Region: Russia Area
Group: Russian Revolution
Prior Regime: Russian Empire
1918, Jun – Siberia declares itself as an independent republic
1918, Nov – Siberia merges with the Provisional Government of Adm. Kolchak
1919, Nov 14 – Red Army captures Omsk
Following Regime: split across the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic and the Russian Eastern Border Region under Gen. Semenov
Scott Catalogue: (Siberia) #1-10
Pick Catalogue: (Russia) #s771 – s892
The mighty Russian Empire, which at one time spanned across three continents (Europe, Asia and North America) was one the largest empires in the history of the world. However, a succession of wars starting with the Crimean War in 1854 (most which Russia lost), began dragging the empire into continued economic hardship and untold suffering of the general population. With the outbreak of World War 1 in 1914, combined with the rule of a weak leader in Tsar Nicholas II, the nation was ripe for a fall.
Finally, in March of 1917, the people, fed up with the massive casualties caused by the war, and chronic food shortages within the nation, revolted and forced Tsar Nicholas to abdicate the throne. A provisional government was formed based on democratic principles, but was overthrown a few months later in Sept of 1917 by the Bolshevik movement (the Red Army), led by Vladimir Lenin. This new, government (which became the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic) began a long and bloody campaign to unite the former Russian Empire under the communist banner. Chaos broke out across the country, and in July 1918 the Bolsheviks had the royal family killed to avoid having them serve as a focal point for the anti-Bolshevik movement (the White Army).
To the east, the vast area of Siberia declared itself an independent republic in June of 1918. However, in Nov, 1918, this government merged with other factions loyal to the “white movement” to form the Provisional All-Russian government in Siberia, under Supreme Leader Adm. Aleksandr Kolchak. Omsk was proclaimed the capital of Russia, and its central bank was tasked with safekeeping the former empire’s gold reserves. The reserves were guarded by a garrison of former Czechoslovakian POWs trapped in Siberia by the chaos of The First World War and the subsequent Russian Revolution.
Omsk became a prime target for the Red Army, who viewed it as crucial to their Siberian campaign. On 14 November, 1919, Bolshevik forces attacked and captured Omsk. Admiral Kolchak lost control of his government and was forced to abandon the city and the gold. Admiral Kolchak was eventually captured by the Bolsheviks and executed on Feb. 7, 1920.
While the original independent republic issued no postage stamps, the Provisional Government overprinted 10 stamps of the old Russian Empire with large numerals. According to Scott, while these stamps were issued in Omsk, under Kolchak’s regime, they were later used along the line of the Trans-Siberian railway to Vladivostok.
Scott lists these stamps under Siberia while Stanley Gibbons and Michel list them under Russia-Siberia.
In the short lived life of this government, many banknotes were issued. Siberian The Provisional Government at Omsk under Premier Vologodskii issued 1, 5 and 10 ruble notes along with 500, 1.000, 5.000 ruble obligation notes in 1918. The Provisional Government under Admiral Kolchak issued 50 kopek, 3, and 300 ruble notes along with numerous obligation notes and coupons.