G. Chicherin


One Year of Soviet Diplomacy in the Orient

Summary of an Interview with G. Chicherin

(6 December 1921)

From International Press Correspondence, Vol. 1 No. 14, 6 December 1921, pp. 115–116.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive

Friendly Peace with Turkey

The year from November 1920 to November 1921 was especially characterized by the growth of the liberation movement among the peoples of the Orient.

Our first diplomatic relations with Turkey date from November 6, 1920. but a short time afterwards our relations with Angora were broken, because of the treaty made between Kiazim Kara Békir’s army and Armenia’s reactionary Dashnak government which had taken refuge at Alexandropol. This treaty had for its object the imposition of a Turkish protectorate upon all Armenia, although a Soviet government had already been formed in Armenia. This Soviet government did not recognize this treaty, which later became the object of negotiations between Turkey and Russia. The Angora government, however, negotiated with the Entente. On March 7th Bekir Sami Bey, the Turkish plenipotentiary, obtained the evacuation of Cilicia from France, at the price of important concessions. On March 13th he concluded a similar accord with Italy. But in April, the National Assembly of Angora refused to ratify these treaties.

On February 2nd, Ali Fuad Pasha and Yussuf Kemal Bey together with the peace delegation arrived in Moscow. On March 16th a friendly peace was concluded. Georgia kept Batum and Turkey kept Kars, Ardagan and Artvy. On May 3rd Comrade Nazaremus was appointed to represent Soviet Russia at Angora.

Since then, Turkey has aided the famine-stricken of the Volga region. It has had to repel the Greek invasion. It is significant to note that on the morrow of its victory over King Constantine’s armies M. Franklin Bouillon arrived at Angora (Oct. 26th) to negotiate an agreement in the name of France.

Comrade Frunze arrived at Angora at this time to conclude a treaty in the name of the Ukraine. Red Ukraine offered peace at a time which was most critical for the national Ottoman government.

The Kars Conference (September 26th to October 13th) brought together the plenipotentiaries of Russia, Turkey and of the three Red Republics of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbeidjan. It settled the disputes existing until in the Caucasus.

End of English Influence in Persia

At the fourth anniversary of the October Revolution our relations with Persia arrived at a turning-point. On October 22, 1920, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Iran had decided that the social revolution in Persia had to pass through the stage of the bourgeois revolution, and this put an end to the attempts of the Soviet government of Gilian to introduce Communism immediately into the country. On October 25th, a special ambassador from Persia came to Moscow in order to negotiate peace between the two nations. At this time England was bringing pressure to bear upon Persia to induce it to carry out the agreements made by a previous government, and repudiated by Mushiraed Dovlé’s democratic cabinet. A ministerial crisis ensued, and, England managed to obtain satisfaction. In the meanwhile, our negotiations were carried on favorably. On January 22nd Comrade Rothstein, was appointed as the Soviet’s minister plenipotentiary to Persia. Karakhan notified the, new pro-English Sepakhadz cabinet, that Red Azerbaijan would not withdraw its troops from Gilian, where they were defending its frontier, unless the English troops also withdrew from Persia. The pro-English cabinet deferred the opening of the Parliament (Medjilis). On February 21st, Riza Khan overturned it. On February 26th, Ziah-ed-Din’s new government annulled the Anglo-Persian treaty and outlined an extensive program of reforms. On the same day Red Russia and Persia reached an agreement which wiped out all traces of the former oppressive Czarist policy in Persia, and laid down the basis of really fraternal relations between the two countries.

On April 13rd, a radio from London announced that the British troops Would evacuate Iran on May 15th. The Ziah-ed-Din cabinet fell very soon on account of its policy which remained in spite of everything pro-English. The Premier fled to Bagdad. He was replaced by Gaban-es-Saltan. The Medjilis met June 22nd and no longer paid attention to the agreements made formerly with England.

Since then, the English military instructors have been dismissed. On September 18th the British financial advisers left Persia. The tirailleurs of the South who were commanded by English officers were disbanded.

On October 30th the Gilian front was liquidated.

Our commercial mission headed by Comrade Balgor, has been in Persia since July 13th. Our commercial relations have been carried on way of the northern frontiers of the country. Persia has spontaneously offered its aid for the famine-stricken.

The English Influence Checkmated in Afghanistan

On September 14th our representative and the one of the Afghan government signed a preliminary agreement at Kabul In January 1921, Harry Dobb’s English mission arrived at Kabul offering to withdraw all support given to the Afghan tribes who were fighting against the Emir, furthermore to give powerful material aid to Afghanistan, and to indemnify it for the losses caused by the Anglo-Afghan war of 1919. In their counter-proposals the Afghans demanded a plebiscite in the frontier regions of India, and this caused the failure of the negotiations.

On February 21st, the Russo-Afghan treaty was signed at Moscow. Its main provisions call for the unconditional recognition of the independence of the two countries and of the Oriental nationalities, the establishment of consular relations, right of transit for Russian commerce through Afghanistan, and a general collaboration on the part of Russia in the technical and intellectual development of Afghanistan.

In the spring of 1920, great reforms began in this country – the drawing up of a criminal code, abolition of slavery, etc.

Nevertheless Dobbs stayed at Kabul and was not inactive there. The Assembly of Notables deliberated from November 7th to 11th over the English and Russian proposals. It ratified the treaty with Russia, however.

On July 16th Comrade Raskolnikov, our representative at Kabul was warmly received there. The Dobbs mission returned to London in September and there the Anglo-Afghan negotiations are being continued.

In the Khiva and Bokhara Republics we have carried on with success the work of Sovietizing and of emancipation.

Resumption of Relations with China

We have resumed diplomatic relations with China. On February 3rd Chen-Konan-Ping, the Consul-General of China, arrived at Moscow. The government of Peking agreed, in principle, to receive our representative. We were definitely informed on October 24th that it would receive our representative. We were informed on October 24th that it would receive our commercial mission. We immediately sent Comrade Poikes to China.

The Far Eastern Republic has been officially represented at Peking since September, 1920, by Comrade Iourine.

Popular National Emancipation of Mongolia

On May 26, 1921 the reactionary Merkulov took possession of Vladivostok with the aid of Japanese bayonets. Ungern, leader of the White bands, who had occupied Mongolia with the backing of Japan, attacked the Far Eastern Republic

The popular revolutionary government of Mongolia, which had received hospitality in Russian territory and was in close contact with us, directed the national resistance against Ungern’s bands. The troops of Soviet Russia, those of the Far Eastern Republic and of revolutionary Mongolia fought against Ungern and seized Urga, where a popular Mongolian government was elected which asked us, in July, to withdraw our troops. On August 10th, we agreed to do so. On September 11th, we also agreed to assume the role of arbitrator between China and Mongolia.

On October 26th. negotiations were started at Moscow with the object of establishing lasting friendly relations between Mongolia and Russia.

The remnants of the White bands which have taken refuge in the North of Mongolia are being pursued there by our forces.

Negotiations with Japan

Negotiations with Japan have at last become possible. On August 26th, pourparlers were begun at Dobny between Japan and the Far Eastern Republic on the question of the evacuation of the coastal zone by the Japanese and the resumption of commercial relations. The Far Eastern Republic insisted that a representative of the Moscow government take part in the negotiations. Japan having consented, Comrade

Marchlevsky was appointed for this purpose, and he started out from Moscow on October 24th.

One can see from these facts the progress achieved in Asia by Soviet Russia which in the future will be recognized by all the oppressed peoples as a natural ally.

Last updated on 13 February 2019