Russian Civil War - Re-Conquest
Since the fall of Kerensky's moderate government, eight months after the formation of the republic, the central region of Russia remained in the possession of the Bolsheviki. This region included the ethnic subdivision of Slavic Russia known as Muscovy, or Great Russia. The Bolshevik government was continuously attacked by supporters of a Russian Confederation based on more conservative principals. In the summer of 1920, at the height of their power, the Bolsheviks controlled Ukrainia and practically all European Russia, except the territory of the Balkan states, with which they had made peace, Bessarabia, part of Poland, and a small district near the Tauride peninsula. They had also taken Azerbaijan and southwestern Siberia. Transbaikalia was recognized as an independent republic, but Siberia was largely Bolshevik. Later the Bolsheviki were victorious against the forces opposing them in southern Russia and gained possession of the entire Crimean peninsula, but they lost much territory by a treaty with Poland, and anti-Bolshevik uprisings were reported in various parts of Russia.
In the extreme north of European Russia the two military governments organized under the tide of The Murman Region and North Russia, established largely as a protection for the Allied troops operating in that area, have, since the withdrawal of the troops, disappeared from maps and from public attention and presumably ceased to exist as separate organizations.
In Southeastern Russia, known as the Caucasus Region and occupying the area between the Crimean Peninsula and the Caspian Sea, a half dozen ambitious little republics, some of which received certain aid from the military forces of Denekin, Kolchak and Wrangel, successively, operating against the Bolshevist government, have gradually succumbed to the pressure of that government, following the defeat and withdrawal of the forces by which they were supported. With little formality the Tauride Republic, the Kuban Republic, the Terek Republic, the Don Republic, the Tatar-Bashkir Republic, the Daghestan Republic and the Republic of Turkestan, have been subjected to the Soviet group.
In the two republics of Azerbaijan and Georgia, occupying the area between the eastern end of the Black Sea and the Caspian and which had established a more distinct political organization, the process of subordination to Soviet rule was more formal, and the various steps of their subjugation more distinctly announced, but their autonomous governments have, in each case, been in a large degree wiped out and that of the Soviets established, and with it a complete control obtained by the Soviets of the great oil fields and wells of Azerbaijan and the pipe lines connecting them across Georgia with its Black Sea port of Batum.
With the absolute control by the Soviets of the Georgia and Azerbaijan region, lying immediately north of Russian Armenia, and a like occupancy of the area at its south by the forces of the Turkish National ists under Mustapha Kernel, the Armenian government was no longer able to resist the desire of the Soviets and the Young Turks for a joint occupation of that area as a connecting link between Soviet Russia and the Turkish Nationalists in Asia Minor. So the closing month of 1920 witnessed the practical downfall of the Armenian Republic organized in south Russian territory in May, 1918, while the area at its immediate south, known as Turkish Armenia, which had not yet attached itself to Russian Armenia, is apparently under control of the Turkish Nationalists.
The great Siberian section of pre-war Russia, which established itself in December, 1917, as the Independent Republic of Siberia, with its capital at Tomsk and later placed under the military control of Admiral Kolchak, passed again under Soviet control after the downfall of Kolchak. In the extreme eastern part of Siberia, the area lying between Lake Baikal and the Pacif1c, a new republic was established after the downfall of Admiral Kolchak, under the title of the Far Eastern Republic, and apparently still maintains its independence. This republic was, according to a statement by the Bolshevist Chief for Foreign Affairs in Siberia, formally recognized by the Soviet government on May 17, 1920, though the Japanese government still maintains control of certain parts of the Pacif1c frontage, including the northern half of the island of Saghalin, held pending compensation for the massacre of Japanese at Nikolaivosk.
Thus a full dozen of the new political divisions appearing upon the maps in 1919 disappeared during the year 1920. The population which they represented aggregated probably 35,000,000 and the area, including that of the great independent Republic of Siberia, reached into the millions of square miles. It is proper to add, however, that a large proportion of these political units which have been eliminated during 1920 were, in part at least, created as military exigencies, and their downfall as independent governments was the natural result of the disappearance of the military organizations by which they were created and supported. The three tiny republics fronting on the Baltic composed of groups of similar ethnic origin-Livonia, Courland and Latvia-have been merged into one, retaining the title of Latvia.
The area which witnessed the downfall of the dozen republics disappearing during 1919-20-the Caucasus region-is that occupied by a mixture of Tartar, Mongol and Slavic stock, while in the areas in which the population is strictly European-Slavic, Finnish, Lettish, Lithuanian, Ruthenian, Rumanian, Germanic-the various states which emerged from the war period are still in existence. Whether the fact that the republics composed of a mixture of Asiatic and European stocks, were the first to succumb to pressure and lose their identity as individual organizations, is at all chargeable to the peculiarities of the mixture of ethnic stocks composing the population is, of course, difficult to determine. This is especially true in view of the extraordinary difficulties surrounding the attempt of these peoples to maintain themselves as separate political units in an area little acquainted with such type of government, and with little encouragement from the stronger governments of this kind.
Nevertheless, it is a fact that most of the republics built from the mixture of Asiatic and European stocks disappeared during the first year of test, while those composed strictly of European stock stood the test of the first complete year despite the many difficulties which they faced in the attempt to establish themselves industrially, financially, and commercially.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|