No GNW (or “Peter goes South”)

I'm not seeing how Russia will be able to remain distant from this, Denmark and Sweden are going to get pulled in because of their German territories. Russia is too invested in the Baltic mafia to sit this out and unless Napoleon's rise to power is averted, French domination of western europe is going to clash with Russian interests.
I'm not seeing how Russia will be able to remain distant from this, Denmark and Sweden are going to get pulled in because of their German territories. Russia is too invested in the Baltic mafia to sit this out and unless Napoleon's rise to power is averted, French domination of western europe is going to clash with Russian interests.
Not necessarily. There is an ongoing TL “L’Aigle Triomphant: A Napoleonic Victory TL” which has such a clash avoided based on something close (not identical) to the Baltic League scenario. If anything, Britain a problem is at least equal to Nappy. And, to be fair, in OTL Nappy’s clash with Russia was more than on 50% initiated by Alexander.
The Big Mess
161. The Big Mess

“Мятеж не может кончиться удачей,
В противном случае его зовут иначе.”

S. Marshak [1]
Revolution is a belief supported by bayonets.”
Hang (be sure to hang so that the people can see)”
“Everything could have get back to normal with the passage of time.”

Things in Poland had been in a state of a temporary and rather peculiar balance. On one hand, the Constitution was accepted and, formally, in a process of implementation. OTOH, being written by the well-intentioned but not necessarily excessively competent people, it had huge “grey areas”.

“…We solemnly guarantee the noble country all freedoms, liberties, prerogatives and advantages in private and public life… We recognize as equal all nobles not only in terms of receiving positions and providing services to the fatherland that bring honor, glory and wealth, but also in terms of equal enjoyment of privileges and prerogatives belonging to the noble class”. And at the same time between 300 and 700,000 had been excluded from the political life by introduction of a property ownership requirement.

The people must ensure their own defense against attack and preserve the integrity of the state. Therefore, all citizens are defenders of the integrity of the homeland and its freedoms. The army is nothing more than a force that serves to defend and ensure order and is part of the common strength of the people. The people must maintain and respect their army for devoting itself entirely to its defense. The army must protect the borders of the state and its tranquility, i.e. it should be its strongest shield. In order to fulfill this purpose flawlessly, she must be constantly subordinate to the executive branch in accordance with the law.” Very true, nice and progressive but what about the place of traditional leadership, the hetmans (and lesser officers) in the new army? These positions are not being abolished even if their rights were somewhat restricted by creation, in 1776, of the Military Department in the Permanent Council (which the new constitution abolished). What is Hetman’s position vis-a-vis military minister?

Taking into an account that both top commanders (Great Hetman and Hetman Polny) were the members of Targowica Confederacy, accompanied by commander of the artillery (who financed a big part of it out of his own pocket) the command chain of the newly-created army was somewhat in the limbo and on the top of all of the above a considerable part of the taxes was going to the Confederacy’s coffers making creation of the new army rather difficult. On the other side of the equation, the Confederacy found itself in a position where it could screw things up for the ruling “progressive” party but hardly could do anything serious in the terms of overthrowing it because the Hetmans did not have a regular loyal military force of their own and the traditional Pospolite ruszenie proved its uselessness during the war of 1771-73.

As a result, it became clear to both parties that the issues should be discussed. The Confederacy supporters (or rather opponents of the Constitution) in Warsaw, some of whom had been holding the high positions in the government, Church and army, started discussions with the King regarding possible compromise with the Confederacy while simultaneously trying to get the foreign rulers involved on their behalf.

This did not sit well with the “patriots” and in the early 1794 the uprising started. Lithuanian nobleman Andrzej Tadeusz Bonawentura Kościuszko was elected leader of the uprising: besides being unquestionably patriotic and progressive, he had a name recognition in France and the United States and upon returning to Poland in 1784, was commissioned as a major general in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth Army in 1789. He, with sympathetic high-ranking officers, started planning the uprising since September 1793 and it was expected to start late in 1794 but the events (including expectation of the temporary Russian distraction due to the change of a monarch) prompted the conspirators to act earlier. Kościuszko entered Kraków on the night of 23 March 1794. The next morning, in the Main Square, he announced an uprising. Kościuszko received the title of Naczelnik (commander-in-chief) of Polish–Lithuanian forces. Kościuszko gathered an army of some 6,000, including 4,000 regular soldiers and 2,000 recruits, and marched on Warsaw. Near Połaniec he received reinforcements and met with other Uprising leaders (Kołłątaj, Potocki); at Połaniec he issued a major political declaration of the Uprising, the Proclamation of Połaniec. The declaration stated that serfs were entitled to civil rights and reduced their work obligations (corvée).

In order to strengthen the Polish forces, Kościuszko issued an act of mobilisation, requiring that every 5 houses in Lesser Poland delegate at least one able male soldier equipped with carbine, pike, or an axe. Kościuszko's Commission for Order in Kraków recruited all males between 18 and 28 years of age and passed an income tax. Making the best out of a generally bad situation with the weapons he created some infantry units of peasant volunteers armed with the scythes (kosynierzy, scythemen) which, if deployed properly, could be quite useful: at the close quarters the pole-arms may give certain advantage over a shorter musket with a bayonet and could provide an adequate defense against cavalry charge.

But here was the 1st alarm signal, which he choose to ignore: there were not enough peasants willing to join these units. Even Proclamation of Połaniec issued on 7 May 1794 did not produce the expected results. It was promising freeing from serfdom of all peasants conscripted to the military but without the land. The rest were mostly the promises of a better serfs’ treatment after the war but, again, nothing about the land or abolishing the institution of a serfdom. As a result, the kosynierzy were only a support formation in Kościuszko's forces during the uprising, as they formed a majority only in one infantry regiment.


In a meantime the uprising had been spreading including the territories lost during the Partition. By the reason rather difficult to figure out participants of the rebellion seriously expected to get help from the French Republic [2]. There were uprisings in the Swedish-held part of Lithuania including Wilno itself where a part of the Swedish garrison, taken by surprise, was massacred. A Polish corps under Jan Henryk Dąbrowski captured Bydgoszcz and entered Pomerania almost unopposed. Thanks to the mobility of his forces, General Dąbrowski evaded being encircled by a much less mobile Prussian army and disrupted the Prussian lines, forcing the Prussians to withdraw. On the South there was an uprising in Austrian-held Galicia. Russian territories were relatively quiet because majority of their population were not excessively fond of the PLC. Few minor militant gatherings of the local szlachta had been subdued without problems.

Warsaw already had its own “Jacobine Club” and on May 9 1794 it initiated an uprising in the Polish capital. The rebel leadership was forced to yield to the “demands of the masses” and executed four prominent figures cooperating with Russia, Sweden and Prussia. The Great Crown Hetman Ozharovsky, the full Lithuanian Hetman Zabello, Bishop Józef Kossakovsky and Marshal Ankwich were executed. On June 28, the Warsaw residents organized a new people's tribunal, hanging a number of other people whom they considered traitors to their homeland. Among them: Prince of Chetvertinsky and Bishop Masalski. Other leading “traitors” had been hanged in effigy.

Not to stop there, the revolutionaries attacked and looted the foreign embassies killing some of their personnel in a process. Among other things, some of the Russians present at the Church service (there was an important religious holiday) had been massacred.

To sum it up, nothing was missed as far as pissing off the neighbor states had been involved and, quite predictably, the PLC was invaded from all directions. From Austria, 20,000 corps gathered on the Galician border. 54,000 Prussians, under the personal leadership of the king, entered the Kingdom of Poland, while other Prussian detachments (11 thousand) covered their own regions of Prussia.

The 12,000 strong corps under the leadership of Tomasz Wavrzecki entered Courland and reached Libava, taking it. Oginsky fought a rather successful guerrilla war, and Grabovsky and Yasinsky occupied Vilna and Grodno. In August 1794, the rebel detachments of Oginsky and Grabovsky raided Dinaburg and the lands of Minsk province but had been defeated in both cases.

Kosciuszko with the title of generalissimo announced general mobilization. His army increased to 70,000, but a significant part of the troops lacked firearms. The main corps of Poles and Lithuanians (23,000) under the personal command of Kosciuszko was positioned on the road to Warsaw, other detachments at Lublin, Grodno, Vilno and Rava, the general reserve (7 thousand) - at Krakow.

Sweden landed additional troops to Riga and after 30,000 troops were assembled there 15,000 entered Courland and the rest, together with the Russian corps of 10,000 marched into Lithuania.

The leadership of Russian detachments in Poland was entrusted to Prince Repnin. Field Marshal Rumyantsev was entrusted with the defense of the entire border region from Minsk province to Turkey in case of hostile sorties from the Polish side, as well as assistance to Repnin in his offensive actions. Rumyantsev sent Suvorov with a detachment to occupy Brest and defend the line along the Bug River.
Couple small detachments moved forward too early suffered defeats (greatly improving Kosciuszko’s image) but the bigger forces had been moving in.

On May 26 (June 6), 1794, Frederick William defeated Kościuszko near Szczekocin.

Scythemen successfully repulsed the cavalry charge but then they charged (on an open field) Prussian battery of 12 guns and had been almost completely exterminated. The Polish uhlans had been put to flight and Kosciuszko had to retreat with a loss of 1,200 and 16 guns. However, FWII could not use his victory due to the uprising in his rear (Powstanie wielkopolskie).

On June 12, the Supreme National Council issued a proclamation "To the inhabitants of Greater Poland", calling for the formation of rebel detachments and joining the rebel army. However, strong Prussian garrisons stationed in the cities of Wielkopolska made it almost impossible for the rebels to conduct open hostilities. Instead, a sabotage war and appeals to soldiers of Polish origin to desert from the Prussian army were organized. The possibility of an armed demonstration in Wielkopolska appeared after the main forces of the Prussian army from South Prussia were sent for the siege of Warsaw. There are only 8,000 soldiers left in South Prussia, who were reinforced by another 1,500 soldiers from distant garrisons in August. In addition, the uprisng in the rear of the Prussian army was supposed to alleviate the situation of the besieged Polish capital. The uprising was wide-spread and initially scored some minor successes but it did lack unified leadership. The Prussian troops maintained the discipline and were assembled in the major cities, mostly in Poznan and Thorn. The withdrawal of Prussian troops from Warsaw and their transfer to Wielkopolska, where the rebels did not have a single command, required Kościuszko to make a decision to support the uprising. Tadeusz decided to send a corps to Greater Poland, which was to sabotage the Prussians, in order to prevent them from sending units from there to fight the main uprising. In addition, the corps commander had to take under his command disparate rebel units in Greater Poland. General Jan Henrik Dombrowski was elected for these actions. For a while he was successful but the order issued to ban robberies and refusing to take indemnities from Bydgoszcz led the corps to the brink of rebellion. In this critical situation, Dombrovsky disbanded his headquarters and marched with part of the corps (4,000 soldiers, the rest decided to stay in the city) on Torun. However, having learned about the strengthening of the Torn garrison and march of Prussian units from Poznan against it, he decided to return to Bydgoszcz, where he began to prepare for the winter. General deterioration of the situation forced him to leave the Greater Poland and the uprising was eventually crushed.

On June 26, the rebels under the command of Y. Yasinsky were defeated near the village of Soly by Russian troops under the command of M. Zubov and Bennigsen.

A detachment of Derfelden's Russian troops advancing from the Pripyat River defeated Zayonkek's corps, occupied Lublin and reached Puław, and in Lithuania the Swedish and Russian troops approached Vilno.

Austria occupied Krakow, Sandomierz and Chelm, but this limited the actions of its troops, thereby assuming to ensure participation in the new partition of Poland [3].

The weakness of the Polish leader in Lithuania, Vielgorsky, prevented the Poles from achieving great success there. Swedish and Russian troops captured Vilna and on August 1 defeated Khlevinsky's detachment, which was appointed to Vielgorsky's place. The new Polish commander-in-chief, Mokronovsky, who arrived in Grodno, could not save the situation.

Branicki resigned as hetman and switched to Russian service with a rank of a general of infantry. Soon afterwards he retired and went to his estate near Belaya Tserkov.

By the beginning of September, general of infantry Suvorov at the head of a 10,000 strong detachment appeared at the main theater of the war. In process of his operations he kept being strengthened by other units. On September 4 (15), 1794, he took Kobrin, on September 6 (17), 1794 defeated Serakovski's troops at Krupčice, and on September 8 (19), 1794 - near Brest-Litovsk, after which the Poles in a complete disorder retreated toward Warsaw.

Shortly before that, the Prussian army, which included a detachment of Russian General Ivan Fersen, failed in the siege of Warsaw and retreated. Ferzen's detachment accompanied by the Cossacks of Denisov, by order of Repnin, moved to join Suvorov. Trying to prevent this, Kościuszko with forces of up to 10,000 entered the battle with 12,000 Fersen's corps, was defeated on September 28 (October 10) near Maciejowice and was captured wounded.

Battle of Maciejowice. In total, there were about 12,000 people under Kosciuszko's command, of which more than 7,000 were K.'s division. Serakovskiy and 4 thousand division of A. Poninsky, which was located at a distance from the main forces. On September 28 (October 9), Kościuszko marched from Zelechowa in the direction of Maciejovice. Arriving there, he placed his troops on a hill, which gave some advantages but at his rear there was the swampy Okrejka River, which made it difficult to retreat. The battle began with a strong artillery cannonade, then Denisov attacked Kościuszko’s left flank and after the third attack the resistance was broken. At the same time, General G. Min. Rakhmanov from Ferzen's corps crossed Okrejica and entered the right flank for the Poles. The Polish cavalry began to retreat, Kościuszko jumped after them to stop and send them on a counteroffensive, but faced the Don Cossack detachments from Denisov's corps surrounding him, was wounded by a cavalryman who suddenly appeared from Fersen's corps. The retreat of the rebels turned into an escape, only about 2,000 people were able to reach Warsaw, the rest were defeated, captured or fled. The defeat at Maciejowice predetermined the defeat of the entire Kościuszko Uprising.

On October 1 (12), 1794, the rebels left Grodno, retreating to Warsaw.

In early October, Suvorov came out of Brest with a ready-made combat plan. The plan provided for the capture of Prague, the suburbs of Warsaw on the right bank of the Vistula, followed by placement in winter quarters and the continuation of the campaign in 1795.
On October 14, Ferzen's detachment was subordinate to Suvorov, his army began to number up to 19,000 soldiers. On October 15 (26), on the way to Warsaw at the town of Kobylka, Suvorov's vanguard defeated a 4,000-strong detachment of rebels from Makranovsky's corps. On October 19, a Russian detachment of Lieutenant General Derfelden joined Suvorov, after which the number of troops under Suvorov amounted to 24-25 thousand soldiers (including 4,000 cavalry and 3,000 Cossacks) with 86 guns. On October 22, Russian troops approached Prague directly and began to prepare positions for artillery batteries.

Despite the panic in Warsaw caused by the news of the Battle of Maciejović and the captivity of Kościuszko, the population demanded the continuation of the war. The newly elected commander-in-chief, Wavrzecki, sent an order to all Polish detachments to hurry to defend the capital, which they managed to fulfill.

Storming Praga. Prague was connected to Warsaw by a long bridge over the Vistula, which has a significant width in this place. The inner line of defense was an earthen rampart around Prague. The outer line that the Poles built during the summer stretched for more than 6.5 km and had about the shape of a right angle, the short side of which went east from the Vistula to the sandy hills, then turned more than 90 degrees and rested on the swampy tributary of the Vistula. The distance between the internal and external line of defense was about a kilometer, and here Polish troops were located inthe camp. The outer line of fortifications (a rampart with a triple palisade and a moat) was covered in places by forward bastions and was reinforced by various artificial obstacles, including 6 rows of wolf pits with pointed stakes. More than 100 guns were installed on the fortifications, including many large-caliber guns. Additional support could be provided by artillery batteries from the opposite bank of the Vistula. The disadvantage of Prague's defense was its long length, the rebels did not have enough manpower to adequately cover the entire line of fortifications. According to Suvorov's reports, up to 30,000 people defended Prague but these figures were based on the testimony of prisoners and a speculative assessment. Polish General Wavrzecki claimed that on the day of the assault in Prague there were up to 10,000 troops, of which up to 6,000 were armed peasant militia armed with scythes. This testimony is completely inconsistent with the losses of Poles, there were many more prisoners alone. The commonly accepted number is approximately 20,000. General Wawrzecki, who became Polish commander-in-chief after the capture of Kościuszko, decided to leave Prague and concentrate all forces on the defense of Warsaw and the left bank of the Vistula, but did not have time to fulfill the plan.
Suvorov divided his forces into 7 columns. In front of each column there were 500 people with the tools and means of overcoming fortifications, they were covered with rifle fire by 128 shooters. These forces were followed by an infantry reserve, which should open a passage for the cavalry after occupying the forward line of the fortifications. All field guns will line up on the rampart of the outer line and support the storming of the inner line of defense of Praga with fire. At the beginning of the assault, the Cossacks distract the attention of defenders along the entire line.
At 5 a.m. on October 24 (November 4), even before dawn, a rocket withered and the first 4 columns moved in silence on an attack. The further course of fighting fully corresponded to Suvorov's disposition. The soldiers covered the wolf pits with whips and stairs, threw a moat with faschines and climbed the rampart, from where they knocked out the Poles with bayonets. Eyewitness described fighting as a “hell”. The explosion of an ammunition depot in Praga further exacerbated panic in the ranks of the defenders. The bridge was under Russian control, attempts by the Polish side to destroy it were stopped by artillery fire until Suvorov's order to set fire to the bridge followed. A small part of the rebels escaped by boats and even less swimming, there were no successful breakthroughs from Praga through the positions of the Russians.
By 9 a.m., the field battle ended with the complete extermination of the Polish garrison of Praga, the robbery of the suburb began. The artillery duel with batteries on the left bank of the Vistula lasted until 11 a.m. and in the afternoon resumed only for moral influence on Warsaw, already shocked by the destruction of many thousands of rebels in front of its inhabitants.
Suvorov's direct order forbade touching civilians, but at the same time there was a principle "you'll take a camp - all yours, you'll take a fortress - all yours." According to the Russian officer participating in the storm “We were shot from the windows of houses and roofs, and our soldiers, breaking into the houses, killed everyone they came across... Fierce and thirst for revenge reached the highest degree... the officers were no longer able to stop the bloodshed... The massacre came again at the bridge. Our soldiers shot at the crowds without disassembling anything..” According to some assessments more than 20,000 civilians and Polish soldiers had been killed.


Suvorov's report of November 7 says that there are 13340 killed Poles, 12860 prisoners, more than 2,000 drowned; among the prisoners there are 3 generals (Mayen, Gesler and Krupinsky) and 442 officers; among the killed 4 generals (Yasinsky, Korsak, Kvashnevsky and Grabovsky); the famous military engineer Yan Bakalovich also died in the battle; the artillery went to the winners of 104 guns. Suvorov's own losses are determined by more than 1,500 people, including 580 killed.

Following his usual practice of good attitude to the defeated enemy, Suvorov disbanded up to 6,000 prisoners from the militia, about 4,000 Poles from regular troops were sent to Kiev, and soon at the request of the Polish king all Polish officers were released. Not everybody approved of this. Emperor’s State Secretary wrote: “Count Suvorov great provided services by taking Warsaw, but he unbearably annoys with his inappropriate orders there. All Poles, not excluding the main rebels, are released freely into their houses, giving open passes...”

Suvorov’s report to the emperor was short: “Praga is burning, Warsaw is trembling”.

On October 25, Suvorov dictated to delegates from Warsaw soft conditions of surrender right on the battlefield, among the unremoved corpses, and confirmed them during the negotiations on October 26, announcing his intention to maintain a truce only until October 28. On October 28, Russian troops in the ceremonial formation entered the surrendered Warsaw through the restored bridge, and a week later, having learned of the amnesty, the remnants of rebel detachments in Poland laid down their arms and dispersed. On October 29, on the bank of the Vistula, the magistrate of Warsaw presented A. C. Suvorov bread and salt, and city keys, which symbolized the surrender of Warsaw, and a gold snuffbox with diamonds with the inscription "Warsaw to its deliverer." Second report, from Warsaw also was short “Hurrah! Warsaw is our! General-anshef Suvorov.” Response also was short: “Hurrah, field marshal!”

On November 20, 1794, Emperor Paul awarded Suvorov the highest military rank of field marshal, and besides, sent rich gifts [4]. Prussian King Friedrich-Wilhelm sent Suvorov the Order of the Red Eagle and the Great Black Eagle, and the Austrian Emperor Franz granted his portrait, richly decorated with diamonds.

Big disappointments. After the general excitement was over, Frederick Wilhelm and Franz got disappointing news: there is not going to be a new partition. The allied forces helped to free King Stanislav who had been held hostage by the revolutionaries and there is absolutely no justification for demanding territories as a reward for fulfilling …er… the moral duty (and kicking the rebels out of your own territories). Taking into an account the ongoing war with France, none of the disappointed monarchs risked an additional conflict with Russia.

On 28 November 1796, Emperor Paul I pardoned Kościuszko and set him free after he had tendered an oath of loyalty. The same was done to other Polish prisoners. Kościuszko left for the United States. In 1798 he received letter from France contained news that Polish General Jan Henryk Dąbrowski and Polish soldiers were fighting in France under Napoleon and that Kościuszko's sister had sent his two nephews in Kościuszko's name to serve in Napoleon's ranks. Around that time Kościuszko also received news that Talleyrand was seeking Kościuszko's moral and public endorsement for the French fight against one of Poland's partitioners, Prussia. Kościuszko arrived in Bayonne, France, on 28 June 1798. Kościuszko refused the offered command of Polish Legions being formed for service with France. On 17 October and 6 November 1799, he met with Napoleon Bonaparte. He failed to reach an agreement with the French general, who regarded Kościuszko as a "fool" who "overestimated his influence" in Poland. Kościuszko disliked Napoleon for his dictatorial aspirations and called him the "undertaker of the [French] Republic”.

[1] “rebellion cannot end in success: then it is called differently”. Samuil Marshak. Actually, this was his free translation of “Treason doth never prosper; what ’s the reason ? For if it prosper, none dare call it treason.” by John Harington.
[2] Seems to be the case in OTL as well. It looks like the noble revolutionaries and their followers had a rather vague notion regarding geography.
[3] An assumption which at that time was taken for granted in Vienna and Berlin.
[4] Suvorov was very fond of the jewels.
Fish big and small
162. Fish big and small

“… didn’t let me out of the palace, covering it with joy for my safety. In fact, I sat locked up like a hostage, no one counted with me, Kościuszko manipulated me...”
King Stanislav August after uprising
There was a drunken officer at the Admiralty's post. Emperor Paul the First ordered the arrest of the officer. - According to the regulations, before arresting, you must replace me at the post, - answered the officer. - He, being drunk, knows his job better than the sober ones, - said the emperor. And the officer was promoted.
One of the historic anecdotes about Paul​

Poland. Fish big and small.
  • King Stanislav August immediately disavowed the uprising blaming everything upon the extremists who kept him a hostage and, specifically, on their leader. Constitution of 1791 was abolished but its various parts survived. Of course an idea of having an army of 100,000 was dead but a much smaller modern army had been successfully maintained. OTOH, the liberum veto did die and somehow this did not cause any disaster. Reforms made by the reformers and Kosciuszko, aimed at easing serfdom, were revoked. The Commission of National Education, the world's first Ministry of Education, was “rather dead than alive” due to the shortage of funds. However, the new legislative and judicial systems did survive.
  • Kościuszko did not suffer any serious punishment: after a brief imprisonment in the Peter and Paul fortress he was released by Paul, given some presents and a considerable sum of money [1] and allowed to go wherever he wanted. His estate in Belorussia was not confiscated [2].

  • Joseph Poniatovski remained at court and was made a commander of Warsaw garrison: even Stanislav August was smart enough not to step twice on the same pitchfork and a need of a reliable military commander in the capital was fully understood.

  • Dąbrowski remained in Poland for a short while but then emigrated to France where he created Polish Legion. [3]

  • Wawrzecki, Kościuszko’s successor as the commander of the Polish forces, was imprisoned for a while but in 1796 set free, lived in his estate near Vitebsk and collaborated with the Russians holding various administrative positions. [4]

  • Michał Kleofas Ogiński after defeat of the uprising emigrated to Constantinople, where he became an active emigration figure, then moved to Paris. After the announced amnesty in 1802, Oginsky returned to Russia and settled in the estate of Zalesye in Belorussia, where he built a palace and laid a park. Later he moved to Moscow and was made senator of the Russian Empire. Oginsky's compositional talent manifested itself in the 1790s. During this period, he wrote numerous combat songs, marches, polonaises. The most famous was Polonaise "Farewell to the Motherland" (Pożegnanie Ojczyzny), better known as Oginsky Polonaise.

  • “Small fish” on the “non-Polish” territories was not doing too well because Austrian, Prussian, Russian and Swedish administrations had been actively looking for the rebels. The usual measures were confiscations of the estates and for the lower classes it could be anything including execution, while for the rank soldiers of the disbanded units the future meant serfdom so it is not a big surprise that quite a few people ended up in France and joined Polish Legion.
Prussia. Prior to the uprising FWII managed to piss off pretty much all social classes in the areas Prussia got.

He wanted to get support of the Polish nobility to which he left its possessions and made various promises. However, their implementation was hampered by the Prussian bureaucracy, in addition, in the management of the province all major positions were reserved for the Germans, so the Polish nobles received little from the Prussians. In addition, Prussian taxes were introduced in the region, which far exceeded the previous Polish ones. The possessions of the Catholic Church were also taxed.
Social position of the serfs did not change substantially even after FWII introduced the Prussian legal norms providing them with some protection and the rights of individual property. Peasants, naively, took these decrees for the abolition of serfdom. However, their unrest was bloodily suppressed by the Prussian army. These events negatively affected the attitude of the peasantry towards the new authorities and so did the higher taxes.
Uprising in the Greater Poland had been cruelly suppressed, the things went back to where they were before and getting more Polish territories against the explicit Russian and Swedish will with the very unreliable “rear” looked unrealistic. Making a joined front with Austria also did not look as a plausible solution because, as the Austrian activities during the uprising demonstrated, Emperor Franz will be looking only for his own interests and these interests (especially taking Krakow) were not exactly coinciding with those of Prussia.
So it looked like “if I’m not getting what I want, nobody should get what they want” approach will be most advisable.

Austria after defeat of the uprising had been forced to evacuate the territories which it occupied. Of course, Emperor Franz was considering for a short while a military resistance to this demand coming from Russia but then not just FWII but also Sultan Selim III supported Russian demand. Fighting “everybody” in addition to the ongoing war with France was unrealistic and Franz gave up.

Sweden. Even before the dust settled, Gustav III had a reason to regret his own greediness thanks to which he ended up with a big chunk of Lithuania. Very lenient treatment of the “natives”, who had been pretty much left alone, did not produce an expected loyalty and the Swedish troops suffered losses from a surprise attack. Now there was a clear need in holding there strong Swedish garrisons in addition to strengthening the defenses of Courland.

Of course, the Lithuanians will have to pay the expenses and there will be confiscations. Probably the confiscated estates (at least part of them) will have to be granted to the loyal members of the Swedish and Baltic nobility and their former owners must be expelled from the territories ruled by Sweden.

Russia. Quite a few of the “big fish” had their estates on the Russian territory and were willing to acknowledge their mistakes providing they would be allowed to live happily ever after in these estates and perhaps, in the case of a good behavior, invited to the court and allowed to join Russian administration. The small fish was not that lucky. Estates of the “disloyal subjects” who did not have an adequate protection “upstairs”, or name recognition, or did not repent fast enough had been confiscated and the serfs turned into the state peasants (aka became personally free ahead of the ongoing serfdom reform). Of course, some of these estates had been awarded but the new owners had been receiving the land which they could rent to the peasants, not land with the serfs.

Fate of those with the confiscated land differed depending upon the alleged guilt and, often, an administrative whim. Some could be sent into exile beyond the Ural. Some of the very small fish would have their noble status cancelled and sent, as personally free people, to populate the territories of Southern Russia. Some would be allowed to leave Russian Empire.

But the changes were not limited to handling the rebellious Poles. The uprising in general and especially the Jacobin Revolt in Warsaw forced Paul to seriously review his attitude to the ongoing events. It was one thing when the French revolutionaries beheaded their King and a bunch of aristocrats and kept establishing the republics in the western part of Europe. Of course, these activities could not be approved as a natter of principle but they had been happening far away and so far had little or nothing to do with Russia except for keeping Austria and Prussia (and Britain as well) busy fighting and not capable of doing something detrimental to the Russian interests. But it was a completely different thing when their Polish clones started hanging the Polish aristocrats, especially those with the pro-Russian sympathies. With a continued relaxed attitude, who will guarantee that this disease will not spread all the way to Moscow? The same goes for the rebels’ army: the regular troops were just fine and for a while Paul even played with an idea to incorporate some of them into the Russian army but was stopped by a lack of enthusiasm on both sides. But these peasants with the scythes were an absolutely different story and clearly a very bad example.

As a result, there was a strongly worded decree explicitly forbidding any kind of the revolutionary clubs in the Russian Empire. There should be strong censorship of the political writings to prevent preaching and spreading the dangerous ideas. [5] Arkharov was forgiven, returned from his “honorable exile” and appointed civilian governor of Moscow with the instruction to watch, in addition to his usual duties, over the politically unreliable personages. “Liberté, égalité, fraternitéuntil ordered otherwise, is going to be interpreted as a freedom of working in the Netchinsk silver mines on the equal terms with other brothers-criminals. But no more doors pained white and black!

While the fighting was still far away from Italy, on advice of the Russian Admiralty supply depots of the Russian Navy started moving from Livorno to the existing base in Palermo and to a newly created based base in Syracuse. Just in case.

[1] There are 3 versions regarding these money: (a) he later returned them, (b) he tried to return them (but somehow failed, probably forgot recipient’s address 😂) and (c) he did not return them. It seems that he did return an expensive table service which he got as a gift.
[2] Needless to say that “estate” also means “serfs”. To be fair, was very nice to them.
[3] In OTL after Napoleon's defeat, he accepted a senatorial position in the Russian-backed Congress Poland, and was one of the organizers of the Army of Congress Poland.
[4] In OTL Alexander I of Russia made him the minister of justice of the Kingdom of Poland.
[5] In OTL Paul forbade the French style fashions as “Jacobin”.
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Really big issue
163. Really big issue (a little bit of a relaxation 😉)
Label on the bottle says ‘Burgundy’ but what’s inside tastes like kinder balsam’”
A. Ostrovsky ‘Without a dowry’
Some of us tasted that wine and could not hold it but others said: ‘as long as it wet and tickles the mouth…’ and asked for more ”
Saltykov-Schedrin ‘Modern Idyll”

I'm just an example of generosity. I always pour tea into the cups of my guests to the brim. Well, so that they can't put a lot of sugar.”
“I brewed Chinese tea... I'm sitting, enjoying... The thoughts of the ancient Chinese sages come to mind... It's a pity I don't understand Chinese...”
“Tea is a good thing. You can pour cognac into it and no one will notice anything!”

Various sources​

Of course, all that excitement going abroad was kind of entertaining but mostly majority of population of the Russian Empire either was no aware of it or did not really care. Except for one very important aspect: how did it impact availability of the important consumer goods. And no responsible ruler could ignore this factor when planning Russian foreign policy because shortage of the necessities may easily have very unpleasant consequences for the ruler. Look at France: a simple shortage of bread and the royal couple lost their heads (or was it about the cakes? information on the subject was not quite clear; the most plausible version was that it was about the bread for Louis and about the cakes for his wife). Of course, Russian Empire did not suffer from the bread shortages but a person can’t survive strictly on bread: he or she also had to drink and there were certain vulnerabilities in that area.

Liquor. Without a doubt there was a more than adequate supply of the “must to have” stuff: production of vodka did not lag behind the growth of population and was even allowing considerable exports into Ottoman Empire, Persia and the new territories of the CA. Penetration of the Chinese market was so far limited to Mongolia due to the strong competition of the Manchurian vodka (low quality but cheap) and Japanese were too much of the traditionalists to abandon their sake. Well, anyway, “revolution of the masses” inspired by the vodka shortages was unlikely and the upper classes always had a wide variety of the more expensive brands including domestically produced flavored vodkas [1] and, thanks to the friendship with Sweden, there was never a shortage of the “golden” vodka from Danzig.

However, thanks to the Petrian reforms and the wise policies of his successors, both incomes and tastes of the population considerably improved and what was initially limited only to the top aristocracy now trickled down to the broader circles reaching middle-middle class and generating a growing demand from the low-middle classes and even below that level. Probably this was partially due to the influence of the French Revolution and ideas of the equality but there was a growing demand for the wines. Of course, some conservative (or shall I say “reactionary”) minds openly claimed this to be a sign of the Jacobin influence and demanded from the government strict measures preventing the lower classes from drinking above their social status. But, as in the case with the stripped doors, Emperor Paul proved to be a reasonable ruler and put his feet down stating that equality of a wine cellar not only is not dangerous but probably should be encouraged as a national unifier in these troubled times.

After the official position was thus clarified, there was an obvious question regarding the practical implementation, which was not a trivial problem. It just happened that the most popular wines, port, madeira, sherry, Rhine wines, and of course the rum had been traditionally brought to Russia by the British ships. Which was, of course, fine (at least something useful coming from them) but to a certain degree made Russian foreign policy dependent upon the good relations with the Brits. What if these relations would sour?

There was a clear need to boost a domestic wine production. Criteria was the mass production was clear: it must be strong, cheap and sweet. The fast-growing Crimea wineries did not quite fit the bill because they were producing mostly high quality wine. One of the solutions came from the seemingly unexpected corner, the Cossack Host of the Don. For many decades they had been producing so-called “vymorozki” (cold wine). The idea was simple. In the cold, first of all, water freezes in wine and forms pieces of ice that float above the concentrated rest of the stronger part of the wine, in which there will be more alcohol than in natural wine. Unfortunately, the general shortage of the grape-growing areas prevented expansion of that method on a needed scale. There were calls for solving problem once and for all by conquering the whole Caucasus and transporting the local wines to Russia. The idea definitely had certain merits even if its implementation will require some preliminary planning by the General Staff (to which it was reasonably pointed out that this is what the General Staff was created for) but before it came to the implementation, the government was informed that the problem is solved by the local initiative and to everybody’s satisfaction. The General Staff can keep hibernating, the Treasury does not have to allocate the funds (and can expect extra income from the excise taxes) and the private sector once more demonstrated its usefulness.

City of Kashin situated on the Kashinka River did not have grapes growing anywhere close but the local enterpreneurs could not be impeded by such a trifle and they came with their own wine-making technology, which was quite simple. For each produced type of a wine you are taking a barrel which initially contained that wine. Into the barrel you are pouring, in certain proportions, cihir [2] from Astrakhan and water. When the mix adopts the necessary smell you are adding a bucket of spirit and then, depending upon the wine, a syrup, tar, sugar, etc. Then you are stirring the mix, pour it into the bottles and let it stay for a while. Then it is being tested and, based upon the degree of …er… vomiting capacities, getting a label indicating its quality (for example, malaga, malaga vieux, malaga tres vieux).

The consumers tended to be quite happy and the method was immediately picked up in many places seemingly solving the problem of a foreign dependency once and forever and soon enough the most advanced entrepreneur, Lanin, even came with the first Russian “Roederer” champagne [3]. Of course, this left a narrow niche of the rum (on its usage below) and a relatively small volume consumed by the upper classes [4] but in general Russian Empire became self-sufficient in one more important area.


Tea. Tea was Russian Achilles heel because it was getting increasingly popular and, unlike stronger stuff, could not be made out of nothing [5] and so far China was its only source. For decades the may tea trade was going through Kjakhta. The starting point from China was the city of Kalgan, a major outpost on the Great Wall of China, which was considered the "gateway to China". It was here that tea from the southern provinces of China was supplied for trade with the northern neighbor. In Kalgan, representatives of Russian trading companies bought tea and equipped caravans consisting of 200-300 camels. There was a difficult and slow transition across Gobi, a desert in Mongolia. In Northern Mongolia, there was a stop in Urga for a superficial inspection of the goods, after that, the caravan continued its way to the border with the Russian Empire - Kjakhta outpost.

In Kjakhta, tea boxes were checked, marked and sewn into bull's skins - bales. Expensive black teas were previously carefully packed in paper and foil to prevent moisture from entering tea and placed in bamboo boxes. The bales were loaded into carts or sleighs and sent to Irkutsk. From Irkutsk they were transported all the way to Moscow and from it to the fairs of European Russia. Siberia had it directly from Kjakhta. The road was over 9,000 km long and the travel was taking over 16 months. As a result, initially the tea was very expensive. The first cut on its cost came when the state monopoly was abolished and then the cost went even further down when the alternative naval route from Canton had been open. Among other things, it allowed the final points both in St.Petersburg and in the Black Sea ports, which made its distribution in the Southern Russia easier and cheaper. In in 1796, Russia was importing more than 3 million pounds in the form of loose tea and tea bricks, enough tea to considerably lower the price so that middle and lower class Russians could afford the beverage. Popularity and availability of the tea resulted in appearance of the numerous specialized tea places.

There were attempts to start the domestic production but success was achieved only in Kuban region.

With the adequate supply being guaranteed, the next question was how to drink it and solution involved creation of a brand new manufacturing area because the Russian tea-drinking culture involved samovar as a necessary part of it.

Its first documented appearance in dated by 1740 but it looks like by that time it was already well-known because it is mentioned among the goods confiscated by the custom officials who were seemingly not surprised by this device. Wide production started in 1740s on the Demidov’s plants but the first samovar manufacture was created only in 1778. After this numerous new manufactures had been created producing over 5,000 samovars annually from copper, brass and silver and these numbers kept growing into the hundreds thousands.

Samovar was supplying a hot water while the concentrated tea was held in a tea pot on the top of it. Method of drinking had been “class-related”: the upper classes had been drinking tea from the caps while those from the merchants and below had been pouring it from a cap to the saucer and drunk from it.

So you can easily see that painting below is “authentic” in the terms of a procedure

while one below is painted in the Soviet times by someone who did not have a clue about the pre-revolutionary Russian culture. 😂

Now, to get back to the strong stuff, one of the ways to drink tea popular among the officers and minor gentry was to add a little bit of rum to the cap of tea and keep adding it to keep the cap full until you end up with a pure rum.


Drinking tea from the glasses with a coaster belongs to the time of the railroads.

[1] Besides “industrial” production, each self-respecting household and eating place had its own “nalivka” made out of vodka flavored with a wide variety of things from the berries and all the way to the rusty nails. Getting off the XVIII, one based on cranberry is really easy to make and it tastes great.
[2] Grape must that has not yet fermented.
[3] In OTL in the late XIX. According to the epigram, after drinking it you would get a “swelling head”.
[4] Who, started with the imperial family, tended to have well-stocked wine cellars and in the case of need could “sacrifice their interests for the sake of a country” for quite a while.
[5] Just as was the case with the coffee substitutes, there were some cheap herbal substitutes.
This works, but darn they really really need rail. Rail would make it a lot easier. That and shipping containers. Given that the first train drove in around this time and isn't that far off either its not ASB. Given that the UK and US had parallel development, who's not to say a Russian steel, coal or another mineral mining org or one of its suppliers wouldn't do the same. Lankaran Locomotive perhaps? Trebbia?
This works, but darn they really really need rail. Rail would make it a lot easier. That and shipping containers. Given that the first train drove in around this time and isn't that far off either its not ASB. Given that the UK and US had parallel development, who's not to say a Russian steel, coal or another mineral mining org or one of its suppliers wouldn't do the same. Lankaran Locomotive perhaps? Trebbia?

You could go a long way with steamboats on the rivers, which are not such a stretch technologically and also don't require nearly the amount of upfront infrastructure investment.
You could go a long way with steamboats on the rivers, which are not such a stretch technologically and also don't require nearly the amount of upfront infrastructure investment.
That’s correct. Actually, in OTL availability of a single steamboat on the Amur had been an important factor in forcing Qing to sign Aigun Treaty.

As for the railroads, the 1st one (and the 1st Russian locomotive) had been constructed in 1830 to serve needs of an industrial plant in Ural (hence easy to get the rails) while the 1st public RR, 27 km long, was constructed in 1937 and the next (Warsaw-Vienna) in 1840. Besides shortage of finances (and technical backwardness), usefulness of the whole idea was considered questionable by NI and his ministers.
usefulness of the whole idea was considered questionable by NI and his ministers.
That in fact means it was actually fucking awesome. 😜

Steamships (both river and sea), Ironclads etc are awesome tech and indeed valuable contributions to AltRussia. But the closer to 1900, the higher the need in AltRussia for mass transportation I'd imagine. Much more people, much better state of the industry, much better developed end product or semi product industry vs OTL's resource based industry etc etc.

You need vast amounts of almost door to door transportation.
That in fact means it was actually fucking awesome. 😜

Steamships (both river and sea), Ironclads etc are awesome tech and indeed valuable contributions to AltRussia. But the closer to 1900, the higher the need in AltRussia for mass transportation I'd imagine. Much more people, much better state of the industry, much better developed end product or semi product industry vs OTL's resource based industry etc etc.

You need vast amounts of almost door to door transportation.
Closer to 1900 there are going to be the railroads anyway (more or fewer) but you were talking about the early 1800s. Having an extensive railroad net by that time is not realistic but by the mid-1800s alt-Russia may have a considerable number of them. Having TransSib by that time is unrealistic.
But the steamships were extremely useful because the river trade was traditionally well-developed. Ditto will be for the sea/ocean steamships.
The joys of peace
164. The joys of peace
Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.
Ronald Reagan
It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation”
But, with a little bit of luck, with a little bit of luck
When temptation comes you'll give right in.”

Gordon Dilworth, Rod McLennan, and Stanley Holloway
Most of European countries are busy fighting each other but it looks like the French Republicans are steadily getting an upper hand starting from the Netherlands where “law and order” restored by the Prussians in 1787 crumbled in January of 1795 when the severe winter of 1794/95 allowed French army under general Charles Pichegru, with a Dutch contingent under general Herman Willem Daendels, to cross the great frozen rivers that traditionally protected the Netherlands from invasion. Aided by the fact that a substantial proportion of the Dutch population looked favourably upon the French incursion, and often considered it a liberation, the French were quickly able to break the resistance of the forces of the Stadtholder, and his Austrian and British allies. However, in many cities revolution broke out even before the French arrived and Revolutionary Committees took over the city governments, and (provisionally) the national government also. The Batavian Republic was proclaimed on 19 January 1795 to became a “sister-republic” of the Republic of France. William V fled to Britain and issued the Kew Letters ordering the officers commanding Dutch naval vessels in British harbours and to Dutch colonial governors to continue resistance in cooperation with Great Britain against the armed forces of the French Republic that had invaded the Dutch Republic and forced him to flee to England. In particular the letters to the colonial governors played an important role, because they ordered them to surrender those colonies to the British. The victorious republicans erected the liberty trees in the squares of the major cities and then proceeded with trying to figure out how they are going to live without colonial trade and with the hostile Brits ruling the seas.

Soon afterwards Prussia signed the Peace of Baselon 6 April, ceding the west bank of the Rhine to France. Unfortunately for FWII territorial compensation at the Polish expense did not happen, leaving him deeply disappointed.
By 10 July, Spain also decided to make peace, recognizing the revolutionary government and ceding the territory of Santo Domingo, but returning to the pre-war borders in Europe. This left the armies on the Pyrenees free to march east and reinforce the armies on the Alps, and the combined army overran Piedmont.
Meanwhile, Britain's attempt to reinforce the rebels in the Vendée by landing troops at Quiberonfailed, and a conspiracy to overthrow the republican government from within ended when Napoleon Bonaparte's garrison used cannon to fire grapeshot into the attacking mob.
The Austrians were modestly successful on the Rhine but situation in Italy was not looking too good…

In other words, as far as Russia and the Baltic League in general were involved, things were quite good. The ongoing war meant a sustained demand on the strategic materials, which also meant that none of the players is going to play nasty games against the League’s colonial trade and other interest.

In Paul’s opinion the situation was right for clarify certain “grey areas” left by the earlier diplomatic treaties meaning that he was thinking about Manchuria. The temptation was strong and he “gave right in”.

Population of Manchuria was slightly over 1,000,000 and the Qing government tried to prevent large-scale immigration of Han people with a purpose to preserve the Manchu and their traditional life style. The region was separated from China proper by the Inner Willow Palisade, a ditch and embankment planted with willows intended to restrict the movement of the Han people into Manchuria and it was still separated from modern-day Inner Mongolia by the Outer Willow Palisade, which kept the Manchu and the Mongols separate. The palisade consisted of two parallel earthen levees 3 chi (just over 1 meter) high and wide, separated by a trench that was about 1 zhang (3.5 m) deep and 1 zhang wide. Rows of willow trees were planted on top of the levees, each tree's branches being tied to those of its neighbors.

Of course, an idea of preventing the dedicated Chinese from getting to wherever they wanted by a ditch and a row of trees was a little bit on a naive side but their number inside Manchuria still was relatively small and some of them “became Manchu” due to the adoption by the members of the bannermen families. As Manchu landlords needed the Han peasants to rent their land and grow grain, most Han illegal migrants were not evicted. During the 18th century, Han peasants farmed 500,000 hectares of privately owned land in Manchuria and 203,583 hectares of lands which were part of courier stations, noble estates, and banner lands, in garrisons and towns in Manchuria the Han people made up 80% of the population and eventually the Qing government bypassed its own laws and the Han farmers were resettled from north China by the Qing to the area along the Liao River in order to restore the land to cultivation.

By 1794 Manchhuria had 3 main industries, all of which used agricultural products as their raw materials. In each, a surplus agricultural product was transformed into a more concentrated form; usually it was then shipped abroad, to be exchanged for goods not easily produced in Manchuria.
  • The first of these industries extracted the oil from soybeans. Originally the residue was used in Manchuria as feed, but later it was also exported to be used as fertilizers.
  • The second traditional industry ground wheat into flour.
  • The third distilled a famous and very potent liquor from kaoliang.
Other industries to meet local needs also developed on a smaller scale:
  • A little bit of weaving: the cotton cloths where imported from China
  • Dyeing of the imported cloth.
  • Various wood works: “Capital furnitu:re, boxes, and coffins are made, elegantly painted and lacquered, as well as a kind of parquetry, and the carpenters are unrivaled in the manufacture of carts and cartwheels.”
  • Tanning and the preparation of furs reached a very high pitch of excellence, and the leather for shoes is good.”
  • A little bit carving of marbles.
The previous treaty with the Qing established a border between the Russian and Chinese Empires along the Amur River. Chinese and Manchu residents of the Sixty-Four Villages East of the River would be allowed to remain, under the jurisdiction of Manchu government.

The Amur, Sungari, and Ussuri rivers were to be open exclusively to both Chinese and Russian ships. The territory bounded on the west by the Ussuri, on the north by the Amur, and on the east and south by the Sea of Japan was to be jointly administered by Russia and China - a "condominium" arrangement.

Both arrangements looked good “then” but “now” they started looking unsatisfactory. To start with, with the increased Russian control of the area, having the foreign citizens and foreign administration within Russian territory was rather inconvenient, not to mention that the villages along the Amur’s bank potentially could be used against the Russian interests [1] .

Then, a much more thorough exploration of the coast found that there is a very promising port site on the far end of the “condominium zone and that the Chinese were not anywhere around.

The third “issue” was purely economic: with the whole Manchuria being explicitly separated from the rest of China it looked quite reasonable to interpret the earlier trade agreements as an explicit right of the Russian merchants to travel and trade anywhere in the region: so far, the Chinese traders had been reluctant to go beyond Kyakhta but that was their free will. With Manchuria being a predominantly agricultural region, getting there the Russian manufactured goods produced in the Baikal region and probably even further to the West looked as a promising enterprise.

Of course, the Qing agreement on all these issues has to be obtained, preferably without going into a major trouble and situation in China was seemingly favorable. Qianlong Emperor was already 84 years old and planning to retire early next year. His treasury was depleted (the Qianlong Emperor's Ten Great Campaigns were completed at the cost of 120 million taels, against an annual revenue of some 40 million taels), the government was in the hands of the highest ranked minister, Heshen, while the emperor himself indulged in the arts, luxuries and literature.

Heshen became openly corrupt and practiced extortion on a grand scale. His total property was ultimately estimated at around 1,100 million taels of silver, reputed to be equivalent to the imperial revenue of the Qing government for 15 years. His supporters within the imperial system followed his lead, and his military associates prolonged campaigns in order to continue the benefits of additional funds. He abrogated powers and official posts, including that of Grand Councilor, and regularly stole public funds and tax revenue. Taxes were raised again and again, and this led to the suffering of the people. Unfortunately, their suffering was compounded by severe floods of the Yellow River - an indirect result of the corruption where officials pocketed funds that were meant for the upkeep of canals and dams. Rising prices of rice led to many that simply starved to death. corruption continued to spread through both civil and military personnel. Bannermen developed habits that made them useless as a military force. The Chinese Green Standard Army was beset with irregular practice and had lost much of its fighting spirit shown in the early Qing Dynasty.

There was already Miao Rebellion in which both the bannermen and troops of the Green Standard Army had been performing poorly and the ill-organized rebels of White Lotus Uprising managed to defeat the Qing forces: the Qianlong emperor ordered that the Eight Banner armies, whether they had Manchu or Han banners, were not to be used to suppress internal uprisings, so the Qing mainly relied on the Han Chinese Green Standard Army and Han militias in order to suppress rebellions such as the White Lotus.

So the designated successor, Prince Jia of the First Rank, Yongyan, was going to have enough problems without going into a war with Russian Empire.

Fortress called “Vladivostok” had built on a chosen site followed by foundation of the port city. Soon enough Vladivostok became the main Russian naval base on the Pacific even while the land communication was not quite satisfactory.



The Chinese government was requested to evacuate sixty-four villages, to formally cede the area between the Ussuri River and the Sea of Japan and confirm the right of the Russian merchants to trade freely throughout the whole Manchuria.

As a friendly gesture, the Qing were offered 10,000 muskets at a discount price. Of course, they were rather obsolete but much more modern than the weaponry of the Green Standard Army.

Rather than facing one more disastrous war, the Qing complied.

Rather ironically, sooner after expelling the Qing subjects, the Russian administration started allowing Chinese immigration into the Far East region on condition that the migrants will be fully within jurisdiction of the Russian authorities. Within the next century there will be over 16,000 of them: miners, traders, urban residents and peasants. As the Russian subjects they were acceptable.

[1] In OTL in 1900 during the Boxer Rebellion the Qing forces attempted to blockade Russian boat traffic on the Amur near Aigun, starting from 16 July, and attacked Blagoveshchensk along with Chinese Honghuzi bandits. In response the military governor of the Amur region, Lieutenant-General Konstantin Nikolaevich Gribskii, ordered the expulsion of all Qing subjects who remained north of the river. They were taken by the local police and driven into the river to be drowned. Those who could swim were shot by the Russian forces. Few thousands civilians died as a result.
So revolutionary war is nearing it's end (in continent only Austria and Brittain are left standing ) and Russia finally got it's far eastern borders?

Though i do believe that something will need to be done in the future regarding the British and French war.

Personally once Austria is out second armed neutrality league aimed at deterring both British and French from rash actions and aimed at stopping their conflict from spilling out should be good idea.
So revolutionary war is nearing it's end (in continent only Austria and Brittain are left standing ) and Russia finally got it's far eastern borders?

Though i do believe that something will need to be done in the future regarding the British and French war.

Personally once Austria is out second armed neutrality league aimed at deterring both British and French from rash actions and aimed at stopping their conflict from spilling out should be good idea.
Considering a “great picture”, at some not too remote point the British-French bickering may start interfering with the Russian trade interests on the Eastern Med.
Dude, Manchuria! <3 As I understand it now / interpret the map they are not annexing Manchuria itself, but basically the strip of it that currently also is part of Russia all the way to Vladivostok. Plus they will be able to freely trade within basically Manchukuo? Will the Russians find the other resources there like the coal in Fushun, the iron in Anshan etc?

I'm still convinced Manchuria is worth it to establish a proper Pacific power projection capability & trade apparatus, It helps out as well (looking from the perspective of someone living after the 2 world wars) in strategic depth, have 2 areas with large food production, many ores and many people. Regardless whether you annex it like I argue for or a state like Manchukuo like the Japanese did (that I understood is closer to what you'd prefer if you had to pick an option that adds Manchuria to Russia).
Outright annexation can probably wait until the mid-to-late 19th century -- once Britain is strong enough to start meddling in Chinese affairs directly, or if Japan starts getting ideas about continental Asia.
The obvious questions:
1. Would it be in the Russian interests to add 5 million (in 1850) or 14 million (in 1900) Chinese as the subjects?

2. In the case of the Russian alt-Manchukuo who is going to be its ruler? In OTL it was created late enough for the Japanese to get the last emperor of China in their disposal but what could be a reasonably legal “cover” in the early or even late XIX?

3. What’s wrong with the OTL model of just controlling the territory based upon agreement with the Chinese government?

4. Why the Japanese imperialistic ideas should be “by definition” incompatible with those of Russia? In OTL after the RCW there was a seemingly friendly agreement regarding zones of influence and not allowing “the 3rd party” (the US) in. Short of the complete foolishness of the previous Russian policy, there was no reason for this happening much earlier and without fighting. Keep in mind that pre-war Russian commercial adventures in Korea had been a failure and Port Arthur/Dalnij project was an expensive military/bureaucratic failure even before the war started.

But this is all a relatively remote future. As of now the question is: will Russia be involved in the 2nd coalition or not (and will there be 2nd coalition without Russia)?

On one hand, there is no direct French attack on Russia but the Egyptian adventure is going to disrupt Russian trade in Levant and Egypt. OTOH, with Egypt’s cotton production being at that time very small, I’m not sure if it could be a valuable market of anything. Italian market also was rather small. Malta-related craziness is out (alt-Paul is not that “romantic”) at least in its OTL form.

Which leaves what? “War over a principle”? Possible but more limited than in OTL: either just naval operations on the Med (could be triggered by some French lapse of a judgement like seizing the Russian-owned warehouses in Livorno or even by the Ottoman appeal for help) or also the land operations on a lesser scale, say, just Italy (no Switzerland, no Holland, no great plans regarding the regime change in France, etc.). What could trigger a corporate “monarchist consciousness” and Russia may expect as a compensation and from whom?

I have some ideas but would like to know opinions.
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But this is all a relatively remote future. As of now the question is: will Russia be involved in the 2nd coalition or not (and will there be 2nd coalition without Russia)?
1) *bleep* no. Like you said, why the *bleep* would they. Unless e.g. they go mercenary or there is some of the behaviour like OTL where its about standing and prestige. In hindsight its stupid and they mostly skipped that stupidity here in this timeline, but it's ASB to completely avoid it. The Knights OTL I felt were just an easy excuse to start the dick measuring contest.

2) if Russia doesn't do the stupid thing and get involved anyway, I'd say it's going to be hard to argue there will be a war at all. However the Prussian hunger isn't stilled. Maybe British money can trigger both German speaking nations to round two? This disappointment might be a Prussian motive:
Soon afterwards Prussia signed the Peace of Baselon 6 April, ceding the west bank of the Rhine to France. Unfortunately for FWII territorial compensation at the Polish expense did not happen, leaving him deeply disappointed.
I believe Russia should stay out of the conflict as trade interests simply aren't worth it. I like idea of armed neutrality league (defense agreement with Austria/Prussia/Baltic league and potentially Ottomans). Basically it would be sensible thing for Russia to do, instead of fanning the flames of war Russia should try to limit it and potential expansion of French influence by allying with other continental powers and deterring France from expanding further in central Europe while also acknowledging their gains in war of first coalition (British are free to continue the war).

Special provisions regarding Hanover should be made given that it's already in the war, but status quo of HRE should be kept otherwise , or simply make agreement guaranteeing direct Austrian and Prussian territories but take HRE out.
Russia has naught to gain from the Coalition, and much to gain in playing both sides for trade and concessions.

If Nappy can be diverted away from the Baltic and towards messing with the Ottomans or Austria, then Russia can extract more from Britain for aid, or intervene in the vacuum of the post-French period in the region.