Far Eastern Republic (1920 – 1922)

ALBUM – View my Far Eastern Republic album

Fast Facts

Region: Russian Area
Group: Russian Far East
Classification: Russian Puppet Government
Prior Regime: Siberia
Key Dates:
  1920, April 6 – Far Eastern Republic formed
  1920, July 15 – Japan recognized the FER
  1921, May 16 – Japanese backed coop took over Vladivostok and the Priamur Regional Government was established led by the Merkulov Brothers
  1922, June 8 – The Merkulov brothers were disposed by General Mikhail Diterikhs who established the Priamur Rural Province
  1922, Oct 25 – Japan withdrew and the Red army retook Vladivostok
  1922, Nov 19 – Far Eastern Republic ended and absorbed by the RSFSR.
Following Regime: Priamur Rural Province under General Diterikhs
Following Regime: Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic
Scott Catalogue: (Far Eastern Republic) #2-65
Pick Catalogue: (Russia. East Siberia) s1201=s1214


History

Representatives of the Far Eastern Republic meet with Japanese Military Officers in July, 1920 at Gongota station, Transbaikal territory.  (Trans-Siberian Photo Gallery)
Representatives of the Far Eastern Republic meet with Japanese Military Officers in July, 1920 at Gongota station, Transbaikal territory. (Trans-Siberian Photo Gallery)
In March of 1917, the mighty Russian Empire fell when the people of Russia, fed up by chronic food shortages and massive casualties caused by WWI, revolted and forced Tsar Nicholas from the throne. A few months later, in Sept. 1917, the Bolsheviks led by Vladimir Lenin assumed control and formed the beginnings of the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic (RSFSR).

As the Bolsheviks (aka the Red Army) were busy fighting the whites in the western and southern part of Russia in 1918 and 1919, the vast area of Siberia and eastward declared itself an independent republic in June of 1918, and by November 1918 the various factions loyal to the “white movement” merged and formed the Provisional All-Russian government in Siberia, under Supreme Leader Adm. Aleksandr Kolchak. As the Red Army consolidated power in the west, they turned their might on Siberia and eastward. On 14 Nov. 1919, Bolshevik forces attacked and captured Omsk. Kolchak lost control of his government and was forced to abandon the city and the gold; eventually being captured by the Bolsheviks and executed on Feb. 7, 1920.

The Japanese, taking advantage of the chaos in civil war Russia, occupied Vladivostok and north along the coast of Siberia, including Sakhalin Island. To avoid direct conflict with the Japanese, the RSFSR, on April 6th, 1920, created the Far Eastern Republic (FER), essentially as a buffer zone between Russia and Japan. The FER, while officially independent, was in reality controlled by the Russians. The FER composed most of the Trans Baikal region, with Verkho-Udinsk (today Ulan-Ude) as its capital and was officially recognized by Japan 3 months later in July of 1920. The FER continued to expand its borders eastward as the Red Army defeated its opposition in the region, and moved its capital to Chita in October, 1920. In Dec, 1920 Priamur and the Maritime regions (which included Vladivostok) were also added to the Republic.

Things didn’t continue smoothly however, as a Japanese backed coop formed by the white movement assumed control of Vladivostok on May 26th, 1921. The rebels formed a government, essentially under Japanese protection, lead by Spiridon Dionisovich Merkulov, and his brother Nikolai Merkulov, who was a successful businessman. Both were active participants in the white movement. The new “government” was declared to be the Provisional Priamur Government. The movement expanded north to Khabarovsk and Spassk. In June, 1922 the Japanese announced their plans to withdraw forces out of Russian territory. This caused a general panic in the region and Mikhail Diterikhs, one of Kolchak’s former Generals, disposed the Merkulov brothers and took control and renamed the area the Praimur Rural Province. General Diterikhs worked to unite and organize the last vestiges of anti-Bolshevik forces in the far east. Diterikhs also tried in vain to convince the Japanese to not withdraw their forces. When the Japanese completed their withdrawal in Oct, 1922, Diterikhs’ forces were quickly overrun by the far superior Russian Red army.

With the Japanese army gone, the need for a buffer state disappeared, and on Nov. 19th, 1922, the Far Eastern Republic was dissolved and folded into the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic. According to most historians, this ended the Russian Civil War.

RUS - Far Eastern Republic Map

Stamps

RUS - Far Eastern Republic StampALBUM
Four different sets of stamps were issued by the FER.

DVR Overprint Issues – Shortly after the establishment of the FER, Russian imperial stamps, postal savings stamps and stamps from Kokchak’s Siberia were overprinted “D V R”, which stood for Dalnevostochnaya Respublika, or the Far Eastern Republic. A total of twenty seven different stamps were overprinted, which included both perf and imperf varieties.

Blagoveshchensk Issues – Originally, stamps of this set were printed in the Amur Region before it became part of the Far Eastern Republic in the summer of 1920. It is somewhat a mystery of why these stamps, featuring a pair of post horns were ever issued, but they became available in Oct. 1920. Very few of the stamps were actually used, and a huge stock of remainders were cancelled with three diagonal bars, a diamond shaped pattern, or a bar made by colored pencils or crayons.

Vladivostok Arms Issues – As the overprinted DVP issues began to run out, the Republic issued a set of stamps specifically designed for the FER. The stamps were issued in March of 1921, but were mostly used in Vladivostok. The stamps used a design very similar to Imperial Russia. Even though inscribed “Far Eastern Republic” they were also used by the government of Japanese backed coop in Vladivostok.

Chita Issues – After the coop in Vladivostok, the rebels denied the FER access to the Arms stamps, therefore the Far Eastern Republic issued a new set of stamps in Nov, 1921. The 10 different values were crudely designed and issued imperforate, (although some local perforations are found on the 7 kopek stamp). The Chita issues continued to be in use after the FER joined the Russian state in Oct, 1922 and were used throughout Eastern Siberia until early 1924.

After the Red army recaptured Vladivostok, many of these stamps were overprinted “1917 // 7-XI // 1922” to commemorate the 5th anniversary of the Russian revolution.

Banknotes

In 1920, the Far Eastern Republic issued a set of 8 banknotes from 1 – 1000 gold rubles. In 1921, the FER also issued a 25 ruble banknote was issued

Links

Far Eastern Republic from Wikipedia
The Postage Stamps of the Far Eastern Republic – Stamps Magazine, Sept 6, 1941
Far Eastern Republic from Big Blue 1840-1940 Blog

This entry was posted in Japanese Occupations, Puppet States, Revolutions, Russia Area, Russian Revolution. Bookmark the permalink.

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