1863-10-24 RUSSIA

London Times, 24 October 1863, p. 10: RUSSIA

A letter from Constantinople, addressed by a traveller, named Milinieff, to the Progrès of Lyons, contains the following information respecting the proceedings of Russia in the Black Sea: --

"I have just arrived from Kertch, which I left on the 3d inst., and hasten to give you some particulars of what is now passing in that part of Russia. The Government is constructing defensive works on all the more important points of the coast of the Crimea, in preparation for a war with the Western Powers, should such a misfortune take place. The Sea of Azoff, the navigation of which is so difficult owing to its numerous sandbanks and the quantity of ballast discharged into it by merchant vessels during the last 15 years, will shortly be completely closed by blocking up the entrance to the channel. At Kertch, Berdianski, and Taganrog, the Tartars are employed for that purpose. The Government has taken advantage of the passage of several thousand of these Mussulmans, who last spring obtained permission to settle in Turkey, to detain them as prisoners, and subject them to forced labour. The authorities have announced to the population of these countries that war has been declared, and that they must themselves in readiness to march against the enemy. Foreigners, who are rather numerous at Kertch, Yenikale, and other places on the Sea of Azoff, have been ordered to leave the country in a month. Several peaceable Greek merchants, who have long resided at Kertch, have recently been subjected to great annoyance by the authorities. They were arrested, and had to pay large sums to obtain their release, which was only granted on condition that they should leave the country in 24 hours. I myself was eight days before I could obtain permission to embark, and had to appear a dozen times at least before the head of police and the Governor of Kertch. Every time I left their office my passport received a fresh visâ, for which I had to pay three roubles (12f.), and if I had not been personally recommended to the chief of the police, it is probably that I should have suffered much greater annoyance. I conclude with stating that the population in the south of Russia live in a state of continual alarm."

Provided by Stephen McLaughlin