ABSTRACT

Unlike in much of European Russia and Western Siberia, the second period of the imperial transformation following the collapse of the Tsarist government in 1917 continued east of Baikal throughout 1921–1922 due to the Japanese military presence. Several independent governments with different visions of the region’s future emerged in the Russian Far East in early 1920. The situation produced two main alternatives for nationalists in the Russian Far East – to side with Soviet Russia, recognizing it as a new form of Russian national statehood, or to submit to Japan, formally or informally, and continue the struggle against the Bolsheviks whom many still viewed as the main enemy of the Russian and minority nations. Direct clashes between the Japanese Army and the detachments of Russians, Koreans, and Chinese in Nikolayevsk-on-Amur (the Nikolayevsk Incident) and in the Maritime Region (the Vladivostok Incident) in the spring of 1920, recurrent claims by Moscow to represent Russia, and the Bolsheviks’ connections to Buryat-Mongol and Korean nationalists made siding with Soviet Russia increasingly popular. Some liberals and moderate socialists nevertheless still hoped for democratic development, while those socialists who agreed to Bolshevik predominance rejected their monopoly to govern.