Russian Projects against India from the Czar Peter to General Skobeleff


Henry Sutherland Edwards (1828–1906) was a British author and journalist who over a long career worked in a wide range of genres, producing dramatic pieces, fiction, and serious journalism. In 1856 he went to Russia as correspondent of the Illustrated Times to cover the coronation of Tsar Alexander II. He remained in Moscow to study the language and married the daughter of a Scottish engineer who had settled in Russia. Sutherland developed a lifelong interest in Russian subjects, and wrote numerous essays and articles and several books on Russian themes. Russian Projects against India from the Czar Peter to General Skobeleff is a history of Russian interest in and expansion into Central Asia from the time of Peter the Great (1672–1725) to the late 19th century. Echoing what was a widely held view in Great Britain at the time, Sutherland writes in the preface: “Russian expeditions in Central Asia (supported at critical moments by intriguers in Persia and Afghanistan) have always been undertaken, not with a view to an improved frontier, the Russian frontier on the Central Asian side never having been threatened; nor for commercial purposes, the exports and imports between Russia and the Khanates being of the most trifling value, and quite out of proportion to the cost of occupying and administering the Russian possessions in Central Asia: but simply in order to place Russia in a position to threaten and, on a fitting opportunity, attack India.” Among the Russian expeditions covered in detail by Sutherland are General Vasily Alexseevich Perovsky’s expedition of 1839 to Khiva; Colonel Nikolai Pavlovich Ignatiev’s mission of 1858 to Khiva and Bukhara; and General Konstantin Petrovich von Kaufman’s expedition to Khiva of 1872‒73. The concluding chapter, “Projects for the Invasion of India,” discusses several different schemes put forward by Russian military writers in the second half of the 19th century for Russian advances on India through Afghanistan. The book contains a fold-out color map of the Russo-Afghan frontier.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Remington and Company, London


Title in Original Language

Russian projects against India from the czar Peter to General Skobeleff, by H. Sutherland Edwards

Type of Item

Physical Description

295 pages : maps ; 23 centimeters


  1. Anonymous, revised by Chandrika Kaul, “Edwards, Henry Sutherland (1828‒1906),” in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 2004).

Last updated: July 27, 2016