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We Shall Be Masters: Russian Pivots to East Asia from Peter the Great to Putin
by Chris Miller
Harvard University Press
Paper: 978-0-674-29214-7


“Miller’s terrific book reminds that Russia made moves toward the East five hundred years ago, and explains why ignoring the Russian factor in Asian geopolitics today would be a big mistake.”
—Michael McFaul, author of From Cold War to Hot Peace

“Miller presents a Russia little known in the West: a Eurasian power that treats its eastern calling as seriously as it does its western one. Exceptionally well written and argued, We Shall Be Masters helps us understand Russia on its own terms and offers historical insight into the future of its relations with China, its main rival and occasional ally.”
—Serhii Plokhy, author of The Gates of Europe

“Challenges the conventional view that [Russia] has enduring interests in the Far East…For Russia, Miller argues, Asia has been a land of unfulfilled promises.”
Foreign Affairs

“Captures the immensity, complexity, and importance of Russia’s eastern borderlands through the eyes of its explorers…Comprehensive and fluidly written.”
Publishers Weekly

Ever since Peter the Great, Russian leaders have been lured by the promise of the East. But from the tsars to Stalin and beyond, Russia’s ambitions have repeatedly outstripped its capacity. In We Shall Be Masters, Chris Miller explores why these expansionist dreams so often ended in disappointment. With the heart of the nation in the European borderlands, Russia’s would-be pioneers struggled to maintain public interest in their far-flung pursuits. But its leaders never stopped setting their sights on the riches of the East. Today, as Vladimir Putin seeks to cement his strategic partnership with Xi Jinping’s China, the East remains as elusive and attractive to Russia as ever—and is likely to be as unattainable.

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