Xinjiang in the Archive of the Tsarist Foreign Ministry


I’m posting here some information on files in AVPRI (Arkhiv vneshnei politiki rossiiskoi imperii), the Archive of Foreign Policy of the Russian Empire, that relate to Xinjiang. AVPRI can be a slow place to work, so these notes might assist those planning a trip, or maybe inspire someone to do so. I made this list on a visit to the archive in 2012, just before AVPRI shut its doors for renovations. Recent reports have these renovations continuing into 2016, but hopefully it won’t be too long before it’s up and running again. Most of the files come from two sections of the archive, the Kitaiskii stol, literally the “China desk”, and the Mission to Beijing. Apart from these two subdivisions, I’ve also listed a few items at the end from the archives of specific consulates in Xinjiang (unfortunately these collections are rather thin) and the personal files of tsarist diplomats. Inevitably the selection will reflect my own interests to some extent, so this shouldn’t be thought of as an exhaustive list of things on Xinjiang in AVPRI.  Continue reading