This article argues that Russian administrators and intellectuals in fin-desiècle Tashkent employed a glorified past to guide the development of their colonial community. Memories that focused on M.G. Cherniaev, leader of the 1865 conquest, and K.P. fon-Kaufman, the region’s first governor-general, recalled the importance of the city to the empire. But they also underscored the complex dynamic between aspects of conquest and civilization that were at the heart of the imperial mission. As well, Russian and Central Asian elites used tributes, monuments, and memorials to Cherniaev and Kaufman to advance their own particular interests in local society. The figures of the two leaders served to focus political and cultural debates at a time when unrest on the Russian periphery and at the centre added to growing doubts as to the compatibility of conquering and civilizing missions across the imperial world.