Demystifying Soviet Economic Intervention In Xinjiang

Xinjiang–Russian Relations Reconsidered, 1912–1928

  • Cheng Yi Meng Department of History, Peking University
  • Wang Kailong
Keywords: Xinjiang, Yang Zengxin, Soviet Russia


This paper will first show how Yang Zengxin, the ruler of Xinjiang from 1911 to 1928, aligned himself with Yuan Shikai, the first President of the Republic of China, instead of the revolutionaries because Yuan accorded more attention to the borderlands and the minorities and appeared willing, at least superficially, to offer aid to Xinjiang. Building on this explanation, the paper will demonstrate how Yang increasingly estranged himself from the Beijing government as he grew disillusioned over the attitude of Yuan’s successors towards him and Xinjiang. It will argue, ultimately, that Yang Zengxin concluded a quid pro quo with the Soviet Union to the effect that he would promote cross-border trade, which led inadvertently to increased Soviet control over the local economy, even as the agreement consolidated Yang’s position as governor of Xinjiang and further estranged him from the ruling elites in Republican China.


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How to Cite
Yi Meng, C., & Kailong, W. (2022). Demystifying Soviet Economic Intervention In Xinjiang: Xinjiang–Russian Relations Reconsidered, 1912–1928. Archiv orientální, 90(2), 351-370.
Research Article