'The suggested basis for a Russian Federal Republic': Britain, anti-Bolshevik Russia and the border states at the Paris Peace Conference 1919

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Abstract

Allied policy towards Russia at the Paris Peace Conference was confused and uncoordinated. Throughout 1919 civil war continued to rage in Russia and its former borderlands. While piecemeal assistance was being given to the anti-Bolshevik forces led by Kolchak and Denikin, the Allies also made promises to support the independence of the newly established states on the borders of Russia. At the height of Kolchak's military success in May 1919, they were seriously considering recognition of his Omsk government. This article shows that the British government investigated the possibility of a reconstructed Russian federation based around the Kolchak government. James Simpson, a member of the Foreign Office's Political Intelligence Department, was sent to Paris to negotiate with the parties involved. While his efforts were a short and abortive episode in the history of the Peace Conference, his discussions and the reports he received shed interesting light on the attitudes and actions of the many unrecognized delegations from former parts of Russia at the conference and on their relations with Russia, the Allies, and each other.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-44
JournalHistory
Volume91
Issue number301
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2006

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