ORLOV A.A. “And You, Vampire, Admiral Napier, Don’t Expect the Banquet”. The Case on the Surveillance of the British Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Napier in St. Petersburg in 1856

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2016.6.2

Aleksandr A. Orlov

Doctor of Sciences (History), Associate Professor, Professor of Department of Modern and Contemporary History,

Moscow State Pedagogical University

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Malaya Pirogovskaya St., 1/1, 119991 Moscow, Russian Federation


Abstract. The Crimean War of 1853-1856 provoked the hostility between the Russian and the English peoples. This had contributed to the confrontational thinking in the consciousness of the two peoples. The changes in mentality had for a long time been anchored through the efforts of the authorities and the media of that time (newspapers, magazines and cartoons). Military operations had led to the fact that their members had realized the disparity of the imposed stereotypes. Disappointment with propaganda clichés prompted some British to think over the reason for their personal failure, to get acquainted closer with the life of former enemies and to inform the public of their country about truth.

The author carries out the analysis of unpublished archival documents from the State Archive of the Russian Federation (GA RF), which allow talking about the visit of former commander of the Baltic squadron of the English fleet, Vice-Admiral Ch.J. Napier to St. Petersburg in July 1856, and the surveillance of him by the Russian security police. Ch. J. Napier, motivated by the concepts of personal honour, aimed to get the Russian authorities’ confirmation of the correctness of his actions in the maritime campaign of 1854. He partially succeeded, but the Emperor Alexander II was not willing to meet with him. Ch.J. Napier had not succeeded in gaining justification from the British authorities either. Apparently, neither Russian nor British government no longer needed a positive image of the other country. The Russian-British relations had been tense (or worse) throughout the rest part of the 19th century. Russia reoriented to France and (to a lesser extent) to the United States, while Britain found itself at the threshold of the “splendid isolation” era. Only the appearance of Germany as a dangerous enemy, which had established at the borders of the British colonial possessions in different parts of the world and had finally broken the “balance of powers” in Europe, made London and St. Petersburg forget the disputes and jointly oppose Berlin in 1914.

Key words: Crimean War of 1853-1856, the United Kingdom, France, national stereotypes, Vice-Admiral Ch.J. Napier, surveillance of foreigners in Russia, Third Department of His Imperial Majesty’s Office.

Лицензия Creative Commons

“And You, Vampire, Admiral Napier, Don’t Expect the Banquet”. The Case on the Surveillance of the British Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Napier in St. Petersburg in 1856 by Orlov A.A. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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