Imperial Policies and Perspectives Towards Georgia, 1760-1819
The image of an Empire relentlessly gobbling up the Eurasian steppe has dominated Western thinking about Russia for centuries, but is it accurate? Far from being motivated by a well-organized plan for territorial conquest, the Imperial government of the late eighteenth century had no consistent or coherent policy towards the Georgian lands which lie south of the Caucasus mountains. Seen both as co-religionist allies and as troublesome nuisances by different factions in St. Petersburg, Russian attitudes towards Georgia fluctuated as Emperors and Empresses, along with their favourites and enemies, rose and fell from supreme power. Thanks to the determined efforts of two princes, Grigorii Potemkin and Dimitri Tsitsianov, a vision of Georgia linked firmly to Russia was imposed upon a sceptical St. Petersburg. This led to its complete incorporation into the Russian Empire, forever changing the destinies of Russia, the Caucasus, and all Eurasia.
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