К истории среднеазиатской таможенной политики России во второй половине XIX в. (докладная записка В. П. Череванского 1872 г.)
The paper examines the development of Russia's customs policy in the Central Asian region in the mid-to-late 19th c. The main part of the paper is a publication of a staff report written by Vladimir P. Cherevansky, a Russian high-rank official to Turkestan, namely, Head of Chamber of Control, in the 1870s. As a member of Commission for Russian Trade in Central Asia he disagreed with his colleagues on customs evolution and expressed his opinion in the report addressed to Konstantin von Kaufman, the then Governor-General of Turkestan.
Since the 18th c. Russia had implemented the most favorable treatment towards merchants from the Central Asian khanates (Bukhara, Khiva, Khoqand, etc.) but their monarchs never responded equally. In the 1850s – 1860s, the Russian Empire substantially widened its possessions in Central Asia, shifting its borders southward. It caused a necessity of closing customs stations on the former borders (in particular, in Orenburg region). However, imperial authorities did not agree on whether or not to establish new ones in the newly annexed Russian Turkestan. The problem of customs policy of the Russian Empire (Turkestan Governor-Generalship being its specific region) towards Central Asian Khanates has been studied in a number of works, but the published document was never analyzed
properly, whereas its content and especially its author are of great importance to go deeply into that difficult situation in the Russian customs policy to Central Asia.
V. P. Cherevansky’s report mirrored different opinions on customs policy and, in fact, the end of the era of free-trade in the Russian Empire in general, and its Central Asian trade specifically.
The content of report was influenced by debates between central authorities on administration of Turkestan — the Ministry of Finance and the Military Ministry. Although V. P. Cherevansky and Kaufman represented, respectively, financial authorities and military circles, they were not in conflict, and the report is an evidence of their constructive and respectful relations. In fact, the author of the report, who ex officio had to support free-trade policy, manifested his adherence to protectionism and strict customs policy towards Central Asian khanates and potential competitors from British India.
The publication of the report also gives more information on V. P. Cherevansky as such. He was not just an official of a high rank (not only to Turkestan but later in Moscow and St. Petersburg where he finished his career as senator and member of the State Council), but also an author of novels and historical essays. His literary talents can well be seen in the published report, its style and content.
Still, first of all V. P. Cherevansky was a professional with expertise in Russian Central Asian affairs. That is why his arguments were kept in mind by both local Turkestanian rulers and central authorities. However, the process of establishment of the customs system in Russian Central Asia proved long-term. Only in the late 19th c. it was finally organized with the aid of Cherevansky’s proposals.