Russia’s Policy Towards Korea during the Russo-Japanese War

Russia’s Policy Towards Korea during the Russo-Japanese War


  • Journal title: International Journal of Korean History
  • ISSN: 1598-2041 (print) 2508-5921 (online)
  • Publisher: Korea University, Center for Korean History
  • Country of publisher: korea, republic of
  • Date added to EuroPub: 2018/May/12

Subject and more

  • LCC Subject Category: History
  • Publisher's keywords: Policy, Korea, Russo-Japanese War
  • Language of fulltext: english
  • Full-text formats available: PDF


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The period between the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries was one which saw Russia and Japan come into conflict with one another in East Asia. However, because of its economic and financial problems and of its inferior military numbers in the Fareast, the Russian government was unable to use the opportunity provided by the period leading up to the Russo-Japanese War to put in place the preparations needed to resolve the Korean peninsula problem in a manner advantageous to it. Further compounding matters was the fact that no common perception emerged amongst Russian policymakers with regards to the direction which East Asian policy should take. On one hand the Russian Finance Minister Sergei Witte and his followers wanted to adopt a ‘peaceful’ course of action that would allow Russia to extend its economic hegemony over Korea and all of East Asia. Meanwhile, another more influential group consisting of conservative forces adhered to a stance which was based on an aggressive policy towards East Asia, a stance which was for the most part in line with that of Tsar Nicholas II. Because its nominal leader was A.M. Bezobrazov, this group is usually referred to as the Bezobrazov group. The significant influence which this group wielded over Russian foreign policy emerged as an important cause of what would become a turning point in Korean history and Russo-Korean relations, namely, the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War.

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