How Russia Decides to Go Nuclear
Deciphering the Way Moscow Handles Its Ultimate Weapon
During the last few months the Russian leaders have taken steps to effect several changes in the organization of the Soviet state which are quite significant, not only from the standpoint of domestic political considerations, but also from the point of view of the foreign policy of the Soviet power.
The first of these acts was the creation of an autonomous Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic along the Soviet-Rumanian frontier. This new entity, which is to form an autonomous unit within the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic, comprises those districts of the provinces of Odessa and Podolia in which the Moldavian (i. e. Rumanian) population predominates.
The proclamation of the new republic was preceded by a carefully prepared propaganda campaign to create the illusion of a mass movement of the local population in favor of the formation of a Moldavian Republic. No attempt has been made to conceal the fact that it is hoped that the concessions being accorded to the incipient Moldavian nationalism will win the sympathies of the Moldavian population across the Dniester and that eventually the new unit will include the Rumanian population in Bessarabia. The Chairman of the Moldavian Revolutionary Committee declared in an interview appearing in the Izvestia of November I, 1924, with regard to the capital of the new unit, that the permanent administrative center can only be Kishinev, "for the larger part of the Moldavian Republic lies on the further side of the Dniester." It will also be noted that the new entity, according to the boundaries stipulated in the resolution of the All-Ukrainian Central Executive Committee of October 11, 1924, stretches along the Dniester like a shoestring, apparently so as to include the maximum number of crossings into Bessarabia. This circumstance, it will be appreciated, will greatly facilitate the organization of partisan incursions into Bessarabia and encourage intercourse between it and the new state.
Of greater importance, perhaps, than the formation by the Soviets of an autonomous Moldavian Republic is the extensive reorganization of Central Asia which they are now carrying out. The new arrangement is based primarily on ethnic considerations and is designed not only to strengthen the Soviet power internally, but also to facilitate the penetration of Bolshevik influence in the adjacent regions of Central Asia.
It is to be especially noted that the Soviet power, whether acting through the Soviet Government or through the Third International, is actively engaged at the present time in utilizing the national movements, particularly in the Near and Far East, to further the interests of the proletarian revolution. The intended reorganization, as will be observed from the insert on the accompanying map,[i] involves the dismemberment of the Turkestan Socialist Soviet Republic, the disappearance of Khiva and Bokhara, which hitherto have not formed an integral part of the Soviet Union, and the creation of two new republics, a Turcoman Soviet Socialist Republic (comprising the regions populated by Turcomans in Bokhara, Khiva and Turkestan) and an Uzbeg Soviet Socialist Republic (comprising the Uzbeg population in Khiva, Western Bokhara and adjacent territories). The Kirgiz districts of the Turkestan Republic are to be joined to the Kirgiz Socialist Soviet Republic, while the Kara-Kirgiz population is to be formed into an Autonomous Kara-Kirgiz Region, as a part of Soviet Russia proper, and the Tadjik population in Eastern Bokhara and Turkestan is to be formed into an Autonomous Tadjik Socialist Soviet Republic as an integral part of the Uzbeg Republic. The Turcoman and Uzbeg Republics are to enter the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
The object of this new territorial arrangement, from an internal point of view, is to eliminate the friction between the various nationalities within the present grouping --friction which, it appears, has tended to interfere with the carrying on of the revolutionary class struggle. It is obvious, also, that the new arrangement will tend to strengthen the control of Moscow over this region by destroying the territorial basis of the old order and thereby preventing the possibile recrudescence of native movements to restore the former Khanates of Bokhara and Khiva. Externally, the Turcoman and Uzbeg Republics are intended to exert a considerable influence to the advantage of the Soviet power on the Turcoman, Uzbeg, and Kirgiz populations of Northern Persia, Northern Afghanistan and Western China.
Thus we see that in these latest changes in Asia the Soviet Union is consistently following out the policy it has inaugurated in Europe by the creation of frontier states like White Russia and the Ukraine (as well as Moldavia) which shall serve as centers of attraction and propaganda among the kindred populations across the border and perhaps prepare the way for direct intervention.[ii]
[i] The boundaries of the new units have not as yet been definitively delimited, but they will not differ substantially from those indicated on the map.
[ii] See FOREIGN AFFAIRS, Vol II, No. 4, p. 662, and Vol. III, No. 1, p. 91.