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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

The Yakut Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic

A brief look.

Revolutionary Committee of the Yakutian Soviet, 1921

From the Great Soviet Encyclopedia 1979:

Yakut Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic

(Yakutia), part of the RSFSR. Formed on Apr. 27, 1922, the Yakut ASSR lies in the northern part of Eastern Siberia, in the basins of the Lena, lana, and Indigirka rivers and the lower reaches of the Kolyma. The republic is bounded on the north by the Laptev and East Siberian seas and includes the Novosibirskie Islands. Area, 3,103,200 sq km. Population, 842,000 (Jan. 1, 1978). Yakutia has 32 raions, ten cities, and 59 urban-type settlements. The capital is Yakutsk.

Constitution and government: The Yakut ASSR is a socialist state of the entire people and an autonomous Soviet socialist republic. Its present constitution was adopted on May 31, 1978, at the extraordinary eighth session of the ninth convocation of the Supreme Soviet of the Yakut ASSR. The supreme bodies of state power are the unicameral Supreme Soviet of the Yakut ASSR, whose members are elected by electoral districts with equal populations, and the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. The Supreme Soviet forms the republic’s government, the Council of Ministers. The Yakut ASSR sends 11 deputies to the Soviet of Nationalities of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. The local governing bodies are the raion, city, settlement, and rural (nasleg) soviets of people’s deputies, which are popularly elected for terms of 2½ years. The Supreme Soviet of the Yakut ASSR elects the members of the republic’s Supreme Court, consisting of a criminal and a civil division, and the Presidium of the Supreme Court for terms of five years. The procurator of the Yakut ASSR is appointed by the procurator-general of the USSR for a term of five years.

History (Excerpt):

The tsarist government designated Yakutia as a place of political exile...In December 1902 an illegal political group was formed among students at the Realschule in Yakutsk; its members became familiar with Lenin’s Iskra and other Marxist writings. During the Revolution of 1905–07 rallies and demonstrations were held in Yakutsk from November 1905 to February 1906. In December 1905 the peasants of Chekur Volost (small rural district) refused to pay taxes or perform their cartage obligations. An illegal Social Democratic organization that included both Russians and Yakuts was formed in the summer of 1906.

Shortly before the February Revolution of 1917 the exiled Bolsheviks, led by E. M. Iaroslavskii, G. K. Ordzhonikidze, and G. I. Petrovskii, stepped up their activities. The united Yakutsk Committee of the RSDLP was established in early March. In May the united Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies was formed under the chairmanship of Iaroslavskii, although most of the members were Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries. The departure of many exiled Bolsheviks for the central regions of the country in late May 1917 weakened the local Bolshevik organization.

After the victory of the October Revolution of 1917 in central Russia, local counterrevolutionary forces formed the so-called Committee to Defend the Revolution. In July 1918, Soviet power was established in Yakutia with the support of a Red Army detachment sent from Irkutsk by the leaders of Tsentrosibir’ (Central Executive Committee of Siberian Soviets). Soviets were formed in Viliuisk and in the Niurba, Suntar, and other uluses. In August 1918, White Guard forces seized Yakutsk. After an uprising against the Kolchak forces in Yakutsk on the night of Dec. 14–15, 1919, power passed to the Military Revolutionary Headquarters.

In June 1920 there arrived in Yakutsk a group of party and Soviet functionaries and economic advisers who had been sent by the Siberian Bureau of the Central Committee of the RCP(B) at the behest of the Central Committee. Shortly thereafter the Yakutsk Regional (Oblast) Revolutionary Committee, composed of the Bolsheviks M. K. Amossov (chairman), Kh. A. Gladunov, and P. A. Sleptsov, was elected. Also formed in June 1920 was the Yakutsk Oblast Organizational Bureau of the RPC(B). Between 1920 and 1922, Yakutia’s banks, commercial firms, industrial enterprises, and land were nationalized. Land owned by monasteries or the state was confiscated; noblemen’s estates had never been established in Yakutia.

In late 1921 a White Guard-kulak rebellion broke out in Yakutia, and in March 1922, Yakut bourgeois nationalists and White Guards established the Provisional Yakutsk Oblast Government in Churapcha. In the summer of 1922 the bourgeois nationalist government appealed to White Russian émigré circles in Harbin for support. The Siberian Volunteer Army, quickly formed under the command of General A. N. Pepeliaev, left Vladivostok for Yakutia in August 1922. To assist the peoples of Yakutia in their fight against the counterrevolutionary forces, the Okhotsk-Aian Expeditionary Force was formed under the command of S. S. Vostretsov. Pepeliaev was unable to capture Yakutsk, and on July 17, 1923, his detachments surrendered in the port of Aian.

On Apr. 27, 1922, the Presidium of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee issued a decree forming the Yakut ASSR as part of the RSFSR. The First All-Yakutia Constituent Assembly of Soviets met on Dec. 27, 1922, to elect the Central Executive Committee and Council of People’s Commissars of the republic. The first constitution of the Yakut ASSR was adopted in 1924. As a result of the land reform begun in 1929 some 150,000 hectares of land were turned over to the working peasants.

During the prewar five-year plans the peoples of Yakutia, supported by the Russian and other peoples of the USSR, completed the transition from a patriarchal-feudal economy to socialism, bypassing the capitalist stage. Among the new industries to be established were coal and ore mining, construction, and forestry. The Aldan goldfield was developed. By 1940 the total volume of industrial output exceeded the 1922 level by a factor of 40, and kolkhozes controlled 93 percent of the cultivated land. A cultural revolution was carried out that eliminated illiteracy (in 1897 only 0.7 percent of the Yakuts were literate), gave rise to national cadres of workers and a national intelligentsia, and established a national theater, libraries, clubs, and other scientific and cultural-educational institutions. The literature and art of the peoples of Yakutia developed. The Ninth Extraordinary All-Yakutia Congress of Soviets, held in March 1937, adopted a new constitution for the republic. A Yakut socialist nation had evolved in the republic, and Yakutia had become an industrial and agrarian republic.

More than 50,000 citizens of Yakutia fought at the front in the Great Patriotic War (1941–45). Thirteen of them were awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, and about 3,000 received various orders and medals. During the war a tin and mica mining industry was established in the republic, which also provided the country with gold, tungsten, furs, and fish.

During the postwar five-year plans the working people of Yakutia have continued to advance economically and culturally. The people’s standard of living, both material and cultural, has risen significantly. In a mature socialist society the working people of Yakutia, together with the other peoples of the Soviet Union, are creating the material and technical basis for communism. The title of Hero of Socialist Labor has been conferred on 57 people in the republic. In 1957 the republic was awarded the Order of Lenin for its achievements in economic and cultural development. In 1972, in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Yakut ASSR, the republic was awarded the Order of the October Revolution; in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the USSR, celebrated that same year, it received the Order of the Friendship of Peoples.



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