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The Emergence of the Soviet Faction in the Democra Tic People's Republic of Korea, 1945-1955

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A very important role in the formation of the North Korean state and its early development was played by numerous Soviet Koreans, Soviet citizens of Korean extraction. They were sent to North Korea by the Soviet authorities and occupied various leading positions during the period 1945-60. This article will consider the circumstances of their arrival in North Korea, their activities from 1945 to 1950, and the emergence of the so-called Soviet faction in the North Korean leadership. The article is based on some materials that the author discovered in the Soviet archives, as well interviews with several Soviet Koreans themselves. These interviews were conducted in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when most of these figures were still alive. In this article I have tried to rely more heavily on contemporary sources that I managed to get access to during my research in Russia. Unfortunately, only a fraction of the related documents from the Soviet archives have been de-classified and subjected to study so far. It should be stressed that this work is just a basis for a more detailed study that will be undertaken in the future. Despite its limitations, however, it sheds some light on a period which has hitherto been somewhat shrouded in mystery.

Affiliations: 1: (Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia


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