Priamur Provisonal Government under Merkulov (1921 – 1922)

ALBUM– View my Priamur Provisional Government album

Fast Facts

Region: Russian Area
Group: Russian Far East
Classification: Revolutionary Government
Prior Regime: Far Eastern Republic
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
Scott Catalogue: (Siberia) #51-81
Pick Catalogue: (Russia. East Siberia) s1226-1227


The Merkulov Brothers (sides) and Admiral Stark, some of the last leaders in the white movement in 1922
The Merkulov Brothers (sides) and Admiral Stark, some of the last leaders in the white movement in 1922
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, renaming the region the Priamur 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


RUS - Priamur Regional Gvt StampALBUM

Two different sets of stamps were issued by the Priamur Provisional Government under Merkulov.

Nikolaevsk Issues – In 1921, the Merkulov government overprinted and surcharged 22 different Imperial Russian stamps for use in Priamur. The overprints consisted of a box with the initials “N A P P V” and the new value printed inside. The initials stood for Nikolaevsk on Amur Priamur Provisional Government. The surcharges appear on both perforated and imperf stamps, however the issues have been flooded with counterfeits, so collectors should beware.

Priamur Provisional Government Anniversary Issues – In May, 1922, the Priamur Provisional Government overprinted the 4 stamps of the Vladivostok Arms Issue from the Far Eastern Republic to commemorate the 1 year anniversary of the overthrow of the Bolsheviks in Vladivostok. The overprint consisted of an oval with the initials VPP (Provisional Priamur Government) and the date 26 May, and the years 1921-1922.


In 1921, the Priamur Provisional Government issued two banknotes in gold kopeks: 1 kopek and 5 kopeks.


Provisional Priamurye Government from Wikipedia

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