AHC: Effects of a slavic majority central Asia by 1899

As the title suggests, the challenge is to have a slavic majority central Asia by 1899. You are free to include this with the settlement of siberia by the Russians.
You are required to elaborate:
1) Policy of the Russian Empire to achieve this: what should the tsarist government do to encourage migration and settlement on the vast open lands. How would the government distribute the land and what assistance would the government offer to the settler colonist. Russian government policy towards the treatment of natives (Genocide ideas are accepted but it should not be ridiculous, discrimination and outright hostility towards natives is ok, for example dispossession of natives of grazing lands moving them to say Amerindian style reservation and then forceful assimilation, but no Holocaust style killing!!)
2) Technology required to achieve this : The lands of Central Asia Aren't really suited for agriculture but great for livestock rearing. It wasn't until recent technological innovation of the by which highly acidic soil could be rendered fit for agriculture so imo virgin land campaign of Khrushchev and Brezhnev is not possible in the 19th century. But dry land farming is possible though and it was one of the innovation developed in the 19th century. So could we see the establishment of great ranches owned by Russians/Ukrainians and as technology progresses we see the establishment of farms
3) The changes required in the historical events to achieve this eg: would earlier abolition of serfdom help this? Tsarist policy in Central Asia to be different than in our time line?
4) Effect on the history of Central Asia and Russia: would Russia be more pre occupied with settlement of Central Asia and Siberian lands that they are not interested in pursuing a belligerent Policy Or responding to belligerent policy in Europe such as goal of annexation of Constantinople, would the Russian revolution be Butterfield away as the surplus population would move to Asian part of Russian Empire and thus put upward pressure on wages on factory labor and in a better bargaining position of working conditions.
 
Unrealistic on pretty much all accounts. We are talking about the end of the XIX in Russia, not about some fantasy land.

Culturally, traditional Russian agriculture was not possible on most of these territories. Tsarist government was promoting cotton growth in the arable areas of the CA and it is highly unlikely that the Russian peasants would be willingly substituting the locals on cotton fields. The same goes for the cattle-growing areas: this had been done by the local nomads with whom the settlers would not be able to compete in the terms of skills and land-ownership (short of some kind of the government-sponsored genocide, which was extremely unlikely by that time). On the areas where something close to the traditional European agriculture was possible there were some Russian settlers but of course nowhere close to the majority.

Then goes the cost. Accomplishing this program would be enormously expensive (resettlement into Siberia was done with a considerable state sponsorship) while not making any practical sense because the new lands in Siberia allowed for the traditional agriculture and still had a huge potential in the terms of resettlement. Then, of course, it should be kept in mind that, while various resettlement programs started relatively early their implementation on a major scale became possible only after construction of the Trans Siberian RR. So well before 1899 there should be an extensive RR network in the CA: unlike Southern Siberia, the "stans" are not aligned along a single route and alternative means of communication (mostly camels) would not be very useful to the resettlers who have to bring their livestock to the destination point.

Then the stimulus: why would millions of the Russian (including Ukrainian) peasants decide to move into the areas completely alien to their life style while there was plenty of more suitable places? Even then in OTL the mass migration did not pick up until the land crisis blew into everybody's faces and even then a percentage of those willing to migrate was quite small comparing to the general mass of the peasants who did not even want to break out of their community system.

And, of course, the obvious question is what to do with the natives and their ownership of the land? Analogies with the US are not working because, unlike the Indians, they were considered full-scale tax-paying Russian subjects with the property rights, legal protection (with some adjustment to the "local specifics"), etc.
 
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Unrealistic on pretty much all accounts. We are talking about the end of the XIX in Russia, not about some fantasy land.

Culturally, traditional Russian agriculture was not possible on most of these territories. Tsarist government was promoting cotton growth in the arable areas of the CA and it is highly unlikely that the Russian peasants would be willingly substituting the locals on cotton fields. The same goes for the cattle-growing areas: this had been done by the local nomads with whom the settlers would not be able to compete in the terms of skills and land-ownership (short of some kind of the government-sponsored genocide, which was extremely unlikely by that time). On the areas where something close to the traditional European agriculture was possible there were some Russian settlers but of course nowhere close to the majority.

Then goes the cost. Accomplishing this program would be enormously expensive (resettlement into Siberia was done with a considerable state sponsorship) while not making any practical sense because the new lands in Siberia allowed for the traditional agriculture and still had a huge potential in the terms of resettlement. Then, of course, it should be kept in mind that, while various resettlement programs started relatively early their implementation on a major scale became possible only after construction of the Trans Siberian RR. So well before 1899 there should be an extensive RR network in the CA: unlike Southern Siberia, the "stans" are not aligned along a single route and alternative means of communication (mostly camels) would not be very useful to the resettlers who have to bring their livestock to the destination point.

Then the stimulus: why would millions of the Russian (including Ukrainian) peasants decide to move into the areas completely alien to their life style while there was plenty of more suitable places? Even then in OTL the mass migration did not pick up until the land crisis blew into everybody's faces and even then a percentage of those willing to migrate was quite small comparing to the general mass of the peasants who did not even want to break out of their community system.

And, of course, the obvious question is what to do with the natives and their ownership of the land? Analogies with the US are not working because, unlike the Indians, they were considered full-scale tax-paying Russian subjects with the property rights, legal protection (with some adjustment to the "local specifics"), etc.
So why was Central Asia even conquered, apart from the obvious reasons of buffer against British in India, for cotton?
 
So why was Central Asia even conquered, apart from the obvious reasons of buffer against British in India, for cotton?
Market for the Russian manufactured goods and stopping the raids into Russian territory (especially applicable to the parts of modern Kazakhstan
Edit: and then Turkmenistan - Geok Tepe was described as the nest of the bandits).

BTW, while cotton production was not the main reason for conquest, it can’t be discounted because after the ACW it became clear that the domestic production is important (among other reasons, for making the explosives) and Tsarist government had been promoting the cotton production.

The Brits had been trying to get there as a part of the Big Game with the same goal of opening the new markets.
 
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Kazakhstan is doable, it already had Slavic majority for a while, although much latter.
Kazakhstan was a special case different from other “stans” by a number of reasons including climate (in Northern Kazakhstan). While the steppes had been declared a collective property of the nomadic Kazakh people, the settlement was encouraged. But the time table was different from the OP. The Great Horde (the last of three hordes) acknowledged Russian supremacy in 182Os. The first Cossack fort was built in 1824. Construction of the forts in Southern Kazakhstan started in 1850s. Administrative organization started in 1863 in the northern parts of Kazakhstan (including lands of the Siberian and Semiryechensk Cossask Hosts). At that time the main settlers were Cossacks. The settlers from Russia started founding new towns from 1869. In the 1890s, many non-Cossack Russian settlers migrated into the fertile lands of northern and eastern Kazakhstan (aka, areas allowing the traditional Russian agriculture). Formally, the territories held by the nomadic people had been declared their common property but the regulations allowing the de facto land grab existed since 1890s.

In 1906 the Trans-Aral Railway between Orenburg and Tashkent was completed, further facilitating Russian and Ukrainian migration to Central Asia.

“Between 1906 and 1912, more than half a million Ukrainian and Russian farms were started in Kazakhstan as part of the reforms of the Russian minister of the interior Petr Stolypin. By 1917 there were close to a million slavs in Kazakhstan, about 30% of the total population. Analysis of data on migrants who arrived during the Stolypin agrarian reform (1906-1912) on the territory of Kazakhstan shows that 83.1% of the settlers were from Ukraine, the rest came from the southern regions of Russia (16.8%).” So the Slavs were not a majority and the mass migration started in 1906.

See

So we are talking exclusively about the specific parts of Kazakhstan and a much earlier implementation of Stolypin reforms on a much greater scale. Was this “greater scale” even possible in the terms of available agricultural land, number of volunteers, and government’s ability to subsidize migration on that scale?

As for the rest of the region, how much earlier things could start happening? Khiva was conquered in 1873, Kokand in 1875, Bukhara in 1873, Geok Tepe (Turkmenistan) - 1881. Adding to this distinctive specifics of these ‘stans’, I doubt very much that achieving Russian majority on a proposed time table was realistic.
 
So why was Central Asia even conquered, apart from the obvious reasons of buffer against British in India, for cotton?

Because the Tien Shan Mountains, Karakum Desert, and rivers on the outskirts of the Iranian plateau make for better boundaries than open steppe does.

A border on the Amu Darya might also have worked, but the three Turkic emirates in southern central asia would have been a security issue. Better to just conquer them outright and avoid the prospect of raids of border skirmishes when the empire's in a precarious position.
 
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NGL, when I saw the thread title I thought you meant like an early Slavic migration heading east instead of South and West.
 
So the Russians conquered central Asia because:
1. Stop raids on Russian settlements
2. Expand market for their goods
3. Buffer zone
4. Buffer zone against the British in South Asia.
So could Kazakhstan become slavic majority by the 1950s in the absence of a soviet regime while large scale migration into Kazakhstan began in the 1890s.
How successful would russification policy be in southern central Asia, would such policy result in revolt against the tsarist government?
 
This is definitely doable and not that hard honestly, you just need to have the Russian conquer central Asia earlier, at the very least starting from Kazakhstan.

OTL Slavs made 20% of the Central Asian population by 1926 and all of this happened within like 40-100 years of Russian control, even indirect over Uzbekistan.

Kazakhstan is doable, it already had Slavic majority for a while, although much latter.
Well personally I don't see why it couldn't start earlier, the Han Chinese settled Dzungaria from the 18th century and created a Han majority there, that involved genocide but at the same time it shows that it's not like people not used to live there couldn't settle the region.
The idea that somehow farmers from Eastern Europe couldn't find a living in the region is ridiculous and myopic. If we applied the same standard elsewhere we could argue that Spaniards would never settle Cuba, Portuguese would never settle North Brazil and Russians would never settle Eastern Siberia and yet all of this happened.

So could Kazakhstan become slavic majority by the 1950s in the absence of a soviet regime while large scale migration into Kazakhstan began in the 1890s.
How successful would russification policy be in southern central Asia, would such policy result in revolt against the tsarist government?
Why are you working with such late PoDs? Seems to me that having the Russian start conquering Kazakhstan earlier is the best PoD, this could also involve earlier construction of a siberian railroad and earlier settlement policies, if the Qing dynasty did why can't Russia?
 
Then the stimulus: why would millions of the Russian (including Ukrainian) peasants decide to move into the areas completely alien to their life style while there was plenty of more suitable places? Even then in OTL the mass migration did not pick up until the land crisis blew into everybody's faces and even then a percentage of those willing to migrate was quite small comparing to the general mass of the peasants who did not even want to break out of their community system.
Well, wouldn't the abolition of serfdom earlier, say in the 1820s in the same manner as in our timeline ( Even though that seems unlikely but such reforms could be made post Decembrist revolt, Since Tsar Nicholas The First was pretty much against serfdom but he was scared to rock the boat but he did went on to reform serfdom to make it humane and less brutal) and the government did not support the mir and encouraged local peasant proprietorships( I know they were very popular amongst the members of the government and conservative people) . Peasant proprietorships would help bring in larger tracts of land in European Russia under cultivation much earlier causing a population boom. Although it would not be immediate but i guess if the serfdom is abolished in 1829 by 1850's we could see the peasant proprietorship farms prop up all over European Russia which could cause a population boom and thus trigger a land crises by late 1870s . I mean 40 years is a very long time combined with a fact that you have entrepreneurial peasant farmers. Of course this would require the government to step in with capital and institutional arrangement such as creation of Banks and tax and ownership policy to incentivize peasants to establish farms combined with improvement in roads and communications network to create local markets for peasants to sell their produce and also education programs to make them aware of latest development in agriculture. These development could also be accelerated if the the land owning nobility better manage their estates to make it profitable. None of the policies I described is quite outlandish. Its in the spirit of the times but my question is are these policies realistic for a mid 19th century Russia? would the Russian society accept individual peasant proprietorship and could the Russian nobility develop their estates into large commercial farms, frankly in my opinion its is quite difficult but possible.
 
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This is definitely doable and not that hard honestly, you just need to have the Russian conquer central Asia earlier, at the very least starting from Kazakhstan.

OTL Slavs made 20% of the Central Asian population by 1926 and all of this happened within like 40-100 years of Russian control, even indirect over Uzbekistan.


Well personally I don't see why it couldn't start earlier, the Han Chinese settled Dzungaria from the 18th century and created a Han majority there, that involved genocide but at the same time it shows that it's not like people not used to live there couldn't settle the region.
The idea that somehow farmers from Eastern Europe couldn't find a living in the region is ridiculous and myopic. If we applied the same standard elsewhere we could argue that Spaniards would never settle Cuba, Portuguese would never settle North Brazil and Russians would never settle Eastern Siberia and yet all of this happened.


Why are you working with such late PoDs? Seems to me that having the Russian start conquering Kazakhstan earlier is the best PoD, this could also involve earlier construction of a siberian railroad and earlier settlement policies, if the Qing dynasty did why can't Russia?
Comparing the qing to Russian empire is unfair on both the empires, different people, different politics, different cultures. Russia had a tradition of communal ownership of land which was a big impediment for emigration, I don't think china had that sort of structure but then again my knowledge of qing china is quite bad.
Colonization of the new world with conquest of Central Asia again not a fair comparison, the new world had lot of exotic stuff which was in huge demand in Europe, what did central Asia had to offer to Russia cotton and buffer zones.
Earlier Pod well? At what point do you propose?
 
Well, wouldn't the abolition of serfdom earlier, say in the 1820s in the same manner as in our timeline ( Even though that seems unlikely but such reforms could be made post Decembrist revolt, Since Tsar Nicholas The First was pretty much against serfdom but he was scared to rock the boat but he did went on to reform serfdom to make it humane and less brutal) and the government did not support the mir and encouraged local peasant proprietorships( I know they were very popular amongst the members of the government and conservative people) . Peasant proprietorships would help bring in larger tracts of land in European Russia under cultivation much earlier causing a population boom. Although it would not be immediate but i guess if the serfdom is abolished in 1829 by 1850's we could see the peasant proprietorship farms prop up all over European Russia which could cause a population boom and thus trigger a land crises by late 1870s . I mean 40 years is a very long time combined with a fact that you have entrepreneurial peasant farmers. Of course this would require the government to step in with capital and institutional arrangement such as creation of Banks and tax and ownership policy to incentivize peasants to establish farms combined with improvement in roads and communications network to create local markets for peasants to sell their produce and also education programs to make them aware of latest development in agriculture. These development could also be accelerated if the the land owning nobility better manage their estates to make it profitable. None of the policies I described is quite outlandish. Its in the spirit of the times but my question is are these policies realistic for a mid 19th century Russia? would the Russian society accept individual peasant proprietorship and could the Russian nobility develop their estates into large commercial farms, frankly in my opinion its is quite difficult but possible.
Most of this is based upon a false premise that majority of the Russian peasants had been entrepreneurs looking for becoming individual farmers. They were not all the way to the Soviet times. Why do you think it was reasonably easy to introduce the collective farms in Russia and much more difficult in Ukraine? Anyway, this seems to be a popular way of thinking based upon seemingly obvious idea of a common good and a complete neglect of the existing realities.

As far as government’s part is involved, the premise is, again, false because it implies a fundamental change of a prevailing way of thinking without any visible reason: not only the peasants but pretty much everybody else had been sticking to a communal mentality all the way to 1905 until crisis blew into their faces and even then Stolypin’s reforms had been facing a serious resistance on all levels of society from top to bottom and majority of peasants remained within the old system. The government banks for the peasants had been created soon after emancipation and the government programs had been very conductive in land transfer (IIRC even before Stolypin the estate lands constituted a relatively small percentage of all agricultural land) but the transfer was to the communities.

As far as taxation is involved, community-based taxation was considered a preferable model due to a collective responsibility. Who and how would suddenly improve the Russian roads in the farmers model is a complete enigma. While, at least in theory, the communal model allowed relatively easy mobilization for the “public works”, with the individual farmers it would be much more difficult. Needless to say that the roads remained generally terrible even under the Soviets as the Nazis had chance to find out. 😜

Well, and at least in Russia proper the farm model would be rather hard to introduce because, unlike Ukraine, an overwhelming majority of peasants lived in the villages, not in the separate “hutors”. So how exactly are you going to convert the village houses with the small vegetable plots into the farms?

The local markets did exist even under the serfdom and there were at least some education programs but there was a catch 22 situation: within a prevailing communal schema and mentality there was practically impossible to implement the new methods and because these methods were impractical attitude toward them was negative. Really, why anybody would be interested in something that he can’t use? In a real life it meant that most of the peasants did not want to get out of the communal model but within that model “cherespolositsa” (set of the narrow strips of the land assigned to each community member annually) prevented from using an advanced agricultural equipment and did not provide incentive for the land improvement (the next year the different strips would be assigned). So why bother?

Nobility en mass was losing its lands (and by 1914 lost most of them) because, again, theory is not the same as practice. Most of the nobility did not have a proper education allowing to make their estates profitable based upon a new system and overwhelming majority did not have a capital needed for such a conversion. Loans they were receiving from the state bank had been spent elsewhere and they were gradually losing the lands both to the peasants and to a new class of the “rural capitalists” (to which some of them turned). So by 1914 nobility ceased to be a class of the estate owners (in most cases the countryside houses with a little land became just summer residencies) and turned into the government employees, intelligencia and entrepreneurs.

The same goes for the resettlement to the East. The programs were there but the ‘flow’ was quite low both due to the shortage of the volunteers and because of the communications. Abolishment of the serfdom in 1820s would not automatically cover Russia with the net of the railroads so how would the resettles get into the Central Asia most of which is not yet being conquered? And schedule of this conquest was defined both by Russian foreign policies and by technology: the early attempts of conquest had been failing.

Population growth had nothing to do with the non-existing farmers and everything to do with the greatly improved magical services, which would not be the case in 1820s - 50s both because medicine was not yet there and because this would require reforms that had nothing to do with the serfdom.

Realistically, an earlier emancipation could lead to the earlier industrialization but this means that more peasants are leaving the villages thus making the land crisis less pressing and actually supporting existence of the communal model.
 
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Comparing the qing to Russian empire is unfair on both the empires, different people, different politics, different cultures. Russia had a tradition of communal ownership of land which was a big impediment for emigration, I don't think china had that sort of structure but then again my knowledge of qing china is quite bad.
Colonization of the new world with conquest of Central Asia again not a fair comparison, the new world had lot of exotic stuff which was in huge demand in Europe, what did central Asia had to offer to Russia cotton and buffer zones.
Earlier Pod well? At what point do you propose?
All true and the Spanish settlement model was heavily slavery-based (with the natives turned into de facto slaves or the slaves being imported) with most of the initial settlers on the islands and than on the main land had been plantation-owners, not the farmers.

Not that the term "farmers" is applicable to the Russian peasants of the XIX century because there were no "farms". According to definition, a farm is "an area of land and its buildings used for growing crops and rearing animals, typically under the control of one owner or manager." There was no "one manager" because the land allotments had been changing annually within a community and the same goes for "an area of land and its buildings" because land was separated from the buildings (a village).

In general, logic based upon the premise that if something worked somewhere it should work everywhere is questionable, to put it mildly.

You are right about the "earlier POD": Kazakhstan was annexed by Russia by 1820s so how much earlier could this happen and where the settlers would come from? For few decades the only settlers were minimal numbers of the Cossacks from Orenburg area (mostly as a byproduct of the forts construction) and only much later and mostly thanks to the railroad the flow of agricultural settlers increased and even then mostly into the Northern and Eastern parts, not to the steppes with their nomadic population.

Most of the rest of the Russian CA was conquered when it was became technologically possible. Peter I sent expedition into the CA and it was almost completely massacred . "Famous" expedition sent by Paul I to Bukhara (as a part of "Indian plan") noticeably failed even before it was cancelled. Perovsky expedition to Khiva in 1839-40 also ended up as a failure. Of course, the slow conquest kept going on but the process hardly could be done on a much higher rate. So the much earlier POD is impossible without a massive shift of the Russian foreign and domestic policies and a noticeably faster industrial development allowing production of the more modern weapons before OTL time table (consistently defeating the locals with the odds 1:10 while still using flintlocks would be challenging) and the same goes for building the steamships (expedition against Geok Tepe required them for bringing supplies across the Caspian Sea), railroads, etc.

Of course, construction of the TransSib considerably ahead of the OTL schedule would require a massive change in the Russian priorities (building railroads in European Russia), huge amounts of money (Russian financial situation noticeably improved during Witte's tenure as Minister of Finances and it is questionable if the project was affordable much earlier) and even then we are talking about probably couple decades: serious construction of the RRs in Russia started in 1860s and it took a while to acquire enough experience and buildup the industrial capacities needed for the project of TransSib magnitude and complexity with the European Russia still being a top priority.
 
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Kazakhstan is doable, it already had Slavic majority for a while, although much latter.
It only really had one because collectivization killed a massive number of Kazakhs who were disproportionately herders and not accustomed to completely stationary agricultural life, let alone collectivized farming, which was completely alien.

But I agree its doable in the sense that there already was a slavic demographic there, and if internal exiles start getting sent there instead, it could create the conditions for one.
 
Comparing the qing to Russian empire is unfair on both the empires, different people, different politics, different cultures.
We will always find differences and no 2 situations are exactly the same but the idea that using analogues is not valid is arbitrary, especially when coupled with the idea that just because something didn't happen OTL until a certain date proves it was impossible before.

Russia had a tradition of communal ownership of land which was a big impediment for emigration, I don't think china had that sort of structure but then again my knowledge of qing china is quite bad.
Well Russia was able to colonize the land held by Golden Horde successor in today southern Russia, also dozens of thousands of settlers went to Siberia before 1800 or 1700 even.

Colonization of the new world with conquest of Central Asia again not a fair comparison, the new world had lot of exotic stuff which was in huge demand in Europe, what did central Asia had to offer to Russia cotton and buffer zones.
My point is that if a country like Spain and Portugal with their climate managed to supply hundreds of thousands of settlers, move them over an entire ocean to places that a climate foreign to Iberia the idea that Russians can't settle southern Central Asia is ridiculous, OTL there were about 300k of Russians in southern Central Asia by 1926.
Most settlers from Iberia did not become slave owners or some sort of high nobility or rich urban dwellers, in any case we already saw IOTL that hundreds of thousands of settlers went to North Kazakhstan without such a need.

Earlier Pod well? At what point do you propose?
Well the farther you go back the more you can work with, but a reasonably close POD could be around the mid 18th century, the main point is making the early Russian colonization of north Kazakhstan be bigger in scale and that could be done by avoiding major rebellions such ad Pugachev's revolt and maybe by also removing the French revolution and Napoleonic wars. Another good change would to prevent the most bloody portions of the Caucasian war that costed hundred of thousands of Russian lives and military resources.

You could also have Russian government actively promote colonization from early on, instead of either tacitly accepting it or even trying to prevent it at times. This is not a major change, OTL there were already about 300k Russians in Western Siberia by 1700, one can certainly find many more.
This doesn't require any real major spending on the part of the government either.

A major problem the Russians had was not knowing the geography of Central Asia and in their 1839 expedition to Khiva they were particularly unlucky as the winter of that year was exceptionally bad, not because guns were not advanced enough. A possible change in this front would be to have the Dzungar either survive and manage to pose enough of a threat to the Great Horde in Kazakhstan during the mid 18th century so that it would also seek Russian protection and support like its 2 other Kazakh neighbours, this would at least allow Russian presence in southern Kazakhstan to happen 3 generations earlier and would allow for better prepared armies when any conquest of the southern Central Asian polities happens.

Finally another change would be to have the Russian policy in Southern central Asia to be less hands-off and more aggressive, it would certainly spark rebellions but it could allow and give the Russians an excuse to colonize the region instead of emulating the British policies in India.
 
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