The Foreign Policy Orientation of the Russian Officers and the Factors of the Formation and Failures of the White Movement: Formulating the Problem

Publication type Article
Status Published
Affiliation: Volga Region Institute of Management
Address: Russian Federation, Saratov
Affiliation: Institute of World History RAS
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameNovaia i noveishaia istoriia
EditionIssue 3

The article examines the political and military orientation of the Russian officer corps after the October Revolution of 1917. Drawing on a wide range of ego-sources, the question is posed as to the validity of the widespread version of the outcome of the Civil War and the fate of the White Movement. The disintegration of the Russian army and the subsequent fragmentation of the vast body of the Russian Empire predetermined a change in the position on the “Russian question” of all the main participants in the Great War, above all Britain, France, Germany, and to a certain extent the United States and Japan. Military considerations dictated the active participation of these countries in the struggle around a potential Eastern Front on the territory of the former Romanov's Empire. The Russian officer corps was also forced to determine who they wanted to support – the German side, the Allies and/or the Soviets. The article provides a general characteristic of the composition and state of the corps by the autumn of 1917 and its further evolution, identifying the factors that predetermined this or that choice. The authors analyse the distribution of political and personal predilections of officers with regard to foreign policy orientation. They examine the full range of motivations for choosing an orientation in the circumstances of 1917–1918 and partly in 1919 for different categories of officers. The question of the motives of those officers who chose the path of “national” self-determination is addressed. Each case is illustrated with examples of prominent officers of the rank of general and officers of the staff. In conclusion, the authors chart the trajectories for further research on the subject of political orientations among Russian officers in exile, up to the end of the Second World War.

KeywordsWhite movement, Russian officer corps, foreign policy orientation, Civil War, Russia, Great War, Entente, Central Powers, intervention, Allies
Publication date20.06.2022
Number of characters67916
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