Battles in the Marchlands
This chapter analyses the Red Army's many operations around the periphery of the former Russian Empire — notably its conquering of the putatively independent republics of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia in 1920–21 — as the White armies disintegrated. These Red victories in Transcaucasia, it is noted, induced an element of Realpolitik into Soviet foreign policy in Moscow's dealings with Persia and the Kemalist regime in the former Ottoman Empire, but also fomented hopes of an anti-imperialist united front in Asia, as was manifested in the peculiar Congress of the Peoples of the East that the Soviet government organized in Baku in September 1920. The chapter also examines the course of the struggles on the western borderlands of the former empire (notably the Ukrainian–Polish War), culminating in the Soviet–Polish War and its contested meanings and outcomes. Focused upon here is the outbreak of pogroms in Ukraine and Poland, evincing the endemic antisemitism of most military forces involved in the “Russian” Civil Wars. Finally, the chapter elaborates upon the doomed advance from Crimea of the last significant White force of the civil wars — that of General P.N. Wrangel.
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