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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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China and the Soviet Union in Xinjiang, 1934-1949

This collection of Soviet records documents the political and military turmoil in Xinjiang in the 1930s and 1940s. The records provide considerable details on the insurrection led by Ma Zhongying, Governor Sheng Shicai's relationship with Stalin, the establishment of the East Turkestan Republic (1944-1949) in northern Xinjiang, and Sino-Soviet relations in Xinjiang, among other topics. (Photo: Governor of Xinjiang Sheng Shicai, date unknown.)

  • June, 1934

    Letter of Governor Shicai Sheng to Cdes. Stalin, Molotov, and Voroshilov

    Governor Shicai Sheng expresses his firm belief in Communism, his desire to overthrow the Nanjing Government and construct a Communist state in its place, and the need to establish a Communist Party branch in Xinjiang. Emphasizing his long study of Marxist theory, he requests that Stalin, Molotov, and Voroshilov allow him to join the Communist Party.

  • July 27, 1934

    Letter from Stalin to Cde. G. Apresov, Consul General in Urumqi

    Stalin compares Sheng Shicai, Governor of Xinjiang, to "a provocateur or an hopeless 'leftist'."

  • July 27, 1934

    Letter from Cdes. Stalin, Molotov, and Voroshilov to Governor Sheng Shicai

    While expressing appreciate for Sheng's role in pacifying Xinjiang and expressing their firm trust in him, Stalin, Molotov, and Voroshilov deny his request to join the Communist Party and express their disagreement with the opinions he expressed in his earlier letter. Citing Xinjiang's economic backwardness, they condemn the rapid implementation of Communism in Xinjiang as a "ludicrous" idea and also advise against overthrowing the Nanjing government.

  • November 01, 1934

    Letter from Governer Shicai Sheng to Cdes. Stalin, Molotov, and Voroshilov

    Responding to Stalin, Molotov, and Voroshilov's letter of 27 July, Sheng expresses his agreement with their assertions about Xinjiang's unsuitability for Communist rule and the inadvisability of overthrowing the Nanjing government. Accepting that he cannot become a member of the Communist Party at this time, Sheng expresses his gratitude for the Soviet assistance he has received and requests that he and Consul General Apresov be permitted to travel to Moscow.

  • March 19, 1935

    Politburo Decision of 19 March 1935 concerning Xinjiang

    The Politburo transfers NKVD members currently working in Eastern Siberia and Central Asia to Xinjiang.

  • March 22, 1935

    The Distribution of the Sovsin'torg Trade Loan

    A breakdown of how a Soviet loan to Xinjiang will be utilized.

  • March 22, 1935

    Memorandum Concerning Cde. Kaganovich's Proposals for Xinjiang

    The Politburo approves Comrade Kaganovich's proposals for further action in Xinjiang.

  • March 22, 1935

    VKP(b) CC Politburo Decree concerning Xinjiang

    A Central Committee report on Soviet-Xinjiang trrade and the economy in Xinjiang more generally.

  • July 16, 1935

    Excerpt on Xinjiang from Minutes No. 42 of the VKP(b) CC Politburo Meetings

    The Politburo orders an increase in the number of Soviet trade officials in Kumul and Aksu.

  • August 05, 1935

    Concerning the Release of Money to the NKVD

    The CPSU Politburo releases 1.2 million rubles to support individuals arriving in the Soviet Union from Xinjiang.

  • September 13, 1935

    Politburo Decisions of 13 September 1935 Concerning Xinjiang

    The Politburo directs manpower and funds to support the Xinjiang army and accepts the text of an agreement between the Mongolian People's Republic and Manchukuo on the issue of a border commission.

  • September 29, 1935

    Politburo Decisions of 29 September 1935 Concerning Xinjiang

    The Politburo prohibits NKVD officers in Xinjiang from deviating from the approved political line and proposes developing oil near the border under the guise of Xinjiang production.

  • October 01, 1935

    Concerning the Sale of Soviet Military Equipment to the Xinjiang Government

    The Politburo orders military equipment, including U-2 aircraft, small arms, and clothing, from NKO stocks to be sold to the Xinjiang government.

  • October 03, 1935

    Concerning Relations with the 36th Division (National Revolutionary Army)

    The Politburo orders the NKVD to seek, with the cooperation of Ma Zhongying, commander of the 36th Division of the National Revolutionary Army, the departure of the NRA division commanders most hostile to the Xinjiang government. The Politburo also instructs the NKVT and NKID to commence trade with the 36th Division immediately.

  • November 15, 1935

    Concerning Cde. Apresov's Gifts to Leaders in Xinjiang

    The Politburo orders objects to be released to the disposition of Cde. Apresov, the General Consul in Urumqi, for distribution as gifts to government officials in Xinjiang.

  • 1936

    Telegram from Cdes. Stalin, Molotov, and Voroshilov to G. Apresov, Consul General in Urumqi

    Stalin, Molotov, Voroshilov express alarm about Shicai Sheng's red corner and discussions about the possible Sovietization of Xinjiang, reported in an earlier telegram from G. Apresov. They reaffirm that the USSR has no territorial claims on China, denies any plans for the Sovietization of Xinjiang, and declares its firm support for China in its struggle of independence from Japan, Britain, and other imperialist countries.

  • February 07, 1936

    Concerning Negotiations with Ma Zhongying of the 36th Devision of the National Revolutionary Army

    The Politburo accepts Ma Zhongying's proposal and recommends that the Urumqi government agree to appropriate concessions in peace talks with the 36th Division.

  • March 17, 1936

    Concerning the Special Purpose Geological Expedition in Xinjiang

    The Politburo orders the NKTP Special Purpose Geological Expedition in Xinjiang to continue prospecting for tin, tungsten, and molybdenum, allocating rubles and workers to support their efforts.

  • March 29, 1936

    Concerning the Maintenance of Peoples from Xinjiang

    The Politburo orders to release of over 1.2 million rubles to the NKVD to support the maintenance of peoples from Xinjiang.

  • June 17, 1936

    Concerning Soviet Trade with Xinjiang

    The Politburo reduces the import plan for Xinjiang after a cattle plague and poor cotton harvest, while ordering the export plans to remain at their current level.