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Autonomous Siberia in Russia’s Reorganization Projects at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century

Olga Kharus and Vyacheslav Shevtsov

Keywords: anti-Bolshevik governments; local self-government; oblastnichestvo; Siberia

Abstract

The article investigates the projects for creating a self-governing system in Siberia between the revolution of 1905–1907 and the Russian Civil War of 1918–1920. Analysis of original newspaper articles and archival material shows that these projects shared an aspiration for the establishment of a democratic system of self-government. The Siberian intelligentsia (the oblastniks) believed that Siberian autonomy would promote the economic and cultural development of the region, while serving All-Russian interests. It was only during the deep social upheavals and crisis of power in 1917 when separatist tendencies became dominant among the Siberian political elite. Anti-Bolshevik forces in Russia considered the Siberian outskirts to be a “territory of salvation” for the future democratic non-Soviet Russian state.

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