Revolutionary Link to the East
War, Geopolitics and Bolshevik Ideology in Russia’s Eastern Territories
Both Russian revolutions of 1917 took place in St. Petersburg, yet they had serious repercussions for all of Russia’s regions—including Russia’s frontier territories in Siberia and the Far East. The Russian Civil War began immediately following the 1917 Revolution, and, while most major battles in Western Russia were decided in favor of the Bolsheviks by 1919, resistance to the Bolsheviks was especially prolonged in Siberia and the Far East, where skirmishes were still being fought into 1923. Notably, the Russian Civil War in this region was not limited to the participation of the Reds and the Whites as belligerents. In fact, Russia’s eastern territories became a geopolitical epicenter in the struggle to control Russia’s revolutionary future in the wake of the events of 1917.
Assembled here are documents that give a glimpse into the ways in which Russia’s geopolitical situation vis-à-vis its Eastern territories in the years following the 1917 revolutions was portrayed in print media. Of particular interest are: Bolshevik “link to the East” ideology in theory versus in practice, as Bolsheviks in Moscow attempt to reach out to the region’s neighboring Chinese and Korean peasants, even as they fight Japanese imperialists in that same region; Bolshevik creation of the nominally sovereign “Far Eastern Republic” as a buffer zone between the new communist regime in Russia and imperialist regimes in Asia; and Bolshevik portrayals of these events in ideological novels and historical books for Soviet children.