Tuva in World War II
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The Tuva volunteer forces took part in the battles on the eastern front as part of the formations of the Workers and Peasants Red Army. On October 14, 1944, the Tuva People's Republic became part of the Soviet Union, becoming the Tuva Autonomous Region. From that moment on, the Tuvans participated in hostilities until the end of the Second World War as citizens of the Soviet Union.
Formation of the Tuvan People's Republic
Until 1912, Tuva, at that time known as the “Tannu-Uryankhai”, was ruled by the Qing dynasty. After the Xinhai Revolution in China, which ended in 1913, Tuvan noyons repeatedly appealed to Russian Emperor Nicholas II to establish a Russian protectorate over Tuva. On April 4, 1914, the emperor gave official consent to accept the Tuvan territories into the Russian Empire as a protectorate, after which Tuva, called the Uryankhay Krai, was annexed to the Yenisei province.
In a short period during which Tuva was part of the Russian Empire, the tsarist government pursued an extremely cautious policy on its territory, as in other national regions of Eastern Siberia, in order to avoid aggravation of Chinese, Japanese and Mongolian influence in them.
In 1919, at the height of the Civil War, the Bolshevik leadership categorically forbade parts of the Red Army to be on the territory of the Uryankhay Krai, which was already not only ordered to remain autonomous, but also planned to be declared independent if pro-Bolshevik-minded forces came to power. On August 1921, after the remnants of the Asian division of Baron von Ungern-Sternberg was defeated by the forces of the Red Army, the people's revolution in Tuva occurred, warmly welcomed and supported by Soviet Russia. And from August 13 to August 16, the All-Tuvan Constituent Khural of nine kozhuuns took place in the village of Sug-Bazhy Tyndaskin, proclaiming the formation of the Tuvan People's Republic and adopted the first Tuvan constitution.
Despite the de jure political independence of the Tuvan People's Republic, the country was largely dependent on the Russian SFSR. Thus, the Soviet delegation, which was present at the All-Tuva Constituent Khural, which proclaimed the republic, insisted on fixing in a special resolution the provision according to which in the sphere of foreign policy of the Tuvan People's Republic should act "under the patronage of the Russian SFSR".
In January 1923, the Soviet-Tuvan border was finally defined. In the same year, the Red Army division, which was present on the Tuvan territory, was withdrawn beyond its borders according to an agreement concluded between the governments of both countries in 1921.
In the summer of 1925, the “Agreement between the RSFSR and the Tuvan People’s Republic on the Establishment of Friendly Relationships” was signed between the USSR and the TNR, which strengthened the allied relations between the states. The initiator of the contract was the USSR. The treaty stated that the Soviet government "does not consider Tannu-Tuva as its territory and has no views on it." In addition, in connection with mutual economic interest, the USSR granted Tuvinian citizens a number of benefits in the areas of movement, trade and residence on Soviet territory, and Tuvans living in the USSR — facilitated border crossing on strictly established areas.
In the late 1920s and early 1930s, the first wave of political repression swept across Tuva. Subsequently, these took place throughout the decade. According to the prosecutor's office of the Republic of Tuva, in the 1930s, 1,286 people were repressed in the TNR, and according to another version, their number reached 1,700 people. Among those subjected to repression, as in the USSR, were many prominent statesmen of Tuva, including the first chairman of the Council of Ministers of the TNR, Mongush Buyan-Badyrgy, and the former chairman of the Presidium of the Small Khural Donduk Kuular. They were accused as spy for Japan and preparing a counter-revolutionary coup. The first secretary of the Central Committee of the Tuvinian Revolutionary People’s Party, Salchak Toka, which enjoyed the sympathy of the Soviet leadership, acted as the main initiator of political purges in Tuva.
Armed forces of Tuva
In the first half of the 1930s, the Japanese Empire launched aggressive actions against China, occupied Manchuria and founded the puppet state of Manchukuo on its territory, and in 1937 launched a full-scale war against China. This encouraged the leadership of Tuva to undertake a number of important measures to strengthen the army and the defense of the country. The 11th Congress of the Tuvan People's Revolutionary Party, held in November 1939, instructed the Central Committee of the Party in the next 2-3 years to provide the army with full weapons and raise its level of combat readiness to an even higher level. On February 22, 1940, the resolution of the Small Khural of the TPR authorized the creation of the Ministry of Military Affairs, which immediately took measures to equip the army with new types of weapons and military equipment, improve the training of command personnel and increase the combat readiness of units. The first war minister of Tuva, from 1940 until 1943 was Colonel (later Major General) Khesse Shooma.
The government of the Soviet Union and the command of the Red Army rendered TNR considerable assistance in developing the material and technical base and training personnel. The middle and top commanders of the Tuva People’s Revolutionary Army were trained in military schools of the USSR, including the M.V. Frunze Military Academy and the Academy of the General Staff. In addition, Soviet military instructors and advisers were invited to Tuva.
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