Baker Street Wiki
Baker Street Wiki

The Russian Empire was the largest country in the world during the 19th century. It was one of the largest empires in history, stretching from eastern Europe to the Pacific ocean. It was bordered to the west by Germany, to the southwest Austria-Hungary, and Rumania; to the northwest by the Baltic Sea and Sweden; to the north by the Arctic Sea; to the southeast by Korea, Japan, and China; and to the south by India, Afghanistan, Persia, and the Ottoman Empire.

By the late 19th century the Russian Empire had expanded significantly, absorbed many of its smaller neighbours, such as Finland and Poland, and taken large chunks of territory from the decaying Ottoman Empire. Politically, the country had been ruled by the house of Romanov for nearly three hundred years, and was one of the few significant absolute monarchies left in Europe. However, serious problems were beginning to show by the 1870s, prompted in no small part by Russia's failure to modernize. Some reforms, such as the abolition of serfdom, were accomplished under the liberal Tsar Alexander II: however, these were cut short when he was assassinated by radical Nihilists in 1881. His son initiated a significant crackdown on reformists and the political opposition in response, which further radicalized the revolutionaries and features significantly in "The Adventure of the Golden Pince-Nez".

Canon appearances[]

"A Scandal in Bohemia"[]

King Wilhelm of Bohemia met Irene Adler while she was prima donna at the Imperial Opera in Warsaw, Russian Poland.

"The Adventure of the Naval Treaty"[]

After a secret treaty between the United Kingdom and Italy is stolen from Percy Phelps, an employee of the Foreign Office, Foreign Secretary Lord Holdhurst warns Sherlock Holmes of the disastrous consequences that would occur should the treaty fall into French or Russian hands.

The Hound of the Baskervilles[]

Holmes references a case that occurred in Grodno, Little Russia, in 1866 as being similar to the case of the Baskerville Hound. (Grodno, however, is located near Lithuania, while Little Russia is in the Ukraine.)

"The Adventure of the Golden Pince-Nez"[]

Sherlock Holmes discovers that the killer of Willoughby Smith is Anna, a former Russian Nihilist. He also learns that she was formerly married to Professor Coram, whose real name is Sergius and who was also formerly a member of her revolutionary cell. The Professor and Anna met while she was a young student at a Russian university, and they married soon afterwards. When their group was implicated in the death of a policeman, the Professor betrayed the other members, including his wife, to the authorities and escaped to England. Some were hung, but Anna and her closest friend, Alexis, were sent to Siberia. Anna had tried to burgle the Professor's house to steal some letters he had that would ensure her friend's release, but she was caught by Smith and stabbed him in a panic. After finishing her story, Anna hands the letters to Holmes and then dies, having drunk poison shortly before being found.

Following the case Holmes and Watson take the letters to the Russian embassy in London to secure Alexis' release.

"The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax"[]

Philip Green, a suspect in Lady Frances' disappearance and her former suitor, is the son of Admiral Philip Green, who commanded the British fleet in the Sea of Azov during the Crimean War.

Appearances in adaptations[]

"A Study in Emerald"[]

Following the overthrow of humanity by the Old Ones, Russia came under the influence of a being called the "Czar Unanswerable". The narrator, S__ M__, writing in 1881, closes by stating that "recent events in Russia" are likely to lead to the death of everyone involved in the case; this is likely a reference to the assassination of Alexander II by radical groups and the ensuing violence that engulfed the country.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows[]

A Russian Cossack attempts to assassinate Madame Simza Heron, and fights Sherlock Holmes. Later, Russia sends Prince Michael, a cousin of the Tsar, and an ambassador to attend the peace conference at the Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland.

The Adventure of the Peculiar Protocols[]

Holmes and Watson travel to Russia to reveal the origins of an anti-Semitic tract called The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. They discover that Pyotr Rachkovsky, the head of the Russian secret police, is to blame. Rachkovsky created the booklet to direct public blame onto the Jews for Russia's recent, disastrous war with Japan and the Tsar's inept governance, and to turn the Tsar against his liberal ministers.

Canon characters[]

Characters in adaptations[]

  • Anna Walling