Preface to the 1921 Edition
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xv Preface to the 1921 Edition Here, I offer readers a popular account of an expedition I led to the Sikhote -Alin Mountainsin1906.Itis botha field journaland a geographical description of the routes I followed. In this book, the reader will find descriptions of the wilderness and inhabitants of this area, much of it now lost to history. The Ussuri Kray has changed dramatically in the past fifteen years. The primeval, virgin forests across many of these lands have been burned and replaced by woods of larch, birch, and aspen. Where before a tiger roared now a locomotive whistles, and where there was once a sparse scattering of Chinese trappers there are now large Russian settlements. The indigenouspeopleshaveretreatednorth ,andwildlifepopulationsintheforest havebeengreatlydiminished.TheKraybegantoloseitsuniquenessand undergo the transformation inevitable with the advent of civilization. These changes have primarily impacted the southern part of the Kray and the lower tributaries of the Ussuri River. The mountainous areasoftheSikhote -Alinfrom44°latitudeandnorthwardremainthesame forestwildernessasinthedaysofBudishchevandVenyukov(1857–1869). First and foremost, I consider it my duty to express thanks to those whocontributedtomyresearchoftheUssuriKrayinonewayoranother. Above all I thank P. F. Unterberger, who at the time was the Priamur general-governor. This statesman was a true patron—three of my expeditions to the Sikhote-Alin were funded by moneys allocated from the military and largely due to the extraordinary amount of credit at his disposal. xvi Preface to the 1921 Edition I found many well-wishers and friends among naval officers like S. Z. Balk, A. N. Pell, and P. G. Tigerstedt. In 1906 they arranged food drops for me along the coast, and in addition to finding the crates I had packed myself, I also discovered they had left me boxes filled with red wine, canned food,biscuits, cakes, and so on.P. G.Tigerstedt,who commanded a fleet of destroyers, was tremendously helpful on numerous occasions. Once, in 1907, I lay on the coast by the mouth of the Kulumbe [now Peshchernaya] River, sick and unable to move from starvation. Tigerstedt became concerned about my lengthy absence and sent a team out in search. They found me at the last minute. S. Z. Balk has already passed, A. N. Pell lives in Vladivostok, and P. G. Tigerstedt serves in the Baltic Sea. I owe them all a debt that I may never be able to appropriately repay in kind. Any worthy outcomes that may have resulted from these expeditions I owe to my companions—N. A. Desulava, G. G. Granatman, A. I. Merzlyakov, and P. P. Bordakov.1 Most of my successes can be attributed to the exemplary devotion and dedicated services provided to me by the Siberian riflemen and Ussuri Cossacks who traveled with me. I never had to encourage them to put forth effort; on the contrary I had to rein them in for fear they would injure themselves. Despite the deprivations they faced, these humble, hardworkerspatientlyborethedifficultiesofcamplife,andIneverheard a single complaint. Many of these men died defending their homeland in the First World War, and those that survive remain in my correspondence to this day. Shipcaptains,teachers,doctors,andmanyprivatecitizens provided me with countless services, words of advice, and helpful deeds during 1. The divisive impact of the Russian Civil War and subsequent Soviet purges is starkly illustrated by the names of friends and collaborators Arsenyev lists in this preface . Of the eleven people mentioned here for whom fates were uncovered, four died outside Russia (Unterberger, Desulava, Shkurkin, Tigerstedt), three died in Soviet prison camps (Edelstein, Pell, Speshnev), one committed suicide (Chersky), and one was purged from the military (Merzlyakov). Only two people (L. S. Berg, P. P. Bordakov) appeared to transition from Imperial to Soviet Russia unscathed. See appendix 2 for more details on these individuals. Preface to the 1921 Edition xvii my expeditions that repeatedly encouraged and facilitated my progress. I offer these people a friendly hello and thank you for their kindness and hospitality. As I do not command a firm enough grasp of the Chinese language to read its script, I turned to an Asian studies specialist, P. V. Shkurkin, for help. He has lived in the Ussuri Kray for twenty-six years and has a deep understanding of the local Manza population. I asked him to transcribe Chinese names of various landmarks recorded by military surveyors,otherexplorers,andmyselfoverourcumulativeyearsoftravel in the region. P. V. Shkurkin, with characteristic enthusiasm, completed this enormous task quickly. I thank him for his contribution. Every time I reminisce on the past I see a figure before me: Dersu Uzala of the Upper...



Subject Headings

  • Ussuri River Valley (Russia and China) -- Description and travel.
  • Natural history -- Ussuri River Valley (Russia and China).
  • Dersu Uzala.
  • Arsenʹev, V. K. (Vladimir Klavdievich), 1872-1930 -- Travel -- Ussuri River Valley (Russia and China).
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