Great Expectations

Revisiting Canadian Economic Footprints in Siberia, 1890s–1921

in Sibirica
Author: J.L. Black
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Canada's interest in Russia's Far East and Siberia has a long history, propelled in the nineteenth century by London's Hudson's Bay Company driving eastward and St. Petersburg's Russian-American Company driving westward. Competition and sometime cooperation led to mutually beneficial projects shaping up in the early 20th century, among them plans to link up the Canadian Pacific Rail and Steamship Line with the Trans-Siberian in a trading complex that would have circumnavigated the world. The Great War, the Russian Revolution, and Civil War, sealed the fate of this grandiose vision. Studies on Western involvement in the Russian Civil War highlight, reasonably, the military dimensions of intervention. Canada sent troops to Siberia as well, but Ottawa's ambition was primarily trade. Using untapped Russian archival material and contemporary Siberian newspaper reports, this article revisits Canada's participation in Russia's postwar conflagration with emphasis on the extent to which expectation of economic gain shaped Canada's official and private presence in Siberia.

Sibirica

Interdisciplinary Journal of Siberian Studies

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