Chita Republic

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Chita Republic


a revolutionary democratic dictatorship of workers and peasants, established as a result of a de facto takeover of Chita by the Chita committee of the RSDLP and the Chita soviet of soldiers’ and cossacks’ deputies in December 1905 and January 1906.

In August 1905 the workers of the railroad shops and depots, under the leadership of the Bolsheviks, began forming a militia, which during the October All-Russian political strikes of 1905 grew to 2,000 persons. On October 15, the arming of all the workers was begun, and subsequently the number of workers in the militia, headed by A. A. Kostiushko-Voliuzhanich, reached 4,000. On November 22, at the suggestion of the Bolsheviks, a soviet of soldiers’ and cossacks’ deputies was formed. On November 24, political prisoners from the Chita prison were freed, soon followed by the release of prisoners from Akatui prison. In December, control of postal and telegraph communications was established and an eight-hour workday at railroad and commercial enterprises was instituted. Government institutions were virtually paralyzed. Power had in fact passed into the hands of the Chita committee of the RSDLP and the soviet of soldiers’ and cossacks’ deputies.

On December 7, the Bolshevik newspaper Zabaikal’skii rabochii (Transbaikal Worker) began publication under the editorship of V. K. Kurnatovskii; it played a significant role in rallying the revolutionary forces in Transbaikalia. After crushing the December uprising in Moscow and Central Russia, the tsarist government sent punitive expeditions to Siberia. A detachment under General P. K. Rennenkampf advanced on Chita from the east, and a detachment under General A. N. Meller-Zakomel’-skii from the west. In light of the superiority of the government forces, the Chita committee of the RSDLP decided to avoid a confrontation. On January 22, Rennenkampfs forces occupied Chita. Reprisals against revolutionary workers, soldiers, and cossacks began. Among those executed by firing squad were many Bolsheviks, including I. V. Babushkin, A. A. Kostiushko-Voliuzhanich, and A. I. Popov.


Vysshii pod˝em revoliutii 1905–1907: Vooruzhennye vosstaniia: Noiabr’-dekabr’ 1905, part 2. Moscow, 1955.
Vetoshkin, M. K. Zabaikal’skie bol’sheviki i Chitinskoe vooruzhennoe vosstanie 1905–1906. [Chita] 1949.
Iakovlev, N. N. Vooruzhennye vosstaniia v dekabre 1905 g. Moscow, 1957.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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