Far East Republic
Far East Republic
a democratic republic in Eastern Siberia and in the Far East from 1920 to 1922, in which the working class headed by the Communist Party played the leading role. The creation of a temporary state—a buffer republic—was the result of extremely complex international and internal military and political circumstances. The Far East Republic (FER) was created to avert a military conflict between Soviet Russia and Japan and to assure conditions in the Far East for repelling the intervention and destroying the White Guard movement.
The Far East Bureau (FEB) of the RCP (Bolshevik) was organized in March 1920 to oversee the formation of the FER. The FER was proclaimed Apr. 6. 1920. in Verkh-neudinsk (now Ulan-Ude) at a constituent conference of working people of Cisbaikalia. The conference elected a provisional government for the republic. Incorporated into the FER were the Transbaikal, Amur, Primor’e. and Kamchatka oblasts and Northern Sakhalin. At this time, the FER exerted authority only in Cisbaikalia. At first the capital of the republic was Verkhneudinsk. On May 14, 1920, the Soviet government officially recognized the FER and began to extend financial, diplomatic, economic, and military assistance.
With the help of the RSFSR, a regular People’s Revolutionary Army (PRA) was organized. The republic had been created and existed in conditions of sharp class contradictions, in conflict with the White Guards (the bands of Semenov and Ungern), Japanese interventionists. Socialist Revolutionaries, and Mensheviks, and amid strong opposition from international imperialism.
On Oct. 22, 1920, after heavy fighting, units of the PRA and partisans liberated Chita, which became the republic’s capital. At the same time, the Japanese evacuated Khabarovsk and opportunities were created for unification of the Far East oblasts. From Oct. 28 to Nov. 10, 1920, a unification conference of representatives of the oblasts of the Far East met in Chita and elected a government for the republic. The Socialist Revolutionaries and Mensheviks strove to transform the FER into an ordinary bourgeois parliamentary republic. A constituent assembly was convened for the final legal formation of the republic as an independent state. Elections were held Jan. 9–11, 1921. The Bolsheviks (with 92 deputies) and nonparty peasants, mainly partisans who sided with the Bolsheviks, received 275 seats (72.6 percent). The constituent assembly (Feb. 12 to Apr. 27, 1921) adopted a constitution reflecting the distinctive nature of the republic’s political structure.
The FER was created as an independent democratic republic, the supreme authority of which “belongs to the people of the Far East and only to them.” The highest organ of power was the People’s Assembly, elected on the basis of universal, direct, and equal suffrage by secret ballot. The constitution stipulated democratic freedoms and consolidated the abolition of private ownership of land, mineral wealth, forests, water, and large industrial enterprises. The church was separated from the state.
The constituent assembly elected the organ of supreme authority, the Administration, headed by the Bolshevik A. M. Krasnoshchekov, and the executive organ, the Council of Ministers, headed by the Bolsheviks P. M. Nikiforov (chairman) and F. N. Petrov (deputy chairman).
For party and political leadership, the FEB of the RCP (Bolshevik) was reorganized in August 1920 as the FEB of the CC RCP(B). The Communist organizations headed by the FEB CC RCP(B) were charged with ensuring the unconditional influence of the CC RCP(B) and the Council of People’s Commissars of the RSFSR in the solution of all vital questions in external and internal affairs. External relations were conducted in accordance with directives of the CC RCP(B) and the People’s Commissariat of Foreign Affairs.
The republic’s PRA was regarded as one of the armies of Soviet Russia. The PRA was guided by directives of the Revolutionary Military Council of the RSFSR. A major role in the leadership of the FER was played by the CC RCP(B) and by V. I. Lenin personally.
On May 26, 1921, the White Guards with the aid of Japanese interventionists carried out a coup in Vladivostok and seized Khabarovsk on December 22. The Council of People’s Commissars of the RSFSR and the CC RCP(B) enacted a series of measures to strengthen the party-state leadership and the defenses of the FER. N. M. Matveev took over the leadership of the government from Krasnoshchekov. In February 1922 the PRA (commander and minister of war, V. K. Blukher) began a counteroffensive. On Feb. 12, 1922, the Whites were defeated at Volochaevka. Khabarovsk was liberated on February 14. Spassk was taken by assault on October 9. The PRA entered Vladivostok on October 25. The Japanese interventionists were compelled to abandon the Primor’e.
On Nov. 14, 1922, the People’s Assembly of the FER, expressing the will of the working people, proclaimed Soviet power over all the Russian Far East and petitioned the All-Russian Central Executive Committee (ARCEC) for unification of the FER with the RSFSR. On Nov. 15, 1922, the ARCÉC of the RSFSR adopted a decree that made all the territory of the FER an integral part of the RSFSR.
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Lenin, V. I. “Rech’ na plenume Moskovskogo soveta 20 noiabria 1922.” Ibid., vol. 45.
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V. T. AGALAKOV