chapter  3
16 Pages

The Consolidation of Russias Position in Bukhara Russo-Bukharan Tensions, 1868–1870

Russia’s primary interest in the khanates of Central Asia, after 1868 as before, was to ensure the friendly disposition of their governments in order to facilitate the maintenance of law and order along the Russian frontier and to prevent the penetration of British influence into the areas adjacent to that frontier. Russia’s policy toward her new dependencies in the first years after 1868 was one of indifference, except on the questions of their attitude toward herself and their ability to maintain political stability within their borders. No advantage was taken of the economic concessions wrung from Bukhara and Kokand. The commercial convention with Bukhara remained a dead letter for several years, and the emir continued to levy discriminatory duties against Russian merchants (the illegal duty thus collected was later returned at Kaufman’s demand). Russian trade with the khanates did not appreciably increase. No Russian agents, commercial or political, were maintained in the khanates, although the khan of Kokand several times requested a permanent Russian resident at his court and maintained an agent of his own at Tashkent.1 Russia conducted relations with her new dependencies by means of the centuries-old method of exchanging occasional embassies. She relied for information of the khanates on the reports of these same embassies, of her frontier military commanders, and of chance travelers and merchants.