Prelude to Peace: Russian Envoys in Beijing, 1619-1674
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This Thesis examines the experiences and results of the earliest Russian envoys to Beijing through a study of accounts written by both the Russians and the Chinese who participated in them. By examining these historically important events, I clarify the process by which these two empires eventually came to terms. The time period studied encompasses the earliest official contacts between Moscow and Beijing. This thesis challenges the idea that these missions were ‘failures.’ Individually, the Petlin, Baikov, Ablin and Spafarii missions met with little success, but examined together they are indicative of a broader diplomatic process. By developing a rudimentary framework for mutual understanding, they played a role in later, more successful, contacts.