Участники российских морских экспедиций о политико-правовом и социально-экономическом положении туркмен Восточного Прикаспия (середина XVIII – середина XIX в.)
The aim of the paper is to study the notes of the participants of Russian naval expeditions to the east coast of the Caspian Sea since the middle of 18th to the second half of 19th c. as a source of information on the political and legal position of local Turkmen tribes. Another aim is to analyze the significance of this information for the further advance of the Russian Empire to Central Asia. The sources of the study are official reports of the heads of expeditions, scientific works and, in some cases, memoirs of the participants. The methods used in the paper are critical analysis of textual sources, historical and legal study, comparative historical analysis, institutional approach. The notes of the participants of Russian naval expeditions contain valuable and sometimes unique information on specific features of the social and political structure of nomadic tribes of the East Caspian region including the political structure of tribes, legal regulation of different fields of relations, such as trade relations, extractive activities, settlement o conflicts, etc. The comparative analysis of the notes demonstrates that by the middle of 19th c. the evaluation of East Caspian nomads became more critical and strict. This reflected the views of Russian political circles on the necessity to strengthen the positions of the Russian Empire in Central Asia even by military methods. Information of the participants of Russian naval expeditions is of great value as they were eye-witnesses or even participants of political, legal and socioeconomic relations in the region. These notes became a part of the informative and ideological base for the further advance of the Russian Empire to Central Asia.