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The exile, the patron, and the pardon: the voyage of the Dawn (1877) and the politics of punishment in an age of nationalism and empire.

On the afternoon of 19 November 1877, an unprepossessing 56-foot schooner, the Dawn (Utrenniaia zaria), anchored alongside the customs house on Vasil'evskii Island in St. Petersburg. An excited crowd of onlookers had gathered to catch a glimpse of the ship, her crew, and her cargo. (1) The sailboat had just completed the first ever successful maritime voyage from the Enisei River in eastern Siberia, through the Kara Sea and the Barents Sea, around the northern coast of Scandinavia to Varde, and then by way of Christiana (Oslo), Stockholm, and Helsingfors (Helsinki) to the Russian capital. By common consensus in Russia and abroad, this was a prodigious feat of seamanship: a half-decked sailboat without a keel and with a crew of only five had navigated the ice floes and storms of the Kara and Barents seas, both barely charted and notoriously dangerous waters. The ship had already enjoyed a triumphal passage through coastal towns and cities of Norway, Sweden, and the Kingdom of Finland--where it had been enthusiastically received by crowds of well-wishers, its crew celebrated in the national press and treated to feasts in their honor.

Yet by the time the Dawn reached the Customs House on Vasil'evskii Island, it bore only four of the five crew members who had set out from the Enisei River on 9 August. Andrei Ivanovich Tsybulenko was absent, as Sankt-Peterburgskie vedomosti dryly noted, "for reasons beyond his control." (2) Tsybulenko had been arrested that morning when the ship docked in the naval base of Kronshtadt following a tip off from the Russian consul in Christiana. Tsybulenko was, it had emerged, an exile from Eniseisk province, who had illegally made the passage from Siberia back to European Russian and was, therefore, a fugitive from justice. On orders from the minister of the interior, he was taken into custody and detained in the Kronshtadt fortress. The authorities intended to deport Tsybulenko overland back to Eniseisk province, where he was to remain in exile for the rest of his life. Yet by January 1878, Tsybulenko had been released from custody, had received an official pardon from Mexander II and awards and commendations from the influential Imperial Society for the Advancement of Russian Merchant Shipping (hereafter Society for Merchant Shipping) and the Ministry of Trade. This remarkable succession of reversals of fortune--from exile in eastern Siberia to member of a celebrity crew of intrepid seamen, prisoner of the state in Kronshtadt, then pardoned fugitive--stands at the intersection of the conflicting purposes of Siberian exile. Shifting official and public perceptions of the nature of the Siberian landmass itself underlay the twin and ultimately irreconcilable imperatives of punishment and colonization. From the middle of the 19th century, the established image of frozen, inhospitable wasteland, destined to act as a place of banishment for the empire's criminals, would be subject to increasingly vocal and persuasive challenges. Leading figures in Russia's scientific and entrepreneurial communities began to argue for a redefinition of Siberia as a rich economic colony, neglected by the state and crippled by the exile system but harboring a wealth of natural resources that were only awaiting exploration and development. Their arguments, with their implicit challenge to the very existence of Siberian exile, would be laid bare in the tale of Andrei Tsybulenko.

Colonization versus Punishment in Siberia

Officially, colonization and punishment were compatible, and their ostensible compatibility was embedded in the very nature of the exile system. The Speranskii reforms of 1822 had envisioned the eventual exiles' and penal laborers' conversion into disciplined and motivated settlers who would populate Siberia and bind it to Russia with their culture and their industry. As Andrew Gentes has demonstrated in a forensic examination of the exile system in the first half of the 19th century, however, the reality of the exile system--one of chaos and underfunding--made a mockery of such ambitions. (3) Official disquiet was mounting about the costs, the inefficiency, and the wholly brutalizing and disruptive effects of disgorging hundreds of thousands of exiles into Siberia. Report after report and commission after commission stressed the almost intolerable burden the exiles--deracinated, destitute, often sick or crippled, and frequently hardened criminals--were imposing on the native population of Siberia and the voluntary migrants who had settled there. (4) Regional governors and government inspectors repeatedly lamented the ways in which the exile system was not merely failing properly to develop the untapped potential of Siberia but was actively impeding the colonization of the continent by the genuine settlers, the Siberian peasantry. These officials, often very clear-sighted about the contradictions inherent in a policy of penal colonization, argued for a range of reforms, from restricting the numbers being exiled, to a complete abolition of Siberian exile. One of their principal arguments came to be that the exiles were significantly impeding the economic development of Siberia and, by extension, of the empire as a whole. One notable commission, headed by General Adjutant Nikolai Nikolaevich Annenkov (1799-1865), in 1851 recommended that exile to settlement be abolished in favor of penal labor in which the convicts would be held exclusively in prisons, forts, and factories. (5)

By the middle of the 19th century, these arguments were seeping out into the public sphere and were taken up in a range of publications denouncing the dysfunctions of the exile system. (6) One of the system's leading chroniclers, Nikolai Mikhailovich Iadrintsev (1842-94), published a devastating critique in 1872 that exploded the official myths about the colonial and rehabilitative benefits of exile. Iadrintsev argued that the exile system effectively sent hundreds of thousands of unproductive, violent criminals to Siberia who then became parasites on the local population before "dying out without a trace." (7) By the end of the 1870s, Siberian towns were themselves in full cry, loudly protesting the debilitating effects of the exile population thrust upon them by the state. The Chita town duma in eastern Siberia lamented in 1881 that the "most unsuitable element is dispatched to us, the most hardened criminals, who ... are settled without any agreement on the part of the agricultural communities, and each of us knows that the only benefits this element ... brings to the society and to the region as a whole--apart from debauchery, drunkenness, and the science of crime itself--is evil." (8) Commerce rather than punishment, these protagonists argued, would promote the development of Siberia.

Why then did the tsarist regime persist with the use of a penal regime that was so manifestly damaging to the economy and society of Siberia? Part of the answer lies in bureaucratic inertia and the perceived increased costs that would be occasioned by the construction of an alternative: a prison system to house European Russia's malefactors in European Russia. Yet the answer is also that in both the official and the public imagination, Siberia remained a vast and inhospitable wasteland essentially unsuited to development as an economic colony, let alone one that might successfully be integrated into European Russia.

It was not ever thus. Mark Bassin has traced the evolution of conflicting perceptions of Siberia across the 18th and first half of the 19th centuries. He has argued that by the end of the 18th century, most Russians west of the Urals saw Siberia as a "mercantile colony of the Russian state," a view that correlated directly with Russia's newfound identity as a "colonial empire"; "as part of the blossoming of Russia's imperial regime under Catherine the Great (1762-96), the colonial glory of Siberia reached its apogee." (9) Comparing Siberian rivers such as the Lena to the Nile, for example, Mikhail Lomonosov dedicated odes to the natural riches of the country and declared in the early 1760s that "Siberia will foster the growth of Russian imperial grandeur," while Catherine herself envisioned Siberia as a "self-sufficient colonial realm." (10) Yet by the dawn of the 19th century, much of Siberia's alluring luster and the colonial optimism it sustained had dimmed.

If Siberia's significance as an economic colony was diminishing, its status as a penal colony was increasing. The fur trade, which had driven expansion eastward in the 16th and 17th centuries, had begun to decline precipitously, while the metallurgical works pioneered under Peter the Great could not match the economic importance of that "soft gold." (11) Over the course of the first half of the 19th century, Siberia turned into a vast dumping ground for individuals whose presence in European Russia the authorities deemed either socially or politically undesirable. Bassin has detailed how "the generous vision of Siberia as a 'gold mine' was gone for the Russian government as well as for much of the Russian educated public, replaced by a menacing picture of a vast Asiatic wasteland of barren, snowy expanses and frozen tundra." (12) One Arctic explorer commented in 1830 that the "very name [of Siberia] is enough to terrorize a Russian, who sees there only inexorable separation from his homeland, a vast dungeon, inescapable and eternal." (13) In an article titled "Observations on the Trade Relations between Siberia and Russia," published in Otechestvennye zapiski in 1841, the soldier and publicist Nikolai Borisovich Gersevanov (1809-71) aptly summarized the baleful and pessimistic image of the Siberian continent that had taken hold in the popular imagination. Gersevanov dwelt on the inaccessibility of Siberia to trade routes: "as long as the current laws of nature obtain in our world, the mouths of the Ob' and Lena will be blocked up with ice." (14) He concluded that Siberia's "climate, geographical location, physical composition, industry, the state of its trade, the primitive nature of the countries on its southern borders, all convince us that it is long destined to remain a desert." Russia's prospects would be improved, he added, if a real body of water were to replace the "ocean of snow" of Siberia, as it would at least facilitate maritime trade with the Far East. (15) These images of Siberia--icebound and impenetrable--would be subject to radical revision in the 1860s and 1870s and provide some context for the public impact of the voyage of the Dawn. The opening of a sea route to eastern Siberia would prove momentous in changing perceptions of the relationship between Siberia and European Russia, forging both real and imaginative links between them. (16)

Impenetrability was not, however, without its benefits. For many conservatives in government, the primeval backwardness of the Siberian landmass was the very guarantor of its success as a "vast prison without a roof." (17) Nicholas I's long-serving minister of foreign affairs and leading conservative statesman in the Holy Alliance, Karl Vasil'evich Nesselrode (1780-1861), expressed skepticism about the merits of annexing the Amur on the grounds that it would render the Pacific too accessible to the exile population: "Up to that time, remote Siberia had been for us a deep sack into which we tossed our social sins in the form of exiles and penal laborers and so on. With the annexation of the Amur, the bottom of this net would be torn open and our convicts might be offered a broad field for escape along the Amur to the Pacific." (18) Yet Nesselrode and other opponents of development were fighting a losing battle to keep Siberia isolated. Bassin, Nathaniel Knight, and Claudia Weiss have all argued that a fundamental reorientation of public interest in Siberia took place in the mid-19th century. Impelled by the humiliation of defeat in the Crimean War, nationalist sentiment prompted the educated classes to turn away from Europe and look to Siberia as a site for imperial economic exploration, expansion, and influence. (19) In so doing, they were effectively aligning themselves with 18th-century colonial views of the continent.

Central to this "discovery" of Siberia as a bountiful Russian colony in the mid-19th century were the empire's flourishing voluntary associations, which became public champions of ethnographic, geographical, geological, and commercial exploration. Driven by a combination of patriotic, scientific, and entrepreneurial interests, these societies came to play an increasingly prominent role in shaping public debate about Russia's colonial mission in Siberia. (20) Organizations such as the Imperial Russian Geographical Society (hereafter Geographical Society), founded in 1845, were animated by a nationalist desire to see Russia fulfill its imperial destiny in Siberia, to tap the boundless natural resources of the continent, and to establish itself as a great imperial power to rival the British and the French. (21) The vice-president of the Geographical Society, Mikhail Nikolaevich Murav'ev (1796-1866), declared to his members in 1850: "Of the numerous parts of Russia there is, without doubt, no other region in which studies would be of such practical and even of state interest than Siberia, which conceals in its depths such productive forces, waiting only for man's enterprising hand to transform them into a never-ending source of richness for the state and the Russian people." (22) Sharing this patriotic agenda but more avowedly commercial in their orientation were the Society for the Advancement of Russian Trade and Industry (hereafter Society for Trade and Industry), founded in 1867, and the Society for Merchant Shipping, founded in 1873. In 1879, the latter offered something of a mission statement, which captured the importance of maritime exploration and the development of Russian shipping for the wealth and the prestige of the empire:

   Our society has appeared after two centuries [after Russia became a
   maritime power] and has set itself the task of advancing Peter's
   cause. It seeks to dispel a long-standing dominant belief that has
   impeded the development of our fatherland's maritime significance:
   the belief that Russia is an exclusively continental power,
   deprived of the possibility of having its own shipping in the
   oceans, that we should sit by the sea and wait in time of peace for
   goods to be brought to us and taken from us while we all the while
   pay for the service. (23)

All three associations championed an alternative vision of Siberia as a site of great natural riches, if only the human and technological resources could be successfully deployed to mine them. All three saw the establishment of trade routes between Siberia and European Russia as a sine qua non of Siberian development. And all three would come to play an important role in the fate of Andrei Tsybulenko.

A member of each one, Mikhail Konstantinovich Sidorov (1823-87) was a millionaire industrialist, merchant of the first guild, explorer, and ethnographer who made a signal contribution to the development of eastern Siberia in the 1860s and 1870s. (24) Sidorov was a man of expansive interests and of means sufficient to pursue them. Having married into a wealthy Siberian merchant family in 1858, he developed extensive commercial gold and graphite mining operations in eastern Siberia. Yet beyond his obvious commercial interest in the development of Siberia, Sidorov was committed to the well-being and development of the Russian North and was the author of several books and articles on the region, its native peoples, wildlife, and mineral resources. (25) In the late 1860s and 1870s, Sidorov sponsored a number of attempts by Norwegians and English explorers to navigate the waters of the Barents and Kara seas, and in 1869 he offered the princely sum of 14,000 rubles to the captain of the first vessel that could transport some of his graphite out of the Enisei River. (26) Sidorov was convinced of the possibilities of using commerce to drive forward the colonization of Siberia, and by the mid-1860s he was actively lobbying senior figures in the Siberian administration to adopt trade-friendly policies. He published a pamphlet in 1864 titled "The Possibility of Settling Northern Siberia by Means of Industry and Trade and on the Development of Siberia's External Trade," which he presented to the governor of Tobol'sk, the governor-general of western Siberia, and the minister of finance. Sidorov argued for the necessity of constructing a merchant fleet and for the introduction of a favorable tax regime for enterprises in Siberia and for the transformation of existing factories and mining industries. (27)

In 1875-76, Sidorov organized an expedition to attempt the navigation of the Enisei River in eastern Siberia via the Kara and Barents seas, around northern Scandinavia to St. Petersburg. The successful opening of commercial navigation would enable him more easily to export his graphite to Europe (the Trans-Siberian Railway was still a distant prospect and Siberia's roads were, as ever, notorious), but he had a wider ambition to promote the economic activity of eastern Siberia by opening up new trade routes, q-his was not the first attempt at the perilous voyage. Ships had successfully reached the Enisei and Ob' rivers before from the Kara Sea, but as yet no vessel had managed to complete the journey from eastern Siberia to European Russia. (28) The difference was significant. Penetration into Siberia from European Russia was all about exploration, the movement of shipping from eastern Siberia back to the capital implied boundless commercial opportunities. In Siberia, enterprise was a patriotic endeavor.

A broader international context also shaped the public's response to the voyage. The Dawn finally sailed down the Neva against the international backdrop of the Russo-Turkish War, and Russian society was in the grip of an almost jubilant, patriotic mood. In November 1877, Russian forces in the Balkans were laying siege to Pleven and successfully captured the fortress of Kars in one of the decisive battles of the conflict. (29) The pages of the Russian press were full of reports from the theater of war, disseminating a mood of patriotic optimism across the empire. "Ibis new-found imperial self-confidence, coming as it did a mere 20 years after Russia's crushing humiliation in Crimea, formed an important backdrop to the public resonance of a tale of human endeavor in the far-flung icy waters of the Arctic Ocean. (30)

"Nash Vostok" (Our East) was an ongoing preoccupation of Alexander II's Russia. The assimilation of Siberia was central to the prosecution of the empire's commercial and strategic interests in the Far East. A year before the sailing of the Dawn, Nikolai Mikhailovich Przhevalskii (1839-88) embarked on his second expedition to Inner Asia, a mission that embraced scientific but also strategic goals. (31) Plans for the Trans-Siberian Railway were laid during the 1870s, and its construction was postponed until the 1890s only due, in large part, to the costs incurred in the Russo-Turkish War. (32) Tile need to explore a sea passage between St. Petersburg and the Far East was further heightened by Alexander II's government's unpopular decision in 1867 to sell Alaska to the United States, which had created a public backlash. Ministers were accordingly eager to show the state's sponsorship of Siberian exploration and foster entrepreneurship as a way of putting the controversy behind them. An unforeseen consequence of the sale of Russia's North American colonies was the rapid decline of the road network in northeastern Siberia (these highways had previously been maintained by the Russian-American Company as a transport route for both goods and people to and from Alaska). Against this background, the opening of maritime routes in and out of eastern Siberia acquired great practical as well as symbolic significance. (33)

Finally, the European powers' incipient "Scramble for Africa" was offering an object lesson in the link between exploration, colonization, economic power, and imperial prestige (for example, the Russian press carried stories of Stanley's encounter with Livingstone in the autumn of 1877). The voyage of the Dawn was evidence to the public that the Russian Empire, like its British and French rivals, was no slouch when it came to the exploration and economic development of annexed territories of its own. It was in this context that the broader imaginative canvas of Siberia as a colony harboring a wealth of untapped resources, which could be ever further integrated into the economy and society of European Russia itself, infused Tsybulenko's escape with significance beyond the heroism of the voyage.

The Voyage

A brief sketch of the details of the voyage of the Dawn from the Enisei River to St. Petersburg in the autumn of 1877 is in order here, primarily because the arguments advanced by those who would later lobby for Tsybulenko's release and pardon made substantial use of this narrative. This account draws largely on that of the ship's captain, David Ivanovich Shvanenberg (1831-1900), written after the vessel's successful completion of the voyage in the autumn of 1877, first in his report to Sidorov and then presented to the wider public. (34) This was the account that filled the pages of the Scandinavian, British, and Russian press and echoed through the halls of the Geographical Society, the Society for Merchant Shipping, and the Society for Trade and Industry after the ship's arrival in the Russian capital.

In 1876, Sidorov ordered the construction in the town of Eniseisk of a 90-foot oceangoing clipper, Northern Lights (Severnoe siianie), from Petr Andreev Boiling, the only shipbuilder capable of constructing such a vessel on the Enisei River. Sidorov charged Shvanenberg with captaining the ship, loaded with Sidorov's graphite, out of the mouth of the Enisei River and into the Kara Sea, through the Kara Strait and the Barents Sea, around the northern coast of Scandinavia, and on to St. Petersburg. When Shvanenberg arrived overland in Eniseisk in June 1876 with Finnish First Mate Gusztav Adolf Numelin and found that no sailors were available, he was obliged to put together a crew from local workmen with no experience of sailing. The ship finally set sail out of the Enisei River and into the Kara Sea on 6 September 1876 but soon encountered ice and storms, which tore the sail and forced the vessel back into the river. Shvanenberg took the decision to leave the ship for the winter in the Lesser-Brekhovsk Islands in the mouth of the Enisei and to return to St. Petersburg, having failed to find the materials locally to repair the sail and re-equip the Northern Lights. Shvanenberg left Numelin and the other three members of the crew--Chesnokov, Tabukrin, and Korotkov--to maintain the ship through the winter months in preparation for another attempt at the voyage the following summer. Shvanenberg had arranged for them to receive provisions from the nearest settlement, 150 kilometers away from the ship. The provisions were, however, never delivered; and Numelin and his companions were left to fend for themselves for more than six months.

By the time Shvanenberg was able to organize a group of men to reach the vessel on 29 April 1877, they came across a pitiful scene. Korotkov and Tabukrin had died of scurvy; Chesnokov had been eaten by wolves; and Numelin, who had managed to fend off the predators while caring for his sick companions with the assistance of the ship's four Siberian dogs, was in a state of delirium. The rescue party comprised another ship's mate, an Estonian, named Eduard Manuilov Meivald't and one Andrei Ivanovich Tsybulenko in addition to two local hunters who had agreed to help Meivald't and Tsybulenko locate the Northern Lights from the town of Dudinka, some 360 kilometers away. The rescuers saved Numelin but were unable to do the same for the ship. Confronted with temperatures that dropped on 12 November 1876 to -46C and were still registering at -14C on 5 May 1877, the stricken crew had been unable to keep the ship free of snow and ice. When the ice finally began to break up on 6 June, the Enisei began to flood, while the ship remained trapped and crushed by the weight of the ice. Numelin and his four companions were forced to take shelter on the roof of the hut on the bank of the river in which Numelin had spent the winter. There they remained trapped for eight days on a surface measuring 4 square meters, working in shifts to fend off the ice floes (the waters rose to within 30 centimeters of the roof), while the river flooded for 30 kilometers in every direction.

Shvanenberg, meanwhile, had obtained the equivalent of a blank check from Sidorov to commission the construction of as many replacement vessels as were necessary, "as long as I didn't return to Petersburg overland." (35) Having completed his own perilous voyage through the Siberian forests, he finally reached the badly damaged Northern Lights on 16 July and supervised the evacuation of the ship. Only when making their way down the river did the party encounter a river barge, the Ibis, which was transporting the crew of another stranded vessel, the Thames, under the captaincy of an Englishman, Joseph Wiggins, towards the River Ob'. (36) Shvanenberg and his crew declined Wiggins's offer to travel with them to the Ob' and from there to board a steamer back to London. Crucially, Wiggins's own English crew had declined to sail with him beyond the Ob' on the river barge. Shvanenberg and his new crew were not so easily dissuaded and agreed to purchase the barge from Wiggins in order to convert it into a vessel capable of making the journey they had originally intended to St. Petersburg. Shvanenberg and his crew unloaded what remained of the cargo of the Northern Lights into the Ibis and then spent two weeks in July adapting the vessel with the help of the Siberian natives. They renamed the ship the Dawn.

Significant for subsequent assessments of their voyage, the ship was essentially unsuited to the open seas. Only 56 feet long and 14 feet wide, it had no keel, only a half-deck, was badly equipped with navigational instruments and almost incapable of sailing against the wind. It was, however, a product of Siberia itself, built with local expertise. Able to find only one replacement sailor, Kuzik, from Finland, Shvanenberg turned to Tsybulenko, who also had never before sailed, as the fifth member of the crew.

Andrei Tsybulenko was an exile to Siberia. A former army scribe in the 72nd Tula Infantry Regiment, he had been convicted by a military court in Riazan" on 10 September 1873 of "drunkenness, offending his sergeant major with foul language, and manifesting disobedience and a lack of respect to his infantry commander." (37) He was stripped of all rights and property and sentenced to four years in the Smolensk military-correctional battalion "from where, due to his inability to work, [he was] exiled to Siberia to settlement" in 1875. (38) Banished to Verkhnepashenskoe village, in Ust'-Tungusskaia volost', Eniseisk province, Tsybulenko received a permit to seek work more widely in the province in April 1876 and thereafter effectively dropped off the authorities' radar, only to reappear a year later in the rescue party that saved Numelin. (39) As an exile, Tsybulenko was forbidden from ever returning to European Russia, and this was a fact of which Shvanenberg was aware (assisting an escape would have made the captain an accessory). So Shvanenberg came up with the following solution: "I convinced Tsybulenko to sail with us only as far as Baideratskaia Bay [on the shores of Tobol'sk province], whence he could easily reach Obdorsk, and then travel up the Ob' River back to Eniseisk province." (40) The plan was to replace Tsybulenko with one of the natives from the shore, whose seafaring skills both Shvanenberg and Sidorov held in high regard.

Having made final preparations and taken on board, in addition to graphite, a number of artifacts from the local tribes of ethnographic interest in St. Petersburg, such as a shamanic skull and examples of the local wildlife, the Dawn set sail up the Enisei River from Gochikha on 9 August 1877. Navigation in the poorly charted waters of the mouth of the Enisei River proved very difficult, and on a number of occasions the ship almost ran aground. In the river delta the crew encountered an inbound Bremen-built steamer, the Frazer, whose Captain Dalman did his best to persuade them that their attempt in a small sailboat so manifestly unsuited to the dangerous waters of the Kara and Bering seas would be suicidal and offered them passage on his own ship. Once again, the crew resolutely declined the invitation, and the Dawn successfully sailed out into the Kara Sea. As it approached Baideratskaia Bay on 13 August, however, storms and heavy ice floes prevented the ship from reaching the shore and thus rendered impossible Tsybulenko's disembarkation. This was then a curious reversal of the traditional image of the Siberian taiga with its swamps, forests, freezing winters, and boundless distances, preventing exiles from making an arduous and perilous escape back to their native lands in European Russia. In Shvanenberg's narrative, Tsybulenko was, if anything, an unwitting and unwilling fugitive who had been cast out of Siberia by the very elements that normally held prisoner the continent's exiles.

The ship ploughed on through the Kara Sea and almost perished in the Kara Strait before navigating the Bering Sea and finally reaching the Norwegian port of Vardo on 31 August. Between the meeting with the Frazer and arrival in the Norwegian port, the Dawn had no sight of any other vessels. The ship then proceeded to circumnavigate the coast of Scandinavia, setting anchor in Tromso, Kristiansand, Christiana, Gothenburg, Stockholm, and Helsingfors before it finally reached St. Petersburg on 19 November.

The details of the voyage matter because they both explain the rapturous reception of the ship in Scandinavia and then in Russia, and because they form the backdrop to the furious lobbying with which Sidorov and his associates responded to Tsybulenko's arrest. The telegraph station in Vardo immediately began to broadcast news of the Dawn's intrepid voyage and the crew members were hailed as heroes in every Scandinavian town in which they docked. As news of the voyage spread, the tsar himself sent a message of congratulation to the chairman of the Society for Merchant Shipping, Count Aleksei Evgrafovich Komarovskii; and the Scandinavian and British press began to run with the story. (41)

In Christiana, Gothenburg, and Stockholm, police had been deployed to control the crowds of well-wishers who gathered on the quayside; the crew was feted by local dignitaries; and celebratory dinners were held in their honor. On their arrival in the Norwegian capital on 17 October, the crew was greeted by Russian Consul A. Tottermann, who invited all the Norwegian ministers to attend a dinner in honor of the ship and her captain. The consuls of England, Germany, and France also held separate dinners to celebrate the crew's achievement. Tottermann's response to the arrival of the ship was not, however, confined to raising champagne flutes and proposing toasts. On 28 October, he wrote to the Department of Trade at the Ministry of Finance, giving a brief account of the fate of the Northern Lights and its crew and reporting: "I consider it my duty to report to the Department in advance the presence of an exile, Tsybulenko, onboard the schooner Dawn." (42)

The news was passed on to the Ministry of the Interior, which responded with an instruction on 11 November to both the military governor of Kronshtadt and the governor of St. Petersburg to arrest Tsybulenko and arrange "his overland deportation back to Siberia" as soon as the Dawn arrived in the capital. Clearly embarrassed and irritated by the presence of an exile on board a ship that was garnering such attention at home and abroad, Minister of the Interior Aleksandr Egorevich Timashev (1818-93) fired off a stinging letter to the chairman of the Council for the Administration of Eastern Siberia, asking "whether your Excellency might find it possible, dear Sir, to issue the necessary decrees to prevent any further such voluntary leaves of absence on the part of the exiles of Siberia." (43) This instruction was issued while the ship was pulling into the harbor of Stockholm, just as news of the voyage was beginning to fill the pages of the Russian press.

The Arrest and the Lobbying

When the Dawn docked at the Russian naval base of Kronshtadt on the morning of 19 November, Tsybulenko was arrested and taken down to the cells of the fortress. With the rest of his crew, Shvanenberg sailed on to St. Petersburg, "anxious that perhaps a similar fate awaited me, if the Dawn were suspected of the deliberate transfer of exiles." Shvanenberg's doubts were quickly dispelled by his warm welcome by the director of the Customs House, Nikolai Aleksandrovich Kachalov (1818-91), and by an inspection of his boat by Minister of Transport Konstantin Nikolaevich Pos'et (1819-99) himself. There then followed a dinner at Kachalov's residence attended "by many admirals." As Shvanenberg later recalled "no Russian skipper had seen the likes of such a reception in Russia since, of course, the glorious days of Peter I and Catherine II." (44)

It was into this perverse set of contradictions--the ship's crew celebrated by senior figures within the imperial government and navy while Tsybulenko languished in a prison cell--that Mikhail Sidorov stepped, marshaling his forces for what would prove to be a sustained campaign, not only for Tsybulenko's release from custody but also for his eventual pardon by the emperor. Central to the arguments that Sidorov and his allies would deploy was a reinvigorated image of Siberia as a vast and wealthy colonial territory whose riches could be unlocked by the daring and endeavor of patriotic men like Shvanenberg and Tsybulenko. The image of Siberia as Russia's imperial destiny was thus pitched against the established but eroding image of the continent as a vast prison from which escape was an act of social and political defiance.

On the very day the ship finally dropped anchor on Vasil'evskii Island in St. Petersburg, as soon as Sidorov learned from Shvanenberg of Tsybulenko's detention, he wrote a letter to Timashev, appealing to the minister to revoke the arrest warrant. The petition was an artful example of political manipulation and appealed to a newly reinvigorated spirit of colonial enterprise in Siberia. Sidorov wrote as a "member of the boards of the Imperial Societies for the Advancement of Russian Trade and Industry and for the Advancement of Russian Merchant Shipping, Court Counselor Sidorov." He began by pointing out the patriotic value of the ship's cargo of wood, graphite, malachite, skeletons, native clothing and so on: "This cargo is intended for distribution among learned societies and the graphite for steel works and the casting of cannons." He then went on to argue that Shvanenberg had left no stone unturned in his search for replacement members of the crew.

Even after extensive advertising, and with the assistance of the St. Petersburg Branch of the Society for Merchant Shipping, he had only been able to find a single sailor, Kuzik, willing to accompany him on the voyage. Going on to contradict Shvanenberg's own statements and seemingly to ignore the evidence of Shvanenberg's extensive correspondence with him in flawless Russian, Sidorov claimed that it was only during the voyage that the captain, "who knew little Russian, discovered that Tsybulenko had recently been exiled to settlement in Turkhanskii krai and forbidden from entering Russian provinces." (45) Sidorov then turned to Tsybulenko's crucial role in the success of the voyage:

   Shvanenberg took Tsybulenko only out of dire need, having been
   unable to find another suitable seaman in the empire capable of
   sailing between the ice floes, and because it would have been
   impossible to embark on such a long and unknown voyage through the
   Arctic Ocean without him. Tsybulenko's bravery and dependability
   provided the opportunity not only to sail across the seas but also
   to deliver to St. Petersburg the graphite for the casting of
   cannons. It therefore becomes clear that Tsybulenko's achievements
   are extremely important. In response to this voyage the emperor
   sent a telegram ... to the chairman of the Society for the
   Advancement of Merchant Shipping, Count Komarovskii, congratulating
   him on the great event of the opening of a sea route between
   Siberia and Europe. (46)

As if the personal endorsement of Alexander II were not enough, Sidorov proceeded to set the crew's achievement in a historical perspective that effectively transcended the primacy of the policies of the current government: "The opening of a maritime route out of the Enisei and Ob" Rivers to Europe is something that has occupied six emperors: Peter the Great, Anna Ivanovna, Catherine the Great, Alexander I, Nicholas I, and Alexander II. Yet all those sent forth by these emperors failed." (47) In the context of such an auspicious imperial genealogy of maritime exploration, Sidorov was effectively implying that even if the present government did not understand the grandness of the undertaking, its predecessors had.

To underline the scale of the achievement, Sidorov quoted one of the founders of the Geographical Society and a fellow member of the Imperial Free Economic Society, the eminent Arctic explorer Fedor Petrovich Litke (1797-1882), who had written to Sidorov in 1863 that "the opening of a sea route from the Enisei to Europe was impossible." (48) In the letter, which Sidorov attached, Litke went on to concede that "only expeditions equipped in England, where in the last half-century entire generations of sailors have appeared who are specialists in Arctic seafaring" might stand a chance of navigating out of the Enisei River and into the Kara Sea. (49)

Having established that the crew of the Dawn had shown themselves more than equal to the greatest seafaring nation in the world, Sidorov went on to emphasize their rapturous reception in the towns and cities of Norway and Sweden. Banquets were held in their honor and "Andrei Tsybulenko was praised for his courage and valor in seafaring, which had served the glory of our nation." The voyage had also filled columns in Swedish, Finnish, German, and other newspapers. Sidorov then made his appeal to Timashev for Tsybulenko's release and pardon in terms that were unabashed in their invocation of nationalist fervor and imperialist pride:

   Andrei Tsybulenko ... was one of the causes of Russia's current
   glory in merchant shipping and has decorated with yet another
   important feat the history of the reign of Our Tsar-Liberator.
   Accordingly, I make so bold as to humbly request your most merciful
   injunction to keep Tsybulenko from a prison cell and exile for his
   involuntary violation, as a result of storms and sea winds over
   which he had no control, of the laws on exiles to order that
   Tsybulenko be given a permit to travel to his place of residence
   and, if necessary, to turn him over to my custody. (50)

The Society for Merchant Shipping would be especially delighted, Sidorov declared, if the minister agreed to intercede with the emperor to secure a pardon for Tsybulenko. (51)

Beyond these direct appeals to the minister, Sidorov (clearly alerted to the impending arrest even before the ship's arrival in Kronshtadt) had begun to lobby furiously among his contacts within the Ministry of the Interior. As soon as he learned of Tsybulenko's arrest from Shvanenberg on 19 November, he appealed for his release to Deputy Minister Lev Savich Makov (1830-83). Makov responded that Sidorov could indeed take charge of the sailor "until further instructions are issued." (52) On 21 November, the prisoner was turned over to the city police in the capital and thence to Sidorov. (53) Within two days, therefore, Tsybulenko had been released from custody into a kind of legal limbo, while his fate was being decided within the upper echelons of the imperial government.

But not only within the government. Events beyond the direct control of ministers were meanwhile unfolding very rapidly. Even before the Dawn had reached St. Petersburg, the Russian press had picked up news of its voyage from the Scandinavian papers. On 18 and 19 November, Golos gave a detailed account of the ship's exploits, drawn from the reports in the Swedish and Finnish press. The newspaper dwelled on the extraordinary bravery of the crew, the tragic fate of the Northern Lights, the triumph of the Dawn, and the enthusiasm and admiration with which the ship was greeted on its passage through Scandinavia. (54) Birzhevye vedomosti reported on the celebrations surrounding the vessel's arrival in Stockholm. (55) Sankt-Peterburgskie vedomosti meanwhile shifted attention to the crowds that had gathered around the ship on Vasil'evskii Island to see the "brave sailors and their fragile little boat." (56) The newspaper emphasized both the commercial and the patriotic significance of the voyage: "The passage navigated from the Enisei to the shores of Europe by a little sailing boat shows the full possibility of establishing steamship navigation that connects the Enisei, and thereby virtually the whole of Siberia, with Europe by a cheap trade route. Where Wiggins blanched--that celebrated sailor of an enlightened nation that rules the waves--our Russian sailors did not falter." (57)

To an important extent then, the significance of a voyage undertaken by a Russian crew from one part of the empire to another was shaped by the response of foreign public opinion, q-hat is not to say that the significance of the Dawn's achievement would otherwise have been lost on the Russian public. Yet the fact that it had already resounded throughout the great Arctic seafaring nations of northern Europe, Russia's erstwhile maritime enemies and now trading partners and rivals, could only elevate the status of the voyage in the eyes of Russian contemporaries.

It was against this background of mounting public interest in the voyage of the Dawn that the members of the Society for Merchant Shipping gathered to celebrate the opening of a sea route between Siberia and the capital. Widely reported in the press, the eulogies flowed thick and fast. (58) The geographer Fedor Dmitrevich Studitskii (1814-93) declared: "Yes, you, the Dawn, will be a dawn for all Siberia and for our merchant fleet! We can boldly declare that navigating out of the Siberian rivers is a new dawn for Siberia! The sun is rising and will illuminate all of Siberia with its beneficent rays!" (59) Turning to the individual achievements of each of the five members of the crew, Studitskii addressed Tsybulenko, who "had been charged with the difficult task of managing the provisions for the six [sic] men on the roof of the hut and during the voyage .... Tsybulenko assisted with every effort the success of the enterprise and tirelessly performed all his duties." (60) When Sidorov took the floor at the same meeting he turned immediately to the fate of the exile, placing his arrest in a context that served to underline the apparent pettiness of the state's response to the voyage:

   No sooner had the sailing boat, buffeted by strong winds, reached
   Kronshtadt, than an officer appeared on board. The captain assumed
   that he had come to offer his congratulations for a successful
   navigation of 11,000 versts from the town of Eniseisk to
   Kronshtadt, but was immediately disappointed: the officer declared
   that he had been sent to arrest one of the two seamen, Andrei
   Tsybulenko, an exile to Siberia. (61)

Two narratives about Tsybulenko thus collided. The first was of a fugitive convict who had defied the will of the tsar and fled his place of exile; the second and much more powerful narrative was of an intrepid seaman who had executed a daring voyage from the heart of Siberia to European Russia, a feat with important implications for Russia's ability to develop and exploit the vast landmass to its east.

Sidorov reported that thanks to the intervention of Makov, Tsybulenko had been released into his custody "just as he was about to be dressed in a convict's uniform." (62) Shvanenberg would later conclude the slightly extended published version of his account with the same point in December 1877. (63) The detail was significant: photographs of the crew (which Sidorov later offered as a token of thanks to Makov) showed five barely distinguishable figures wrapped in furs, posing with their four Siberian dogs onboard the Dawn. Here was an image of collective and meritocratic endeavor, the exiled sailor and the captain dressed almost identically. (64) Clothing Tsybulenko once more in a convict's uniform would have been a stark reminder of his illegitimacy within the crew and within the wider society to which he had inadvertently returned.

Sidorov dwelt on both the achievement of the voyage and on its reception in Scandinavia and concluded by weaving Tsybulenko's story into one of great nationalist endeavor: "we can all see how important for us Russians were the achievements of the crew of the Dawn, and how indispensable for its voyage was Seaman Tsybulenko. I therefore ask whether you might find it possible, in view of all of that has been said about Tsybulenko's service, to ask the minister of the interior to apply to the emperor for Tsybulenko's pardon." (65) Within days, Sidorov's call had found its way into the pages of the Russian press. (66) On 27 November, Sidorov, Shvanenberg, and his crew appeared before the Society for Trade and Industry, where they were similarly showered with praise from an enthusiastic audience. (67) On 7 December, the story of the ship's voyage was discussed at a meeting of the most prestigious of all the empire's voluntary associations, the Geographical Society. (68) Before reading out Shvanenberg's by now almost canonical account of the voyage, Lieutenant Captain Konstantin Stepanovich Staritskii (1839-1909) inserted the expedition into a proud genealogy of Russian exploration: "in the history of the colonization of Siberia we encounter many instances of the selfless approach of Russians to the discovery of new lands and the forging of new paths for the development of the region." (69) At a crowded sitting on 4 January 1878, the St. Petersburg Branch of the Society for Merchant Shipping elected Shvanenberg and the two shipmates lifetime members and presented Kuzik and Tsybulenko with watches bearing a portrait of the tsar, the tsar who had yet to pardon Tsybulenko. (70)

Sidorov's calls for the various societies to lobby the government did not, meanwhile, go unheeded. On 10 December, the president of the Society for Merchant Shipping, Major General Aleksandr Iakovlevich Gezekhus (1814-81), wrote to Timashev. He recounted many of Sidorov's detailed arguments about the involuntary nature of Tsybulenko's escape, his "unimpeachable and excellent service" during the voyage, and asked that the minister seek his pardon. (71) Three days later, the president of the Society for Trade and Industry, Nikolai Ivanovich Pogrebov (1817-79), also wrote to Timashev. Pogrebov emphasized the "tremendous response which the voyage had elicited both at home and abroad" and the "enormously important service that the crew had rendered to trade and industry in our fatherland." He spoke of "Tsybulenko's personal sacrifice in the service of the state" in the "struggle with the privations and dangers of seafaring amid the ice of the polar seas" and asked the minister to intercede on Tsybulenko's behalf. (72) Both publicly and privately, those lobbying for Tsybulenko's pardon framed the daring nature of the voyage within a broader narrative of patriotic service to the state and to the economic development of Siberia. The voyage of the Dawn provided a platform from which the representatives of entrepreneurial and scientific interests in Russian society could underline the importance of Siberia to the future of the Russian Empire.

In a reflection of both Sidorov's personal influence and the mounting public attention drawn to Tsybulenko's case, senior figures within the government were moving swiftly to secure a pardon. On 15 December, Timashev wrote to Minister of War Dmitrii Alekseevich Miliutin (1816-1912), notifying him of his intention to request a pardon. (73) Miliutin replied on 8 January 1878 that "in view of the fact that Tsybulenko was taken onboard the schooner Dawn only out of dire necessity, and that his service did much to make possible the successful navigation by sailboat from eastern Siberia to St. Petersburg, for my part, I see no obstacles to a petition to the tsar for a full pardon."74 Timashev duly took the case to Alexander II on 13 January, and the tsar granted the exile a full pardon, gave him permission to join one of the taxpaying communities (podatnye obshchestva), and even had him presented with a silver medal bearing the inscription "for diligence" to be worn on the breast on a Stanislas Ribbon. (75) This demonstration of clemency was, of course, well within the established traditions of autocratic paternalism. It enabled the tsar to demonstrate humanity and offer a corrective to an apparent injustice without actually addressing the fundamental iniquities of the exile system. (76)

It took a further week for the pardon to be passed down to the city police. On 22 January 1878, Sidorov was able to sign for Tsybulenko's official release. (77) On 1 February, Tsybulenko signed for a copy of his release papers "Former exile Andrei Ivanovich Tsybulenko." (78)


Tsybulenko's case offers a lens onto the changing political culture of the Russian Empire in the reign of Alexander II. The channels through which Sidorov prosecuted his campaign for a pardon reveal a great deal about the changing nature of political authority and the shifting relations between the state and the public in the postreform era. Initially (and probably most importantly), Sidorov turned to tried and tested means of personal lobbying, using his own influence among senior figures in the tsarist government to press for a pardon. Yet Tsybulenko's benefactor was clearly unconvinced that private lobbying alone would win the day and so drafted the support of the voluntary associations of which he was a member. With their imperial patrons, eminent members, and patriotic agendas, these associations had channels of influence that reached deep into government ministries. Their presidents were well-positioned to make arguments about the national significance of the Dawn's voyage that could only bolster Sidorov's private petition. Yet beyond their institutional interface with the government, the Society for Merchant Shipping, the Society for Trade and Industry, and the Geographical Society also offered a platform from which Sidorov could appeal to a wider public, which read the reports of their discussions not only in the thick journals but also in the daily press, The shifting relations among the autocracy, enterprise, and civil society were laid bare in the channels through which Sidorov would seek to pressure the government into granting Tsybulenko a full pardon.

It is true that senior figures in the government were clearly sympathetic to the arguments marshaled by Sidorov in his bid to secure Tsybulenko's freedom. Yet it is equally true that the government had taken the decision on 11 November summarily to deport an exile who had illegally made the journey back to Russia from Siberia. It is not that ministers were immune to the claims of patriotic pride and imperial endeavor. Rather, there seems to have been no initiative from within the government to recognize Tsybulenko's special status until Sidorov began to agitate on his behalf. In a testament to the growing influence of the public sphere in the 1870s, ministers found themselves scrambling to react to the avalanche of calls for Tsybulenko's release and pardon. In these terms, the case offers a litmus test of the growth of civil society. It demonstrates the combined power of voluntary associations and the popular press in shaping public opinion and ultimately government policy, for the reorientation in public perceptions of Siberia in the 1870s provides an important context for the acceleration of colonial policies in the late 1880s and 1890s. Laws encouraging the movement of settlers to state lands in 1889 and the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway in the 1890s were explicitly geared toward the deliberate projection of the industry and culture of the "Russian nation" into Siberia. (79)

In lobbying for a pardon, Sidorov and his allies clearly had much to work with, for Tsybulenko was no ordinary exile. The story of the ship's voyage down the Enisei River, out of the heart of eastern Siberia, was indeed breathtaking in its near suicidal bravery. Tsybulenko had given an excellent account of himself onboard the ship and had effectively become part of a celebrity crew, feted both at home and abroad. As one commentator writing a decade after the voyage observed: the "voyage on a semi-decked sailing boat was remarkable in every respect: (1) the boat was not, strictly speaking, an oceangoing ship; and (2) it was the first voyage from Siberia to Europe on a Siberian-made vessel." (80) Its romance and daring meant that Tsybulenko's advocates could cast his participation in the voyage as something that transcended the relatively inconsequential nature of his crime. Yet, crucially, they could also appeal to something much more significant than an inspirational feat of seamanship. Time and again, Sidorov and his allies underlined the patriotic and commercial significance of a voyage that offered up images of Siberian "wastelands" conquered, and nature herself tamed. The Dawn had shown that navigation out of eastern Siberia was indeed possible and that the harshness of the Siberian climate and geography could be overcome by human ingenuity, bravery, and endurance. Its success was an emphatic confirmation of the claims of those, like Sidorov, who were arguing for Siberia as a place of investment and development, rather than banishment and punishment.

Tsybulenko's journey on the Dawn from eastern Siberia to St. Petersburg and then from a prison cell to freedom thus presents a barometer of changing attitudes to Siberia itself in the mid-19th century. Tsybulenko's pardon became a minor cause celebre not only because the voyage had captured the public imagination both at home and abroad but also because the voyage cohered with a much broader shift in perceptions of Siberia. Civil society had begun to turn away from the image of a "vast open prison" to embrace one of a sprawling and rich colonial territory in which Russia could fulfill a noble colonial mission. (81) To reimprison and exile Tsybulenko once again to eastern Siberia would be, his supporters averred, to repudiate the value of his services not merely to the state and sovereign but, more important, to the Russian people in their desire to establish themselves as a great maritime nation and to vigorously pursue their commercial, scientific, and civilizing interests in Siberia.

The potent mood of nationalism in the reign of Alexander II lent these arguments affective and intellectual strength, allowing Sidorov and his associates in the various voluntary associations to ramp up the pressure on the government. Joseph Bradley has argued that in the mid-19th century "service to the monarch and to the state was soon overshadowed by a desire to serve Russia and the Russian people." (82) While careful to emphasize Tsybulenko's service to the state and tsar, his supporters nonetheless effectively appealed with greater emphasis to a higher court, that of the Russian nation. Tsybulenko's journey back to the capital of the empire that had banished him subverted the state's policy of using Siberia as a place of exile. With inescapable irony, Tsybulenko's service to the empire and to the Russian nation had led him to fall foul of the laws of the autocracy. Patriotic endeavor could imply defiance of the sovereign. His journey from a prison cell on Kronshtadt to freedom thus also exposed the tensions between an imperialist/nationalist project, on the one hand, and the tsarist regime, on the other. (83)

(1) Sankt-Peterburgskie vedomosti, 21 November 1877, no. 322, 2. All dates are provided using the Julian calendar.

(2) Ibid., 24 November 1877, no. 325, 3.

(3) Andrew Gentes, Exile to Siberia, 1590-1822 (Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave, 2008); Gentes, Exile, Murder, and Madness in Siberia, 1823-61 (Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave, 2010).

(4) On the government inquiries and audits that took place in the first half of the 19th century, see A. V. Remnev, Samoderzhavie i Sibir': Administrativnaia politika v pervoi polovine XIX v. (Omsk: Izdatel'stvo Omskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta, 1995), 161-97. On the tension between punishment and colonization, see also O. N. Bormikova, Sibir' tiuremnaia: Penitentsiarnaia sistema Zapadnoi Sibiri v 1801-1917 gg. (Tiumen': MVD, 1999); and Abby M. Schrader, "Unruly Felons and Civilizing Wives: Cultivating Marriage in the Siberian Exile System, 1822-1860," Slavic Review 66, 2 (2007): 230-56.

(5) See the excellent discussions of the commission of inquiry set up in 1847 and headed by General-Adjutant Annenkov in Aleksandr A. Vlasenko, "Ugolovnaia ssylka v Zapadnuiu Sibir' v politike Samoderzhaviia XIX veka" (Candidate of Sciences diss., Omsk State University, 2008), 163-77; and Gentes, Exile, Murder, and Madness, 68-71.

(6) "Arrestanty," Sovremennik, no. 11 (1863): 133-75; Sergei V. Maksimov, Sibir'i katorga, 3 vols. (St. Petersburg: Gubinskii, 1871).

(7) Nikolai M. Iadrintsev, Russkaia obshchina v tiur "me issylke (St. Petersburg: A. Morigerovskii, 1872), 582. See also Iadrintsev, Sibir'kak koloniia (St. Petersburg: M. M. Stasiulevich, 1882).

(8) Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi istoricheskii arkhiv (RGIA) f. 1287, op. 38, d. 2104 (1881), 1. 6.

(9) Mark Bassin, "Inventing Siberia: Visions of the Russian East in the Early Nineteenth Century," American Historical Review 96, 3 (1991): 767, 770.

(10) Mikhail V. Lomonosov, "Kratkoe opisanie raznykh puteshestvii po severnym moriam i pokazanie vozmozhnogo prokhodu sibirskim okeanam v Vostochnuiu Indiiu" (1762-63), in his Polnoe sobranie sochinenii, 11 vols. (Moscow-Leningrad: Akademiia nauk SSSR, 1950-83), 6:498. Quotes on 770.

(11) Raymond Henry Fisher, The Russian Fur Trade, 1550-1700 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1943); W. Bruce Lincoln, The Conquest of a Continent: Siberia and the Russians (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1994), 54-56.

(12) Bassin, "Inventing Siberia," 771.

(13) M. M. Gedenshtrom, Otryvki o Sibiri (St. Petersburg: Meditsinskii departament MVD, 1830), 4. Cited in Mark Bassin, Imperial Visions: Nationalist Imagination and Geographical Expansion in the Russian Far East, 1840-1865 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 61.

(14) Nikolai B. Gersevanov, "Zamechaniia o torgovykh omosheniiakh Sibiri k Rossii," Otechestvennye zapiski 14 (1841): 26.

(15) Ibid., 33-34, 30. See also Bassin, "Inventing Siberia," 771.

(16) For the related significance of the Russians' annexation of the Amur River basin in the 1850s, see Bassin, Imperial Visions, chap. 5.

(17) Iadrintsev, Sibir'kak koloniia, 165.

(18) I. Barsukov, Graf Nikolai Nikolaevich Murav'ev-Amurskii po ego pis'mam, ofitsial'nym dokumentam, rasskazam sovremennikov i pechatnym istochnikam, 2 vols. (Moscow: Sinodal'naia tipografiia, 1891), 1:670.

(19) Bassin, Imperial Visions; Clauda Weiss, me Siberien "unser" wurde: Die Russische Geographische Gesellschafi und ihr Einfluss auf die Bilder und Vorstellungen von Siberien im 19. Jahrhundert (Gottingen: V&R unipress, 2007); Nathaniel Knight, "Science, Empire, and Nationality: Ethnography in the Russian Geographical Society, 1845-1855," in Imperial Russia: New Histories for the Empire, ed. Jane Burbank and David L. Ransel (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998), 108-41.

(20) Joseph Bradley, Voluntary Associations in Tsarist Russia: Science, Patriotism, and Civil Society (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009); Elizabeth A. Hachten, "In Service to Science and Society: Scientists and the Public in Late Nineteenth-Century Russia," Osiris 17 (2002): 171-209.

(21) Knight, "Science, Empire, and Nationality"; Weiss, Wie Siberien "unser" wurde, chaps. 1-2; Bradley, Voluntary Associations in Tsarist Russia, chap. 3; Mark Bassin, "The Russian Geographical Society, the 'Amur Epoch,' and the Great Siberian Expedition, 1855-1863," Annals of the Association of American Geographers 73, 2 (1983): 240-56.

(22) Otchet Imperatorskogo russkogo geograficheskogo obshchestva za 1850 g. (St. Petersburg: Weimar, 1851), 43.

(23) Izvestiia obshchestva dlia sodeistviia russkomu torgovomu morekhodstvu, no. 1 (1879): 13. On the history of the organization in the 1870s and 1880s, see Dvadtsatipiatiletniaia deiatel 'nost' S.-Peterburgskogo otdeleniia Imperatorskogo obshchestva dlia sodeistviia russkomu torgovomu morekhodstvu (St. Petersburg: Gol'dberg, 1900).

(24) On Sidorov, see the special issue devoted to his activities: Izvestiia obshchestva dlia sodeistviia russkomu torgovomu morekhodstvu, no. 21 (1889): 1-95; and V. N. Korolev, Rossii bespokoinyi grazhdanin (Moscow: Komi knizhnoe izdatel'stvo, 1987).

(25) For a sample of Sidorov's extensive publications, see M. I. Sidorov, Sever Rossii (St. Petersburg: Pochtovoe delo, 1870); Sidorov, O bogatstvakh severnykh okrain Sibiri i narodov tam kochuiushchikh (St. Petersburg: Merkul'ev, 1873); and Sidorov, Trudy dlia oznakomleniia s severom Rossii (St. Petersburg: D. I. Shemetkin, 1882).

(26) K. Staritskii, "Ocherk istorii plavaniia po Karskomu moriu i ust'iam Eniseiia i Obi," Izvestiia Imperatorskogo russkogo geograficheskogo obshcheswa, no. 6 (1877): 435. On the history of Arctic navigation, see V. Iu. Vize, Moria sovetskoi Arktiki (Moscow: Glavsevmorput', 1939); and Lincoln, Conquest of a Continent, chap. 14.

(27) M. K. Sidorov, Proekt o vozmozhnosti zaseleniia severa Sibiri putem promyshlennosti i torgovli i o razvitii vneshnei torgovli Sibiri (Tobol'sk: Tipografiia gubernskogo pravleniia, 1864).

(28) Lincoln, Conquest of a Continent, 107-21.

(29) On the history of the conflict, see M. Hakan Yavuz and Peter Sluglen, eds., War and Diplomacy: The Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878 and the Treaty of Berlin (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2012).

(30) On the significance of the Crimean War and its aftermath, see Orlando Figes, Crimea (London: Allen Lane, 2011). On the Russians' newfound enthusiasm for Asia in the wake of the Crimean defeat, see David Schimmelpenninck van der Oye, Russian Orientalism: Asia in the Russian Mind from Peter the Great to the Emigration (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010), 229-40. Both books were reviewed in Kritika: 13, 4 (2012): 903-17, and 13, 3 (2012): 736-44, respectively.

(31) David Schimmelpenninck van der Oye, Toward the Rising Sun: Russian Ideologies of Empire and the Path to War with Japan (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2001), chap. 2.

(32) On the impetus for the construction of the Trans-Siberian, see Steven G. Marks, Road to Power: The Tram-Siberian Railroad and the Colonisation of Asian Russia, 1850-1917 (London: I. B. Tauris, 1991), 13-57. On the significance contemporaries attached to the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway in the 1890s, see Schimmelpenninck van der Oye, Toward the Rising Sun, 59, 69-70.

(33) Anatolii V. Remnev, Rossiia Dal'nego Vostoka: Imperskaia geografiia vlasti XIX-nachala XX vekov (Omsk: Izdatel'stvo Omskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta, 2004), 399-410; Ilya Vinkovetsky, Russian America: An Overseas Colony of a Continental Empire (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 65-66.

(34) "O plavanii kapitana D. I. Shvanenberga na sudakh 'Utrenniaia zaria' i 'Severnoe siianie,'" Arkhiv Akademii nauk Sankt-Peterburga (AAN SPb) f. 270, op. 1, d. 421, 1877-78, 11. 9-26; D. I. Shvanenberg, "O plavanii iakhty 'Utrenniaia zaria' iz Enisei cherez Karskoe more i Severnyi okean do Varde," Trudy S-Peterburgskogo otdeleniia Imperatorskogo obshchestva dlia sodeistviia russkomu torgovomu morekhodstvu za 1877 god (St. Petersburg: D. I. Shemetkin, 1877), 439; Shvanenberg, "V poliarnykh l'dakh," Sbornik morskikh statei i rasskazov: Ezhemesiachnoe pribavlenie morskoi gazety "Iakhta" (December 1877), 507-18; Shvanenberg, "Rasskaz kapitana D. I. Shvanenberga o plavanii skhun 'Severnoe siianie' i 'Utrenniaia zaria' v nizov'iakh Enisei, v Karskom more v Severnom ledovitom okeane," Izvestiia Imperatorskogo russkogo geograficheskogo obshchestva 13, no. 6 (1877): 439-48. This was also essentially the account that appeared in Sidorov's own hand in his private papers from 1878, so there is little reason to believe that he himself believed it to be significantly embellished (AAN SPb f. 270, op. 1, d. 409, 11. 1-4).

(35) Shvanenberg, "O plavanii iakhty 'Utrenniaia zaria,'" 248-49.

(36) On Wiggins's remarkable career, see Ian R. Stone, "Joseph Wiggins (1832-1905)," Arctic 47, 4 (1994): 405-10.

(37) RGIA f. 1286, op. 38, d. 465 (1877), 1. 35.

(38) Ibid. The reasons for Tsybulenko's apparent incapacity remain obscure. His performance on the Dawn is scarcely indicative of someone suffering from a disability.

(39) Ibid., 1. 25.

(40) Shvanenberg, "O plavanii iakhty 'Utrenniaia zaria,'" 251.

(41) Mikhail K. Sidorov, "O plavanii russkikh moriakov na iakhte 'Utrenniaia zaria' ot Varde do Peterburga," Trudy S-Peterburgskogo otdeleniia, 229-33; "By Sea to Siberia," The Times, 29 October 1877, 8.

(42) RGIA f. 1286, op. 38, d. 465 (1877), 11. 2-3.

(43) Ibid., 1. 4.

(44) Shvanenberg, "V poliarnykh l'dakh," 517.

(45) RGIA f. 1286, op. 38, d. 465 (1877), 11. 6-7.

(46) Ibid., 1. 7.

(47) Ibid.

(48) Ibid. (emphasis is Sidorov's).

(49) Ibid., 1. 10.

(50) Ibid., 1. 8.

(51) Ibid.

(52) AAN SPb f. 270, op. 1, d. 417 (1878), 11. 2-3.

(53) Tsentral'nyi gosudarstvennyi istorichesldi arkhiv Sankt-Peterburga (TsGIA SPb) f. 254, op. 1, d. 10688 (1877-78), 1. 1; RGIA f. 1286, op. 38, d. 465 (1877), 1. 23.

(54) Golos, no. 280 (18 November 1877), 3; no. 281 (19 November 1877), 3.

(55) Birzhevye vedomosti, no. 298 (21 November 1877), 1-2.

(56) Sankt-Peterburgskie vedomosti, no. 322 (21 November 1877), 2.

(57) Ibid., no. 325 (24 November 1877), 3.

(58) See the accounts of the meeting in ibid., no. 328 (27 November 1877), 3; Severnyi vestnik, no. 210 (27 November 1877), 2; and Peterburgskaiagazeta, no. 216 (25 November 1877), 2.

(59) "Privetstvie E D. Studitskogo moriakom, pribyvshim iz Eniseia na Nevu na iakhte 'Utrenniaia zaria' v zasedanii 22 noiabria," Trudy Sankt-peterburgskogo otdeleniia Imperatorskogo obshcbestva dlia sodeistviia russkomu torgovomu morekhodstvu za 1887g. (St. Petersburg: D. I. Shemetkin, 1887), 222.

(60) Ibid., 224, 226.

(61) Sidorov, "O plavanii russkikh moriakov," 227.

(62) Ibid., 228.

(63) Shvanenberg, "V poliarnykh l'dakh," 517.

(64) E. I. Vladimirov, Geroicheskii reis skhuny "Utrenniaia zaria" (Moscow: Glavsevmorput', 1940), 37. Sidorov mentions the photographs in a letter dated 13 December 1877, but it is impossible to know when or where exactly they were taken (AAN SPb, f. 270, op. 1, d. 417 [1878], 1. 5).

(65) Sidorov, "O plavanii russkikh moriakov," 233.

(66) Sankt-Peterburgskie vedomosti, no. 328 (27 November 1877), 3; Severnyi vestnik, no. 210 (27 November 1877), 2, Peterburgskaiagazeta, no. 216 (25 November 1877), 2.

(67) Sankt-Peterburgskie vedomosti, no. 329 (28 November 1877), 3. The society subsequently wrote the minister of transport, requesting that the entire crew be honored for their services to the state (RGIA f. 229, op. 1, d. 513 [1878], 11. 1-4).

(68) "Zhurnal obshchego sobraniia Imperatorskogo russkogo geograficheskogo obshchestva 7-ogo dekabria 1877 goda," Izvestiia Imperatorskogo russkogo geograficheskogo obshchestva, no. 1 (1878): 32-34.

(69) Staritskii, "Ocherk istorii plavaniia," 437. Shvanenberg and Numelin were both honored by the society. See Glenn M. Stein and Lydia I. Iarukova, "Polar Honours of the Russian Geographical Society, 1845-1995," Journal of the Hakluyt Society (December 2008): 34.

(70) E D. Studitskii, ed., Istoriia otkrytiia morskogo puti iz Evropy v sibirskie reki i do Beringova proliva, 2 vols. (St. Petersburg: D. I. Shemetkin, 1883), 1: 198-99.

(71) RGIA f. 1286, op. 38, d. 465 (1877), 11. 26-27.

(72) Ibid., 11. 30-31.

(73) Ibid., 11. 28-29.

(74) Ibid., 11. 35-36.

(75) Ibid., 1.33; Studitskii, Istoriia otkrytiia morskogoputi, 1:200.

(76) On this tradition of clemency, see Andrew A. Gentes, "Siberian Exile and the 1863 Polish Insurrectionists according to Russian Sources," Jahrbiicher fur Geschichte Osteuropas 51, 2 (2003): 200, 216; and Richard Wortman, Scenarios of Power: From Alexander II to the Abdication of Nicholas II (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000), 17-92.

(77) TsGIA SPb f. 254, op. 1, d. 10688 (1877-78), I. 1; AAN SPb f. 270, op. 1, d. 417 (1878), 1.21.

(78) AAN SPb f. 270, op. 1, d. 417 (1878), 1. 9. What subsequently became of Tsybulenko is difficult to ascertain. The last trace of him I have been able to find in the archives is a petition that he signed together with Shvanenberg and Meivaldt to be considered for a new maritime expedition on 20 March 1878 (AAN SPb, f. 420, op. 1, d. 418, 1. 28).

(79) L. M. Dameshek and A. V. Remnev, Sibir' v sostave Rossiiskoi imperii (Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, 2007), 40-72.

(80) F. K., "Severnyi morskoi put' v Sibir'," Russkoe sudokhodstvo torgovoe i promyslovoe na rekakh, ozerakh i moriakh, no. 36/57 (1888): 18.

(81) Iadrintsev, Russkaia obshchina, 618.

(82) Bradley, Voluntary Associations in Tsarist Russia, 12.

(83) On the rise of nationalism in late imperial Russia, see V. M. Khrevrolina, "Vneshnepoliticheskie kontseptsii rossiiskogo liberalizma v kontse XIX veka," Voprosy istorii, no. 10 (1997): 34-50; Andreas Kappeler, Russland als Vielvolkerreich: Entstehung--Geschichte--Zerfall (Munich: Beck, 2008); Theodore Weeks, Nation and State in Late Imperial Russia: Nationalism and Russification on the Western Frontier, 1863-1914 (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2008); and Anton A. Fedyashin, Liberals under Autocracy: Modernization and Civil Society in Russia, 1866-1904 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2012).


Dept. of History

Royal Holloway College

University of London

Egham, Surrey TW20 0EX, UK


Research for this article was made possible by a Leverhulme Research Fellowship. My thanks to Ilya Magin, Gavin Jacobson, Alexandra Oberlander, Andrew Gentes, and the anonymous readers and editors of Kritika for their comments on earlier drafts.
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Title Annotation:Forum: Rediscovering Siberia; Andrei Ivanovich Tsybulenko
Author:Beer, Daniel
Geographic Code:4EXRU
Date:Jan 1, 2013
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