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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.)

  • April 22, 1945

    Letter from Alihan Tore to Commander-in-Chief Marshal Stalin

    Shakirjan praises Stalin and the Soviet Union, emphasizing that the Ili rebels' victory over the Chinese government is contingent on the continued receipt of Soviet aid.

  • April 29, 1945

    Report from L. Beria and A. Vyshinsky to Cde. I.V. Stalin

    Beria and Vyshinsky summarize the prevailing conditions in the Ili District of Xinjiang, describing the equipment and foodstuffs seized by the rebels, the extent of Chinese army losses, and the provisional government headed by Alihan Tore Shakirjan. Urging Stalin to support the Ili Muslims' liberation movement, they offer suggestions for future actions in support of the rebel army.

  • May, 1945

    Continuation of the Report of the Xinjiang GMD Committee to the 6th GMD Congress: A Description of the Work Being Done

    The Xinjiang Committee of the Guomindang offers a report on political, economic, military, and social developments in Xinjiang.

  • May 11, 1945

    Letter from L. Beria to Cde. I.V. Stalin

    Molotov reports that he is sending Stalin a letter from Alihan Tore Shakirjan, the Chairman of the Provisional Government of East Turkestan.

  • May 28, 1945

    Report concerning the Work of the Xinjiang Provincial Party Comittee from January 1943 through March 1945

    A report on the Xinjiang Provincial Party Committee, from its founding in 1943 through early 1945.

  • June 02, 1945

    Letter from L. Beria to Cde. I.V. Stalin of the State Defense Committee and Cde. V.M. Molotov of the Council of People's Commissars

    Beria describes a meeting between NKVD Lt. Col. Prokopyuk and Shakirjan at which Shakirjan suggested renewing active rebel operations, emphasizing that the lack of combat is beginning to demoralize the Muslim population.

  • June 22, 1945

    Exceprt on Xinjiang from Minutes No. 46 of the VKP(b) CC Politburo Meetings

    The CPSU Central Committee announces various measures to support the rebels in Ili, Xinjiang, and the East Turkestan Republic (ETR).

  • July, 1945

    Telegram from Cde. Yegnarov for Cde. Beria

    Cde. Yegnarov reports on his meeting with "Sadyk," noting his persistent requests to begin military operations against the Chinese and for "Sadyk" to lead the operation against the Chinese in the South of Xinjiang. Yegnarov also describes military maneuvers in the Ili District and requests permission to transfer Red Army detachments in order to liberate the Tarbaghatai District.

  • July 03, 1945

    Report from L. Beria to I.V. Stalin of the State Defense Committee and V.M. Molotov of the Council of People's Commissars

    Beria reports on a Chinese offensive against the Dungan rebel battalion in the Ili District of Xinjiang, noting the Chinese and rebel losses.

  • July 09, 1945

    Record of a Meeting Between T. V. Soong and Stalin

    Dr. Soong reports Chiang Kai-Shek's response to the stalemate on the question of Outer Mongolia to Stalin and Molotov. Chiang insists on preserving the territorial integrity of China vis a vis Outer Mongolia and Manchuria, and that China's sovereignty in Manchuria should be reinforced by Chinese administration of Port Arthur and Dairen. Stalin asks to think over his decision before responding to Chiang.

  • July 11, 1945

    Telegram from L. Beria to the Cde. Stalin of the State Defense Committee and Cde. Molotov of the Council of People's Commissars

    Beria reports that, in June 1945, Chinese aircraft conducted reconnaissance and bombed Ili rebel positions in the region of Yun-Dzhikho.

  • July 13, 1945

    Report from Cde. Yegnarov to Cde. L.P. Beria

    Yegnarov notes that he is sending Stalin and Molotov a copy of a report of Cde. Yegnarov describing his conversation with "Sadyk."

  • July 17, 1945

    Telegram from Cde. Yegnarov for Cde. Beria

    Yegnarov reports on a rebel battle against Chinese forces in Manas and Chinese troop movements in the Barlik Range, announcing the troop movements he ordered in light of these developments.

  • July 18, 1945

    Coded Message from Cde. Sergey to Cdes. Pavel and Petrov

    Cde. Sergey reports on a battle in Yamatu between Chinese troops and a rebel detachment from Tarbagatai [Tacheng] District and advises the Red Army to send a detachment led by Sufy Akhum Surbayev to the region of Bay-Aksu [Akesu] to conduct partisan operations.

  • August, 1945

    Telegram from Acting Chief of the USSR NKVD Troops Stakhanov to Cde. Beria

    Stakhanov reports on the internment of approximately 1100 Chinese citizens in the Arkarly Mountains following the rebels' occupation of the city of Dorbiljin.

  • August 07, 1945

    Report for Cde. I.V. Stalin and Cde. Molotov

    Stakhanov reports on developments in Xinjiang and the operations of the rebels of the Ili District from the end of July to the first week of August 1945, focusing on the rebels' seizure of Mopan, Dorbiljin, and Chuguchak; the detention of approximately 1000 Chinese citizens in Chuguchak; and an uprising by the Manas rebels.

  • August 23, 1945

    Report from Cde. Yegnarov to Cde. Beria

    Yegnarov reports on recent military developments in the Ili District, describing Chinese and Soviet troop movements and a failed attempt (led by Firsov) to seize a fortress.

  • August 27, 1945

    Report from Cde. Yegnarov to Cde. Beria

    Yegnarov reports on several successful Red Army military operations in the Ili District at the end of August, including Firsov's seizure of Chinese supply trucks and the forced retreat of a Chinese brigade by Leskin's cavalry brigade. He also notes a raid on Kobuk by Chinese aircraft, which killed four Soviet soldiers.

  • September 05, 1945

    Report from L. Beria to Cde. I.V. Stalin, V.M. Molotov, and Cde. G.M. Malenkov

    Beria reports on the progress of the rebel movement in Xinjiang at the end of August, including information on the locations of the rebels' active operations, their armed forces, Chinese prisoners of war, and recent rebel casualties. He also describes the Chinese Armed Forces' likely responses to recent rebel advances in the Ili District.

  • September 15, 1945

    The Situation in Xinjiang

    The Central Committee of the CPSU reports that the rebels in the East Turkestan Republic (ETR), or northern Xinjiang, have requested that the Soviet Union mediate between the Chinese Nationalist Government and the ETR.