Far Eastern Republic

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Far Eastern Republic

Дальневосточная Республика
Dalnevostochnaya Respublika
Far Eastern Republic (orthographic projection).svg
Far Eastern Republic:
  • Maximum extent 1920 (green and dark green).
  • Extent from 1920 to 1922 (dark green).
Status Puppet state/Buffer state of Soviet Russia
Capital Verkhneudinsk (to Oct 1920)
Common languages Russian
Government Socialist Republic
 6 Apr 1920  Dec 1921
Alexander Krasnoshchyokov
 Dec 1921 15 Nov 1922
Nikolay Matveyev
Prime Minister 
 6 Apr  Nov 1920
Alexander Krasnoshchyokov
 Nov 1920  Apr 1921
Boris Shumyatsky
 8 May  Dec 1921
Pyotr Nikiforov
 Dec 1921  14 Nov 1922
Nikolay Matveyev
 1415 Nov 1922
Pyotr Kobozev
6 April 1920
15 November 1922
1,900,000 km2 (730,000 sq mi)
3,500,000[ citation needed ]
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Flag of Russia.svg Russia Eastern Outskirts
Flag of Russia.svg Provisional Priamurye Government
Flag of Green Ukraine.svg Green Ukraine
Blank.png State of Buryat-Mongolia
Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic Flag RSFSR 1918.svg
Today part of Russian Federation

The Far Eastern Republic (Russian :Дальневосто́чная Респу́блика, ДВР, tr. Dalnevostochnaya Respublika, DVR,IPA:  [dəlʲnʲɪvɐˈstotɕnəjə rʲɪsˈpublʲɪkə] ), 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.

Russian language East Slavic language

Russian is an East Slavic language, which is official in the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as being widely used throughout Eastern Europe, minorities in the Baltic states, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It was the de facto language of the Soviet Union until its dissolution on 25 December 1991. Although nearly three decades have passed since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russian is used in official capacity or in public life in all the post-Soviet nation-states, as well as in Israel and Mongolia.

Romanization of Russian Romanization of the Russian alphabet

Romanization of Russian is the process of transliterating the Russian language from the Cyrillic script into the Latin script.

A puppet state, puppet régime, or puppet government is a state that is de jure independent but de facto completely dependent upon an outside power, and does its bidding. Puppet states have nominal sovereignty, but a foreign or otherwise alien power effectively exercises control, for reasons such as financial interests, economic or military support. Puppet states are distinguished from allies in that allies choose their actions on their own, or in accordance with treaties they voluntarily entered.


The Far Eastern Republic occupied the territory of modern Zabaykalsky Krai, Amur Oblast, the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, Khabarovsk Krai, and Primorsky Krai of Russia (the former Transbaikal and Amur oblasts and Primorsky krai). Its capital was established at Verkhneudinsk (now Ulan-Ude), but in October 1920 it moved to Chita.

Zabaykalsky Krai First-level administrative division of Russia

Zabaykalsky Krai is a federal subject of Russia that was created on March 1, 2008 as a result of a merger of Chita Oblast and Agin-Buryat Autonomous Okrug, after a referendum held on the issue on March 11, 2007. Formerly part of the Siberian Federal District, the Krai is now part of the Russian Far East as of November 2018 in accordance with a decree issued by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The administrative center of the krai is located in the city of Chita. As of the 2010 Census, the population was 1,107,107.

Amur Oblast First-level administrative division of Russia

Amur Oblast is a federal subject of Russia, located on the banks of the Amur and Zeya Rivers in the Russian Far East. The administrative center of the oblast, the city of Blagoveshchensk, is one of the oldest settlements in the Russian Far East, founded in 1856. It is a traditional center of trade and gold mining. The territory is accessed by two railways: the Trans-Siberian Railway and the Baikal–Amur Mainline. As of the 2010 Census, the oblast's population was 830,103.

Jewish Autonomous Oblast First-level administrative division of Russia

The Jewish Autonomous Oblast is a federal subject of Russia in the Russian Far East, bordering Khabarovsk Krai and Amur Oblast in Russia and Heilongjiang province in China. Its administrative center is the town of Birobidzhan.

After the Red Army occupied Vladivostok on 25 October 1922, the civil war was declared[ by whom? ] over. Three weeks later, on 15 November 1922, the Far Eastern Republic merged with the RSFSR.

Red Army Soviet army and air force from 1917–1946

The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army, frequently shortened to Red Army, was the army and the air force of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic and, after 1922, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The army was established immediately after the 1917 October Revolution. The Bolsheviks raised an army to oppose the military confederations of their adversaries during the Russian Civil War. Beginning in February 1946, the Red Army, along with the Soviet Navy, embodied the main component of the Soviet Armed Forces; taking the official name of "Soviet Army", until its dissolution in December 1991. The former official name Red Army continued to be used as a nickname by both sides throughout the Cold War.

Vladivostok City in Primorsky Krai, Russia

Vladivostok is a city and the administrative centre of Far Eastern Federal District and Primorsky Krai, Russia, located around the Golden Horn Bay, not far from Russia's borders with China and North Korea. The population of the city as of 2018 was 604,901, up from 592,034 recorded in the 2010 Russian census. Harbin in China is about 515 kilometres (320 mi) away, while Sapporo in Japan is about 775 kilometres (482 mi) east across the Sea of Japan.



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 Siberian 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.

Siberia Geographical region in Russia

Siberia is an extensive geographical region spanning much of Eurasia and North Asia. Siberia has historically been a part of modern Russia since the 17th century.

Alexander Kolchak Russian military officer

Alexander Vasilyevich Kolchak KB was an Imperial Russian admiral, military leader and polar explorer who served in the Imperial Russian Navy, who fought in the Russo-Japanese War and the First World War. During the Russian Civil War, he established an anti-communist government in Siberia—later the Provisional All-Russian Government—and was recognised as the "Supreme Leader and Commander-in-Chief of All Russian Land and Sea Forces" by the other leaders of the White movement from 1918 to 1920. His government was based in Omsk, in southwestern Siberia.

A new central authority was established at Chita to govern the Far Eastern Republic remaining in the Japanese wake. [1] 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. [2] 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. [3] 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. [3]

A buffer state is a country lying between two rival or potentially hostile greater powers. Its existence can sometimes be thought to prevent conflict between them. A buffer state is sometimes a mutually agreed upon area lying between two greater powers, which is demilitarized in the sense of not hosting the military of either power. The invasion of a buffer state by one of the powers surrounding it will often result in war between the powers.

Empire of Japan Empire in the Asia-Pacific region between 1868–1947

The Empire of Japan was the historical nation-state and great power that existed from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 to the enactment of the 1947 constitution of modern Japan.

Vladimir Lenin Russian politician, communist theorist, and founder of the Soviet Union

Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, better known by his alias Lenin, was a Russian revolutionary, politician, and political theorist. He served as head of government of Soviet Russia from 1917 to 1922 and of the Soviet Union from 1922 to 1924. Under his administration, Russia and then the wider Soviet Union became a one-party communist state governed by the Russian Communist Party. Ideologically a communist, he developed a variant of Marxism known as Leninism; his ideas were posthumously codified as Marxism–Leninism.

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. [4] 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. [5]

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. [3]

Members of the Far Eastern Republic's Government FERgovernment.jpg
Members of the Far Eastern Republic's Government

The Far Eastern Republic, controlled by moderate socialists, was only grudgingly recognized by the various cities of the region towards the end of 1920. [2] Violence, atrocities, and reprisals continued to erupt periodically for the next 18 months. [2]

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. [3] 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. [2]

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. [3] A new constitution closely resembling the United States Constitution was written and approved on 27 April 1921. [3]

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. [2] 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. [6]

The new Provisional Government of Priamur attempted—with little success—to rally the various anti-Bolshevik forces to its banner. [7] 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. [7] A July Zemsky sobor deposed the Merkulov brothers and named a former officer of the Czechoslovak Legion, M.K. Dieterichs, as military dictator. [7]

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. [2] 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. [3] The government of the Far Eastern Republic dissolved itself and transferred all its authority and territory to the Bolshevik government in Moscow. [7]

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. [4] This "compensatory" motive for holding the territory was belied by the fact that Japanese retaliation for the actions of the Russian partisans had taken between two and three times as many Russian lives. [4]

Territory and resources

Territory of the Far Eastern Republic in 1922. 1922 Map of the Far Eastern Republic.jpg
Territory of the Far Eastern Republic in 1922.

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. [1] 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 and Manchuria to the Sea of Japan and the Sea of Okhotsk.

The total area of the Far Eastern Republic was reckoned at approximately 730,000 square miles (1,900,000 km2) and its population at about 3.5 million people. [1] 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. [1]

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. [1] Other mineral reserves of the Far Eastern Republic included zinc, iron, and coal. [1]

The fishing industry of the former Maritime Province was substantial, with a total catch exceeding that of Iceland and featuring ample stocks of herring, salmon, and sturgeon. [1] The Republic also boasted extensive forestry resources, including over 120 million acres (490,000 km2) of harvestable pine, fir, cedar, poplar, and birch. [1]

Chairmen of the Government (heads of state)

Chairmen of the Council of Ministers (Prime Ministers)

Prominent people born in the Far Eastern Republic

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "The Far Eastern Republic," Russian Information and Review, vol. 1, no. 10 (Feb. 15, 1922), pp. 232–233.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 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.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 George Jackson and Robert Devlin (eds.), Dictionary of the Russian Revolution. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1989; pp. 223–225.
  4. 1 2 3 N.G.O. Pereira, White Siberia: The Politics of Civil War. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1996; pg. 153.
  5. Pereira, White Siberia, pg. 152.
  6. Pereira, White Siberia, pg. 155.
  7. 1 2 3 4 Pereira, White Siberia, pg. 156.

Further reading

Coordinates: 51°50′N107°36′E / 51.833°N 107.600°E / 51.833; 107.600

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