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 Posted: Sun Apr 7th, 2013 06:12 pm
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Mana: 
First of all - I created this topic because Joe Kelley asked me to provide my view on events that transpired in this period. So here's how it's going to be: I'm going to continuously add entries in this topic (probably by means of editing head), breaking things into paragraphs (I expect this to take some time, up to 1-2 months overall approximately).
But before I start doing so - there are few things to note to avoid possible misunderstandings.

1. Idea is to present subject in terms of political economy. However, I can only promise to try to do this comprehensibly, can't guarantee it will be as scientific or as pure and right on the spot as Joe can write things.

2. Since I'm Russian - you will most likely see my personal tendency to be somewhat protective on this particular subject. I'll try not to - but bear that in mind.

3. Since English is not my native language - I'll probably mess up some terms. I'll try to be consistent with common English terms of things and events I myself know only in Russian. But then again - translation may see certain degree of meanings lost.

4. History in general is a subject no less controversial than any other, so open-mindedness and consideration of speculative points go without saying.

5. Since understanding of this particular topic partially relies on understanding mentality, I'll try to convey certain cultural subtleties, relevant to the events. For that I’ll need not to forget about it though.



Russo-Japanese War

Start of 20th century



Russia on the dawn of 20th century: how can one describe her? How people lived there? What value she had in the world? Both communists and democrats tell us about weakness of the country at the time, about alleged inhumane conditions of life there, about ineptitude of the last emperor. But was all this the case? Why leaders of European countries did compete for attention of the Russian emperor? Why Russian casualties in World War I were fewer than German and Austrian-Hungarian? Why things were above and beyond the opposite way in World War II? What was Russia on the verge of 20th century?

At the moment of ascending to rule by emperor Nikolai II Russia had the biggest ground army in the world. Service period in the military was not 25 years, as mainstream opinion goes, but rather mere 4 years. Single sons, oldest brothers, teachers and doctors were excluded from military draft. Just 31% of draft eligible men ended up drafted (as opposed to 76% in France). All low military ranks got free education. Russian navy was 3rd most powerful in the world (after English and French).

Important role in governing the lands played local authorities - elected councils ('zemstvo'). They were elected by 3 groups of populace - peasants, private landlords and citizens. These councils were responsible for medicine, people's education, road maintenance, insurance, statistics and cooperation. Villages had peasant's self-government. State's budget at the time consisted of 1.2 billion roubles. Local budgets consisted of 200 million roubles.

Interjection:
Zemstva as state’s municipal organ were introduced by reform in 1864 signed by emperor Aleksandr II. This liberal change came as a result of idea that local people know the location better than officials sent from center. Main intent was to substitute bureaucratic direct control which followed orders from capital to the letter with local authorities, who would be more familiar with the region and therefore suited to perform required tasks more efficiently.

According to the reform there were 2 distinct types of zemstvo: sobranie (assembly – essentially local parliament) and uprava (administration – essentially government). Both of those were elected organs, professing the general idea of no-caste system. There were 3 classes for election base: landowners, urban citizens and village community delegates. To be able to elect as landowner one had to have at least 200 desyatin (1 desyatina – 1,0925 hectares) of land, or to be an owner of an industrial/trading enterprise or other immovable property no less than 15k roubles in value or producing no less than 6k roubles of profit per year. Additionally – representatives of landowners, communities or institutions that had at least 1/20 of this class’s election qualification were also included. For urban citizen class one had to have a trade license or to be an owner of an industrial/trading enterprise with no less than 6k roubles in terms of yearly amount of business, or have an immovable property value of no less than 500 roubles (for towns) and no less than 3k roubles (for cities). Peasant class elections were multi-phased: village communities elected delegates to local assemblies, assemblies elected electors, who in their own turn elected voice-people for sobranie.

Members of uprava were appointed by sobranie and consisted of 6 people. Sobranie made its convention once per year (except in case of emergency). Uprava functioned constantly. Sobranie made decrees and supervised pursuance. Uprava was an executive branch which actually performed what sobranie decided. Zemstva were forbidden to communicate with other zemstva from other region. Uprava didn’t have the power to force anything, because police was outside of their jurisdiction. They were also supervised by governor and minister of inner affairs, who had the power to suspend any of sobranie’s decree.

Reform was enacted everywhere at the same time. Many regions didn’t have them. In western region reform was enacted only in 1911. Which didn’t help much, considering how the whole idea was thrown away in 1917.

Overall reform helped to empower local initiative, agriculture and culture. They served well to create strong local infrastructure, especially road coverage. Almost every village had schools and hospitals (or at least field medic stations) due to their effort. Initially this idea came about from desire of Russian nobility. Eventually it became a noticeable part of political system, able to oppose state’s government.


Importance of nobility in the country significantly decreased. Out of 381 million desyatin(a) (1 desyatina = 1,0925 hectares) of land in European part of the country, nobility owned only 55 million (less that 15%). In other part of the country there was no lands owned by nobility whatsoever. Country that was considered to be a state of a whip and chains had quite humane laws. Russia was the only country where death penalty was forbidden for any crime, review by normal courts. Death penalty was left only in military tribunals and only for worst state-level crimes. Throughout 19th century there wasn't even a 100 people executed.

Country had 9 universities. High scholastic institutions had 30.000 students. At that moment Russia had 3.36 million children in schools. And with Nikolai II on the throne 10.000 schools opened throughout the country each year. There was about 850 periodic issues (meaning papers, journals and the like), 1315 print-shops and 4000 libraries.

"Russia is overabundant with women lyceums. Firm development of women's education in Russia has its advantages... You can feel that their minds went through different school than that of our fashionable monastery pupils... Russian girls are less restraint, but more natural than girls in our resort hotels"

- Professor Jules Legras, 1892


In the area of agriculture Russia got 2 billion puds (1 pud = 16,3804815 kilogramms) of harvest, exporting 20% of this amount, being the largest supplier of bread in Europe. Russia was also the major supplier of linen to the world market. Industrial GDP topped 2 billion roubles. New industrial regions - Donetsk, Krivoi Rog, Baku - saw a quick development. By the year of 1894 there were built 32500 verst (1 versta = 1 066,8 meters) of railroads, erected 150000 verst of telegraph lines, put on service 2000 river steamships.

Character of the emperor Nikolai II was quite incomprehensible for his contemporary peers. Question "Who is monarch?" was asked by both western leaders and different layers of Russian society. Important to note that image of emperor-martyr turned out to be surprisingly weird and, as a consequence, distorted, as the whole image of imperial Russia.

Nikolai II mounted Russian throne at the age of 26. He received best education. He was taught by the most prominent professors of the time - Pobedonostsev, Zamyslovskiy, Leyer, Dragomirov. While being an heir he served in life guards in Preobrazhenskiy regiment and in life guards in cavalry artillery. He worked in government, presiding in state council and in cabinet of ministers. In 1891 he lead the committee to deal with hunger of 1891-1892. He also was the chairman of the Trans-Siberian railway construction oversight committee. Nikolai II was exceptionally proficient with foreign languages.

Those, who barely knew him, thought him to be a weak and soft person, confusing his intelligence (refinement?) with his inner qualities. Those, who actually knew him, had quite the different opinion. German procurator count vonReks in his report said following:

"His manners are so modest and he show so little of outer resolve that it's easy to conclude the lack of strong will. But people surrounding him, assure me, that he has very precise will which he knows how to realize in the most calm fashion"

This same trait is noted by the majority of those who knew the emperor. He was relentless in not forgetting about issues, always finishing up on things he set out to do. Historian Oldenburg notes:

"Over iron hand emperor wears a velvet glove. His will is not like thunderous roar. It doesn't manifest itself by explosions or confrontations. It rather reminds you of inevitable flow of a river from mountain height towards the ocean. It goes around obstacles, sways from side to side, but eventually, inevitably, closes on it's goal."
And the first confirmation of his iron will is his own love story. Throughout his entire he carried the love towards one woman, which became the mother of his five children. He first met her in his youth. She was Alisa of Genssen, German princess, younger sister of Elizaveta, wife of his uncle Sergey. After that first meeting Nikolai II carried the memory of her for ten years. And even though his parents suited him with French princess, Nikolai II was able to have his way and ended up making an engagement with his beloved in the spring 1894.

Soon after his coronation in May 1896 many will feel his firm will and resolve. In his prayer at the coronation metropolitan (archbishop) of Saint-Petersburg - Palladiy- said:

"Show him to be victorious - for enemies, fearsome - for villains, benign and trustworthy - for good people. Warm his heart to care for poor, to accept strange and to protect offended."

International status of Russia was so important that, for example, in France Russian emperor's coronation day was proclaimed to be a celebration day. Emperor shown himself to be a great negotiator. after coronation he made his first foreign trip. Main reason was to visit France. But, before that he also visited Austria and Germany. The whole trip was arranged on a diplomatically conciliational note. First meeting with Wilhelm II after becoming an emperor was a friendly one, but there were obvious complications: Germany is afraid about trip to Paris, but you can't placate them too much to not offend French. So Nikolai let Wilhelm do most of the talking, while playing the usual "traditional friendship" routine himself.

Visit to France was a big celebration. 2 million of regular citizens saw 930.000 newcomers. Paris was overcrowded. Everything became Russian or pseudo-Russian: soap "Le Tsar", sweets with Russian Crest or flag, dishes with emperor's face, toys, portraying Russian bear or the emperor or empress or even princess Olga. Same went for flow of welcoming letters and postcard into Russian embassy. Even as serious issue as "Journal de Debat" proposed to give name Olga to girls born in October 1896, in the honor of emperor's daughter. List can go on. One thing is for certain: Paris populace was in true joy.

International role of Russia after this trip increased immensely, which allowed to approach the question of mid-sea channels. Russian ambassador in Constantinople - Nelidov, as well as director of General Staff - Obruchev - and deputy minister of foreign affairs - Shishkin - proposed to emperor in 23rd of November to take fleet towards Bosphorus and occupy northern parts of it. Eternal enemy - England - had no problem with splitting Turkey, but Russian minister of Finances - Vitte - voiced his disagreement. and unexpectedly enough - France was also in disagreement. France feared that England would conquer Dardanelles. In the end of the day - operation was postponed.

At the same time in Russia new forces, hostile towards the state are being organized. Lenin, Nakhamkes, Cederbaum and Krupskaya create a union for freedom of working class. Lenin's comrades starting to organize industrial stoppages. 23rd of May 1896 stared ted first stoppages in textile industry.

Connection between Russia's international activity and revolutionaries' (who had a close contact with western financial groups) activities is obvious.

In terms of inner economy emperor went with state alcohol monopoly. This decision (admittedly - as much as any other government measure) – was highly criticized by a wide variety of societal levels. It’s been said that government forces alcohol upon the populace. Actually, monopoly didn’t have any direct impact on drink rates. Excise system that existed before monopoly as well as system before that both created a class of people with special interest in increase of alcohol sales. State monopoly on vodka didn’t try to prohibit it consumption (sadly), but also didn’t inspire increase consumption by advertisement, trust sales and such. At the same time – and that was the entire reason behind this decision – monopoly increased state revenue by taking the role of broker. This indirect tax which existed in all countries in some shape or form – went right into state treasury.


28 of January 1897, full population census was conducted. Turned out that approximations were undercompensating: “officially” there was about 120 million, actually – 126.4 million (not counting 2.5 million inhabitants of the Great Finland Principality).

Minister of Finances – Vitte – started introducing questionable money reform. Basically it came down to this: new gold rouble that is to be the new currency was to be equaled to 1.5 “old” gold roubles. In other words it was equaled to credit rouble, rate of which for more than a year was being kept at 7.5 roubles for “half-imperial” (old 5-rouble coin). Gosbank had a gold stash worth about 1.200 million roubles, but credit notes in circulation were for about 1.100 million roubles. That way reinstatement of free exchange wasn’t a problem. Money reform ended up in gold partially coming out of the country, although with miniscule economic losses, because government lead active protection policy for inner market against import of foreign goods.

At the time – in warmongering Europe – Russia was the only one preaching for world’s peace. In 1898 emperor suggested limiting weaponization. He was historically the first ever leader to raise the question of practical measures of preventing wars easement of weaponization.

Minister of foreign affairs Muraviyov invited foreign ambassadors and read them a document, approved by the emperor:

“Protection of world’s peace and possible reduction of arms, weighing upon every nation, are - with current state of affairs – a goal towards which efforts of all governments should be directed… To put a limit on constant weaponizations and find ways to prevent disasters that threaten the whole world – that is the highest duty for every state…”

Note was published in “State Herald” and spread throughout the world at this very day. Response was very swift – and negative.

Though eventually Russia managed to hold a peace conference in Hague. Conference was seated in 1899 with Russian ambassador in London, Baron Staal, as chairman. Fight concentrated around two motions – limiting of arms and mandatory arbitration.

Baron Staal:

Limit of military budgets and weaponry – is the main goal of the conference. We don’t talk about utopias, we suggest disarming. We want limits, stop of weapons increase.

Certain prohibitive declarations were passed: 1) against explosive rounds, 2) against throwing explosive projectiles from air-balloons (essentially against bombing), 3) against usage of projectiles that spread choke-damp. Ratified agreements about applying Geneva Convention in naval warfare (including the question about hospital-ships), about revising declaration about laws and traditions of warfare and about peaceful resolution of international disputes by the way of intermediation and arbitrage. This convention, designed by Russian delegate professor F.F. Martens, resulted in creation of the International Court of Justice in Hague, which exists to date.

At this time emperor Nikolai II makes a decision that in future will prove to be defining for the country. Decision, which is misunderstood at the time and underestimated still. Considering the fact that in Europe Russia has significant problems such as trade dependence on good will of Turkey officials in times of peace, and impossibility of Baltic fleet to get the breathing room in times of war, emperor decides to develop so-called “Asian plan” .

Emperor wrote this on foreign affairs minister’s report (2 of April 1895):

“Russia undoubtedly requires free and open port throughout the whole year. That port be situated on the main land (south-east of Korea) and necessarily connected with our former domain by land”.

Situation at the moment didn’t allow to immediately reach that goal: Russian forces in Far East weren’t strong enough, had to work conjointly with other countries.

“Now there’s a good opportunity to quick finish up with China, split in among the main interested parties”, wrote the liberal “Novosti”. But Russian policy was more complicated than that.

Russia didn’t wish splitting China, as opposed to France and Germany. Russia strived to keep China’s integrity as the means to assert her own primary influence there. For that reason since 1895 (since Shimonoseki treaty), Russia takes course on friendship with China.

At the time of coronation festivities Chinese delegation headed by Li Hung Chan (don’t know how to properly write him in English, have to look up and edit later) was graced by special attention. Russia and China signed a treaty, according to which Russia promised her support and China allowed making of Great Siberian path through Manchuria, homeland of Chinese emperor (not very populated at the time).

Another positive development in Russian-Chinese relations were the events of Spring 1895. Japan occupied Laodong (these Chinese names, need to verify spelling) with Port Arthur and southern Manchuria. Russia initiated ultimatum to France and Germany 23 of April in Tokyo. This ultimatum forced Japan to return Laodong to China. As the token of gratitude China allowed Russia to use port of Qingdao.

Even warmer relations were established with Korea. Koreans thought of Russian as their protectors and mentors. Their king, expecting a war with Japan, was ready to submit to any demands. In his conversation with German prince Heinrich emperor sated:

“I don’t want to take Korea, but there’s no way I can allow Japanese to have a foothold there.”

Trans-Siberian railway was coming along nicely. According to emperor’s initiative started populace resettling into the Siberia and Far East. Settlers were motivated by state’s help such as funds, building materials and reduced taxation. In 5-6 years Siberian population considerably increased. Peasants resettled over 1.2 million.

Growing Russian influence in Far East caused concerns not only for Japan, but also for western countries. When emperor Wilhelm II visited Petergof in Summer 1897 he raise a question about allowing Germany’s ships and coal station to make port in China. He asked Nikolai II to allow them to use Qingdao, where Russian ship could stay for winter by agreement with Chinese government. Emperor responded:

“Russia is interested in keeping access to that port until we get more northern port”.

Then German emperor asked permission for his ships to use that port in case of emergency, but Nikolai II refused. It is surprising that even after such firm denial anyone would call him soft. It takes a special kind of dislike towards the person to do this.

In autumn that year seemingly coincidentally 2 German missionaries were killed in Shandong province near Qingdao. Germany used this event as reason press against China. Emperor Wilhelm II demanded dispatching warships in Qingdao, but chancellor advised to run this by Russia. Wilhelm II telegraphed directly to Nikolai II, asking a permission to send ships to Qingdao to resolve the situation “since that is the only point from which it is possible to get those marauders”. Yet Nikolai II refused again. Despite this fact, German ships entered the bay of Qingdao and set foot in the city. This signified the first major pique between Nikolai II and Wilhelm II. It almost resulted in a war.

In December 1897, after signing a rent treaty with China, Russia deployed troops in Port Arthur. At this point England made a proposition to split Turkey and China, but the emperor answered this:

“You can’t split existing sovereign state on ballparks”. (that term seems odd, need to confirm translation)

Then England rented from Japan occupied Chinese port Wei-Ha-Wei (another Chinese name to look up and edit later). Japan was enraged by the fact Russia took Port Arthur, russophobia in the country increased significantly. All the while Chinese continued to view Russia - as an ally, but England, Japan and Germany – as occupants. Control areas in China also differed. In places under Russian control Chinese could live, trade and move freely, while ports under the control of Germany, England and Japan were close to them, many of them had “no Chinese” signs and even “no dogs, no Chinese”.

It was obvious that war in Far East is just a matter of time.

Nikolai II:

“Confrontation is inevitable, but I hope It won’t happen for at least 3 years”.

German intervention as well as inappropriate English and Japanese attitude caused continuous dissatisfaction. In the Spring 1900 anti-foreign moods in China started to rise, but foreign countries, used to Chinese passiveness, paid little attention. Vague rumors about a union of Big Fist, organizing the agitation against “overseas devils”, resulted in an ironic name “Boxers” for the movement.

Rebellion came ubiquitously and with great force. Beijing was cut off from the sea, embassy quarter – besieged by Chinese. Even when ambassadors made demands to “punish the guilty”, even when they still tried to deal with Chinese government, it was already obvious from the outside, that government in this case support the rebels. China, after long years of foreign control stopped being a “dead body” or “tied animal”: it rebelled against foreigners; and Chinese government, while not convinced in expediency of the rebellion, succumbed to people’s movement.

Rebellion was foiled by the joint force under German command. Beijing was taken by Russian force under the command of general Linevich, who managed to save Russian embassy.

Immediately after Russia made a circular note suggesting immediate to get troops out of Beijing, but Germany refused and so European marauders robbed palaces of the Forbidden City. Russia took a stand against death penalty for rebels, as opposed to Germany, England and Japan.

That is when Russia started to build fleet as united military system, consisting of serial ships. To overcome technical disadvantages Russia ordered head ships in the best wharfs of France, Germany and USA. After comparison testing next ships were made in Russian wharfs. So from France Russia got ironclad “Tsesarevich”, which stated a series of 8 ships. Germany made cruiser “Bogatyr’” and light cruiser “Novik”, whose destined to become a favorite ship of famed admiral Makarov.

Growth of Russia, her firm policy in Far East region, active warship production, construction of Trans-Siberian railway, sudden increase in oil drilling in Baku – all these factors set in motion a global counter mechanism.

“Also there were agreements about financing Japanese government in their war against Russian government in their attempt to weaken monarchy and by that ease the Bolshevik’s task. In new York: Jacob Schiff, J.P. Morgan, First National Bank, National City Bank provided Japan with 30.000.000$ to attack Russian government from the East”.

- A. Ralph Epperson, “The Unseen Hand”.


(retranslation, might be incorrect in wording, don’t have the original text at hand)

It seems that money were given no only to arm Japan, but also to finance anti-state organizations in Russia. Since Soviet times people got used to thinking that 1903 – is the year when Bolshevism was born, because of the 2nd convention of Russian Social-Democratic Workers’ party. In the so-called “Stalin course” you can read that convention seated 43 delegates, and no effort is made to hide the fact that convetion started in Brussels and then moved to London. This means that Russian social democracy was of course sponsored. And sponsors of it came not just from Russia, but rather from the outside.

Same day, 17th of July, in Sarov, occured event of completely different nature. Russia took time honor it’s saint, to canonize Seraphim of Sarov. Emperor’s family, court and nobility visited Sarov. More than 100.000 people attended the event. Emperor himself participated in carrying the coffin with remains on his shoulders. That was a celebration of rare not-politicized religious nature.

France was unhappy about incoming war. It expected Russia to be an ally against Germany. And even though French press (except the very left), carried out friendly attitude, Delcasse’s government made quick arrangements with England. In Germany left press was against Russia, right – in majority for Russia. Significant role played personal attitude of German emperor towards the conflict. Wilhelm II wrote:

“If England and Japan are going to act together – they can crush Russia, but they have to move quickly, otherwise Russians will became too strong”.

China hastily proclaimed neutrality: they hoped to protect themselves from repressions from the winner. England and USA definitively joined Japan’s side.

Japan was vigorously preparing for war; England built them a strong fleet and they were ready to purchase some south American ships for private loan by Jacob Schiff. Dangerous moment was closing: Trans-Siberian railway was not yet completed (full-capacity usage started in August 1903, but without way around lake Baikal, so using ferries slowed down the transportation), and there was yet just one modern ironclad (“Tsesarevich”).

Emperor thought that in 1905-1906 Russia will be sufficiently strong in Far East to no longer be afraid of Japan. But there was still 1903. Coming 1.5-2 years were the years of greatest risk. Japan understood this, so did England, so did Jacob Schiff, and so did German Kaiser. 24th of January 1904 Japan declared a rift in diplomatic relations with Russia.

As we can see, Emperor Nikolai II was quite peculiar individual. He was also strong-willed, because only a strong-willed person in his position could go against the will of his father – Emperor Aleksandr III – and on such a matter as love. Only a strong-willed person could move the center of state’s politics from West to East and force government official to abide by such will. Only a strong-willed person in his position could be a subject to continuous flattery to curry favor from by France, Korea and Germany. We can state that emperor’s strong character, active foreign policy and complex Asian plan scared both West and East much more, than foreign policy of Aleksandr III. Unfortunately, inner enemies became a good crutch for outer enemies. We see that England, bankers from Wall Street , Japan, Germany and even France acted together against Russia. If Russia was weak and unimportant, if Russian emperor was weak-willed, then obviously nothing like that would ever happen.

On the verge of war


“Unobservant and even neglectful attitude towards the past that is considered obsolete stops people from learning even those constant strategic lessons which lie on the surface”.

A. T. Mahan.



Only those people who respect their past can look forward to their future with optimism. Throughout 20th century communists and then liberals and democrats taught Russian people exactly the opposite. So comes the time to liberate ourselves from myths which are overabundant in the field of history.

More than a hundred years have passed since Japanese cannonade over Port Arthur went silent. One hundred years have passed for Tsushima waters, who still keep in their depths steel coffins of proud ironclads, whose dead armaments protect the eternal peace of heroic crew. For the sake of the future Russian people must give credit to their not so ancient ancestors. It is time to clear out those dense russophobic historical myths, both western and eastern in origin. Furthermore even today Russia and Japan have serious reasons for confrontation.

Western ill-wishers and after them – Russian own russophobes like to call Russian people lazy and non-practical. Yet history of settling in the Far East shows Russian being at least four times more efficient at it than Anglo-Saxons And at least 18 time more efficient than diligent Japanese, who took around 12 centuries to reach Kuril Islands.

In 1766, twenty years before first Japanese appearance on Southern Kurils, Russian empress Ekaterina the Great signed so-called “Kuril edict”, which said:

“Her Imperial Highness commands to leave hairy locals nationalized on the far islands free, to not demand any tax from them neither today, nor in the future, but to try and be friendly and gentle for the expected benefits of trade and enterprise and continue newfound acquaintanceship”.

At the end of an 18th century Japanese, after acquiring a major foothold on Hokkaido, used the absence of Russian navy in the Pacific to raid Russian settlements. First confrontations of regular military forces date back to 1806 and 1807 in Aniva Bay. From the Russian side among other ships involved there was frigate “Juno” and sloop “Avos”, the famous “Juno & Avos”, glorified in the well-known rock-opera (musical) by Aleksey Rybnikov.

Successful reclamation of the Far East and Pacific Ocean by Russian sailors and industries met certain misunderstandings in Russia’s own capital. Aleksandr I in 1812 decides not to have Hawaii. Aleksandr II cheaply lets go of Alaska and Aleut Islands. But the worst of it all was the opposition to the Far East plan of Nikolai II.

Impending war with Japan was mythologized by Russian society far before it actually started. At the end of the 19th century there was already put a significant effort to overblow myth about “emperor’s aggressive policy in the far East”. All the while Russia even though needing of a bigger amount of business with China didn’t participate in international colonial expeditions of European countries against China. For one, Russia didn’t take part in the so-called “opium wars” instituted by civilized England against uncivilized China. The best of London – respectable English tea merchants, founders of the world renowned tea-trade companies, many of which are in this same position today, were also founders of the biggest narcotic cartel in human history. British Crown dealt drugs on the highest state’s level.

But the country, which her own ‘educated’ part of the society – from under graded student to a well-knowledgeable professor – following the modest Europe happily called ‘the prison of nations’, employed entirely different policy. Border guard corps and Cossack forces on the Far East borders were given orders to strictly suppress not just opium contraband, employed not only by local Khunkhuz gangs, but also by some Chinese merchants, who were illegally crossing the border in hope of bartering worthless drugs for expensive furs and ginseng from trusting locals – Gol’ds and Udege, but also suppress anyone doing the same with vodka. Knowing about physiological incapability of little peoples to fight (such drug as) alcohol emperor proclaimed full alcohol prohibition for them even at (supposed) the detriment of free trade. It would take Soviet regime to start an alcoholic river around these parts through human-loving communistic trading posts.
At the start of 20th century slow-going Russo-Japanese territorial conflict, conditioned by Japanese claims of Russian Kuril Islands and Sakhalin, moved towards Manchuria – in the lands of modern China. Russian people of the late 20th – early 21st century have a hard time understanding why Russia was in need of Port Arthur and railway on Chinese territory, because modern (and not a small one at that) cargo flow successfully serviced by ports of Vladivostok and Nahodka, and there is military naval base in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy. This misunderstanding happens because when we study history of humankind we sometimes fail to tie it to geophysical conditions such as climate change.

Nowadays marginally educated journalists love to scream about ‘global warming’. While serious scientists claim that we live in the happy times between ice ages. Not too long ago climate was different because Europe was iced. In Europe of the 19th century was colder than today’s Moscow or Saint-Petersburg. Remember that nice children’s book – “Silver Skates”? While in Netherlands of 21st century you won’t be able to skate on frozen canals. Today on sandy beaches of Belgian Oostende sub-tropical palm trees grow no worse than in Abkhazia. It wasn’t much warmer in the Far East on the verge of 20th century. Vladivostok’s bay – Zolotoy Rog – was frozen for up to 5 months per year meaning that for 5 months per year newly constructed Trans-Siberian railway would stop being transit passage from Europe into Asia. Even worse than that – almost for half a year Russian coast would be defenseless against any potential adversary, who has ports in warmer waters.

Even so, Russia didn’t employ annexation policy in the Far East. Yes, Russian forces took part in stopping the “boxer rebellion”. Russian ships, particularly the gunboat “Koreyets”, which was eventually tragically lost along with legendary cruiser “Varyag”, took part in bombardment of forts protecting sea approach to Beijing, but that was a part of effort to save Russian diplomatic mission in the city. And in general Russia supported Chinese government against the rebels.

Chinese pie was being split among the whole Europe. Lease treaty were officially approved. For instance, Germany made a lease treaty with China about lending previously captured Qingdao for 99 years period. Remembering lending of the Alaska in exactly the same way we can see that this is just poorly masked form of annexation. Demands to follow up on the terms of such treaty in the future can only be made by the powerful side. Soviet Union in 1967 didn’t have strong enough military for that. But reborn by Dan Xiaoping China not only demanded Hong Kong back from the United Kingdom (same 99-year lease deal), but actually got it back with all infrastructure built by non-Chinese. British Empire was unlikely to comply with such a demand because law of strong being right applies in politics to date. To think of it – who can force the greatest, most democratic empire of all times to return to Panama their same-named canal? By the way it wasn’t built by Americans, or for American money.

For some reason Russian government didn’t employ said policy. Minister could suggest something like that. He could suggest a cheap rough annexation of foreign lands. But that wouldn’t resonate with emperor’s heart. Following the West, Russian democratic publicists love to brand Russia as absolute unrestrained monarchy. However, unlike democratic, constitutionally restrained empires of Britain and Germany, Russian monarchy was restrained by national mentality. This restraint constituted in the sincere profession of traditional values of honesty, modesty and conscience by the emperor.

Unlike Europeans Russia got Port Arthur, Quantung (another Chinese name to confirm spelling) and the line for railway construction for only 25 years. Unlike ports seized by Europeans, Port Arthur and Dal’niy were being built not just for trade with China (railway would suffice for that), but for whole year open gates, providing Russia the path into the world’s markets in general.

Even military part of Russian Far East project differed from European approach, because it was not directed against quickly losing sovereignty China, but for protection of Russian coastline. Even more so, in 1896 Russia and China made a defense pact against Japan. First article of that agreement stated:

“Any kind of attack by Japan on either Russian territory in Eastern Asia, or on the territory of China or Korea will be seen as immediate application of this treaty.”

Bear in mind, that this kind of pact was made in the time, when it was expected to look down on China and force it by any other country.

In Soviet times common way to describe these events was to say that “In the Far East there was a confrontation of two imperialistic predators – Russia and China”. We’ll talk about Japan’s samurai spirit-soaked aggression a bit later. But for now we are interested in myth about Russian aggression. Let’s analyze it.

Aggressor always prepares for war consciously. For employment of aggressive foreign policy there has to be an aggressive mood within the society. But Russian people en masse, both religious and not, had a hard time understanding for what reason blood was being shed on the hills of Manchuria.

Japan, however, was different. Let’s forget about samurais and look upon common folk. This is what German doctor Erwin Balz serving in imperial palace Meydzi (need to confirm spelling) wrote in his diary at 25th of September 1903 (half a year before war):

“… I meat a fashionable Japanese on the train. He said to me: “People’s frustration with Russia is out of control. Government should declare war immediately. Otherwise I’m afraid riots will occur. Even throne is in danger.”

4 days before the war Belgian ambassador Albert D’Anethan wrote in his 22 of January 1904 report:

“For a long period of uncertainty and impatience, when Japanese patriotism have woken up and become overexcited to such a degree, which probably can’t be measured from outside, shich can only be understood by such a foreigner, who studied history and character of this primordially warlike nation, government in their attempts to keep the peace confronts unanimous will – war.”

In 1901 Japanese professors and high military officials created influential organization known as “Amur river society”. In 1903 they also created another powerful social union called “Anti-Russian camaraderie”.

It has to be said that Japanese hatred towards Russians had in its base something bigger than just strangled ambitions. Both Soviet and European historical science state that Russo-Japanese contradictions started when Russia along with France and Germany forced Japan to seize its aggression against China. But how would you explain assassination attempt on the heir of Russian Empire 4 year prior?

29th of April 1891, while travelling around Japan, Nikolai Romanov became a subject to a bold assassination attempt. On the main street of ancient city of Kyoto, as it was written in papers at the time, Japanese city guard Suda Tsandzo, who stood in the police block, clearing the way for the important guest, hit him on the head with a sword. He was saved from certain death by squash hat he wore and agility of a cousin – Greek prince Georg, who hit the attacked with a bamboo stick.

What if not songs express the soul of the people. Sometimes verses are anonymous. Sometimes even distinctly folk songs have a very well-known author. But is there anyone who can point me a Russian song, calling to war? Who can name a Russian poet, preaching to sharpen bayonets or to clang weapons in any way? But young Japanese poet Ishikawa Takuboku wrote songs for the people, in which he said, that it is time to wage war against Russia under the command of gods. And then he calls Russian military “Devil’s army”, that stand in the way of eternal progress of the entire world.

At the same time Ishikawa Takuboku had very respectable attitude towards enemy’s army:

“… he considered Russian to be much more democratic than Mikado regime in Japan. As an examples he used histories of Korolenko, Dostoyevsky, Gorky , who at times were imprisoned, but still were published and had serious influence in Russian society. Ishikawa himself wasn’t pursued for respect for the enemy. He was genuinely interested in Russia, Russian literature, philosophy, he even named his daughter with Russian name Sonya.”

V. L. Panfyorov.



In the time of war he published a collection of poems “Aspirations” (need to confirm English name), which consisted a verse “In memory of admiral Makarov”:

(following is my rough translation from Russian poetic translation of this verse)

Calm down, hurricane! Surf, stop rumbling
While throwing yourself frenzily onto the wild shores!
You, demons, screaming in the night
At least for a moment stop your screaming!
Friends and foes throw away your swords
Don’t make furious blows
Stand still and bow your heads
At the sound of his name: Makarov!
I fame him in hour of blind hatred
Through fearful roar of flood and fire.
In ocean depths, where waves are boiling,
Protector of Port Arthur now resides.
Oh, Northern sun! How gracefully
It came down into maelstrom.
Let things stop like in a desert
In silence glory render him!
You hear how thunderous wordless cry
Filled universe up to the edge?
What ringed in it? Thirst for vengeance?
At time of death? Or crazy anger,
Ready to level the world with it,
When waves closed down, boiling
Over the ship, the Fatherland’s defender?
Oh, no, great spirit and song of life!
Valorous enemy! You’ve met your end,
Fearlessly standing in the command post
With Makarov compared, they’ll honor hero
In other century. Immortal is you crown!
And I, Japan-born poet
In country of your enemies, on farther shore
I, by saddest news am shaken
Can’t stop the urge to sorrow.
You, spirits of war, bow down till the earth!
Friends and foes throw away your swords!
Ant the name of Makarov stay silent, oh battle!
This Russian knight should be renowned
Among the greatest leaders of all times,
But by merciless death he is defeated.
When suddenly were lit by lightning
Eastern Asian skies
Stat boiling waves in yellow sea,
When ship around Port Arthur
Surrounded waged unfair fight,
You, filled with pain for your Homeland
Came to help. Oh, how powerful you are
Last ray of light among black skies!
You sailed forth with iron resolution
To fight for Russia, valorous sailor!
And high above those roaring depths
Was mast with proud admiral’s flag.
But moment’s gone – and all beyond the waves
By victors celebrated banner
And strength, unmatched by any:
Where is their grave, who’d say?
Descended shadows at that horrid day
And Sun away took all its light
And sea itself proclaimed:
(Friends and foes throw away your swords
All as one kneel
Let one strife join the hearts.)
One mine was hiding and unseen.
An suddenly awful explosion
Sunk ship which carried master of the sea.
With calmly hands crossed on the chest,
With eyes gazing in depths,
Where circled angrily triumphant waves,
And gone forever famous admiral.
Oh, ocean of fate and angry storm,
His touching wrongful death!
Just for day you raged around Port Arthur,
Will always be remembered that black day.
Whenever they will ask you with reproach,
How dared you such a life to take,
Then – on the verge of the eternal life
What answer will you give?
All hopes and greatness in a moment
Were buried under your attempt!
So everyone is equal for you
And no one living is of any worth?
It’s end of things! With countless tears
History letters washed
But yet again one burning like a flame
Wave of my tears flows to this name.
And eternal unsealing wound
In chest where mighty spirit lived:
Whole world woes that light of his went out
In unseen depths of ocean.
But question is – is ever death his master!
What if instead of endless feast
From woes of ours, from our burning tears
Rise up the dawn of the eternal life?
Oh, my, if only this, at last, would happen!
My friend Makarov! Stepped you down in grave.
But in your name, in verses these of mine,
I’ll find the strength in the immortal truth,
To be like you, on the most frontline.
The moon shines dimly. Midnight hour,
Is calm, I look towards the gloom.
It seems to me that there, oh fearless warrior,
You’re stopping frantic push
Of waves, and bloody rage of theirs.
Your proud soul - promise of immortality.
You died, but couldn’t die.
You perished, yet you won with honor!
Calm down, you hurricane! Keep silent, surf!
Friends and foes – throw away your swords,
Don’t make furious blows!
Stand still with bowed heads!
Let my voice ring fire in the silence
To call for sorrow: died Makarov!
In ocean depths, where waves are boiling,
Protector of Port Arthur now resides.

Original poetic translation from Japanese into Russian by Vera Markova.


It has been a hundred years since Russo-Japanese war. Why are we trifling the past? Well, because one, who spits in the past, gets cannon shot from the future. And Russia still has territorial dispute with Japan, so it would be prudent to know your neighbor’s past, to understand what feelings can he have towards you.

Another ‘educated’ myth is alleged unpreparedness of Russia to the war in the Far East. Russia had regular army more than 1 million people against 150 thousand in Japanese. Trained Russian reserves were up to 4.5 million people, while Japan could offer only 900 thousand able to shoot a rifle. Russian navy (excluding Black Sea fleet, blocked by Turkish water-passes) by the count of modern ironclads was twice as potent as Japanese.

However, geography played against Russia on this. Russian fleets were separated by three oceans and almost half-globe trip. Newly constructed Trans-Siberian railway was single-lined and could only transfer no more than two infantry divisions with artillery regiment per month.

Russo-Japanese war was lost. Though it wasn’t Japanese arms what was victorious over Russia. It was Russian liberal ‘educated’ class, which instigated revolutionary efforts, readily funded and supported by world’s behind the curtain powers. Show person for that group was American banker Jacob Schiff.

Second most important agent of October revolution – Trotsky – hated to make public his second last name, one of from mother line. Surprising that Trotsky never hid the fact that he is Bronstein, but he didn’t like to mention that by mother’s line he is Zhivotovskiy. And this was because just before revolution Zhivotovskiy brothers were dealing in millions and played an important role in arms supply from beyond the border. Even more over, Abraham Zhivotovskiy had business connection with both J.P. Morgan and the head of Federal Reserve System of USA Paul Warburg. This connection explains why Jacob Schiff (whose figure is important in tragic events of Russo-Japanese war) turned out to be Trotsky’s financial sponsor. Jacob Schiff was precise in his political sympathies. These sympathies were unambiguously connected to Japan and Russian revolutionary movement. Jacob Schiff financed Japan through USA, and Japanese special services financed agents of Russian revolution, who were supposed to overturn Russian Empire from the inside.

Despite all that, geopolitical catastrophe in Russia didn’t happen. Russian Far Eastern fleet was gone, but Russian army not only wasn’t destroyed, but in the last months of war actually outnumbered Yamada’s forces in Manchuria. That became possible because of Trans-Siberian railway, construction of which was not only paid for dearly but also had emperor’s own soul put behind it. Knowing Japanese greed, it’s hard to imagine what kind of territorial claims would Japan put forth, if it became dominant naval power in this part of the Pacific, if not for this one tiny rail thread, which connected Russian coasts.

Let’s also remember that strategical plan of building naval fleet for the Far East wasn’t really a priority for Nikolai II’s great father – Aleksandr III The Peacekeeper, because he considered Russia to be more land state rather than sea. Yet Nikolai II signed this plan the very first year of his rule – 1895, when he was just 27. He needed just 1 more year to finish it. There are also other reasons for it. Banal lack of time and lack of funds. Initially it was supposed to be finished by the year of 1903. However, in this particular lack – of money – exists something that we call a role of personality in history. And that personality was Minister of Finances S.Y. Vitte. Several historian think that Vitte’s wife’s American relatives, tightly connected to certain American power brokers including of course Jacob Schiff, Labe-Kuhn (need to confirm English spelling) company and such.

Russian ‘educated’ class and ‘red’ professors liked to state that Russia provoked Japan to war, allowing private society of general Bezobrazov to get from then yet sovereign monarchical government in Korea a concession to develop woodcutting along the river Yalu along Korean-Manchurian border. What a foolishness! Wouldn’t it be better to just read second dogma of sinto, Nippon Empire’s official religion:

“Japan – is the center of the world, in which specifically because of lucky placement, development and power, factually concentrated highest power over politics and trade of the entire world”.

Young Russian monarch was a kind man, who loved his people. Maybe he was even too kind, if that can be considered a flaw. He was a wise politician and correctly realized geopolitical interests of his empire. He knew of inevitability of war and did everything possible to prepare for it. War was inevitable, because throughout the course of centuries nazism was ascended by our enemy not only in the rank of policy, but also the state’s religion. This religion persists in Japan to date.

Last edited on Thu Jun 13th, 2013 10:47 am by Jee-Host[gm]

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Varyag


 

No stone, no cross can tell where they died
For the glory of Russian flag
Only sea waves will forever celebrate
The heroic death of “Varyag”!
(original verse by E. Studentskaya)


 
In the night between 26th and 27th of January 1904 without declaration of war Japanese navy attacked Russian Pacific flee outside Port Arthur. Ten torpedo-boats shot their Whitehead torpedoes. Out of 16 torpedoes only 3 found their targets, heavily damaging ironclads “Tsesarevich” and “Retvizan”. Cruiser “Pallada” was also damaged. The defeat of Russian Arms in Russo-Japanese war is incomprehensible without understanding of history behind it. Which calls upon setting to rest certain myths distorting reality.
 
Myths start from the very first minutes of war. For example, there is a statement about almighty Japanese military intelligence coverage in the Far East. There was of course Japanese military intelligence. Due to racial familiarity Japanese didn’t have too much trouble posing as Chinese workers. For instance, at the head of Port Arthur’s night-cart, on top of a barrel with excrements, traveled a colonel from Japanese General Staff.
 
Yet the intelligence received by admiral Togo wasn’t exactly the highest quality. Second squad of torpedo-boats instead of Port Arthur attacked ports of Dal’niy and Talienvan, which didn’t have any Russian military units. If Togo had proper information, initial attack could turn out as total devastation. Japanese military intelligence wasn’t decisively important in this war.
 
Other myth – one saying that right before the attack most of Russian ranked military officers weren't present on ships, rather being on name-day celebration dedicated to the admiral Stark’s wife – originated from Russian newspapers of 1904, created by writer Stepanov. It’s worth to note that concerning everything else two-volume edition of “Port-Arthur” by him is not only an interesting book, but also a quite accurate chronicle of historical events.
 
Aforementioned name-day party was actually postponed. At that time flagship hosted counsel about military maneuvers, scheduled for the next day. All armaments, except for the main gun were loaded and ready to fire. Woken up by starting shots crews not only repelled the vile attack of the Japanese, but managed to save all three damaged vessels using methodology designed by foremost navy theoretician admiral Makarov not long before the war. By the way, Makarov was one of those who cautioned about outside roadsteads. The day before Japanese attack he wrote:
 
“No kind of vigilance can stop vigorous adversary from sailing into our fleet with numerous torpedo-boats and even steam-launches. Result of such an attack will be very bad for us, because net fences doesn’t cover entire side and besides many of our ship don’t have them at all… Japanese won’t miss such a great chance to harm us… If we’re not going to place fleet in the interior Port Arthur area of water, we will be forced to do it after first night attack, paying dearly or our mistake.”
 
Parades and deck cleaning weren’t the only activities on the ship of imperial Russia, as it may seem to those reading modern writers with “historical” slant. Ship engineers along with the whole crew saved vessel from inevitable keel. Let’s note that in Sevastopol 1956 no such skill had shown itself when explosion happened on line ship “Novorossiysk”. Imperial navy had the best sea practice at the time. Any ship of Baltic fleet (from which Pacific fleet consisted) had to sail almost around the entire globe to get the new service area. Soviet navy received similar experience only in the late 70’s, leaving Baltic and Black seas.
 
Slander of the imperial navy was not a coincidence. It had a purpose of covering up the destruction of Russian naval tradition. One that wasn’t guzzled off in pubs, wasn’t sunk under Port Arthur and in Tsushima, but was executed on the bloody ice of rebel Helsingfors in February 1917.
 
Russian navy started full-scale preparations for war in March 1903, when admiral Stark ordered to change parade white color of ship into wartime khaki color. Nowadays all naval fleets in the world bear different shades of grey. But Russian ship were about to battle in Yellow Sea, which, being yellow from lifted clay ooze becomes blurry green the further you are from China’s shores. Russian ships were painted according to war seat. This was the first war in history of humankind where parade white color of ships was changed.
 
To dismantle yet another myth, let’s return to Saint-Petersburg. General opinion goes that Russian diplomats were doing nothing to (if not prevent) at least buy time before the war. That is in complete contradiction with historical reality. In the course of negotiations about Manchuria territorial conflicts with Japan, Russian ambassador in Tokyo was sent a telegram, authorizing additional acquiescence. Important to remind that radio, invented by Popov (and soon after – by Marconi), was in just first decade of its existence, so embassies didn’t have a direct independent communications lines with their governments. So Japanese telegraph workers had delayed that diplomatic message. Probably not without specific orders to do so. Japanese side used “not receiving an answer for their demands” as an excuse to sever diplomatic relation with Russia, immediately asking Russian ambassador baron Rosen to leave the country. This is how Japanese paper “Nizi-Nizi” expressed the public opinion:
 
“Beat and rout that wild horde, let our banner stand on the peaks of Ural”.
 
Let’s note that these events were 20 years prior to infamous “Mein Kampf” by Hitler. Forefathers of German geopolitical theory, like Haushofer, couldn’t even dream about something like that even in Hitler’s Germany.
As for barbaric ways… Modern society, that is being fed different samurai-related tell-tales through television, should remember, that main Japanese military code – Bushido – contains direct instructions of ritual cannibalism. Samurai-victor to ensure his victory should eat sushi out of defeated opponent’s liver.
 
Bushido code does obviously differ from Russian understanding of honor. Besides cannibalism, it also praises sudden assault on non-hostile enemy and even on neutral person. Whole code is basically soaked with aggressiveness:
 
“Because our country differs from others by the fact that even the worst of people – peasants, traders and artisans – possess old rusty swords, and in this manifests warrior spirit of the great Japanese Empire”.

(“Book of samurai, Bushido”)


 
After dressing up in European clothes and granting their samurai-cannibals European titles of counts and viscounts, Japan didn’t really try to immerse in the spirit of chivalry. Using the lack of long-distance radio on civil ships Japanese captured Russian steamship “Ekaterinoslav” 3 miles from Korean coast, near Tsushima. In Korean port Buzan (need to confirm spelling) they captured steamship “Mukden”. On the Nagasaki raid they capture steamships “Rossiya” and “Argun’”, all the while not letting captains to contact Russian consul service. Day after in Yellow Sea 100 miles from Port Arthur captured transport vessel “Mongoliya”. In the tragic coincidence that transport was delivering aeronautical sets in Port Arthur. Lack of these aerostats would half a year later prove detrimental for successful counter war battery gunning.
 
Next morning after the attack on Port Arthur Japanese attacked cruiser “Varyag” and gunboat “Koreyets” near Korean port of Chemulpo (more names to confirm). A lot can be said about failures of Russian steward in the Far East – admiral Alekseev, who didn’t call back ships guarding Russian diplomats. Yet vile deceit of the Japanese, who cut underwater telegraph line, that provided communication for Seoul with the outside world, was far beyond diplomatic customs at the time, which (as opposed to today) were followed inexorably.
 
Evening of 26th. “Koreyets” left port with the goal of delivering diplomatic mail and receiving further orders. At the bay exit ship was intercepted by Japanese squadron consisting of 6 cruisers and 8 torpedo-ships. Japanese blocked the gunboat and gave a sense that leaving is not an option, forcing Russian ship to turn back. When “Koreyets” turned it was immediately attacked by torpedo-boats. Ship’s captain, second rank captain Belyaev, managed to evade Japanese torpedoes and get back to Chemulpo.
 
Today it’s popular to speculate what captain of “Varyag” – Rudnev – should have done. Some say that he should have tried a night breakthrough, leaving slow “Koreyets” to a certain death. But in reality situation was much more complicated. It is time to get rid of another persistent myth saying that “Varyag” was the best cruiser of Port Arthur’s squadron. Built on American wharf “Kramp and sons” (need to confirm spelling) truly beautiful cruiser had a factory defect – its steam chambers had a serious constructive  drawbacks – they couldn’t keep high pressure, necessary full speed movement. Russia didn’t have sufficient service base in the Far East. Defect could be remedied on in Philadelphia, where ship was built, or in Kronstadt (near Saint-Petersburg). At that last evening the ship couldn’t go faster than 17 knots. Also, port of Chemulpo was shoal and with quite narrow and twisty fairway. Even with a full tide exit was very intricate. Rudnev didn’t make mistakes. His ship was faulty, thin fairway didn’t leave any room to maneuver around Japanese cruiser squadron. Rudnev made the decision. Decision which was the only one possible for a Russian ranked officer, which was baneful for the ship and the crew, but vital for Russian honor:
 
“We are going for a breakthrough and going to battle with enemy’s squadron, no matter how strong it is. We will not give away the ships and we will fight as long as we can and to the last drop of blood”.
 
Morning, 11:30, 27th of January. “Varyag” and “Koreyets” unmoor. When they were on their way to the certain death and passed by stationed European ships, orchestras of those ships played the Russian anthem. “Varyag” was about to meet cruiser squadron under the command of admiral Uriu (confirm spelling), while just enemy’s flagship – cruiser “Asama”, armed with 8-inch tower cannons, was substantially superior to Russian ship in terms of firepower. And beside “Asama” there were at least 5 cruisers no less powerful than “Varyag”.
 
11:45. “Asama” is the first to open fire due to superior range. Artillery of Russian cruiser took its turn when distance was close enough. First victim of the battle was warrant-officer count Alexei Nirod, who was manning the range-finder. Japanese shell hit him in the chest. Severed hand with family ring was found after the battle.
 
Brutal fight went on for 45 minutes. Out of 557 men in the crew 31 was killed and 190 injured. Cruiser made 1105 shots, went through almost all its ammunition. Many of its armaments were destroyed. “Varyag” could not continue to keep the rate of fire so Rudnev ordered to fall back to the port. Because cruiser could no longer fight, it was deliberately sunk. Gunboat “Koreyets” was blown up. Russian steamship “Sungari” was also sunk. Russian crews were sheltered on stationed ship of neutral countries. Only American ship refused to help. Captain of the French cruiser “Pascal” made sure that badly injured Russian sailors got help in Japanese hospital of Red Cross.
 
To the credit of Japanese – this time they acted chivalrous. Impressed by fortitude of Russian sailors admiral Uriu ordered to consider them shipwreck castaways instead of POWs. Such nobility happened for the first and the last time in Japanese history.
 
Heroic deed of “Varyag” made an impression not only in Russia, but also around the world. Few remember that original song “Varyag” was composed by German poet Rudolf Greintz (need to confirm spelling).
 
In March heroic crews arrived in Odessa. Their railway trip to Saint-Petersburg was more like a triumphant parade with exceptional meeting in the capital in the end. 16th of April crews paraded on Nevskiy Prospekt and received an audience in Zimniy Dvorets (“Winter Palace”, residence of the emperor Nikolai II). On the banquet in honor of heroes of Chemulpo emperor said this:
 
“Many of you by your blood added to the chronicles of our navy the deed worthy of the deeds of your ancestors – grandfathers and fathers, which were accomplished by them on “Azov” and “Merkuriy”. Now you by your deed added a new chapter to the history of our navy, joining in the names of “Varyag” and “Koreyets”.
 
In the meantime, war continued. First order of business for Japanese was total naval domination. For that purpose they carried out a series of night attacks with steam-branders, which were supposed to be deliberately sunk in Port Arthur bay chokepoint. But Russian ships and coastal artillery repelled all such attempts. Yet Russian fleet didn’t make any active moves. Concerned by the situation, emperor makes a brilliant decision – duties of the commander of the Pacific fleet have a new bearer - vice-admiral Stepan Osipovich Makarov. Brave ranked officer, awarded with Cross of Saint Georg for Balkan war, peerless war theoretician, who became the founder of new ship classes – torpedo-boats and mosquito-crafts, shipbuilder and polar researcher, creator of the first ever line icebreaker “Yermak”, creator of the so-called ‘theory of insinkability’ of a ship. In other words – there was no better candidate.
 
Besides that, admiral Makarov invented new caps for armor-piercers (“Makarov’s caps”), which unfortunately were never implemented in Russian navy, despite actually improving piercing ability by 10-16%. These nosepieces were caps of non-alloyed steel, which collapsed on hit at the same time forcing outside solid layer of armor to crack. After that thick main piece of a shell could easily penetrate inner layers – ones much weaker than the outer layer. 6-inch shells with such caps could go through 254 mm of armor (with straight shot). It’s obvious that implementation of such modifications would dramatically change the course of war: for once, “Varyag” would be able break through armor of “Asama”. Makarov made many suggestions regarding overall fleet modifications, but just a few of  them were eventually approved and/or taken into account.
 
Under Makarov’s banner Russian ironclads learned to do the impossible – to leave bay through shoal narrow exit within one tide and without a tow. Gunners on Russian ironclads did their work considerably better than their Japanese opponents. Makarov was preparing the fleet for the main battle. Only thing that made him wait were initially damaged ship undergoing repairs.
 
Port Arthur didn’t have a dry-dock that could accommodate a heavy ironclad. Russian historians, filled with communistic russophobic choler, like to blame the emperor himself for that. Important to remember that dry-dock is an expensive infrastructure. For instance, heavy ships of Soviet and now Russian fleet don’t use dry-docks still. Yet towing a floating dock from Saint-Petersburg to the Far East is impossible even in modern conditions. So Russian engineers found a way – they created custom coffers, allowing to work with underwater shell-holes.
 
Russian torpedo-boats were leaving port regularly to scout the opposition. In one such case counter-torpedo-boat “Steregushiy” went into fight with 4 Japanese torpedo-boats and met its heroic end, without ever lowering the flag.
 
In the cold morning 31st of Masch deed was repeated by torpedo-boat “Strashnyi”, which was attacked by 6 Japanese torpedo-boat-interceptors. Unfortunately its death server as prologue for the event much more tragic for fates of war and Pacific fleet. Cruiser “Bayan” spotted the conflict and sailed to assist. It scared away Japanese torpedo-boats and managed to grab 5 survivors, but at this point was already under fire itself. Cruiser fell back.
 
9:43. Flagship – ironclad “Petropavlovsk” was shaken by two consecutive huge explosions. Ironclad’s nose fell off and sunk. Great admiral has perished. Along with Makarov cold waters consumed his friend artist Vereshagin, counter-admiral Molas, 27 ranked officers and 630 sailors. But great duke Kirill Vladimirovich was spared the same fate. Only to later betray the emperor in March 1917 by forfeiting crew of guardian ship to temporary government. And to become an ancestor of the current supposed prince – Georgiy Hogenzollern.
 
Makarov’s death was not taken lightly by the emperor, who rarely shown much emotion in his diary:
“Terrible and incredibly sad news… Whole day couldn’t recollect myself from this horrible disaster.”
 
After Makarov’s death Japanese found themselves to be in the superior naval position. Today many seem to praise Japanese intelligence for these explosions. Yet the situation itself suggests coincidence rather than anything else. Running into a whole bunch of mines at the same time is entirely unlikely to be planned ahead. Sea – is not a road, not a railway. And Russian admiral was anything but predictable. Moving out on heavy ironclad was more like an exception rather than rule, because Makarov generally used fast ships like “Bayan” and “Novik”. That mine is unlikely to be a brilliant Japanese plan, rather it was an extremely unlucky circumstance.
 
Russian liberals dreamt about loss in Russo-Japanese war, because they wanted to end the monarchy. Any tactical defeat was cheered on.
At the start of April not long after Makarov’s death, first Japanese army under the command of general Kuroki, lands near Chemulpo. They move north to meet Russian troops. Russian soldiers will cover themselves with glory, but Russian command will make mistakes that defy logic. Lenin’s words about surrender of Port Arthur as beginning of the end for monarchy will not be random. But it will not be just the end of monarchy – it will be the end of Russian sovereignty.
 
 

Port Arthur


 
“Story about the siege of Port Arthur is, from start to finish, a tragedy of Japanese arms. Nothing special or even notable neither in terms of strategy, nor in terms of art of war was put on the table by Japanese”.

(English correspondent Ellis Bartlett (re-translation of the words, also need to confirm spelling))


 
Why are we time and time again going back to the war that Russian ‘educated’ social group tried not to notice even when the war was ongoing. No, we don’t try to remember the war. We try to remember Russia, memories of which were purposefully and consciously erased from minds of our fathers and grandfathers. We’re not doing this for the sake of collapsed graves of the past century. We’re doing this for the future, because it won’t grow from some past reality, but from a past as we understand it.
 
We were forced to be ashamed of our own name. We were told that our history consists of only failures. But it is time to try and look objectively about our defeats; and (what is more important) see not just the shadow, but also the untold light of our history.
 
After Makarov’s death Japanese fleet immediately achieved so long-desired naval dominance. After landing forces in Chemulpo, Japanese moved north, followed by an entire army of carriers. 26th of April marked the first battle overland on the Yalu river. 20-thousand Russian cover unit retreated under suppression from 40-thousand army under the command of General Oku. In the middle of May railway branch connecting Port Arthur with Russia was cut off. Siege of the fortress began.
 
Port Arthur is a Chinese fortress Lushun. It was named “Port Arthur” on European maps in times of “opium wars” in honor of English captain Arthur Eliot, who “opened” Lushun for Europe. Port Arthur was captured by Japan in 1895. Then it was returned to China by the demand of Russia, Germany and France. Finally it was rented for 25 years by Russia in 1900.
 
Being in a complete blockade from the outside world Port Arthur was held for 7 months against an enemy that should not be underestimated. Losing 11 thousand men fortress garrison inflicted 112 thousand casualties to the army of general Nogi. Ratio is more than respectable.
 
General Nogi, ashamed by (in his own opinion) unjustified human and supply losses, was about to perform hara-kiri. But emperor forbade him to do that. After emperor’s death, Nogi (with his wife) eventually followed through with his intent.
 
Tendency to underestimate Japanese was not a new. It existed before the war and not only in Russia. It is based on a perception of a person’s height as the deciding factor in calculating possible threat. Naturally, average height of a European surpasses the average height of a south-east Asian. But we have to remember that in 1840s Colonel Colt had more or less evened the odds. So Japanese were a real and potent threat.
 
Autumn 1914. Japanese take German base in China (just a 100 miles from Port Arthur) – port and fortress of Qingdao – with minimal losses. Garrison surrenders not even waiting for an assault. And those are not some questionable Romanian or Italian troops. Those are soldiers of reichsvera – best army in Europe, army of German Kaiser Wilhelm II. Best in the world, physically strong and well-trained German infantry surrenders their arms to the dusty boots of short soldiers of Japanese Mikado.
 
German garrison in time of 3-month long siege lost 187 people. Japanese-English sieging corps lost a little over 300.
 
Russian garrison had to fight alone. Communication with the outside world was limited by month old newspapers, provided by Chinese sailor on small boats who risked their lives for their own greed. These were the hopeless conditions Port Arthur found itself in.
 
From ideological point of view, for the sake of belittling the heroism of Russian soldiers, defense of Port Arthur was often branded as shameful capitulation before all the possible resistance was given. By we know very well that fortress commander general Anatoly Stessel did it against the will of the troops. Let’s not forget also, that war wasn’t fought under Moscow, and not under Leningrad, but in far away Manchuria.
 
And let’s not forget the great casualties’ ratio in Port Arthur. It wasn’t a wonder that emperor Nikolai II ordered to count every month of that siege as a year of service.
 
With all that one factor should be expressly noted. In many a cases there was a specific lack of effort from assigned Russian military commanders. In fact it seemed like the war was fought by low ranked officers and the people themselves. People who probably didn’t understand the vital significance of the Chinese railway and port for the state.
 
Lack of effort from new admiral Wilhelm Witheft was no short of absurd. I t seemed like his will was completely paralyzed, Russian ironclads were stuck in Port Arthur’s bay. Yet despite the lack of command Russian sailors made some serious progress. Japanese admiral Toga noticed the “dead zone” in the line of fire of Russian coastal artillery. During entire month of April his ships approached the fortress and bombarded it over the local mountain. Captain of a supply ship Fedor Ivanov realized that Toga for the sake of convenience always uses the same course for these attacks.
 
In the night between 1st and 2nd of May minelayer “Amur”, first ever ship able to lay anchor sea mines at while moving at full speed, built in Saint-Petersburg (and became the prototype for ship of foreign nations, which appeared only after the war), laid mines on the path of the Japanese. Next morning two newest Japanese ironclads “Yasima” and “Hatsuse” fell victims of those mines. “Hatsuse”’s amoo detonated and the ironclad immediately sunk with entire crew. “Yasima” managed to hold together for a little bit and sunk on its way back to Japan. But that’s not all. Failing to maneuver, cruiser “Kosuga” rammed the light cruiser “Eosino”. “Eosino” keeled over and sunk with almost entire crew. That event stopped naval bombardments of Port Arthur up until the end of siege. That was a considerable victory of Russian arms.
 
While at it Japanese started shooting in the water wildly. They thought that they are attacked by submarines. Their fears were not completely misplaced. Japanese knew that Russian fleet has a submarine division. This division of newly built and purchased little submarines was transport to pacific by the means of railway just before the war. Yet they weren’t there in time for Port Arthur. But already under the siege engineer Naletov managed to construct a little submarine from things lying around. 10 years after that Naletov will make a history by creating the first ever submarine minelayer “Crab”. In time of the World War I mines laid by “Crab” in Bosphorus will nullify the threat of German submarines in Black Sea.
 
Vladivostok was covered by an entire submarine fleet. While completely defenseless from land, city was protected from sea assault. 16th of April submarine “Som” while on patrol on the way to Zolotoy Rog bay discovered a group of Japanese torpedo-boats. Submarine’s captain – duke Trubetskoy ordered an attack. That was a first known attempt to attack a moving target by a submarine in an open sea.
 
It’s time to look into another persistent myth created by Soviet scientists. Imperial Russia is generally regarded as being a technologically weak state. Well, we weren’t weak in construction of absolutely new military vessels and weapons (such was submarines at the time), in fact Russia was more advanced in this field than others. So maybe we should try and view the situation from the other perspective.
 
In reality Russia wasn’t technologically weak, she was weak monetarily (not rich enough). Nowadays we justifiably consider oil and gas as Russia’s natural treasures. At the beginning of 20th century the main source for export was bread. Oil didn’t yet have the decisive economic value. Oil civilization was just starting. Coal was the primary source of power, lubricants were made out of banal sunflower, and gasoline automobiles were having a hard time finding their place.
 
There is also a moral factor in Russia’s lack of comparable wealth at the time. Let’s remember how major wealth of world’s empires was accumulated back then. They acquired their capital from blatant robbery of their colonies. Relatively small England built its fleet on account of its huge colonies, starting with India, whom English themselves called a pearl of English crown, and justifiably so. Almost free Indian cotton was sent to England to come back to India as expensive English manufactured goods.
 
In 20s-30s Japan will prove a great pupil to such colonial English experience in China. But at the start of 20th century Japan is much closer to primitive predatory. Its shining new ironclads, participating in warfare against Russia in fleet of admiral Toga, are built on the money stolen by Japanese soldiers from Chinese imperial silver treasury after suppressing so-called “boxer rebellion”. Let’s specifically note that these assets weren’t paid as reparations, but rather stolen in process of doing something which is nowadays called international aid or peacekeeping operations.
 
In contrast to British Empire Russia was a humane state not just in words. Russian monarch couldn’t allow a robbery of his subjects in Middle Asia or Caucasian region just because. “Prison of nations”, as Russian ‘educated class’ liked to call it, employed a measured and cogent national policy. Russian emperor lacked funds but he didn’t start robbing defenseless neighbors even when his troops were within a rifle shot distance from unprotected China’s treasury. And he didn’t put a burden of war expenses on the populace either.
 
Emperor often personally made trips to see troops off to war, considering it to be his duty. He also visited wharfs, where new ships for Pacific fleet were being constructed. New minister of finances V. N. Kokovtsov (appointed in first days of war) successfully managed outside load on French and German markets to cover for military expenses and by this keeping free exchange of banknotes for gold.
 
Thanks to this Russia population grew more than 1.5 times throughout the time of Nikolai II’s rule. Low taxes resulted in the highest industrial development rate in the world at the time. By 1920 (by foreign expert’s account) Russia was supposed to overcome USA in GDP value.
 
To describe alleged industrial weakness of Imperial Russia it’s often being put in contrast to Soviet industrial breakthroughs. But in actuality there wasn’t anything completely new in Soviet industrial approach. In fact, just as British crown flourished on robbing China and India, USSR to certain extent used the same ‘technique’. Only difference was that in was Russian core nation that got the sharp end of the stick to somebody else’s benefit, not the other way around.
 
When after 7-month siege Port Arthur is destined to fall, famous Russophobe Vladimir Ulyanov (Lenin) notes in his article:
 
”Capitulation of Port Arthur is a prologue to capitulation of monarchy”.
 
Seeming paradox of the time was that Russian people were free people. The only serious ‘bound’ in their lives was conscience. Ironically, ‘freedom’ and ‘liberty’ ideas running rampant in the West were used to ‘liberate’ people from conscience. Looking at things from this angle it is not difficult to see the purpose behind many political events concerning Russia starting from summer of 1905. Spread of such ‘freedom’ is the only actual victory that was gained against Russia.
 
There is yet another persistent myth saying that Russian army in Russo-Japanese war was suffering defeats one after another. In reality except for failures under Turenchen (confirm spelling) and in maneuvering on Shah River Russian army suffered no defeats. Casualties were way lower than Japanese. In decisive battles under Laojan (confirm spelling) and Mukden Russian army won defense phases, not only withstanding overwhelming numbers, but also inflicting casualties with 2 to 3 ratio in Russian favor. Yet every time Japanese field office prepared for retreat, general Kuropatkin will do the same simultaneously, effectively compromising Russian military efforts.
 
Same happened on the sea. There is another myth here. Main defeat of the Russian navy, deciding the course of the war, was not Tsushima. Main defeat was attempt to breakthrough from Port Arthur to Vladivostok by first Pacific squadron and the resulting battle in Yellow sea 28th of July. This attempt will make the move of second squadron unnecessary and Tsushima – almost inevitable.
 
Astonishingly enough, this battle, same as Laojan and Mukden, was effectively won despite the poor effort of squadron commanders. In the middle of the battle admiral Wilhelm Witgeft, who was situated on the open bridge of the flagship ironclad “Tsesarevich” was killed by direct hit of 420-kilogramm high-explosive shell. Then ironclad captain Nikolai Ivanov, breaking all possible protocols, doesn’t report admiral’s death, continuing the move to breakthrough. Russian gunners shoot much better than Japanese and admiral Togo signals retreat from the flagship “Mikasa”. That could become the turning point.
 
Yet the fate of the Russian squadron was decided by one single shell that blew up near deck-house of “Tsesarevich”. Shell’s fragments killed everybody inside. Dying helmsman falling on the helm as if intentionally sets the ship on the ramming course. This attack is supported by another ironclad – “Retvizan” and its captain – Shesnovich. But as soon as Ivanov falls injured, flag of the long-dead admiral is brought down. And new admiral duke Uhtomskiy immediately signals retreat to Port Arthur.
 
Cruiser commander Reitsenstein refuses to obey that order and continues with the breakthrough, effectively going through Japanese. Rst of the squadron comes back to Prot Arthur to later die under Japanese siege artillery.
 
Later there will be a capitulation of Port Arthur. Later there will be inevitable catastrophe at Tsushima. Yet neither of these affected the outcome of the war. Japanese ships simply weren’t able to attack Trans-Siberian railway, geopolitical instrument, a communication line used to date.
 
Port Arthur will survive 4 lengthy and vicious assaults. Here, likewise on the sea, Russian soldiers will fight despite inexplicable lack of effort from general Stessel. They will find themselves another leader. Soul of the garrison will be commander of one of rifle divisions – Roman Isidorovich Kondratenko.
 
Port Arthur defenders will fight with resourcefulness. Navy ranked officer Podgurskiy will use naval weapon on land. This will go down as prototype of mortar (minethrower). Women of Port Arthur will give away their silk to make cover for aerostat, much needed for aiming.
 
Studying Russo-Japanese war one can note that in many occasions the deciding factor in battles was morale or technical capabilities but rather pure luck. One mine decided the fate of admiral Makarov. One shell decided the fate of ironclad in Yellow Sea. Fate of Port Arthur was decided by one shell that broke concrete arch of fort №2 2nd of December 1904. This shell killed Roman Isidorovich Kondratenko. After his death command returned to general Anatoly Stessel. But even after losing their commander defenders will hold the line against the final Japanese assault. It was the last because after it Japanese commander Nogi, unable to beat Russian army in battle, decided to switch to blockade to starve them to death. But 19th of December general Stessel will yield the fortress despite the will of military council, despite the resolve of soldiers and ranked officers of the garrison.
 
At the time of Russo-Japanese war Lenin and his company stood for defeat of Russia. They did the same during World War I to use such a defeat to start a civil war.
 
General opinion considers voicing conspiracy theories to be a sign of bad manners. But the truth of the matter is that even in 1905 Lenin and his company did everything they could to sabotage Russia.
 
Former minister of finances Vitte was of the similar opinion:
 
”As politician I’m afraid of quick and brilliant successes of the Russians; it could have made leaders in Saint-Petersburg too proudspirited… Russia should suffer a couple more military failures”.
 
Port Arthur is not a shame, it’s fame of Russia and Russian arms. Consider the fact that 300 spartans didn’t actually win the battle of Thermopiles. Chinese naval base Lushun, as Port Arthur is now called, in spiritual sense is still a part of great and beautiful Russia of that time.
 
  ... to be continued ...
 

 

Last edited on Thu May 2nd, 2013 01:45 pm by Jee-Host[gm]

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 Posted: Mon Apr 8th, 2013 02:37 pm
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Tsushima



We are rightfully proud of historical 250-days defense of Sevastopol. Yet general Manstein was rightfully proud of taking the fortress. But taking of Port Arthur brought no pride to Japanese arms. This is what general Nogi wrote in his private letter to a friend:

“Only feelings I have right now – are shame and misery, because I had to waste so many lives, so much ammunition and time”.

80-thousand men of English garrison in the fortress of Singapore, loaded with supplies and ammo, having a free sea approach – they will capitulate before 50-thousand Japanese expeditionary corps. We, Russians, should not be ashamed of our military history.

Not once we talked about Russian “educated” class and its role in the events at that tragic time. It has to be noted that not everyone was full of ill-will towards his Homeland. This is what very contradictory person – Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy – wrote about the events:

“The fall of Port Arthur was painful for me… I was a military man myself. In my time this would never have happened. Die to a man, but never surrender… In my time it would have been considered a shame and would be seemingly impossible to surrender a fortress while having supplies and 40-thousand worth of soldiers”.

And yet this coin had a glorious side. Russian garrison lost 11 thousand men (every fifth defender). But out of 112 thousand casualties of Japanese siege army ranked officers were about 10 thousand (and also 12 ships and around 2 thousand sailor casualties). In comparison let’s say that at Tsushima disaster Russian fleet lost 5 thousand lives.

Russian casualties in Russo-Japanese war weren’t catastrophic. In long battles under Laojan and Mukden our casualties were capped at 3 and 6 thousands respectively. This is no more than 2% of all participants in these battles. Average casualties of Russian military in Manchuria were no more than average casualties of Soviet military in Afghanistan.

Yet our casualties before and after 1917 were consciously overexaggerated and even demonized by many so-called “war historians”. Well hidden disinformation was included not only in school books, but also in books for military schools. Like, for battles of 19th century casualties information was a feature, but for battles of Russo-Japanese war this information was inexplicably absent. Instead there was a number of “sanitary” casualties. That is how myth about 20 and 40 thousand casualties under Laojan and Mukden respectively were created. And this was a conscious effort.

Russian “educated” class hated the emperor Nikolai Aleksandrovich with same kind of vehement, with which a ‘venal’ woman hates a reverential one, because he stood on their way to such a political construction in which every banker, industrialist, professor or lawyer should become something like a mini-emperor himself. They pathologically wished defeat for Russian army, because it was not only the force protecting the country, but also the main foundation of the Russian emperor. They passionately wanted to spill the blood of Russian soldiers on the head of the emperor. Today we know full well who and what kind of ‘heaven’ built on their own ill-fated bones.


Soviet government historians hand some other, albeit no less “honorable” goals. Their attempt to slander the emperor and Russia was no accident. Task before them was difficult – they had to hide incomprehensible losses of Red Army in the tragic years of the Great Patriotic War. And it was properly difficult! Because even just for capturing unnoticeable little place called Sychovka (hidden under 4 ringing titles of military operation) the “best ever general” lost 1 million of lives. Even more so, stimuli for said historians were weighty and shiny.

Nowadays many historians tell that Russian casualties in war against Japan in Soviet period were overexaggerated by historians at the time. Point is that every Soviet historian had to conform his historical conclusions with quotes presented in Lenin’s books. Such as:

“Number of captives according to the last English data is 48 thousand people, but how many more thousands died in battles under Qincao(confirm spelling) and under the fortress itself?”

Naturally, if Lenin, referencing English press, voices number of 48 thousand people, then Soviet historian doesn’t have the right to question that number. Otherwise his own colleagues, other Soviet historians, would immediately brand him and enemy of the people, a person that makes his research deliberately anti-Marxist, anti-Soviet.

Same motives were under slander about Tsushime, while Russian navy had occasional yet great successes - such as story of cruiser squadron from Vladivostok. Said squadron consisted of large armor-plated cruisers - “Gromoboy” and “Rossiya”, akin but obsolete cruiser “R’urik” and cruiser-scout “Bogatyr”. Unfortunately, “Bogatyr” got hole on reefs and was out of commission until summer of 1905.

Vladivostok’s cruisers entered the war much later than Port Arthur’s squadron. And commanders are not to blame here. Problem was in geography, more precisely in climatic specifics. Problem that was very well understood by the emperor and (purposefully) ignored by many government official of the time: ice.

Starting from April, as soon as ice-breakers got through Zolotoy Rog bay, Russian cruisers entered the war. 25th of April “Rossiya”, “Gromoboy” and “Bogatyr” with an escort of 2 torpedo-boats raided Korean port of Kinzan (confirm spelling) sinking transport “Goe Maru”. In Tsugar channel torpedoes sunk military transport “Kin’zu Maru”. Refusing to include in squadron obsolete cruiser “R’urik” commander Reitsenstein achieved high mobility, allowing escaping unfavorable encounters with an enemy.

These cruisers were also used as platform of revolutionary experiments of new means of observation and military intelligence. Cruiser “Rossiya” used an aerostat on a rope to greatly extend the range of visibility and spotting targets. 10 years from this moment German cruiser squadron under the command of admiral count von Schpey based in Qingdao won’t have anything besides binoculars as the means of observation. ‘Best in the world’ British navy will start using aerostats for observation only in the middle of 1915, when losses inflicted by Germans will be at the brink of breaking English sea transportation.

Main victory of Vladisvostok’s squadron is sinking big 6000-ton steamships “Hitatsi-Maru” and “Sado Maru”, each of which transported not only military supplies but also more than a thousand of soldiers and ranked officers. This victory should stay in the same row as sinking of German transport “Wilhelm Guslav” by sailors of the legendary “Marinesko”. Main losses for Japanese weren’t people. Along with “Hitatsi-Maru” sunk 18 pieces of heavy siege artillery. Arrival of heavy siege mortars (which will be the main bane of besieged fortress) under Port Arthur was delayed for 2 months due to this effort.

And this is just a part of the list of sunken and captured ships. Also Vladivostok’s cruisers averted a significant portion of Japanese fleet. More precisely – 2nd armor-plated squadron of admiral Kamimura, consisting of six iron-cladded and two armor-plated cruisers. Practically (considering “Bogatyr” being out of commission) against two Russian ships. It was the absence of admiral Kamimura’s squadron that allowed Russian ironclads engage Japanese on almost even terms 28th of July. As we remember, chance saved Japanese fleet that day from crushing defeat. If Kamimura was there then Witgeft would be destined to suffer inevitable Tsushima.

Meeting Japanese ships 1st of August in Korean channel Vladivostok’s cruisers engaged squadron of admiral Kamimura. A little bit later Japanese forces were reinforced by crusier squadron of admiral Uriu – one who commanded the traitorous attack on “Varyag” and “Koreyets” in Chemulpo.

Including slow “R’urik” was the main mistake of Russian admiral K.P. Iyessen. “Gromoboy” and “Rossiya” could easily escape the battle on their own, but “R’urik” was doomed from the beginning. Russian cruisers lasted a 5-hour battle while being grossly outnumbered. Even outpacing the famous “Varyag” in terms of valor “R’urik” sunk in the waters of Korean channel, north-west of infamous island Tsushima. Along with the ship went don’t its captain E.A. Trusov, 9 ranked officers and 195 sailors. 600 people were caught from water by Japanese. Despite the heavy damage sustained “Rossiya” and “Gromoboy” returned safely to Vladivostok.

Around the same time, 30th of July Royal family got long hoped-for heir. In Petergof, in one of pavilions of Alexandria Park the empress gave birth to a boy. This was her fifth child. The boy was named Alexei. Empress had a small hospital in Tsarskoye Selo, which she visited daily, even though her ability to personally help out was small due to pregnancy. There was also a small pavilion for injured soldiers. It was called a home for handicapped. Some injured lived here until their full recovery, others – until they learnt some other profession, not affected by their handicap. This is considered the first institution of this nature in Russia. And in was founded not for state’s budget money, but for empress’s personal savings.

Not a month passed from heir’s birthday, when empress Aleksandra Fedorovna arrived to Revel’ to along with her royal husband send new Pacific squadron on its way to the Far East. Nobody knew then that this undertaking will end up near all too familiar island Tsushima and will become the biggest tragedy in the history of Russian Navy.

Even today it’s common to blame the emperor for Tsushima. Meaning that the effort was in vain. That there was no need for another squadron in the Pacific. And first to moan about it was the main cause for Japanese national holiday, admiral Zinoviy Rozhdestvenskiy:

“If I had even a drop of civil courage I would shout to the entire world: “Save the last sources of the fleet! Do not send them to slaughter! What will you have to show, when the war is over?”, but I didn’t have the necessary spark”.

Rozhdestvenskiy wasn’t an ordinary sailor. He was the head of General Staff. So of course he knew that military ships exist not for eye-pleasing of the emperor, but for battle. Such statement can only be made by a coward or a psychologically inadequate individual.

But Zinoviy Rozhdestvenskiy was anybody but coward, which he has proven in the heat of Tsushima battle. He wasn’t an idiot either. He was a great sailor and commander, which he has proven by leading a conjunction of different types of ships through 18 thousand nautical miles and three oceans. And all this was considering that England (who had control over the majority of coal-loading station on the way of the squadron) closed its port for Russian military ships.

It would seem that Zinoviy Rozhdestvenskiy encountered the same problem as did Kuropatkin, as did Witgeft. Many try to justify this as a sign of “God’s wrath”, as if these people suddenly lost their minds. But nevertheless, the decision to send the squadron to the Far East was absolutely correct. And this decision was made the man who was among the only ones who kept his composure and sense throughout this campaign – emperor Nikolai II.

Emperor’s plan was thoughtful and completely fulfillable. For that defense contractors had to work intensely. But war factories were plagued by strikes and stoppages. Workers were paid for this sabotage from some unknown secret funds. Sometimes the political pieces of silver were considerably above their normal wages for actual labor. It has to be said that Russian factory worker in Saint-Petersburg at the time had wages comparable to low ranked infantry officers. So these strikes were not because of lack of money to buy bread. It was something along the lines of Modern Ukrainian Maidan, where every statist gets paid for participation in political prostitution. Needless to say, such activities contaminate society.

Among the myths about the emperor in regards to Tsushima there is one related to some “light” shells that supposedly were a reason behind inefficiency of Russian arms in the tragic day 14th of May. Reason to change old 450kg shell for 330kg new ones was economy. Let’s say that this change was unfortunate, would this destroy the black myth?

Author of that change was no other than brilliant inventor admiral Stepan Osipovich Makarov. In contrast to high-explosive shells Makarov’s shells were armor-piercing. Japanese shells had great destructive power on unarmored objects, but any armor was impenetrable for it. Makarov’s shell could pierce through almost any armor, but explosion was far less potent. 10th minute of Tsushima battle: 12-inch Russian shell pierces the bridge of head ironclad “Mikasa”. It exploded literally ten meters away from Japanese commander. If it was old high-explosive shell – the battle would be over without even starting. What are the odds?

14th of May, 10-year anniversary of the emperor Nikolai Aleksandrovich, Russian ships entered Tsushima channel. After 5 hours of artillery battle were lost four newest ironclads: “Oslyabya”, “Aleksandr III”, “Borodino” and “Knyaz’ Suvorov”. Fate of the squadron was sealed. But why so sudden success for Japan, why nothing like this happened in Yellow Sea 28th of July or around the same Tsushima 1st of August? Why so drastically different results?

A lot can be said about certain effort to sabotage new Russian ships, but this a well-known revisionary point of view (for further interjection). And of course there is matter of admiral Zinoviy Rozhdestvenskiy. At the last port before battle he ordered to load ironclad with 2000 tons of coal in overload. So protective ironclad belt was compromised. I leave it to you to decide for yourself what can be the reason behind such a ‘mistake’. Anyway, newest fast ironclads ended up being slow due to overload, effectively reducing the speed of the entire squadron.

Could the squadron meet a different fate? Obviously it could. Everything was in hands of the admiral. During this war not only Vladivostok’s cruisers worked enemy’s communications. Rozhdestvenskiy could let off outdated cruisers and ironclads of the second squadron on their own way to disrupt communications. Old, slow, without real military value these ironclads could circle around Japan and go to Nikolayevsk-na-Amure. There was no chance to hamper new fast ironclads (“R’urik proved that”).

Cease-fire effort made a serious dent in Russia’s reputation, but the time was chosen very effectively. Suddenly in the spring of 1905 much nobility estates suffered arson. It was well-coordinated effort to be sure. In conjunction with overall political situation it made cease-fire to be the obvious escape from disaster.

Main Russia’s adversary – USA and its president Teddy Roosevelt - unexpectedly became the main intermediary in this cease-fire treaty. Throughout the Russo-Japanese war both USA and Germany waged a diplomatic game against Russia. Decision to organize peace convention came right after Tsushima.

Military didn’t want cease-fire. Army lived with anticipation of inevitable demise of Japanese. Russian forces in Manchuria had the number advantage for once. They were led by a decisive general N.P. Linevich, who earned respect of his army during the campaign. Military ministry was sure in victory in war against seeking cease-fire.

With intermediaries such as Teddy Roosevelt and Kaiser Wilhelm it was hard to play a diplomatic game. And Russian delegation leader S. Vitte wasn’t a very powerful player (assuming that at this point he had favorable for Russia outcome of the convention in mind at all), unlike great Russian diplomat of old Aleksandr Gorchakov. Diplomatic duel was won by emperor Nikolai II himself, who oversaw the negotiations, every statement and every move of Russian delegation. He based his position on military intelligence. Only due to his firm position of “Not an inch of land, not a rouble of contributions or reparations” this cease fire treaty hasn’t become a shame for Russia. Russian military intelligence intercepted encrypted messages of diplomatic missions in Saint-Petersburg, Paris, Stockholm, Antwerp, Vienna and Haag. That allowed the emperor to react efficiently and in the end Japanese were forced to agree to Russian conditions after the decision to close the convention without any result. Only loss was a half of Sakhalin, albeit already heavily occupied by Japanese land forces. That loss met its revenge in 1945.

Japanese people expected anything but this. They were so excited by news of their military’s victories. Results of the peace convention spurred a lot of unrest in Japan. Cities were cover with mourning flags, streets barricaded.

Russian society considered this treaty to be shameful and rightly so. Yet there was great misunderstanding from where this shame have originated. Certainly not Japanese supposed military genius. And not from emperor’s inability to make right decisions. And most assuredly not from lack of valor and courage of Russian military.

Even in today’s Russia there are people ready to put abstract American model of democracy and tolerance higher than vital of the nation and the country. And like a hundred year ago modern USA has people ready to pay for it full pieces of silver.

... to be continued ...

Last edited on Tue May 7th, 2013 10:56 am by Jee-Host[gm]

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 Posted: Wed Apr 10th, 2013 01:31 pm
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It is my understanding that these "federal villains" (I call them Legal Criminals) employ deception, and in that employment they find things that hide their crime, and those things that hide their crimes are typically the opposite of the crimes that they are perpetrating.

Well, I misspoke actually. What I meant to say that no judicial authority has me on the search list. But outside of that - I agree with you statement's logic.

If people are honestly spiritual, for example, and they have a genuine belief in God, then that exists, in that way, as a genuine human condition.

I consider myself to be honestly spiritual (if I understand this correctly) and I have 0 belief in God. So I kind of fail to see a connection there. Existense of a soul has nothing to with religion. Existense of a soul logical and provable fact. Material consistency of a soul is somewhat speculative, but if you are familiar with mathematical definition of extrapolation (and I think you are) then You're probably capable to follow-up on this branch of logic and successfully sever spiritual from religious. Well, maybe I'm reading too much into what you've said. This all goes too much off topic anyway.

"free medical help"

Eventually I hope to read about the methods by which costs were covered in Russian History.


It was free in predictable sense. If you got sent into a hospital by area's attached doctor - you didn't have to pay for being there. Obviously local budgets (payed from empire's treasury) weren't enough to cover for all htese efforts. Zemstva had local tax authority, but since simple people were represented by people, elected from their own class - it worked out. Or so the data seem to suggest. Please bear in mind different mentality. Though this system may remind you of American one in some way - people's general attitude towards things was not the same and affected how it all unfolded.

So - a little update on how all this is coming along:

Russo-Japanese war will consist of 5 chapters and I edited in full 1st chapter (rough text) already. 2nd chapter is in the state of compilation-translation. I plan to finish up with roughs on these 5 chapters and then move to editing them, adding images and links and whatnot. Also - eplanational interjections. Since you - Joe - made an inquiry about government structre - I'll try to comment on those things mentioned in the chapters and relevant info (did not yet cause I had somewhat connected compilation ready and decided to translate it first and see how it looks, which by now I did and it almost makes me throw up cause of how ugly my translation is). I'm also thinking about adding interjections with explanations concerning cultural specifics. Though these might be exceptionally hard to make cause I'll need to explain subtleties without writing a lection about laguage specifics, understanding of which is required to a certain extent to comprehend these aforementioned cultural specifics.

So if there are any particular suggestions or questions regarding explanations - leave them here, i'll clear up all redundant text once I reach a critical amount data on the subject itself. Also - I wouldn't mind a little help from native English speakers in re-wording all of that in more appropriate way, because I know for a fact that my wording here is exceptionally bulky and clunky. Has to be remedied. But I guess that will become a separate issue and we'll deal with it when roughs and my own editing is done with me being at least somewhat satisfied with it (cause as of now I am not).

Once all that is done we'll see how long it all took and re-estimate deadline (I certainly underestimated amount of stuff there is to say, but then again, I don't want to make a cursed academician study out of it).

Last edited on Tue May 7th, 2013 10:55 am by Jee-Host[gm]

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 Posted: Thu Apr 11th, 2013 02:31 pm
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Joe Kelley
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Sergey,

I did not find anything in the Admin Panel where I can change scripts, so I updated the question at the HELP Forum.

I've have maintained this Forum since 2005, but it is mainly my own personal Library of Web links. Now with you, Mike, and bear here, it is actually being used as a forum, but it may not be a very good Forum in many ways.

The concept of moving all these links to another forum sounds like a lot of work, but it may be something worth considering?

The Russian History effort is already worth the effort to me, in particular I am reading how communists and mainstream media falsify the facts concerning Russian life before the communists took over, and I hope you know that my understanding is that the communists were financed by the same people who finance mainstream media.


EDIT:

1.
"Nikolai II was able to have his was and ended up making an engagement with his beloved in the spring 1984."

I think that is supposed to read "way" not "was", and the date is 1894?

2.
"
Paris was overflown."

Is that overcrowded, as in filled with many people?

3.
"
butRussian minister of Finances"

Obvious typo error.


4.
The words below are very interesting to me since the Finance Minister Vitte appears to have POWER of some measure. Then the western financed, Wall Street financed, influences arrive on the scene in the form of destroying productive capacity; that makes sense to me.


International role of Russia after this trip increased immensely, which allowed to approach the question of mid-sea channels. Russian ambassador in Constantinople - Nelidov, as well as director of General Staff - Obruchev - and deputy minister of foreign affairs - Shishkin - proposed to emperor in 23rd of November to take fleet towards Bosphorus and occupy northern parts of it. Eternal enemy - England - had no problem with splitting Turkey, butRussian minister of Finances - Vitte - voiced his disagreement. and unexpectedly enough - France was also in disagreement. France feared that England would conquer Dardanelles. In the end of the day - operation was postponed.

At the same time in Russia new forces, hostile towards the state are being organized. Lenin, Nakhamkes, Cederbaum and Krupskaya create a union for freedom of working class. Lenin's comrades starting to organize industrial stoppages. 23rd of May 1896 stared ted first stoppages in textile industry.


 


5.
The words below report on how a few people (called State, or government) move POWER from the many to those few. I find this very interesting because the CURRENCY being MONOPOLIZED in this case is Alcohol, which may or may not be significantly relevant to American History between 1776 and 1794, where 2 battles occurred between 2 "states" or "governments" and 2 "revolutionary" forces.

One was called Shays's Rebellion in Massachusetts, having to do with a Tax on Whiskey, and the other was called The Whiskey Rebellion, again having to do with a Tax on Whiskey. There is great significance to these events in America, so I'm wondering if there is much more to these events, with Monopolizing Alcohol CURRENCY in Russia. In America the use of Alcohol as money, for reasons that I can explain, made Alcohol a competitive form of money that was not tolerated by the people who ran the Legal Money Monopoly Power.


At the same time – and that was the entire reason behind this decision – monopoly increased state revenue by taking the role of broker. This indirect tax which existed in all countries in some shape or form – went right into state treasury.
I am going to end my reading and commenting session at this point, until I continue at a later time.


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 Posted: Fri Apr 12th, 2013 02:48 pm
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Joe Kelley
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I find the following to be very interesting:

Note was published in “State Herald” and spread throughout the world at this very day. Response was very swift – and negative.
If there are individual people who share the desire for wars, for their exclusive fun, and for their exclusive profit, then those people, in that group, would certainly find such a proposal to be negative.

The power of deception cannot be understated when dealing with Political Economy in History, or in the Present, or on into the Future - in my opinion.


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 Posted: Fri Apr 12th, 2013 07:30 pm
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Jee-Host[gm]
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Another little update - added rough text for the second chapter out of five on the subject of Russo-Japanese War.

All typos and such reported so far are fixed now.

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 Posted: Sun Apr 14th, 2013 12:11 am
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kurtwaters
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This is good stuff Sergey; and to think you are writing it in a second language. Try not to let Joe's interruptions distract you.  Joe, let the man finish

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 Posted: Sun Apr 14th, 2013 12:36 am
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kurtwaters,

I'm not exactly writing it, rather translating a compilation of data. I have to reword the text to accommodate language specifics - true, but it's not like I'm wording the original. In the end I plan to add all reference links and sources I can reference.

And I want to specifically state that I personally do not want to be associated with or in any way given credit for this. I'm only doing this to give a perspective, because I was asked to do so.

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 Posted: Sun Apr 14th, 2013 02:16 am
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kurtwaters
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understood

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 Posted: Fri Apr 19th, 2013 07:53 am
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Jee-Host[gm]
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Update. 3rd chapter is now available. It seems that chapter from now on are going to be considerably more dificult to assemble. Have to fish out a ton of irrelevant and downright false crap out while translating. Also - posts have size limits, so it seems there won't be a perfect split on subjects. Well, no matter.

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 Posted: Fri Apr 19th, 2013 03:00 pm
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Joe Kelley
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Thanks for the effort, please continue.

While I am reading about this very large geographical area, knowable as Russia, and the leadership of many people in Russia working to stop escalation of destruction (so called war) for profit, it occurs to me to think that Legal Criminals could not allow such a defensive POWER to exists, because accurate moral human peaceful coexistence, or harmony, if known, and if known by enough people, ends Legal Crime, so the Legal Criminals must have figured out the need to CRUSH the leadership of Russia based upon those efforts by that leadership to spread the ideas of peaceful human coexistence.

Hey, it was a suggestion by Mike (kurtwaters) for me to avoid distracting the progress of Russian History, here, but I do see opportunity to comment, and these comments of mine can be erased at will.

“Also there were agreements about financing Japanese government in their war against Russian government in their attempt to weaken monarchy and by that ease the Bolshevik’s task. In new York: Jacob Schiff, J.P. Morgan, First National Bank, National City Bank provided Japan with 30.000.000$ to attack Russian government from the East”.


I am wondering about the use of the quote above in the context of History up to that point. The Legal Criminals, as I call them, financed Japanese aggression, which makes sense to me, "what else is new", but my question here has to do with the "Bolshevik's" existing in the time frame where Nikolai II is still commanding Russian government and economy. I thought that the Bolsheviks were not in power (financed by Legal Criminals from "Wall Street") until after Nickolai II was overpowered (enemies domestic being financed by enemies foreign,) so I'd like clarification in this timeline.

Were the Bolsheviks in power while Nicolai II was in power?

OH, never mind, I read further and found that the quote in question leads into the subsequent text.

Note: I use Google Maps when I read the names of places like Sarov in the Russian History text, and an observation of the scale, and position, of Russia becomes obviously a very large place of like minded people (all are Russian people in one way or another) and it is also a large place that is much more North compared to where I live in California.

If I make California zoomed in on Google maps, so that California fills the Computer screen, then I move the Map (without changing the zoom) to the West, then to the North I find a lot of room in Russia where California, which is not a small State, can be placed, California can be placed, inside of Russia without taking up much room in Russia.

Russia is HUGE!


“If England and Japan are going to act together – they can crush Russia, but they have [to] move quickly, otherwise Russians will became too strong”.



H ewas also strong-willed

regular military forces date back to 186 and 1807 in Aniva Bay.

I have another question about the use of the word "Soviet."

In Soviet times common way to describe these events was to say that “In the Far East there was a confrontation of two imperialistic predators – Russia and China”. We’ll talk about Japan’s samurai spirit-soaked aggression a bit later. But for now we are interested in myth about Russian aggression. Let’s analyze it.


My question has to do with the meaning of the word Soviet and if it a label that is synonymous with Bolshevik, so as to understand "Soviet times" as being the times when the Bolshevik Regime was in Power, and it was not the time when Nicolai II was in power?


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Jee-Host[gm]
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Joe, thanks for your feedback.

As to your question about term 'Soviet' in relation to 'Bolshevik'. Generally when we use word 'Soviet' over here, we reference to all time since 1917 up to the end of USSR. In this context general meaning goes as 'under the propaganda of', maily when generation remembering Imperial times from personal experience was in lesser numbers. The word 'Bolshevik' is far less common even in general reference. 'Soviet' means 'council' or 'advise'. 'Bolshevik' is a name made by the group themselves. Name suggests majority or will of the majority or representation of the majority, while it was never so to begin with. We'll get there eventually and hopefully I'll be able to explain my take on the whole massive turd in the wildly spinning fan deal, pardon my language.

Russia is HUGE!

Used to be bigger (even not counting Alaska). For once - add Mongolia and north China up from the Great Wall (even have maps showing that). There is an educated speculation that the wall was actually built to protect north from the Chinese. And that is only 'for once'. Also - fun facts. Sanscrit is at least 65-70% compatible with Russian and can be sufficiently understood without any scholarship. Take artifact texts in Arabic and read them properly (from left to right and with proper technique) - you'll end up with Russian. For real.


Also - I've yet again been slacking off on translations during weekend. And this week I'm covering up for my partner (working for 2 guys basically), so I'm not sure I can deliver next chapter before the end of the week. Sorry for the delay.

Last edited on Mon Apr 22nd, 2013 10:28 am by Jee-Host[gm]

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 Posted: Sun Apr 28th, 2013 04:03 pm
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Update. 4th and 5th chapter are in the making. Next week has just 2 workdays and then 5 days off. So hopefully some decent progress will be made then. Ideally I'd like to finish off on Russo-Japanese war including most interjections, pictures and whatever...

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 Posted: Sun Apr 28th, 2013 10:14 pm
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Joe Kelley
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Thanks for keeping up with progress NEWS.

I read the quote following and for some reason I was reminded of a move titled Enemy at the Gate, and now I wonder if you saw the movie, and what you thought of the movie, but I don't want to get you side tracked too much.

Enemy at the Gate Movie Clip


Russian liberals dreamt about loss in Russo-Japanese war, because they wanted to end the monarchy. Any tactical defeat was cheered on.

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 Posted: Sun Apr 28th, 2013 10:30 pm
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Jee-Host[gm]
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I didn't watch that movie. Play movies made these days with any kind of budget are made with high influence if not with direct control by social parasites. So fishing out for much sense inside of them is like distilling a spoon worth of honey out of barrel full of tar - you can definitely tell that there is honey, but to firmly grasp it - not worth the effort while there are other options. And of course wars of 20th century being nice big targets to create a legend about. In short - I don't trust movies. Take a shot in the dark and pick any movie or action series randomly and chances are - I'll be able to point out a mother-load worth of falsehoods 10 times of of 10.

There is a little series related to the subject of WWII I do like though. It's fictional of course, but in many ways it's nice to watch. There is a version of it with English subtitles (albeit translation is worse than I could make). I'll give you a link to first part of first episode (you should be able to find the rest on that person's YT channel):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIzOma9Pyv8

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 Posted: Sat May 25th, 2013 04:24 pm
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Jee-Host[gm]
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Status update.

I've been preoccupied with other things throughout May. Planning to pick up working on this mess sometime during the summer. Don't have juice required for it right now. Lame excuse, I know, but it can't be helped unless I suddenly become a better person (fat chance).

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 Posted: Sat May 25th, 2013 09:52 pm
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bear
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I just wanted to let you know, I have wondered about you and missed you. Silly, I suppose, but it's true.

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 Posted: Sat May 25th, 2013 10:16 pm
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Jee-Host[gm]
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Well, it's not like I haven't been around, right? Just didn't see much worth responding to. I mean - do I really have anything to say about editing in English?

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 Posted: Sat May 25th, 2013 11:47 pm
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bear
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Yah, English grammer is a pretty boring topic, but if I try to talk and do that too...well, I won't do the grammer work.

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