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“Колчак и союзники”. Доклад А.В. Шмелева в Русском дворянском обществе в Америке
March 27, 2021 @ 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
The Eastern front of the Russian Civil War (1917 – 1922) was no less complex and lasted longer than its European counterpart, involving active foreign intervention from Great Britain, France, the USA and Japan, not to mention “legionnaires” from Czechoslovakia, Poland, and even Latvia. Admiral Kolchak (the self-appointed but generally accepted Supreme Ruler of Russia from 1918 until his execution by the Bolsheviks in 1920) was the central figure but only one of the remarkable (and some odious) players in this historical drama that continued for another two years, focused to an extent on the steel lifeline of the Trans-Siberian Railroad.
The resulting emigration into China was substantial in numbers but not nearly as well known: it first spilled into the already largely Russian railroad town of Harbin that came to hold the largest Russian population outside of Russia, spreading to Shanghai in the 1920’s, but never achieved coherence or real integration despite many individual successes in the 1930’s. It all came to an end with the Communist takeover in China in the late 1940’s and the émigrés’ painful forced repeat dispersal into the rest of the “Russian Abroad”. Their interwar history is now known primarily through memoirs, surviving documents and old photographs, as the Chinese Cultural Revolution eradicated most traces of that period.
Our friend Anatol Shmelev, the Robert Conquest Curator for Russia and Eurasia and Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, will return to lead us through this period that he has specialized in ever since his dissertation research, as part of the presentation of his just-published book In the Wake of Empire: Anti-Bolshevik Russia in International Affairs, 1917–1920 (Hoover Institution Press). Our co-presenters will introduce us to the China emigration’s two branches: Laurie Manchester will discuss the northern one in the almost Russian city of Harbin (it once had 70 Russian Orthodox parishes), and Katya Knyazeva will immerse us in the sad and intense life of the southern branch in the very international city of Shanghai where they ultimately left their mark but which they were forced to abandon at the end of the 1940’s.