Were there any telegraph lines available in late 19th century Russia (let's say year 1875), which would go deep into mainland Russia?

I can find some mentions about Moscow telegraph station being created in 1852 and then extended few times around 1870. I cannot find any specific reports of the lines going between the cities, but I suppose there is a good chance they would follow main railroad routes, especially to St Petersburg (back then capital of Russia).

What I'm really interested in are any connections going the other direction - east of Moscow.

There was a failed attempt to create America->Moscow telegraph line in 1860's, but it stopped well before reaching mainland Russia.

So, in 1875, was there any possibility of sending a message from Moscow or St Petersburg, to Tomsk, for example, faster than utilizing snail mail?

  • Wasn't snail mail faster then than now?
    – Solar Mike
    Jan 18, 2019 at 17:33

1 Answer 1


Yes, it was possible to send a telegraph message from Moscow or St Petersburg to Tomsk in 1875. Tomsk was connected in 1863, Irkutsk in 1864 and Omsk in or before 1866.

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"Map Showing the Telegraph Lines In Operation, Under Contract, and Contemplated to Complete the Circuit of the Globe, 1869". Source: HH Lloyd & Co Publishers [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

If you click on the map above, you can just read that the red lines show "Lines Constructed and in Operation".

According to the Ericsson website article The triumph of the telegraph,

A Danish telegraph company combined a trans-Siberian telegraph line from St Petersburg to Vladivostock with an underwater cable to China and Japan. This long connection was completed in 1871.

As noted by Henry in his comment below, there was also a line from Moscow to Sevastopol and Odessa. This was completed in 1855, and in 1863

The Moscow–Tbilisi (Georgia) telegraph line, 2000 km, crossing the Caucasus was established.

Baku (Azerbaijan) was connected in 1868 and in 1877 Russia was second only to the US in kilometres of lines.

  • 2
    And that is a map concentrating on east-west lines: it does not show the the 1850s Siemens line from St. Petersburg and Moscow to Sevastopol in Crimea joining what would become the northerly and southerly trans-Asia routes
    – Henry
    Jan 19, 2019 at 19:28

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