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Working paper

Towards the First Far Eastern Republic: Regionalism, Socialism, and Nationalism in Pacific Russia, 1905–1918

Sablin I.
The working paper offers a new interpretation of the intellectual and political genealogies of the Far Eastern Republic (1920–1922). The working paper demonstrates that the Far Eastern Republic was not a new project, as a similar formation was first proclaimed on April 10, 1918, in Khabarovsk as an autonomy within the Soviet Russian Republic under the name of the Soviet Republic of the Far East in line with the resolutions of the Third All-Russian Congress of Soviets. The Soviet Republic of the Far East was a product of regionalist and nationalist discourses and built on the ideas of decentralization which were widely discussed since the First Russian Revolution (1905–1907) by liberals and socialists alike and began to be implemented after the February Revolution (1917). The Chernobyl-born and Chicago-educated Bolshevik Aleksandr Mikhailovich Krasnoshchekov, who led the establishment of the Far Eastern Republic in 1920, also headed the Soviet Republic of the Far East in 1918. Its government, the Far Eastern Council of People’s Commissars (Dal’sovnarkom) defied the authority of the Central Executive Committee of Siberian Soviets (Tsentrosibir’) and disobeyed the Moscow central government implementing thereby a regionalist approach to Soviet federalism. Krasnoshchekov’s project relied on the ideas of the Populists (Narodniki), the Socialist Revolutionaries, and the Social Democrats which were tested in the Russian Far East during the First Russian Revolution and the interpretations of Far Eastern history and interests which were put forward by regional deputies in the Russian State Duma. The formation of the first Far Eastern republic was facilitated by the activities of Deputy of the Fourth Duma and Commissar of the Provisional Government for the Far East Aleksandr Nikolaevich Rusanov who led the formation of a regional organization uniting democratically elected zemstvo and municipal self-government bodies.