Chinese-Russian Railway Incident

In 1929 the Chinese Nationalist Party, also known as the Kuomintang, made advancements into Soviet territory. They had just recently eliminated the Chinese Communist, while the Soviet Union had obtained ownership of the Chinese Eastern Railroad, “with the overthrow of the tsarist government and the October Revolution” (Siegelbaum). The Kuomintang sought to regain control of the railroad in the East. In May of 1929 the Chinese hit numerous positions along the railroad, attacking dozens of Russian officials and citizens.

Sino-Soviet Railroad[term]=commemorative%20coins%20of%20the%20soviet%20union&filters[primary]=images&filters[secondary]=videos&sort=1&o=11

The Soviet Union openly condemned the attacks, but the Chinese continued their raids until they controlled the Eastern Railroad. Finally, the Soviets launched an return attack to retake the Railroad. They used superior airpower and tanks to regain control of the railroads. This event inspired “US Secretary of State Harold Stimson to invoke the Kellogg-Briand Pact (1928) to prevent war, the main result of which was a flurry of angry exchanges between Washington and Moscow. In 1933 the Soviet government initiated discussions with the Japanese for the sale of the no-longer profitable CER to the puppet state of Manchukuo” Siegelbaum.


Nepreryvnaia Nedelia

During the early 1920s, the Kremlin leadership consisted of representatives, old and young, with radical and extreme views. There was a shift in goals and the government sought to increase restrictions on the Church. The authorities rallied the people and began attacking Church property in order to sabotage any extent of faith the people had. Churches were picked apart and turned into nothing more than sheds and warehouses, “ancient churches converted into warehouses, and sacred objects melted down for their metals. Church bells were the object of special attention, since the state claimed the metal for the great industrialization project” (Geldern).

The government then proposed the idea of a continuous workweek, also known as Nepreryvnaia Nedelia (Nepreryvka). “Its basic premise was that while workers required days off, machines did not. . . The solution was to arrange work schedules so that on any given day, only a small fraction of an enterprise’s work force would not be on the job” (Siegelbaum 212). The work week would be as follows: four days of work, followed by one day of rest. As a result of this workweek, workers would not be able to practice Sunday’s as days of rest, and especially, other religious holidays as well. There would be only five days off per year, referred to as ‘revolutionary holiday celebrations.’

It wasn’t just factories that shifted to this workweek schedule, businesses including educational institutions, shops, laundry shops, clubs, etc. were expected to follow this schedule. It turned out to be ineffective. At first, workers had a very hard time adjusting to this tedious work schedule. And while the factory machines could theoretically run 24/7, they frequently broke down due to overuse and had malfunctions. Businesses also found that they were going through materials much faster and had more frequent shortages. Over the years, the nepreryvka proved ineffective. By the early 1930s, the nepreryvka was discontinued due to its lack of success.

Russian Factory, early 1900s (


“Churches Closed,” James von Geldern (

Soviet State and Society Between Revolutions, 1918-1929, Lewis H. Siegelbaum (

Kornilov Affair

General Lavr Kornilov was an influential war hero in 1917 and stood out because of his determination to establish order following the April Crisis. He was liked by most political figures and industrialists. Kornilov was appointed as the Supreme Commander of the Russian Armed forces by Kerensky, who saw promise in Kornilov’s plan to restore the army’s fighting capability with discipline and resorting the death penalty. But Kornilov “had broader political ambitions, for he doubted that the coalition had the will either to win the war or to stabilize the domestic front. Regarding the government as a Soviet hostage, he concluded that a true patriot must put an end to dual power” (Freeze 287). He also “held the Petrograd Soviet responsible for the breakdown of discipline in the army. He also came to regard the Provisional Government as lacking the backbone to dissolve the Soviet and therefore unworthy of survival” (Siegelbaum).

Kornilov rounded up his loyal troops and lead a military coup d’etat towards Petrograd in an effort to restore order. He was under the impression he had the support of Kerensky, however, Kerensky had become enraged with Kornilov’s ambitions, and was prepared to launch a coalition against Kornilov’s coup.

General Lavr Kornilov (

Kerensky mobilized the Red Guards, made up of workers and paramilitary units, and quickly arrested Kornilov and disarmed his troops. Kerensky established himself as head of government. But even after Kornilov was arrested, the armed forces he had rounded up managed to keep their moral high, without being disbanded, and posed a serious threat to the government. The chaos that came from this affair caused Kerensky’s support to diminish and expedite the Bolshevik seizure of power.


Kornilov Affair

Russia: A History, Gregory L. Freeze