Chinese in The Red Army
The Chinese with the Red Army were recruited from factory workers who had been attracted into Russia before the war and who sided with the urban proletariat with whom they worked. Separate Chinese units fought for the Bolsheviks in the Ukraine, Trancaucasia and Siberia.
One estimate suggests that there were tens of thousands of Chinese troops in the Red Army . Nonetheless, Brian Murphy asserts that "the number of Chinese troops did not constitute a significant fraction of the Red Army." By summer of 1919, the Red Army comprised over a million men. By November 1920, it comprised over 1.8 million men.
Chinese units were involved in virtually every front of the Russian Civil War. Some sincerely sympathized with the Bolsheviks who treated them as "proletarian brothers". Others simply joined the Red Army in order to survive and others wanted to fight their way home to China. Still others were recruited by the White Army.
The Chinese were one of several foreign contingents dubbed in Soviet historiography as "internationalist detachments" ("отряды интернационалистов"). Chinese internationalist troops wore the same uniform as the rest of the Red Army.
The Bolsheviks found special value in the use of Chinese troops who were considered to be industrious and efficient. In addition, they were seldom able to understand Russian which kept them insulated from outside influences.
The use of Chinese troops by the Bolsheviks was commented on by both White Russian and non-Russian observers. In fact, the Bolsheviks were often derided for their reliance on Chinese and Lettish mercenaries. Anti-Bolshevik propaganda suggested that the Bolsheviks did not have the support of the Russian people and thus had to resort to foreign mercenaries who ran roughshod over the Russian populace.
In 1918, Dmitri Gavronsky, a member of the Russian Constituent Assembly, asserted that the Bolsheviks based their power chiefly on foreign support. He asserted that, "in Moscow, they have at their disposal 16,000 well-armed Lettish soldiers, some detachments of Finnish Red Guards and a battalion of Chinese troops." Gavronsky added that "The latter are always used for executions."
The Red Army commander Iona Yakir headed a Chinese detachment guarding Lenin and Trotsky. Later he headed a regiment made up of Chinese workers, which achieved distinction in battle when the Red Army heavily defeated (temporarily) Romanian troops in February 1918 during the Romanian occupation of Bessarabia.
Read more about this topic: Chinese In The Russian Revolution And In The Russian Civil War, Chinese Detachments in Service of Soviet State
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