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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 concerns 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, among other topics. The majority of the records in the collection were obtained by Jamil Hasanli for his 2015 book Sin'tszyan v orbite sovetskoy politiki: Stalin i musul'manskoye dvizheniye v Vostochnom Turkestane: 1931-1949: monografiya (Xinjiang in the Orbit of Soviet Politics: Stalin and the Muslim Movement in Eastern Turkestan, 1931-1949). See also the Digital Archive collection on "The Yi-Ta Incident, 1962." (Photo: Governor of Xinjiang Sheng Shicai, date unknown.)

  • March 07, 1941

    Concerning the Sin'tszyanolovo Concession in Xinjiang

    The Soviet Politburo approves the Narkomtsvetmet's 1941 work plan for the Sin'tszyanolovo concession and outlines the tasks related to the concession for which the NKVD, NKO, Civil Air Fleet, Narkomtsvetmet, and the Council of Ministers are respectively responsible.

  • March 07, 1941

    Work Plan of the Narkomtsvetmet Sin'tszysnolovo Concession for 1941

    The Narkomtsvetmet (People's Commissariat of Nonferrous Metallurgy) outlines the work plan for the Sin'tszyanolovo concession in 1941, including exploration work for tin and tungsten in the Bortala River basin and conducting a geological survey and prospecting for mineral deposits in the Altai, Kashgar, Ghulja, and Hotan districts.

  • April 19, 1941

    Excerpt on Xinjiang from Minutes of the VKP(b) CC Politburo Meetings

    The Politburo issued 5.25 million rubles to support the NKO's operations in the Mongolian People's Republic and Xinjiang, the independent NKVD rifle battalion in Xinjiang, and the topographic detachment in Xinjiang until the end of 1941.

  • March 20, 1942

    Concerning Signing of an Agreement with the Government of Xinjiang about the Operation of the Dushanzi Refinery

    The Politburo approves the establishment of a mixed Soviet-Xinjiang company to operate the Dushanzi Refinery and outlines the company's management and funding structure.

  • May 04, 1942

    Excerpt from Operations Log of the Urumqi Military Hospital

    The record describes the fatal injuries suffered Sheng Shiqi, the Commander of the Mechanized Brigade of Xinjiang, and brother of Sheng Shicai.

  • May 10, 1942

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

    Governor Sheng describes the investigation into Sheng Shiqi's (the Commander of the Mechanized Brigade of Xinjiang) death, which revealed that Chen Xiuying (his wife) murdered him under pressure from Xiao Zuoxin, the assistant to the Director of the Urumqi office of the Native Corporation. He also reports that Kruglov, Soviet advisor for trade matters, intentionally disrupted trade between the Soviet Union and Xinjiang because of the Xinjiang government's alleged anti-Soviet attitude.

  • July 03, 1942

    Letter from Cde. V. M. Molotov to Governor Shicai Sheng

    Molotov rejects all the accusations leveled against Cdes. Bakulin, Rakov, and other senior Soviet officials in Governor Sheng's earlier letter as completely unfounded and criticizes his repression of senior figures in the Xinjiang government. Molotov also expresses his belief that "secret agents of an imperialist power hostile to China" have made Sheng their tool.

  • July 07, 1942

    Letter to the Soviet Ambassador in Chongqing

    At the instruction of the Soviet government and Cde. Stalin personally, the Soviet ambassador to China is instructed to inform Chiang Kai-shek of the worrying views expressed by Shicai Sheng in his recent letter to Stalin, Voroshilov, and Molotov and present him with the text of Molotov's reply.

  • May 04, 1943

    Excerpt on Xinjiang from Minutes No. 40 of the VKP(b) CC Politburo Meetings

    The CPSU Central Committee announces that it "cannot tolerate such provocative activity" of Xinjiang Governor Sheng Shicai and that it will provide support to rebels "in their struggle against the repressive colonialist policy of the Governor."

  • June 10, 1943

    Concerning a Spiritual Directorate of Muslims of Central Asia and Kazakhstan

    The Politburo directs the NKVD to permit the organization of a Spiritual Directorate of Muslims of Central Asia and Kazakhstan.

  • 1944

    The Truth about the Events in Xinjiang

    An anonymous report on Soviet-Guomindang relations in Xinjiang, and political developments in Xinjiang since 1933.

  • March 23, 1944

    Letter No. 93 from L.D. Wilgress, Canadian Embassy, Moscow, to the Secretary of State for External Affairs, W.L. Mackenzie King

    L.D. Wilgress and the Chinese Ambassador to Moscow, Fu Bingchang (Foo Ping-sheung), discuss Soviet movements in Xinjiang.

  • April 03, 1944

    Cyper No. 105 the Canadian Ambassador to the U.S.S.R. to the Secretary of State for External Affairs, Ottawa

    The Canadian Ambassador in Moscow reports, on the basis of Soviet newspapers, that turmoil is ongoing along the Xinjiang-Mongolia border.

  • May 31, 1944

    Letter No. 180 from L.D. Wilgress, Canadian Embassy, Moscow, to the Secretary of State for External Affairs, W.L. Mackenzie King

    Fu Bingchang (Foo Ping-sheung) relays his views on relations among the Great Powers, Soviet involvement in Xinjiang, and the rifts between the Nationalists and Communists within China.

  • June 05, 1944

    Record of Conversation with Cde. Lin Zuhan, Chairman of the Special Region

    Godunov reports on Lin Zuhan's comments on relations between the Guomindang the Chinese Commuinist Party, the situation in Chongqing, and recent developments in Xinjiang.

  • September 30, 1944

    Letter No. 340 from L.D. Wilgress, Canadian Embassy, Moscow, to the Secretary of State for External Affairs, W.L. Mackenzie King

  • October 16, 1944

    Information Letter from Yasnovsky to Cdes. Petrov and Plyshevsky

    Yasnovsky reports on developments in Xinjiang since the arrival of a new governor, Wu Zhongxin.

  • October 25, 1944

    Letter No. 373 from L.D. Wilgress, Canadian Embassy, Moscow, to the Secretary of State for External Affairs, W.L. Mackenzie King

  • November 25, 1944

    Letter No. 425 from L.D. Wilgress, Canadian Embassy, Moscow, to the Secretary of State for External Affairs, W.L. Mackenzie King

  • April 17, 1945

    Special Report from General-Major Yegnarov to USSR People’s Commissar of Internal Affairs, General Commissar of State Security, Cde. L.P. Beria

    General Yegnarov reports on the Ili rebel army's capture of 220 Chinese troops and their cache of weapons in Torgustay and a subsequent rebel seizure of Chinese weapons in Takiantsan.