Туркмены Ахал-Теке и Мерва в контексте отношений пограничных администраций Российской империи (1870-1880-е гг.)
The article analyzes specific features in relations of Russian imperial frontier regions that participated in the conquest of Central Asia. By the example of the conflict of the authorities of Caucasus and Turkestan towards Turkmen tribes of the Eastern Caspian region in the 1870s–1880s, the author clarified the influence of such conflicts on the effectiveness of the Russian imperial policy in Central Asia. The sources the author used are correspondence of Caucasian and Turkestan authorities and their representatives in Turkmenistan, notes of contemporaries – Russian officials who visited Turkmen Ahal-Teke and Merv oasises during the analyzed period, and works of Russian and British analytics who observed the situation in the Eastern Caspian region. In 1873 the Russian Empire established protectorate over the Khanate of Khiva and took control over Turkmen tribes of Akal-Teke and Merv. These territories were in the sphere of influence of two regional administrations – Caucasus and Turkestan. Since their powers in Turkmenistan were not clearly distributed, Caucasian deputy Grand Prince Mikhail Nikolaevich and Turkestan Governor-General K.P. Von Kaufman both tried to strengthen their positions over Turkmen oasises, and a conflict between them began. Turkmen and Khivan ruling elites tried to use this conflict to achieve their own goals, and, as a result, the Khanate of Khiva (a protectorate of Russia) established its own suzerainty over Turkmens who were independent de jure: over Akhal-Teke in the mid-1870s and over Merv at the beginning of the 1880s, and sent their deputies there. The presence of a Khivan deputy in Akhal-Teke was a personal initiative of the khan of Khiva and was disapproved by both Russian regional authorities. Similar actions of Khiva towards Merv the khan were approved by Turkestan administration: they believed that they could strengthen their own control over Turkmens through their vassal. As a result, Khivan deputies in Merv with credential letters from Turkestan administration realized the policy which contradicted the plans of Russian authorities in the region. As it became clear for Turkestan, its administration requested the khan of Khiva to recall his deputies from Merv. However, the new Governor-General M.G. Chernyaev soon approved the continuation of this practice and began a new stage of conflict with Caucasian administration. That caused a substantial decrease of Russian influence in Turkmenistan. The author finds that the reasons of the conflict were connected with the uncertainty of the powers of regional imperial authorities in Central Asia, as well as with personal ambitions of regional administrators who intended to play the key role in this policy. Only the central imperial authorities’ interference in the situation along with the simultaneous resignation of regional administrators with discretionary power and claims to leadership allowed regulating the relations in the region.