The Image of Siberia in the Accounts of Governors-General in the Second Half of the 19th Century
Even though the image of Siberia in mass consciousness, public opinion, and “power” discourse of the second half of the nineteenth century has long been a subject of researcher attention, the image of the region in the reports of Siberian governors-general has not been analysed separately. However, these materials not only make it possible to expand existing academic conclusions about the impact of reality images on social practices, but also to clarify the factors that determined the position of local and central authorities in relation to the region, identify the dependence of images on the type of sources in which they are found, and determine the common “agenda” for government and public opinion in the discussion of “Siberian issues”. Based on Foucault’s discourse analysis of texts, the article reveals and characterises the key elements of the image of Siberia on the basis of reports of Siberian governors-general between the early 1850s and late 1880s. The region was the empire’s “warehouse”, whose wealth was still scarcely in demand for the development of the local “productive forces”, practical issues of management, and cultural needs, and from the point of view of imperial economic and geopolitical interests. It was terra incognita for the imperial authorities, academia, and the educated public, a region forgotten by the capital but in need of local government reform (indeed it was included in the reforms of the 1860s–70s), connections with European Russia by rail, water, and land, intensified agricultural production, better schooling, its own university, educated and motivated officials, and the abolition of exile. The territory was a potential “paradise” on earth for peasants and all the population of the Trans-Ural provinces, which might be possible if the imperial authorities paid attention to their needs and aspirations (this component of the region’s image would become essential during Stolypin’s ideological campaign of resettlement in the early twentieth century).
Dyugamel’, A. O. (1885). Vospominaniya Aleksandra Osipovicha Dyugamelya [Memoirs of Alexander Osipovich Dyugamel]. In Russkii arkhiv. Book 2. Iss. 7, pp. 371–427.
Foucault, M. (2004). Arkheologiya znaniya [The Archaeology of Knowledge] / transl. by M. B. Rakova, A. Yu. Serebryannikova. St Petersburg, Gumanitarnaya akademiya, Universitetskaya kniga. 416 p.
Matkhanova, N. P. (2011). Otnoshenie deyatelei administratsii Vostochnoi Sibiri k Velikim reformam [The Attitudes of East-Siberian High-Ranking Officials toward the Great Reforms]. In Gumanitarnye nauki v Sibiri. Iss. 2, pp. 3–7.
Matkhanova, N. P., Rodigina, N. N. (2019). Vsepoddanneishie otchety kak istochnik dlya izucheniya predstavlenii sibirskikh general-gubernatorov vtoroi poloviny XIX stoletiya o regione [Reports as a Source for Studying Siberian Governors’-General Views on the Region in the Second Half of the 19th Century]. In Gumanitarnye nauki v Sibiri. Iss. 1, pp. 34–38.
Mazur, L. N. (2015). Vizualizatsiya istorii: novyi povorot v razvitii istoricheskogo poznaniya [The Visualisation of History: A New Turn in the Development of Historical Cognition]. In Quaestio Rossica. No. 3, pp. 161–178. DOI 10.15826/qr.2015.3.117.
Remnev, A. V. (2013). “Korotkii” XIX vek Sibiri: sibirskoe vremya i prostranstvo [The “Short” 19th Century of Siberia: Siberian Time and Space]. In Vishlenkova, E. A., Sdvizhkov, D. A. (Eds.). Izobretenie veka. Problemy i modeli vremeni v Rossii i Evrope XIX stoletiya. Moscow, Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, pp. 229–252.
Remnev, A. V. (2015). Sibir’ v imperskoi geografii vlasti XIX – nachala XX vv. [Siberia in the Imperial Geography of Power in the 19th – Early 20th Centuries]. Omsk, Izdatel’stvo Omskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. 580 p.
RGIA [Russian State Historical Archive]. Stock 948. List 1. Dos. 65; Stock 1263. List 3. Dos. 191; Stock 1265. List 3. Dos. 6; List 7. Dos. 1; List 10. Dos. 202, 203; List 11. Dos. 161; Stock 1281. List 5 (1850). Dos. 132; List 7 (1868). Dos. 1, 9; List 7 (1869). Dos. 51; Stock 1284. List 67 (1872). Dos. 337; List 69 (1874). Dos. 135; List 69 (1875). Dos. 522; List 70 (1882). Dos. 102.
Vsepoddanneishii otchet general-gubernatora Vostochnoi Sibiri za 1879 g. [Report of the Governor-General of Eastern Siberia for 1879]. (1884). In Sbornik glavneishikh ofitsial’nykh dokumentov po upravleniyu Vostochnoi Sibir’yu v 8 t. Irkutsk, Tipografiya Shtaba Vostochno-Sibirskogo voennogo okruga. Vol. 1. Iss. 1, pp. 7–48.
Vsepoddanneishii otchet general-gubernatora Vostochnoi Sibiri za 1880 i 1881 gg. [Report of the Governor-General of Eastern Siberia for 1880 and 1881]. In Sbornik glavneishikh ofitsial’nykh dokumentov po upravleniyu Vostochnoi Sibir’yu v 8 t. Irkutsk, Tipografiya Shtaba Vostochno-Sibirskogo voennogo okruga. Vol. 1. Iss. 1, pp. 54–149.
Vsepoddanneishii otchet i. d. general-gubernatora Vostochnoi Sibiri za 1885–1886 gg. [Report of the Governor-General of Eastern Siberia for 1885–1886]. (1886). St Petersburg, S. n. 52 p.
Zamyatin, D. N. (2003). Gumanitarnaya geografiya. Prostranstvo i yazyk geograficheskikh obrazov [Humanitarian Geography. The Space and Language of Geographical Images]. St Petersburg, Aleteiya. 336 p.