Where did one seek the route to the treasures of India?

Astrakhan. The year is 1713. A Mangyshlak merchant arrives in the city. He declares to the Astrakhan grandee that he desires an audience with Emperor Peter the Great, no less. He supposedly has information that no ruler can resist. His Excellency is surprised, but he listens to what the merchant has to say. He then decides to personally accompany the merchant to St. Petersburg, for a meeting with the tsar. A number of fateful decrees of Peter the Great resulted from this incredible encounter, as well as numerous expeditions, thousands of lives lost, and the founding of several cities. So what exactly did this merchant tell the emperor?

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