Russia, Chinese Empire, Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich Romanov


In February. 1654, Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich Romanov dispatched a friendly, if rather pompous, letter on its way across the vast steppes of Siberia and Mongolia to the emperor of China, Shun-chih. In this letter he lamented that the rulers of the two realms had never before established any official contact between themselves, and he expressed a fond hope that the tsar and the emperor might live thenceforth "in friendship, love, and communication." The prospects should have been alluring, promising trade and wealth for both states, and also frequent exchanges of embassies. But less than three years later, the leader of the tsar's mission, Feodor Isakovich Baikov, left Peking in disgrace with little more than his sovereigns unread letter and the scorn of the Chinese Empire.