The Battle of Kushka (1885) in the Correspondence of Alexander III

Publication type Article
Status Published
Affiliation: Russian Embassy in Afghanistan
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameNovaia i noveishaia istoriia
EditionIssue 5

The reign of Alexander III saw a turmoil period in international relations as Russia sought to avoid military confrontation with other nations. However, the British unrestricted political maneuvering in Afghanistan in the areas that bordered on the Russian Central Asia possessions, led to an armed conflict close to the northwestern border of Afghanistan which was designated by the Russian historiography as the Battle of Kushka. As contemporaries stated, this Battle had almost put the two powers on the brink of war. It was the only armed conflict during the so-called «Great Game» period in which Russians were opposed by British officers, although the latter did not participate in actions on the battlefield. The expansion of the Russian Empire’s frontier in the south ceased with the end of the battle. Furthermore, the process of determining the northwestern Afghan border (which has remained unchanged up to this day) had reached the final stage. Documents uncovered by the author at the Archive of the Foreign Policy of the Russian Empire, in particular, the correspondence of Alexander III with diplomats, military, and civil officials touching upon this Battle reveal little-known details that complement the overall picture of the aftermath of the Battle, as well as characterize certain Russian imperial intellectual and public circles’ influence during the reign of Alexander III on the Emperor’s own mindset.

KeywordsAfghanistan, Alexander III, Nikolay Girs, Battle of Kushka, the Great Game
Publication date21.10.2020
Number of characters13707
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