“Our Position and Purposes on the Pacific Coast”: The Far East Development in the Perception of the Military Thinker P. F. Unterberger (1898)

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УДК 94(470)+94(571)

DOI 10.28995/2073-0101-2020-4-1215-1227

Konstantin A. Medvedev

Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow, Russian Federation

“Our Position and Purposes on the Pacific Coast”: The Far East Development in the Perception of the Military Thinker P. F. Unterberger (1898)


This article is devoted to the Russian military and statesman P. F. Unterberger and his views on the position of the Russian Empire in the Far East in the late 19th century. The source of the article is the P. F. Unterberger’s note, which demonstrates primary objectives of Russia in the region. It is a part of P. F. Unterberger’s fond in the Russian State Military History Archive (RGVIA). The note was written in the late 19th century and is noteworthy not only as a source, revealing aspects of external and internal policy of Russia, but as an attempt of a Russian general to make a project of the Far East’s development. Therefore, on the basis of his note, the article strives to assess intellectual tendencies and processes of the era. Of primary importance for P. F. Unterberger was military presence of Russia in the Far East. He pointed out that strategic importance of the region had significantly increased in the late 19th century. He saw one of the main aims of the Russian Empire in acquiring an ice-free port in the Far East. The need to connect the Far Eastern periphery with Central Russia prompted him to address the problem of transport development. Thus, P. F. Unterberger underscored the necessity of the Trans-Siberian Railway construction. He focused on relations between Russia and other states. P. F. Unterberger urged Russia to establish cordial relations with China, the biggest state of the Far East. On England, which also had its interests on the Pacific coast, he held a different view. Japan he considered Russia’s most dangerous enemy in the region. There are some results in the article’s conclusion. The note of P. F. Unterberger shows some intellectual tendencies of the turn of the 20th centuries. One of them was the idea of “yellow peril.” However, of most significance is the source itself. Such complex theories subsequently have become a part of the scholarship known as “geopolitics.”


Intellectual history, Far Eastern policy, social thought, foreign policy, geopolitical project, source.

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About the authors

Medvedev Konstantin Alexandrovich, Russian State University for the Humanities, Faculty of History, Political Science and Law, the department of history and theory of historical scholarship, postgraduate student, Moscow, Russian Federation, +7-495-250-61-18, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Submitted 12.01.2020, published (for citation):

MEDVEDEV, K. A. “Nashe polozhenie i zadachi na pribrezh'e Tikhogo okeana”. Osvoenie Dal'nego Vostoka v predstavleniyakh voennogo myslitelya P. F. Unterbergera. 1898 g. [“Our Position and Purposes on the Pacific Coast”: The Far East Development in the Perception of the Military Thinker P. F. Unterberger (1898). In Russ.]. IN: Vestnik arhivista / Herald of an Archivist, 2020, no. 4, pp. 1215-1227. doi 10.28995/2073-0101-2020-4-1215-1227

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