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Russian invasion of Manchuria

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Title: Russian invasion of Manchuria  
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Subject: 1900 in China, Battle of Shanhaiguan (1900), Open Door Policy, Siege of the International Legations, Empire of Japan–Russian Empire relations
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Russian invasion of Manchuria

The Russian invasion of Manchuria occurred in the aftermath of the First Sino-Japanese War (1894–5) when concerns regarding China's defeat by the Japanese and the latter's occupation of Manchuria caused the Russians to speed up their long held designs for imperial expansion across Eurasia.

With the building of the South Manchuria Railway, Mukden (now known as Shenyang) became a Russian stronghold, which occupied it after the Boxer Rebellion.[1][2] As with all other major powers in China, Russia demanded concessions along with the railroad.

During the Boxer Rebellion, Russia became involved due to its presence in the foreign legations. Russian Cossacks formed part of the Eight Nation Alliance relief forces during the Seymour and Gaselee expeditions while Russian forces were also present inside the legations during the sieges in Beijing and Tianjin. These forces operated separately from those involved in the invasion of Manchuria, with the entire operation exclusively directed by Russians.


The conflict was entirely bilateral, between Qing and Russian forces only.

The Chinese forces in Manchuria were composed of the ethnic Manchu Eight Banners, and Han Chinese Boxers.

Manchuria was also swarming with Han Chinese Honghuzi bandits, since the Qing rulers exiled Chinese criminals to Manchuria as a punishment. Chuang Guandong

Edicts were posted by Boxers calling for attacks on Russian colonists and railroads in Manchuria. The Boxers attacked the South Manchurian railway and sought to destroy it.

100,000 Russian troops participated in the invasion.

The Russians invaded Manchuria during the rebellion, which was defended by Manchu bannermen. The bannermen were annihilated as they fought to the death against the Russians, each falling one at a time against a five pronged Russian invasion. The Russian historian Sergeĭ Mikhaĭlovich Shirokogorov reported that the Russians killed many of the Manchus, thousands of them fled south. The Cossacks looted their villages and property and then burnt them down.[3][4] Manchuria was completely occupied after the fierce fighting that occurred.[5]

Boxers attacks on Chinese Eastern Railway

The Boxers attacks on Chinese Eastern Railway during Boxer Rebellion took place at 1900. In response Russia invaded Manchuria.

Chinese Imperial troops engaged in attacks against Russians, in one incident, Chinese troops killed a cossack.[6] Another 15 Russian casualties occurred when Chinese cavalry attacked the Russians.[7] The Boxers destroyed railways and cut lines for telegraphs. The Yen-t'ai coal mines were burned by Chinese forces.[8]

Chinese used arson to destroy a bridge carrying a railway and a barracks in the 27th of July.[9]

The Boxers destroyed railways in Manchuria in a strategic manouveres to halt enemy soldiers from moving. Imperial edicts were posted which called for attacks against the Russians, the stations of the South Manchuria Railway came under Boxer control.

With the building of the South Manchurian Railway, Mukden became a Russian stronghold, which occupied it after the Boxer Rebellion.[10][11]

After Russia invaded with regular troops, the railway came under Russian control again.

Southern Manchuria

Defence of Yingkou

The Battle of Yingkou was a battle where Chinese forces battled against the invading Russian army in the Boxer Rebellion. Unlike the battles in China proper during the Boxer Rebellion, battles between Chinese and foreigners in Manchuria were exclusively between Chinese and Russians. The Russians were the sole force attacking Yingkou, at the time one of the main sea ports of Manchuria.[12]

Yingkou was divided into a foreign settlement and a Chinese city. Mishchenko had to engage his reserved troops to win the fight. When the Russians seized the city, a number of Boxers and Chinese Imperial troops managed to pull off an evacuation. A combination of a moat, precipitation, and mud hampered the movement of Russian troops and their guns.[13]

Battle of Pai-t'ou-tzu

The Battle of Pai-t'ou-tzu (Pinyin: Baitouzi) was an engagement during the Boxer Rebellion between regular Chinese Imperial forces and an outpost of Russian infantry located in Chinese territory. Even before the Boxer rising against foreign influence, an outpost of Russian troops had been located across the Chinese border near the village of Pai-t'ou-tzu, which lay close to Liaoyang. It was garrisoned by 204 Russian troops under a Colonel Mishchenko. When hostilities began, the Chinese authorities advanced a guarantee of safe passage in exchange for his retreat to the south of Liaoyang. This was declined, and instead Mishchenko called for more Russian troops to reinforce his position.[14]

Before the Russian position could be reinforced, fighting broke out. During the opening stages of the ensuing battle, Chinese guns bombarded the Russian right and front flanks, resulting in 14 Russian deaths and 5 wounded. Firing from long range at high trajectories, the Chinese artillery hit their marks, but at closer range proved inaccurate. Chinese regular infantry armed with rifles advanced, crawling under cover artillery fire towards the Russian defense perimeter of about 350 square feet. When the Russian fire slackened the Chinese troops renewed their attack. Chinese forces alternated between advance and retreat until the Russian position was over-run. Losses on both sides are uncertain but the Russian detachment may have been wiped out.[15]

Battles on Amur River

The Battles on the Amur River were border clashes between Chinese Imperial Army troops along with Boxers against Russian forces. They were part of the Boxer Rebellion. The Russians aimed for control over Amur River for navigation.[16]

The Chinese summoned all available men to fight, and the Chinese forces and garrisons gathered artillery and bombarded Russian troops and towns across the Amur. Despite the Cossacks repulsing Chinese army crossings into Russia, the Chinese army troops increased the amount of artillery and kept up the bombardment. In revenge for the attacks on Chinese villages, Boxer troops burned Russian towns and almost annihilated a Russian force at Tieling.[17][18]

Russian governor K. N. Gribsky ordered Cossacks to destroy all Chinese posts on Amur river, and Cossacks completed the order during July. On July 20, Russian forces (including 16 infantry companies, a hundred Cossacks and 16 cannons) crossed the Amur near Blagoveshchensk with support from the steamers Selenga and Sungari. On July 20, Russian troops captured Saghalien; on July 22, Aigun.

After the victory over the Chinese forces, the general-governor of Amur Region, Nikolai Grodekov, decided to annex the right bank of the Amur River, and sent a telegram to the Sankt-Peterburg, but Russian Minister of War Aleksey Kuropatkin forbade such an action:

Because of restoring the good relation with China in the nearest future, His Majesty decided not to annex any part of China

Russian Invasion of Northern and Central Manchuria

The Crushing of boxers in Northern and Central Manchuria was the invasion of the 100,000 strong Russian Army of Manchuria. These events form part of the period known as the Boxer Rebellion. The campaign in Manchuria was conducted by both the regular Imperial army, including Manchu Bannermen and Imperial Chinese troops, and the Boxers.

The Russians invaded Manchuria during the rebellion, which was defended by Manchu bannermen. The bannermen were annihilated as they fought to the death against the Russians, each falling one at a time against a five pronged Russian invasion. The Russians killed many of the Manchus, thousands of them fled south. The Russian Cossacks looted some of their villages and property and then burnt them to ashes, but as revenge, the Chinese Boxers and Imperial army came to a large Russian village and killed many civilians and looted and burnt all their houses as revenge and killed many Russian defenders.[19][20] Manchuria was partially occupied after the fierce fighting that occurred.[21]


Sergei Witte advised the Czar to withdraw Russian forces from Manchuria, but Kuropatkin advocated for a continued Russian presence in Manchuria. The Russians tried to secure agreements favorable to themselves in exchange for withdrawal, but China refused.[22][23]

The Honghuzi continued to plague Manchuria despite multiple attempts aiming for their eradication and mass killings directed at them by Cossack forces. They were enlisted by the Japanese during the Russo-Japanese War to attack the Russians on their rear.

Russo-Japanese War

Japan was angered that Russia had not withdrawn according to the treaty it signed in the Boxer Protocol in which it promised to withdrawal from Manchuria.

The Chinese supported Japan during the war.


  •  This article incorporates text from Appletons' annual cyclopaedia and register of important events, a publication from 1901 now in the public domain in the United States.
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  2. ^ (Original from the University of Michigan)
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  11. ^ (Original from the University of Michigan)
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