THIS little book on Scottish
influence in Russia has been planned during the year which is the
Tercentenary of the Romanoff Dynasty to interest travellers who visit
Russia, and also in the hope of reminding Russians where many of their
‘instructors’ came from. In spite of our very desirable, but very recent
friendship, Russia and Britain are still too far apart historically to
know much about each other. The old intercourse (a very limited one when
all is said) between England and Russia is narrated in many books of
travel, and I have therefore given it but a short introductory chapter. I
am unaware of any book, however, which shows separately to any degree the
part the Scot played in Russia (individually, though hardly as a nation)
in helping to ‘Westernise’ the great empire of the Tsars, so I have
endeavoured shortly to sketch the ‘service’ given by the Scots who
enrolled themselves in the Russian employ. My book is founded, not so much
on Russian, as on French and British sources, and thus the dates and the
spelling of names may be sometimes irregular. It, however, claims the
privilege of an explorer or that of a pioneer.
I have tried to indicate where
authorities on my subject may be most easily found, and have therefore
cited copiously only from the rarer and less known books.
Some day a Russian scholar will dig
up lists (lists I long to see) of Scottish names from the depths of the
archives of Russia. I hope he will come soon. Until he does, I trust that
my essay may help the Scot to understand Russian history better, and the
Russian to be interested in those of the Scottish nation who helped to
connect his Byzantine civilisation, marred as it was and retarded by the
Tartar conquest, with that of Western Europe.
I have to thank especially my
friends Mr. R. H. Bruce Lockhart, British Vice-Consul at Moscow, Mr. G. E.
S. Bowen, R.F.A., Mr. John F. Baddeley, and M. Vladimir Ivanovitch
Kameneff for their valuable help in putting my book in order.
A. FRANCIS STEUART.
79 Great King Street,
15th June, 1913.