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Global Responses

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 South East and Central Asia

Before the Russian Revolution, the number of Chinese subjects in Russian territories was estimated to be 60,000. They were mostly contract workers employed in the mines, railroads, and trades. Many volunteered in the Red Army; among the largest contingents were the Chinese battalion of the Tiraspol’ detachment and the Red Chinese Detachment. For the Soviet Union, control over its contested far-eastern border, was instrumental for spreading communism in Central Asia, with Mongolia carrying strategic importance in the USSR’s relations with China. Several recent studies of the Uyghurs, the Turkic-speaking Muslims of Xinjiang, have addressed how the history of this border region between China and Russia intersected with the history of the Soviet Union.

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Latin America

The opening of the archives in the Soviet Union changed the trajectory of Cold War scholarship that had prioritized the Russian scenario and positioned similar revolutionary developments as orchestrations by the Bolsheviks. As the archives in the Soviet Union became publicly accessible, more nuanced views on other origins and causes became possible. Writing about the impact of the October Revolution on Mexico, Daniela Spenser suggests that “prior to the outbreak of the Bolshevik Revolution, Mexico already had its own experiences with trade union organization and internationalism ever since Mexicans, Latin Americans, and Americans found themselves together in the workplace, in unions, and in strikes in both countries” (2011, 90-91).

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Following the annexation of Korea by Japan in 1910, thousands of Koreans were forced out of their land; many migrated to Russia and became loyal to the Bolsheviks. In the First World War, four thousand Russian-Koreans served in the Red Army.

Yi Gwanyong, who was educated at Oxford University in the United Kingdom, was Dong’a ilbo’s first Moscow correspondent. The Dong’a ilbo was one of a number of new independent Korean-language newspapers that the Japanese government allowed to be established after the massive uprising of 1919 in its Korean colony. During this early period, it was quite eclectic politically, and could publish quite freely if it did not advocate directly for revolution, either nationalist or socialist. Yi Gwanyong himself was a neo-Kantian philosopher and an influential moderate nationalist and journalist, but he also worked closely with Korean leftists.

Global Responses