Meantime seven Japanese cruisers under Vice-Admiral Kaimamura went in search of the Russian Vladivostok squadron; this, however, evaded them for some months, and inflicted some damage on the Japanese mercantile marine and transports.
For the navy, which had materially only a narrow margin of superiority over the Russian Pacific Squadron, the object was to keep the two halves of that squadron, at Port Arthur and Vladivostok respectively, separate and to destroy them in detail.
Consequently a company was formed by the Russian government in 1896 to construct, with the consent of the Chinese government, a railway from Vladivostok across Manchuria to Karymskaya near Chita in Transbaikalia.
The northern part of the Sea of Japan, which washes the Usuri region, has, besides the smaller bays of Olga and Vladimir, the beautiful Gulf of Peter the Great, on which stands Vladivostok, the Russian naval station on the Pacific. Okhotsk and Ayan on the Sea of Okhotsk, Petropavlovsk on the east shore of Kamchatka, Nikolayevsk, and Vladivostok on the Sea of Japan, and Dui on Sakhalin are the only ports of Siberia.
In East Siberia gold is obtained almost exclusively from gravel-washings, quartz mining being confined to three localities, one near Vladivostok and two in Transbaikalia.
The second-class fortresses are Kronstadt and Sveaborg in the Gulf of Finland, Ivangorod in Poland, Libau on the Baltic Sea, Kerch on the Black Sea and Vladivostok on the Pacific. In the third class are Viborg in Finland, Ossovets and Ust Dvinsk (or Dunamunde) in Lithuania, Sevastopol and Ochakov on the Black Sea, and Kars and Batum in Caucasia.
Kronstadt is the naval headquarters in the Baltic, Sevastopol in the Black Sea and Vladivostok on the Pacific.
At the Pacific end of the Siberian railway a line connecting Vladivostok with Khabarovsk (479 m.) at the junction of the Amur and the Usuri, was first of all built, following the valley of the Usuri.
Those parts of it which run through Russian territory (in Transbaikalia 230 m.; in the neighbourhood of Vladivostok 67 m.) were opened in 1902, and also the trans-Manchurian line (moo m.), although not quite completed.
In the Far East the chief trade centres are Vladivostok and Nikolayevsk on the Amur, with Khabarovsk and Blagovyeshchensk, both on the same river.