The long river that marks the border between Russia and China has proved to be a site of dashed hopes

标志中俄边界的这条长河曾是梦想幻灭之所

Throw yourself with confidence upon its flowing tide, for upon this generous river shall float navies, richer and more powerful than those of Tarshish…and at its mouth…shall congregate the merchant princes of the earth.

不要拘谨,投身到潮水的怀抱中吧!因为这条宽宏的河流将会承载船队,比他施人的更富有、更强大的船队……在它的入海口处……世界各地的富商将汇聚至此。

FOR a couple of decades around the middle of the 19th century an extravagant delusion overcame a Russia that was all too ripe for some escapism. Russians rediscovered a river that for centuries had hung forgotten off the eastern edge of their realm, flowing through empty Chinese lands. Onto the river they first projected dreams of mineral and agricultural wealth, and then of national renewal. It was to be their country’s route to greatness, a golden chance to replace an oppressive European identity with a vibrant one facing the hopeful Pacific. Looking across that ocean, some were nourished by New World dreams. The river would be “Russia’s Mississippi”. The apparently lush region it drained was to be a new America. The natives were crying out for a civilising hand. Russians just had to have the Amur. They launched a grab in 1854.

19世纪中叶的几十年间,一个奢华的狂妄之想萦绕在俄国人的心中,这时的俄罗斯是一个急需几许解脱与逃避的国家。俄国人再次发现了他们东部疆界以东、近在眼前却长久以来熟视无睹的一条河,这条河流经空旷的中国土地。他们把对于矿藏和粮食的渴望投射其上,并梦想借此恢复国家元气。这将是国家走向卓越的途径,一个改头换面的黄金时机——那个难以得到认同的欧陆身份将成为过去,一个充满活力的新形象将取而代之,它将面对的是充满希望的太平洋。跨过大洋放眼望去,对于新世界的梦想已孕育良久。这条河将成为“俄国的密西西比河”,河水滋养的这片富饶的土地将会是一个新美国,而且当地人迫切需要文明的调教。俄国人必须拥有黑龙江。于是,1854年,掠夺开始。

It was not the first time that Russians had stumbled on the Amur, by some measures the world’s sixth-longest river, longer than the Mekong or the Congo and draining a basin bigger than the Yangzi’s. In the mid-17th century Russians first heard its siren song and appeared on its banks, drawn by greed and fantasy.

这并不是俄国人第一次发现黑龙江(一种说法是黑龙江是世界第六长的河,超过湄公河和刚果河的长度,流域面积超过长江)。早在17世纪中叶,他们就首次听见了远处传来的“塞壬的歌声”,受到贪婪和幻想的驱使,他们出现在黑龙江边。

The speed of Russia’s eastward advance that century across a Siberian land mass greater than the face of the moon still astounds. When Vasco Nuñez de Balboa first glimpsed the Pacific in 1513 from a Panamanian hilltop, the Grand Duchy of Muscovy was not in control even of the Volga river, west of the Urals which divide Europe from Asia. By the mid-1600s Russians had reached the Sea of Okhotsk, floated down the Amur and passed through the strait dividing Asia from America. Russia had a maritime base on the Pacific before it had one on either the Baltic or the Black Seas.

俄国在那个世纪的东进速度至今看来仍然让人感到惊奇——横跨西伯利亚的一大片陆地,其面积超过月球整个表面积。当瓦斯科·努涅斯·德巴尔伯[西班牙的探险家,第一个见到太平洋的欧洲人。——译者]1513年在巴拿马的一座小山顶首次见到太平洋时,莫斯科大公国甚至还未控制伏尔加河(在乌拉尔山西部,欧亚大陆的分界线)。而到了17世纪中叶,俄国人就已经顺黑龙江漂流而下,到达鄂霍次克海,还通过了分隔亚洲和美洲的白令海峡。俄国还未在波罗的海和黑海建立海港之时,就在太平洋建立了海港。

Russians were driven by the lure of “soft gold”: the skins of beavers, Arctic foxes and above all sable. The sale of furs soon accounted for a third of the state treasury. Such products then underpinned trade with Europe. Cossacks, traditional frontier defenders, led an eastward charge of hunters, vagabonds and river pirates. Land-hungry Russian peasants followed, as well as religious sectarians and Lithuanian and Swedish mercenaries.

俄国人的驱动力来自“软金子”的诱惑:海狸皮,北极狐皮,尤其是貂皮。毛皮的销售额不久就占到国库的三分之一之多。这些商品是俄欧贸易的支柱。有着戍边传统的哥萨克人带领着一只由狩猎者、流浪汉和河盗组成的队伍向东进发。跟随其后的是宗教派系分子、立陶宛人、瑞典的雇佣兵,还有渴望土地的俄国农民。

The adventurers did not themselves hunt the fur-bearing animals, hunting the natives instead. In the name of the tsar, they demanded pelts as yasak (tribute) from reindeer herders, steppes nomads and hunter-gatherers. As the fur-bearing population gave out in one place, the Russians moved east and north, following the streams and portages of the rivers that flowed to the Arctic Ocean.

捕猎毛皮动物,这帮冒险者并不自己动手,而是从当地人那里获取。他们打着沙皇的旗号,要求驯鹿牧人、草原游牧者、狩猎-采集者交出毛皮作为“亚萨克”(贡品)。随着一处的居民被搜刮干净,他们就继续在流向北冰洋河流间的土地上,沿着溪流,朝东北方向移动。

To ensure that yasak was paid, native women and children were taken hostage, enslaved and raped. Settlements were torched. In four decades the population of native Yakuts in the Lena basin collapsed by 70%. Piotr Golovin, the Cossack governor of Yakutsk, hung men on meat hooks when yasak quotas went unfulfilled. Like so many of his contemporaries, Golovin was an equal-opportunity sadist who killed his own. Official history still defends these men.

为了确保“亚萨克”的到位,他们把当地的妇女儿童作为人质囚禁起来,然后强暴。他们点着了当地人住的房子。仅仅四十年间,勒拿河流域的雅库特人口数量就衰落至30%。彼得·戈洛文,这位雅库茨克的哥萨克统治者,把人吊在猪肉钩上,只是因为他要求的“亚萨克”份额没有完成。和同时代的许多人一样,戈洛文是一个无处不在的施虐狂——他对待自己人同样心狠手辣。官方的历史现在仍然为这些人辩护。

Russians pushing east moved ever farther from secure supplies of grain. Yakuts said that somewhere in the south was Dauria, where a broad river watered fields of wheat in the summer sun. In 1643 Golovin sent an expedition under Vasily Poyarkov, a man “unhampered by scruples or nerves”.

俄国向东的推进其实是离富粮地区越来越远。雅库茨克人说,在南部有一个叫作“达斡尔”的地方,那里有一条大河,在夏季阳光的照耀下,河水滋润着旁边的麦田。1643年,戈洛文派出了由瓦西里·波亚尔科夫——一个“勇敢果决的人”带领的远征队。

By December Poyarkov had crossed the Stanovoi Range to the Amur watershed. Beside the barren Zeya he heard of the Shilka, where peas, barley and buckwheat grew. These would have been welcome, for the party had nothing to eat, except Daurians. Half the gang died. The survivors floated down the Amur, wintered at the river’s mouth and in the spring turned north into the Sea of Okhotsk. After a third winter Poyarkov returned to Yakutsk with fewer than a quarter of his 160 men.

12月时,波亚尔科夫就已经越过了斯塔诺夫山脉到达了黑龙江流域。在贫瘠的结雅河边上,他听说了石勒喀河,那里生长着豌豆、大麦和荞麦。如果没有达斡尔人,这会是一个好消息,因为这队人没有东西可吃。他们当中的一半人死掉了。幸存者顺黑龙江漂流而下;冬天到来,在河口处过冬;春天来临,向北进入鄂霍次克海。又经历了一个冬天之后,波亚尔科夫回到了雅库茨克,160人只剩下不到四分之一。

In 1649 another Cossack adventurer, Yerofei Khabarov, came to the Amur. The Russians’ reputation had preceded him, for the Daurian villages were deserted. But an old woman, a shaman, stayed to tell Khabarov of mountains full of gold and gems, and of Dauria’s fields of grain—enough, he reckoned, to feed 20,000 and get flour to Yakutsk in two months instead of four years.

1649年,另一个哥萨克探险家叶罗菲·哈巴罗夫到了黑龙江。当他走进达斡尔人的村子时,发现已经空空如也。原来人未到,俄国人的恶名先到。但是村里留下了一个老妇人和一个萨满巫师,他们给他描述了满是金子和宝石的大山,还有达斡尔的农田——哈巴罗夫认为这些足够喂饱两万张嘴,并且把面粉送到雅库茨克只需两个月,而不必用四年。

The shaman laid out the political situation. The left bank, where the Cossacks were camped, belonged to her brother, Prince Lavkai. The far bank was ruled by a more powerful prince, a Manchu, whose army had firearms and who drank from gold cups. He, in turn, was vassal to the Great Khan of China.

那个萨满巫师摆列了当时的政治形势。有哥萨克人扎营的左岸属于他哥哥拉夫凯的管辖范围。再远的岸则由一个更厉害的王子统治,他是满族人,他的军队有火器,他们喝酒的杯子是金子作的。而他们自己则是可汗中国的附庸。

What she did not know was that the Manchu tribes had recently united and had risen up with such force that, invading China, they had deposed the tottering Ming dynasty. A new dynasty had been declared, and a Manchu put on the Chinese throne. Khabarov’s ruffians had stumbled on the homeland of the new ambitious rulers of China. As the Qing dynasty, the Manchus would rule until 1912.

他还不知道,满族部落当时刚刚统而为一,积聚了无比强大的实力;他们侵入了中国,推倒了摇摇欲坠的明王朝。于是,一个新王朝宣布成立,一个野心爆棚的满族人带上了汉族人的皇冠。哈巴罗夫这帮人原来撞到中国新统治者的家乡来了。满族人建立的清朝直到1912年才走出历史的舞台。

Had he grasped the implications, Khabarov might not have returned the next year, capturing Prince Lavkai’s fort, renamed Albazino, and slaughtering Daurians. He had stirred a hornet’s nest. Kangxi, the most impressive of the Qing emperors, sent troops against the “man-devouring demons”. Albazino was razed. The Russians retreated to Nerchinsk on the Shilka. The Manchus retired south, taking most of the Daurians with them. They figured that the demons would not be able to subsist by themselves. Some 4,000 Russians thought differently. Flooding into Dauria, they rebuilt Albazino.

哈巴罗夫如果意识到了巫师话中的弦外之音,可能就不会再回来了。而他在第二年重回这里,占领了拉夫凯王子的城堡,重新命名为“阿尔巴济诺”,并屠杀达斡尔人。他这么做是搅了马蜂窝。清朝最有名的皇帝——康熙皇帝,派出军队对抗这些“食人恶魔”。阿尔巴济诺被夷为平地。俄国人退撤到石勒喀河流域的尼布楚。清军则带着大部分达斡尔人一起退到南边。他们认为这些人无法靠自己过活,而这4000个俄国人却不这么认为,他们又涌至达斡尔,重建了阿尔巴济诺城。

So Kangxi’s forces returned. In June 1685 thousands of Manchu, Chinese and Daurian troops besieged Albazino again, killing 100 out of 800 Russians on the first day. Quickly surrendering, the survivors again returned to Nerchinsk, taking along a beloved icon of the Virgin Mary.

于是康熙的军队又回来了。1685年,数以千计的由满人、汉人、达斡尔人组成的军队重新包围了阿尔巴济诺城,第一天就杀死了800俄罗斯人中的100个。这帮人马上投了降,幸存者重新回到尼布楚,随身带走的还有圣母玛利亚像。

By the next year they had sneaked back. The Manchus attacked from the right bank. Russian casualties mounted and food ran low. As a taunt, the starving defenders sent out a 50-pound meat pie. But after a year’s siege, they surrendered with only 40 out of 900 alive. A handful joined the Manchus as mercenaries.

他们第二年又偷偷地回来。清军这回从右岸进攻。俄国人这面,受伤人数上升,食物短缺。为了表达对敌人的嘲笑,这些饥饿的抵抗者送出了一块50磅重的肉饼。但是,经过一年的围困,他们投降了,900人中有40人坚持到最后,他们当中的一些作为雇佣兵加入了清朝军队。

Today what remains of the fort at Albazino is a grassy rectangular escarpment above the roiling river. A couple of fishermen potter under the willows on the Chinese side. The Cossack village has been shrinking since Stalin’s purges. Log cottages are sinking into a soil which gives up evidence of the siege: cannon shot, wooden shovels, barley blackened by fire. A pair of noisy Amur falcons nests in an oak on the escarpment.

今天,阿尔巴济诺要塞的遗址是一块长满绿草、陡峭的矩形高台,下面是滚滚的江水。在中国一侧,几个渔民悠闲无聊地呆在柳树下面。自斯大林的清洗运动以来,这个哥萨克村庄一直在败落。在带随木屋沉降的土地上,当年围困的证物仍依稀可见:火炮弹坑、木铲、被火烧黑的大麦田。一对叽喳乱叫的阿穆尔隼鹰在陡台的一棵橡树上面搭建了自己的巢。

A border guard grumbles that the only tourist in weeks has set off her tripwire. In the cottage museum are photographs of a recent visit from Beijing of descendants of the Russian mercenaries. The beaming tourists bear Russian names and the women wear the scarves of Russian Orthodox believers. Otherwise, they look entirely Chinese.

一位边疆卫士抱怨说,数周以来只来了一位游客,而这唯一的游客就弄响了她负责的绊网。木屋博物馆挂着最近从北京来的俄国雇佣兵后代的照片。这些喜气洋洋的游客有着俄国人的姓氏,妇女带着俄国东正教信徒带的围巾。除此之外,他们看起来完全是中国人。

Banished from the promised land

被赶出希望之地

After the final storming of Albazino, Kangxi sent word that if Russia would withdraw from the Amur, China would open trade in furs and more. In the summer of 1689 Russian and Manchu delegations met at Nerchinsk. The Russians were encouraged to retreat by “the clank and clamour” of 15,000 Manchu troops. The treaty of Nerchinsk, drawn up in Latin because the Manchus had two Jesuit advisers, was China’s first with a European power. The border town of Kiakhta, designated as the only trading point, boomed until Hong Kong in the 1840s smashed its hold on Sino-European business. Today herders stable horses in the ruined church.

在对阿尔巴济诺最后一次扫荡之后,康熙捎话说,如果俄国人从黑龙江撤出,中国愿意开放毛皮甚至更多商品的贸易。1689年的夏天,俄国和清朝的代表在尼布楚会面。清朝方面15000人军队的“嘈杂之声”更加促了俄国的撤退之意。《尼布楚条约》用拉丁文起草,因为清朝有两个耶稣会顾问,这是中国与欧洲的大国签订的第一个条约。边境城镇恰克图被指定为唯一的贸易点,从此繁荣起来,直到香港在1840年粉碎了它在中欧贸易上的垄断地位。今天的恰克图,破败的教堂成了牧人放马的马厩。

Kangxi Emperor
康熙皇帝


For nearly two centuries the treaty deflected Russian energies from the Amur, but they eventually came back. In the hunt for furs, Russians pushed north and east to the Kamchatka peninsula. From there Peter the Great, an Enlightenment man, sent expeditions of scientific inquiry to search for a strait between Asia and America, and in 1741 Vitus Bering found Alaska. That sparked a soft-gold rush by sea. Russians hunted sea otters almost to extinction along the Aleutian Island chain, through Alaska and into California.

黑龙江消停了将近两个世纪——这个条约把俄国人的精力引向了别处,但是最终他们又回来了。为了捕猎毛皮动物,俄国人向东北推进到勘察加半岛。受西方启蒙思想熏染的彼得大帝从那里派出了科考远征队,寻找亚洲和美洲之间的海峡。1741年,维图斯·白令发现了阿拉斯加。这一发现引起了海上寻找软金子的热潮。俄国人的足迹划过整个阿留申群岛,穿越阿拉斯加,进入加利福尼亚,致使海獭几近绝迹。

As settlements grew in distant places, the same old challenges of provisioning returned. Various agricultural schemes were floated, including, in the 1820s, a crackpot colonisation of Hawaii. By the early 19th century fantasies of an Amur breadbasket had revived.

随着远方居民定居点的建立,粮食补给这一老问题又重新回来。众多农业计划浮出水面,其中包括1820年代殖民夏威夷的奇思异想。19世纪早期,“黑龙江面包篮”的梦想又重新回来了。

Soon another argument was being made for the Amur. The story this time was of a Pacific on the rise, where people and commerce flourished. The river would be Russia’s link to it. Part of the Pacific story was the expansion of the American West. Through the novels of James Fenimore Cooper, chronicler of the American frontier, European Russians knew more about American expansion than about their own Far East.

不久,俄国人有了“黑龙江计划”的第二个理由。这次说的是一个人民富强、贸易繁荣、蒸蒸日上的太平洋。而黑龙江将是连结俄国和太平洋的纽带。太平洋的故事有一半是在讲美国的西进扩张。通过美国西部编年史作家詹姆斯·费尼莫尔·库珀的小说,欧洲的俄国人对于美国西部的了解要比他们对自己远东地区的了解都多。

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Kangxi, the most impressive Qing emperor, sent troops against the “man-devouring demons”

清朝最有名的皇帝——康熙皇帝,派出军队对抗这些“食人恶魔”

______________________________________________________

In time the Amur was being described as Russia’s Mississippi, and the Amur basin made out to be a new California. Little mention was made of harsh winters, short summers and swarms of mosquitoes and blackfly that the Soviets later termed “fascists”. Fantasies were based on American realities. Yet for the first time since Khabarov, the Amur had powerful boosters.

是时,黑龙江被描述为俄国的密西西比河,那里的土地被想象成新加利福尼亚。但是严酷的寒冬、短暂的夏天、成群的蚊子和黑蝇——这些被后来的苏联人冠以“法西斯”名号的东西,却不在想象之列。他们想象的基础是美国的现实,而不是黑龙江的现实。但是自哈巴罗夫以来,黑龙江首次有了狂热的粉丝。

Another impulse was perhaps the most potent, and it was no more grounded than the others in Amur realities. By mid-century, Russia had for years been in the stultifying grip of Tsar Nicholas I’s harsh orthodoxy. The Crimean war had led to defeat at the hands of Britain, France and the Ottomans. Establishment conservatives and progressives alike wanted national renewal. Expansion in the Far East, a blank canvas, seemed to offer it, especially after the milder Alexander II ascended the throne in 1855.

下面要说的可能是俄国行为的最大驱动力,而且相较其它原因,这是一个和黑龙江本身最无关系的理由。直至该世纪中叶,俄国经历沙皇尼古拉斯一世僵化的东正教统治已有好多年。克里米亚战争让俄国败于联合的英国、法国和奥斯曼人的手上。老派的保守和激进人士都希望国家的复兴。向远东这块空白画布的扩张似乎可以满足这个愿望,特别是更温和的亚历山大二世在1855年的登基。

And so, nearly two centuries after the treaty of Nerchinsk, the Amur got its “Russian saviour”: Nikolai Muraviev, an arrogant governor of Eastern Siberia who combined imperialist convictions with otherwise progressive beliefs.

于是,在《尼布楚条约》签署了将近两年之后,黑龙江迎来了它的“俄国救星”:尼古拉·穆拉维耶夫,一位盛气凌人的东西伯利亚总督,一个兼具帝国主义狂热和进步理念的结合体。

Muraviev argued that control of the basin would merely mean taking back virgin lands that had been stolen by intruding Manchus. That fiction persists to this day. In fact the local tribes—Nivkh, Orchen, Evenki—had peopled the lands for centuries. Their early overlords, the Mongols, ruling China as the Yuan dynasty, sailed to the Amur’s mouth and crossed to Sakhalin.

穆拉维耶夫认为控制这片土地仅仅意味着收回被入侵的满族人偷走的处女地。这个臆言直到今天依然有听众。而事实是,尼夫赫、鄂伦春、鄂温克这些当地族群已经在在这片土地上繁衍生息了几个世纪。他们早期的蒙古领主(中国元代的统治者)曾经顺流而下到达黑龙江的入海口,并且穿越到达了库页岛。

They built a temple at Tyr, on the last great bend in the river. From 1411 to 1430, when the Ming dynasty “treasure fleets” of the eunuch Zheng He shocked and awed Ceylon, Hormuz and east Africa, another eunuch commander, Yishiha, took several expeditions down what the Chinese call the Heilongjiang, or Black Dragon river. As late as the early 19th century natives from as far away as Sakhalin were still bringing tribute to the Manchus on the lower river. Russian freebooters were the latecomers.

他们在黑龙江最后一个大的转弯处——蒂尔,建了一座庙。1411~1430年间,当明朝太监郑和的“财宝舰队”让锡兰、霍尔木兹和东非人震撼敬畏的同时,另一位太监司令官亦失哈沿俄国人称作阿穆尔河的这条江进行了数次远征。直到19世纪末,黑龙江流域、远至库页岛的当地人仍然向河流下方的满族人上贡。俄国的掠夺者是晚来者。

Pulling China’s tail

揪中国的尾巴

Yet high Moscow officials objected to Russia tweaking China’s Amur tail. Some argued that it would jeopardise the overland trade through Kiakhta, already in peril thanks to Britain’s recent control of Hong Kong, offering a sea route to Europe for the China trade. Others thought that to open the Amur would be to cut a hole in the Siberian “deep net” into which Russian undesirables—criminals and political dissidents—were cast.

但是莫斯科的高官们却反对俄国拧属于中国的黑龙江的尾巴。一些官员认为这会损害恰克图联通的路上贸易,而且由于英国近来控制了香港,提供了一条中欧贸易的海上通道,这条陆上贸易线路已经处在了危险中。另有官员认为开辟黑龙江会在把西伯利亚这道“深网”切开一个口子,这里是俄国的不良分子——罪犯和异见分子——的流放之所。

So Muraviev used private initiative. In 1854 he raised an 800-strong Cossack unit and put it and the Albazino Madonna onto 50 barges at Stretensk on the Shilka. From there, he floated down to the Amur’s mouth.

所以穆拉维耶夫就只能凭借个人努力了。1854年,他召集800名哥萨克人,组成了一支队伍,把这些人连同阿尔巴济诺的圣母像放到石勒喀河斯特莱滕斯克处的50只驳船上。从那里起,他们一直漂到黑龙江的入海口。

Irkutsk Regional Art Museum
伊尔库次克地区艺术博物馆

Muraviev’s star is rising again
穆拉维耶夫光芒再现

Most of the route took Muraviev through Chinese territory. To the alarmed Manchu commander of the fort at Aigun, Muraviev breezily explained that he was on his way to the Pacific to defend Sino-Russian interests against an Anglo-French force. Two similar expeditions followed.

穆拉维耶夫旅途的大段都在中国领土之内。面对瑷珲[今黑河地区 ——译者]要塞警觉的清朝长官,穆拉维耶夫语气轻松地解释说,他这是要去太平洋对抗英法联军,以维护中俄的利益。在这之后又有两次类似的远征。

Through encroachment, diplomacy and impudence, Muraviev made an astounding landgrab. He secured the Amur basin for the tsar and then the eastern side of the Sikhote-Alin mountains and the coastline beyond, denying China access to the Sea of Japan (East Sea). It was an area the size of France and Germany, and the enfeebled Qing in Peking did little about it. On old maps, the land is called Outer Manchuria or, even more evocatively, Eastern Tartary. But it was the Amur river, Muraviev insisted, on which Russia’s manifest destiny flowed.

通过厚颜的侵占和外交手段,穆拉维耶夫夺取了面积惊人的土地。他为沙皇拿到了黑龙江流域的土地,接着是锡霍特山脉的东面,以及更远处的沿海地带,并对中国封锁了进入日本海(东海)的通路。这片区域的面积是法国和德国面积之和,软弱的清政府对此种情况无甚作为。在旧地图上,这块土地被称作“外东北”,或者更明白地叫作“东鞑靼”。但是穆拉维耶夫却坚持认为,俄国的天命之脉流淌在黑龙江上。

At first Muraviev’s move was wildly popular, and in some unlikely circles. Mikhail Bakunin, an anarchist banished to Siberia, made an unusual friend in Muraviev and wrote to Alexander Herzen that “Siberia has been transplanted by Muraviev to another site. It is coming closer to America and Europe than to Russia, it is being ennobled and humanised. Siberia—a blessed country of the future, a land of renewal.” Muraviev was ennobled.

起初,穆拉维耶夫的行动异常的受欢迎,甚至走进了一些看起来不相干的圈子。被流放到西伯利亚的无政府主义者米哈伊尔·巴枯宁在穆拉维耶夫身上找到了特殊的共鸣。他在给亚历山大·赫尔岑的信上说:“穆拉维耶夫已经把西伯利亚变成另外一个地方。这里离美国和欧洲的距离要比离俄罗斯的距离更近。这里正在走向文明,变得越来越人性化。西伯利亚——受到保佑的未来之国,一块新兴之地。” 穆拉维耶夫被美化了。

But quickly the Amur dream soured, and Muraviev’s star fell. Critics railed that the last thing Russia needed was yet more land, secured by garrisons and penal colonies. The Amur turned out to be not a broad, deep highway to the Pacific but “a swamp no more than three feet deep” that ended at its distant mouth in a liman of shifting sands. Navigation was confined to shallow vessels, tricky enough even in the few summer months when the river was free of ice.

但是黑龙江之梦很快就变了质,穆拉维耶夫的星光开始暗淡。批评者责骂说俄国最不需要的就是更多的边疆土地——由戍边卫队和流放人员看守的地方。通向太平洋的黑龙江原来并非一条深阔的康庄道,而是“不足三英尺深的沼泽”——远方的入海口是流沙聚集处。航行船只局限于小船,即使在短短夏季数月的无冰期,通行起来也足够困难。

For a while, ships calling at Nikolaevsk brought Cuban cigars, Japanese furniture, paté from France. Within years, Vladivostok replaced Nikolaevsk as Russia’s Pacific port. It was closer to China, Japan and America’s Pacific coast. Crucially, unlike Nikolaevsk, Vladivostok was ice-free. The once powerful argument about the Amur’s strategic worth was shattered for good when the trans-Siberian railway was built, bypassing the river’s mouth.

曾有一段时间,在尼古拉耶夫斯克[即庙街,位于黑龙江的入海口处 ——译者]停泊的船带来了古巴雪茄、日本家具,和法国香肠。仅仅几年间,符拉迪沃斯托克[即海参崴 ——译者]就取代尼古拉耶夫斯克成为俄国在太平洋的港口。这里离中国、日本和美国太平洋沿岸更近。最重要的是,和尼古拉耶夫斯克不一样,符拉迪沃斯托克常年不结冻。当跨西伯利亚铁路(经过黑龙江入海口处)建成之时,黑龙江的战略价值——这个曾经强有力的理由,被粉碎的一干二净。

And so, today, the undeveloped Amur is a glorious exception to other rivers. The closer to the mouth, the more remote it feels. It is over 600km (370 miles) by boat from the almost elegant European city of Khabarovsk to the desperate little port of Nikolaevsk, where people and buildings lurch at all angles.

于是,今天这条未开发的黑龙江相对其它河流来说是一个凸显的个案——越是接近入海口,给人的感觉越偏僻。乘船从优美典雅的欧式城市哈巴罗夫斯克[即伯力,位于黑龙江和乌苏里江交汇处——译者]到破落的小港尼古拉耶夫斯克只是600公里(370英里)多的路程。在尼古拉耶夫斯克城中,走着走着,不知哪里就会冒出几座房子,不知什么时候就能看见一些人。

In early October the Soviet-era hydrofoil on this trip shudders for 20 hours through a wilderness, banks of flaming birch broken only by the occasional fishing encampment. Clouds of teal barrel southwards. A couple of weeks later the first ice appears, the hydrofoil service is suspended and Nikolaevsk will not see another boat until early June.

这趟旅行发生在十月初,乘坐的是苏维埃时代的水翼船,一路震颤20小时,经过之处皆是荒野,河岸两旁是闪着白光、一成不变的白桦树,除了偶尔看到的钓鱼者的营地, 成片的野鸭快速向南游去。几周之后,水面将出现第一片冰,水翼船服务届时会暂停。直到第二年的六月初,尼古拉耶夫斯克才会再见到船。

Muraviev died, forgotten, in Paris. Yet now his star is rising again. In Khabarovsk his statue is back on the pedestal that Lenin usurped. He looks arrogantly across the Amur towards China, a telescope in his folded arms. In the nearby church hangs the Albazino Madonna, much kissed. Uncut stands of timber and unplundered gold fire new dreams of Amur riches.

穆拉维耶夫悄无声息地在巴黎去世。但是他的光芒如今再次闪耀。在哈巴罗夫斯克,他的塑像又重新回到曾被列宁占据的基座之上。他的目光跨过黑龙江,骄傲地看着对面的中国,双臂交叉于胸前,手上拿着一个望远镜。在附近的教堂之内,挂着阿尔巴济诺的圣母像,受到虔诚有加的爱戴。未开伐的林木和未开掘的金矿重新点燃了人们对于“黑龙江聚宝盆”的梦想。

At Albazino itself, the village ataman, great-great-grandson of a soldier on Muraviev’s first expedition, talks of plans to revive Cossack life along the Amur. The Cossack farming colony is being revived. Once self-sufficient, he says, Albazino’s 300-odd Cossack descendants can take over border duties from the federal guards. Next summer even a new fort is going up, exactly like the old.

而在阿尔巴济诺,这个哥萨克村庄,穆拉维耶夫首次远征中一位士兵的曾曾孙讲述了恢复黑龙江沿岸哥萨克生活的计划。哥萨克式的农民聚居生活正在成形。他说,一旦可以自给自足,阿尔巴济诺300多哥萨克后人就可以从联邦卫队那里接手戍边任务。明年夏天,甚至会起来一座崭新的碉堡,和过去的一模一样。