An extract quoted from “NORTH KOREA” BY BRUCE CUMINGS p. 118

“As Soviet dissident Roy Medvedev was among the first to point out, during the purges of the late 1930s, Stalin executed every Korean agent of the Communist International he could get his hands on – after all, they might be Japanese spies. Plus Koreans looked like Japanese – who could tell them apart? – and so in 1957 Stalin deported 200,000 Koreans living in the Soviet Far East to Central Asia, primarily to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. For good measure the Russians also arrested Kim il Sung and his guerrillas allies when they first encountered them in October 1940, accusing them of spying for Japan. Upon their release, Moscow demanded that Korean guerrillas stop their struggle against the Japanese, lest Tokyo be provoked unto attacking Siberia (a likely possibility, of course, until Japan’s “turn south” in July 1941). This appalling Stalinist racism added insult to the vast injury inflicted by Chinese ethnic prejudice, which in a final symbolic act, took even the life of the veteran Korean revolutionary Kim San, memorialized by Nym Wales’ wonderful book, “Song of Ariran”. Kang Sheng (later to become Mao Zedong’s chief of security) accused Kim San of being a Japanese spy and ordered his execution in 1938. Is it any wonder that for a Communist arrested by both Chinese and Soviet “comrades”, independence and self-reliance would later become Kim Il Sung’s leitmotiv?

In the 1930s, the Soviets were alone among the great powers willing to confront the Japanese expansion directly, in skirmishes and major battles along the Korean and Mongolian borders in 1938 and 1939. But this was not much of a sacrifice, and anyway the Soviets needed to convince the Japanese to turn south rather than north, There is no evidence if substantial Soviet support to Korean and Chinese anti-Japanese guerrillas thereafter, yet they bore the brunt of the struggle to keep Japan from a northward instead of southward strategy. The late (and great) historian Ienaga Saburo wrote in “The Pacific War” that the Manchurian guerrilla quagmire constituted the longest battle of this war, which he dates from 1931, and was instrumental in the decision to give up trying to control the Chinese mainland and turn south, resulting in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Furthermore, after Kim Il Sung, Kim Ch’aek, Ch’oe Yong-gŏn, Mu Jŏng (who was a commander with Mao’s forces on the Long March), and other Korean guerrillas had been fighting the Japanese for a decade, the Soviets signed a neutrality pact with Japan, which they did not break until 1945. There were good reasons of state for this policy; they had their hands entirely full with Hitler’s legions. But this meant that the Soviets were careful not to arm guerrillas against Japan, and restrained them when they could. Koreans who had long fought the Japanese awaited what everyone thought would be a prologned sturggle to throw Japanese power off the Asian mainland. Suddenly in August 1945 the war ended overnight, and the Soviets marched in first. Then, they stopped at the 38th parallel when the peninsula was theirs for the talking. The end of the war was, therefore, a mixed blessing for Korean guerrillas.”


Aleksandr Pavlovich Min, Soviet military captain. Once Hero of the Soviet Union (conferred Mar 24, 1945) and Order of Lenin recipient. (List of Koryo Saram)


Aleksandr Pavlovich Min – ethnic Korean military officer in the Soviet Red Army during World War Pininterest


6426c7dc075c5a88b44a18126dfd500b (1).jpgA soldier of Asian ancestry among comrades in the Red Army.