The Far Eastern Republic ( rus|Дальневосто́чная Респу́блика, ДВР|r=Dalnevostochnaya Respublika, DVR|p=dəlʲnʲɪvɐˈstotɕnəjə rʲɪsˈpublʲɪkə), officially The Far Eastern Soviet Republic, sometimes called the Chita Republic, was a nominally independent state
that existed from April 1920 to November 1922 in the easternmost part of the Russian Far East
. Although theoretically independent, it largely came under the control of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic
(RSFSR), which envisaged it as a buffer state
between the RSFSR and the territories occupied by Japan
during the Russian Civil War
of 1917–1922. Its first president was Alexander Krasnoshchyokov
The Far Eastern Republic occupied the territory of modern Zabaykalsky Krai
, Amur Oblast
, the Jewish Autonomous Oblast
, Khabarovsk Krai
, and Primorsky Krai
(the former Transbaikal
oblasts and Primorsky krai
). Its capital was established at Verkhneudinsk
(now Ulan-Ude), but in October 1920 it moved to Chita
The Red Army
on 25 October 1922. Three weeks later, on 15 November 1922, the Far Eastern Republic merged with the RSFSR.
The Far Eastern Republic was established in the aftermath of the Russian Civil War. During the Civil War local authorities generally controlled the towns and cities of the Russian Far East, cooperating to a greater or lesser extent with the White Siberia
n government of Alexander Kolchak
and with the succeeding invading forces of the Japanese Army. When the Japanese evacuated the Trans-Baikal and Amur oblasts in the spring of 1920, a political vacuum resulted.
A new central authority was established at Chita to govern the Far Eastern Republic remaining in the Japanese wake.
["The Far Eastern Republic," ''Russian Information and Review'', vol. 1, no. 10 (Feb. 15, 1922), pp. 232–233.]
The Far Eastern Republic was established comprising only the area around Verkhne-Udinsk, but during the summer of 1920, the Soviet government of the Amur territory agreed to join.
The Far Eastern Republic was formed two months after Kolchak's death with the tacit support of the government of Soviet Russia, which saw it as a temporary buffer state
between the RSFSR and the territories occupied by Japan
[Alan Wood, "The Revolution and Civil War in Siberia," in Edward Acton, Vladimir Iu. Cherniaev, and William G. Rosenberg (eds.), ''Critical Companion to the Russian Revolution, 1914–1921''. Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 1997; pp. 716–717.]
Many members of the Russian Communist Party
had disagreed with the decision to allow a new government in the region, believing that their approximately 4,000 members were capable of seizing power in their own right.
[George Jackson and Robert Devlin (eds.), ''Dictionary of the Russian Revolution''. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1989; pp. 223–225.]
However, Vladimir Lenin
and other party leaders in Moscow felt that the approximately 70,000 Japanese and 12,000 American troops might regard such an action as a provocation, which might spur a further attack that the Soviet Republic could ill afford.
On 1 April 1920, American forces headed by General William S. Graves
departed Siberia, leaving the Japanese the sole occupying power in the region with whom the Bolsheviks were forced to deal.
[N.G.O. Pereira, ''White Siberia: The Politics of Civil War''. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1996; pg. 153.]
This detail did not change the basic equation for the Bolshevik government in Moscow, however, which continued to see the establishment of a Far Eastern Republic as a sort of Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
in the east, providing the regime with a necessary breathing space that would allow it to recover economically and militarily.
[Pereira, ''White Siberia'', pg. 152.]
On 6 April 1920, a hastily convened Constituent Assembly gathered at Verkhneudinsk
and proclaimed the establishment of the Far Eastern Republic. Promises were made that the republic's new constitution would guarantee free elections under the principles of universal, direct, and equal suffrage and that foreign investment in the country would be encouraged.
The Far Eastern Republic, controlled by moderate socialists, was only grudgingly recognized by the various cities of the region towards the end of 1920.
Violence, atrocities, and reprisals continued to erupt periodically for the next 18 months.
Japan agreed to recognize the new buffer state in a truce with the Red Army
signed 15 July 1920, effectively abandoning Ataman Grigory Semenov
and his Russia Eastern Outskirts
By October Semenov had been expelled from his base of operations in Chita. With Semenov out of the picture, the capital of the Far Eastern Republic moved to that city.
On 11 November 1920 a provisional national assembly for the Far East met in Vladivostok
. The gathering recognized the government at Chita and set 9 January 1921 as the date for new elections for the Constituent Assembly of the Far Eastern Republic.
A new constitution closely resembling the United States Constitution
was written and approved on 27 April 1921.
The 1921 coup
However, right-wing forces rejected the idea of a fledgling democratic republic. On 26 May 1921 a White coup
took place in Vladivostok, backed by Japanese occupying forces.
A ''cordon sanitaire
'' of Japanese troops protected the insurgents, who sought to establish a new régime known as the Provisional Government of the Priamur
. Shortly after the coup, Ataman Semenov arrived in Vladivostok and attempted to proclaim himself commander-in-chief—an effort which failed when his Japanese benefactors forsook him.
[Pereira, ''White Siberia,'' pg. 155.]
The new Provisional Government of Priamur attempted—with little success—to rally the various anti-Bolshevik forces to its banner.
[Pereira, ''White Siberia,'' pg. 156.]
Its leaders, two Vladivostok businessmen, the brothers S.D. and N.D. Merkulov found themselves left isolated when the Japanese Army announced on 24 June 1922 that it would remove all of its troops from Siberia by the end of October.
A July ''Zemsky sobor
'' deposed the Merkulov brothers and named a former officer of the Czechoslovak Legion
, M.K. Dieterichs
, as military dictator
With the Japanese exiting the country throughout the summer of 1922, panic swept through the White Russian community. As the Red Army, thinly disguised as the army of the Far Eastern Republic, approached, thousands of Russians fled abroad to escape the new régime.
The army of the Far Eastern Republic retook Vladivostok on 25 October 1922, effectively bringing the Russian Civil War to a close.
With the Civil War finally over, Soviet Russia absorbed the Far Eastern Republic on 15 November 1922.
The government of the Far Eastern Republic dissolved itself and transferred all its authority and territory to the Bolshevik government in Moscow.
Japan retained the northern half of Sakhalin Island until 1925, ostensibly as compensation for the massacre of about 700 civilians and soldiers at the Japanese garrison at Nikolaevsk-na-Amure
in January 1920.
This "compensatory" motive for holding the territory was belied by the fact that Japanese retaliation for the actions of the Russian partisan
s had taken between two and three times as many Russian lives.
Territory and resources
The Far Eastern Republic consisted of four provinces of the former Russian empire
—Trans-Baikal, Amur, the Maritime Province, and the northern half of Sakhalin island
Primarily, it represented the boundaries of the regions of Transbaikal
and Outer Manchuria
. The frontiers of the short-lived nation followed the western coastline of Lake Baikal
along the northern borders of Mongolia
to the Sea of Japan
and the Sea of Okhotsk
The total area of the Far Eastern Republic was reckoned at approximately and its population at about 3.5 million people.
Of these an estimated 1.62 million were ethnic Russians
and just over 1 million were of Asian extraction, with family lineages originating in China, Japan, Mongolia, and Korea
The Far Eastern Republic was an area of substantial mineral wealth, including territory which produced about one-third of the entire Russian output of gold as well as that country's only source of domestically produced tin
Other mineral reserves of the Far Eastern Republic included zinc
, iron, and coal.
The fishing industry of the former Maritime Province was substantial, with a total catch exceeding that of Iceland
and featuring ample stocks of herring
, and sturgeon
The Republic also boasted extensive forestry resources, including over of harvestable pine
, and birch
Chairmen of the Government (heads of state)
6 April 1920 – December 1921
December 1921 – 15 November 1922
Chairmen of the Council of Ministers (Prime Ministers)
*Alexander Krasnoshchyokov 6 April 1920 – November 1920
November 1920 – April 1921
8 May 1921 – December 1921
*Nikolay Matveyev December 1921 – 14 November 1922
14 November 1922 – 15 November 1922
Prominent people born in the Far Eastern Republic
* Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War
* American Expeditionary Force, Siberia
* Postage stamps and postal history of the Far Eastern Republic
* Siberian Intervention
* Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic
* Priamur electoral district (Russian Constituent Assembly election, 1917)
''A Short Outline of the History of the Far Eastern Republic.''
Washington, DC: Special Delegation of the Far Eastern Republic to the United States of America, 1922.
* Alan Wood, ''Russia's Frozen Frontier: A History of Siberia and the Russian Far East 1581–1991'' London: A&C Black, 2011. .
* Canfield F. Smith, ''Vladivostok Under Red and White Rule: Revolution and Counterrevolution in the Russian Far East, 1920–1922.'' Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1975.
* Jamie Bisher, '' White Terror: Cossack Warlords of the Trans-Siberian.'' Routledge, 2005. .
* John Albert White, ''The Siberian Intervention.'' Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1950.
* Richard K. Debo, ''Survival and Consolidation: The Foreign Policy of Soviet Russia, 1918–1921.'' Montreal/Kingston: McGill-Queen's Press, 1992. .
Category:1922 disestablishments in Asia
Category:Former countries in East Asia
Category:Post–Russian Empire states
Category:History of Primorsky Krai
Category:Early Soviet republics
Category:Former Slavic countries
Category:History of Manchuria
Category:Former unrecognized countries
Category:History of the Russian Far East
Category:States and territories established in 1920
Category:States and territories disestablished in 1922
Category:Japan–Soviet Union relations
Category:Former socialist republics
Category:1920 establishments in Asia
Category:Former polities of the interwar period