The Russian Conquest of Siberia

Within a century, writes Sergius Yakobson, the Russians expanded over Asia from the Urals to the Pacific Ocean.

In the summer of 1703 St Petersburg, the new Russian capital named for its founder, came into being. With the firm establishment of Russia on the shores of the Baltic, Peter the Great at last succeeded in closing the gap between Russia and Western Europe. It is often forgotten, however, that more than fifty years before gaining an entrance to the Baltic, Russia had reached another coast thousands of miles from Moscow.

Long before St Petersburg was founded, the mid-seventeenth century saw the founding of Okhotsk, the first Russian town on the Pacific. This was an event of lasting influence, not only on the future of Russia, but on the history of mankind. President Charles de Gaulle once said that the Pacific is the place ‘where the fate of the world will be played out’.

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