Igor R. Saveliev (2002) gives a brief account, stating that on October 21st 1867, Russian authorities travelled to Askold Island (present day Russky Island) to forcibly acquire gold mines on the island, at the time operated by Qing subjects. The Russian expedition was led by the merchant L. Semenov and a naval captain named Etolin. They were accompanied by a dozen or so sailors. The Chinese responded harshly, beating a sailor. In May 1868, Captain Etolin returned with a larger force. The Chinese fired upon the Russians, killing three and wounding eight others. The Russians responded by taking sixty prisoners, but the conflict soon spread to other parts of the frontier. A Russian major named Goriashev expected a 2,000 strong Chinese counter-attack. This prompted the Governor of Eastern Sibera (Mikhail S. Korsakov) to impose a curfew. After a small scale Chinese response, the sixty original prisoners were put on trial. Some were relocated inside the Russian Empire, whilst the majority were deported back to China.
Joana Breidenbach (2005) gives another account, stating that the Russians original intent was to close down the gold mines, rather than acquire them (though she could be referring to the motives of the May expedition). She also states that 1,000 Chinese were employed on the island at the time. Finally, she provides detail to the Chinese military response, which involved the workers banding together and attacking three Russian villages and two military outposts. Interestingly, Saveliev and Breidenbach both reach different conclusions about the 'war', with Saveliev declaring it a Russian victory and Breidenbach declaring it a Chinese victory.
There's also a short book written about the war in Russian, called 'Manzovskaia Voina: Dalnii Vostok, 1868 G.' (2004) by R. V. Kondratenko.
Edited by f0ma, 08 August 2012 - 10:24 AM.