rossiiskoi imperii. 1801–1914. V 4 t. [History of the foreign policy of the Russian Empire. In 4 vol.]. Moscow, Kuchkovo pole Publ, 2017–2018. (In Russ). Airapetov O.R. Na puti k krakhu. Russko-iaponskaia voina 1904–1905 gg. Voenno-politicheskaia istoriia [On the way to collapse. Russo-Japanese War 1904–1905 Military-political history]. Moscow, Torgovyi Dom Algoritm Publ, 2014. 496 p. (In Russ). Vitte S.Iu. Vospominaniia. Tsarstvovanie Nikolaia II. T. 1 [Memories. Reign of Nicholas. Vol. 1]. Leningrad, Gosudarstvennoe izdatel'stvo Publ., 1924, 472 p. (In Russ.) Sidorova M.M. Geopoliticheskaia dilemma Rossii v kontse XIX – nachale XX v. [The geopolitical dilemma of Russia in the late XIX – early XX century]. Moscow, MAKS Press Publ, 2003. 173 p. (In Russ). Shulatov Ia.A. Na puti k sotrudnichestvu: rossiisko-iaponskie otnosheniia v 1905–1914 gg. [On the way to cooperation: Russian-Japanese relations in 1905–1914]. Khabarovsk; Moscow: In-t vostokovedeniia RAN Publ, 2008. 300 p. (In Russ).
Author's info: Natalya S. Maiorova, Candidate of Historical Sciences, Associate Professor, Kostroma State University, Kostroma, Russia, Natalyamaiorowa@yandex.ru, https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7293-7797
Co-author's info: Artem D. Maiorov, student, St. Petersburg Mining University, St. Petersburg, Russia, mayorov.artem.1999@gmail.com, https://orcid.org/0009-0007-8520-780X