The peoples of the Caucasus and Central Asia in “A View of the Current Situation of the Asian Peoples...” 1830
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The peoples of the Caucasus and Central Asia in “A View of the Current Situation of the Asian Peoples...” 1830
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Anastasiya Ganich 
Institute of Russian History RAS
Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow

Due to the large extent of the Russian Empire, the ethnic and confessional diversity of the peoples inhabiting it, and the serious gap in their economic and cultural structure, Russian humanities had very different ideas about its regions. Various kinds of “Notes” and “Reviews” compiled by employees of the Asian Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were designed to fill in the gaps. The diplomats of this department of the Foreign Ministry had extensive practical experience in political and trade relations both with neighboring eastern countries and with the elites of the peoples of the inner provinces. In 1830, at the request of the tutor of Grand Duke Alexander Nikolaevich, Major General K. K. Murder, a document was compiled entitled “A view of the current situation of Asian peoples subject to Russia and states friendly with it”. The following peoples and states were considered in detail in the text: A., subject to Russia (Kirghiz-Kaysaks, Caucasian mountain peoples); B., States with which Russia was in friendly and trade relations (Iran, Khiva, Bukhara, Kokand and China with subject Mongolia).This text is of a generalized analytical nature, offering background information about the “Asian” peoples, as well as the dominant orientalist ideas about their political structure, mores, character, social life, economic activity and the civilizing role of Russia at that time. It can be assumed that the sources to which the authors of the consolidated text referred were materials from Russian embassies, notes from Russian and foreign travelers, scientists and trade agents, starting from the time of Peter the Great, the manuscripts of which were kept in the Library of the Asian Department. “A view of the current situation of the Asian peoples ...” has undoubted scientific significance. It gives us an understanding of the peculiarities of Russian orientalism, the judgments of the ruling elite about the history and nature of relations with the state entities of the Caucasus and Central Asia, and also reveals the importance of these regions in the educational program of royalty, the future rulers of the Russian Empire.

Alexander II, Asian Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Caucasus, Central Asia, Iran, China, Asian peoples, Caucasian highlanders, Kirghiz-Kaysaks, orientalism
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