In mid-summer 1914, the Great Tempest slammed into the ship, seemingly very suddenly. This typhoon of typhoons was unlooked for in a year which, internationally, seemed to at last promise a respite from the litany of major European crises which had beset the continent almost continually since 1907.
What would this mean for autocratic Imperial Russia under a weak Tsar and an uncertain administration? Could it weather the storm?
All through this period, imperialist Russian expansionism continued across northern Asia, once more as a diversion from the medieval living conditions in the rural areas and the very poorly regulated conditions of the new industrial towns and districts in the major cities. There was always a quasi-religious element in this expansionism, as a sort of crusade to bring the Russian Orthodox true Christian light to the benighted heathens of central and southern Asia.