The interests of Russia and Japan struggling for the re-division of their spheres of influence clashed severely. This exhibition demonstrates materials on the Russian participation in suppression of the fighters for freedom. You can see unique documents characterizing the increasing tension in Russian-Japanese relations. For the first time the diplomatic correspondances between Nicolas II and the Russian deputy in the Far East leutenant general E.I. Alekseev and rear-admiral A. Abaza are on show.
For the first time diaries of the participants in the events and litographs from the album “Manchuria” are exhibited. The Russian Navy flag (the so-called Andreevsky flag) and the flag of Japan are hanging high in the opposite corners of this hall. You can see the portrait of Russia’s minister of Defence (1898−1904) and commander of the land forces in Manchuria A.N. Kuropatkin; of the commander of the Pacific Ocean squardon vice-admiral S.O. Makarov; of the commander of the land defence of Port Arthur leutenant general R.I. Kondratenko and the commander of the fortifications leutenant general A.M. Stassel. Also the portraits of the commander-in-chief of the Japanese forces marshal I. Oyama and the Japanese admirals H. Toro and Uriu are demonstrated. Among more rare exhibits are an outfit of a samurai and a sword that belongs to the Shogun dinasty of Tokugava (1603−1867). In the end of the nineteenth century and especially during the war the ideas of samurai’s honour were very popular in the Japanese society.
Exploiting the factor of surprise, Japane began the war in the early hours of the morning on the 27th of January, 1904. A special place in the exhibition belongs to the heroism of the crews of the cruiser “Varyag” and cannon boat “Koreyets”. In an unequal fight with the Japanese squadron, Russian sailors preferred to sink the ships but never yield. The model of the “Varyag” is exhibited along with the unique commemorative plate, a gift of gratitude to the Russian sailors from the crew of a French ship “Pascal” for their help in the battle near Chemulpo.
The exhibition tells about one of the key moments in the war – the heroic defence of the Port Arthur fortress, which lasted 157 days. Battle orders, uniforms and weapons of the defenders of Port Arthur, photographs taken from the defensive lines and weapon emplacements remind you of these events.
Some of the military decorations of the Russian Empire are exhibited. Posters, post-cards and photographs illustrate the stages of the war: the defeat at Laojan and under Mukden. The seven-month voyage of the Pacific Ocean squadron under the command of Z.P. Rozhdestvensky ended in disaster.
The utter defeat of the Russian fleet in the battle of Tsushima decided the outcome of the war. In August 1905 in Portsmouth (USA) the head of the Russian delegation, the chairman of the Cabinet of ministers Sergey J. Vitte signed the peace treaty. The losses of the Russian army numbered 400, 000 dead, wounded or captive. The losses of Japan were 135, 000 dead or wounded.
The war losses affected most unfavorably the country’s economy.The defeat caused the destabilization of the society and was undoubtedly one of the factors that provoked the revolution of 1905−1907.