«It Is a Sin to Leave One and the Same Person for a Long Time in this Stupid and Boring Place»: About One Everyday Factor in Life and Activities of Russian Diplomats in Iran in the XIX – Early XX Century

Larin A.B.


The article examines the influence of the factor of boredom on the life and activities of Russian diplomats in Iran in the mid-XIX – early XX centuries. A lot of officials of the Imperial Ministry of Foreign Affairs who served in Iran acutely experienced feelings of loneliness, melancholy and boredom. For the Russian diplomats who found themselves far from the centers of European civilization it was often difficult to adapt to a new way of life. Educated people, accustomed to the certain forms of etiquette and active social life, had a hard time accepting the realities of an alien society and culture. However, if in Tehran the problem of organizing leisure activities was not so acute, since there was a significant European colony there, in remote and sparsely populated areas it was quite a difficult case. An important consequence of the lack of communication with people of the same culture was a greater attention of Europeans to each other, the desire to get closer regardless of the differences and tensions that existed between the competing Powers, first of all – between Russia and Britain. The absence of European society in remote areas of Iran was a hard experience and motivated the Russians and the British to communicate and spend time together. At the same time, if the representatives of competing Powers failed to create good and constructive personal relations, boredom and coexistence on the same territory with representatives of a geopolitical rival created the ground for the emergence of very strange forms of interaction between the Russians and the British. The craving for entertainment and escape from the tedious boredom, combined with the struggle of Powers and political competition, influencing the forms of the latter. The psychological difficulties, faced by Russian diplomats, were recognized in St. Petersburg, which was aware about the unattractiveness of the appointments to Iran for many of them. In its policy, the Ministry took into account the peculiar circumstances of their service in Iran and was quite thoughtful about the humanitarian considerations in its interaction with the staff.


Russia; Britain; Iran; Europe; Europeans; diplomats; boredom.

DOI: 10.31249/rsm/2020.04.01

Download text