The Soviets and the Chinese Civil War

A Re-compilation of Old Postings (Georgy Malenkov in Chinese Civil War 1947-48)

The Soviet sabotage against the R.O.C. came in two flavors: 1) a direct proxy war in Chinese Turkistan; 2) an indirect proxy war in Manchuria. If Malenkov was directing war against China in Central Asia, it had to do with the hiring of the “Eastern Turkistan” rebels in attacking Xinjiang, which lasted from 1944 to 1950, all triggered after Sheng Shicai jumped fence to the R.O.C. side.

I don’t see too much Malenkov activity for the other side of the war against China. Stalin was multi-faceted in his intrigue against China. In early 1946, Stalin was still trying to control 50% of China’s industries. There was an episode of the Chinese Communists’ bayoneting engineer Zhang Xinfu and China’s Manchuria commission. The CPC soldiers wanted to bayonet the railway guards of the Chinese Eastern Railway as well, namely, the guards who were supposed to protect the entourage. The Red Army told the CPC troops that the railway guards were hired for the Chinese Eastern Railway, a joint Sino-Soviet property. I don’t know what was exact behind this. What I could sense was that Stalin did not want an open conflict with the R.O.C., but Mao and the CPC decided to provoke it so that Stalin would be with the CPC wholeheartedly. As late as today, there were a bunch of so-called experts in the Russian and CCP fields, who claimed that Stalin did not want to anatagonize the R.O.C., did not provide aid to the Chinese Communists, and hence moved his embassy to Canton while the U.S. stayed put in Nanking in 1949. All craaps. Stalin, in 1945-6, gave all the Japanese Kwantung Army weapons to the CCP, and he was interested in hauling the Manchurian industries to Siberia, only. The Soviet shipping, by land, air and sea, was 100% occupied with stealing the industries of Manchuria, not the weapons. All the locomotives were stolen as well, with less than half towed to the Soviet-controlled Dairen, when the time was running out as the Soviets procrastinated in pulling out of Manchuria. Stalin had to order Mao to defend Sipingjie as China’s Madrid to win time for more stealing work.

The next stage of assistance came in 1947 when the Chinese Communists worked with the Russians on two deals: 1) direct trade with the Soviets; 2) free pickup of the Japanese Kwantung Army weapons in North Korea – which was the source of supply for the communists in Hebei-Shandong Provinces initially. Basically, Stalin wrote off the Japanese goodies once and for all, believing they were all for the Chinese Communists, and there was no need for prior approval to obtain it nor money to pay for it. I doubt the Soviet commander in Korea did it for free for the Chinese Communists out of the selflessness, nor disobey Stalin’s order. The direct trading with the Soviets in 1947 amounted to:

2000 TONS OF MACHINERY OIL. (Noted at )

In later 1947 and early 1948, Stalin finally decided that the Chinese civil war went on for too long, and needed a push. Hence Stalin, in early 1948, matched the U.S. China Aid Act with a loan for the Chinese Communists of the same amount, and sent in the Soviet railway army corps to Manchuria, instructed the Outer Mongolia cavalry to assist the CPC in the war in Jehol, instructed Kim Il Sung to send in the Korean mercenaries – amounting to 250,000 per Kim Il Sung memoirs, and transferred the U.S. August Storm lend-lease weapons, captured German weapons, and the Russian weapons, to the CPC. That’s how I roughly wrote about on basis of what i read: TEN TRAINS EQUIVALENT AMERICAN LEND-LEASE WEAPONS THAT STALIN & RUSSIANS GAVE TO MAO & CHINESE CommunistS; FORTY SHIPS EQUIVALENT QUANTITY OF TANKS & CANNONS, BOTH AMERICAN-MADE & JAPAN-MADE.


I checked my records all around, and still do not see any Malenkov activities prior to the Korean War. Everything I read about pointed to a personal participation by Stalin from day one. Yuan Nansheng, a Chinese writer who published a good bookon Mao and Stalin, had detailed accounts on the day-to-day operations of Stalin concerning China. Stalin, who already had his agents controlling the United States treasury department and state department, was apparently not feeling comfortable about his ultimate scheme on the Republic of China. Stalin repeatedly said to Jiang Jingguo that should the R.O.C. allow a single American soldier to stay in mainland China (not Manchuria, note it), then things could be difficult between the U.S.S.R and R.O.C. What Stalin meant was that Chiang and the R.O.C. had to stay in the Soviet orbit; otherwise, Stalin had no choice but to foment the civil war by the Chinese Communists.

Though, Stalin himself was a bit surprised by the success of the Chinese Communists’ war in 1948, perhaps underestimating the impact of the United States arms embargo on the R.O.C.’s military capabilities. In my opinion, the domino collapse was triggered by the Soviet railway army corps’ assistance in shipping the heavy artillery pieces to the battle front of Jinzhou, and at will around Manchuria, while the CPC already bought over the Manchuria commander Wei Lihuang who refused to withdraw the government troops to China proper but disperse the government troops to defending the “points” (cities). — In early 1948, Lin Biao was loitering between Jinzhou and Sipingjie for half a year, and at one time expressed wish to go west towards Inner Mongolia. The siege of Jinzhou with 900+ Soviet artillery pieces changed the whole picture of China’s civil war. Lin Biao no longer feared the debacle of siege campaigns as he encountered in the multiple attacks against Siping. (In the early days, you had Fu Zuoyi, using the 80 lend-lease trucks, sent a “mechanized” relief into Manchuria from Suiyuan-Chahar to defeat the communists, which shows how important ‘mobility’ was in a war.)

Malenkov’s possible link to China’s civil wars would be that in Chinese Turkistan. The Soviet-directed rebellion and invasion started in 1944. There were at least 30,000 rebel armies, with 60% comprising of Khazaks, and the rest Kirghiz and Uygurs and other Turkic elements. Today’s so-called Eastern Turkistan Republic separatists derived from the Soviet instigation of 1944. Those guys continued the practice of ethnic cleansing as seen in the 1930s, and killed the Han Chinese whenever they laid hands on. The war continued till 1950, when the CPC came in, and purportedly Mao and the CPC were more cunning than those Uygur guys, and blew apart a plane that was carrying the Turkistan rebel leaders to a meeting with Mao in Peking. However, reading through the records on the Turkic rebels, I don’t see Malenkov’s name either. Perhaps Malenkov was too important to deal with the rebels direct. The base of the war in Chinese Turkistan was in Alma-Alta.


Stalin was a real dictator, and I don’t see him delegating anything significant to someone else. The first appearance of Malenkov’s activities, as far as I read, would be during Mao’s visit to Moscow at the turn of 1949-1950. Subsequently, Zhou Enlai, et al, visited Moscow almost yearly, in 1951, 1952 and etc, for talks on military and economic assistance in fighting the Korean War. Malenkov’s name rarely appeared to be “attentioned” to, and almost every other Soviet officials were on the documents and telegrams other than Malenkov.

Here is an interesting article, in Chinese, about how Stalin time and again delayed Mao’s visit to Moscow, for like 2-3 years, from 1947 to 1950, over the two dictators’ claim for the leadership in the worldwide communist revolution. (Very interesting piece on Armstrong, Tito, and the so-called Yangtze demarcation peace talk. It appears to me that Chiang Kai-shek could have utilized the schism between Stalin and Mao to strike some deal, and Stalin was a pragmatist, interested in grabbing 50% interests in China.)

There is a website with a list of telegrams between Moscow and Mao, and last time I briefly checked for Malenkov, but failed to turn up any significant stuff.

I checked Ledovsky’s book, and saw Malenkov listed as one of the meeting participants, not someone who hosted the meeting. (Ledosvky, who was once rep at Lanzhou, talked about the origin of schism between Chiang and Stalin, with the main hurdle being the demand for 50% interests of industries and mine in Chinese Turkistan. Ledovsky said that Chiang was playing some goodwill to Stalin by sacking Sheng Shicai who should be considered to have betrayed Stalin. Though, Sheng betrayed Stalin because the Chinese Communists were conspiring to take over Chinese Turkistan, killing his brother, for example. There was an interesting writeup about why Stalin refused to pressure Sheng Shicai on rescuing Mao’s brother, Mao Zemin, from Sheng’s prison.)

As to the direct proxy war in Chinese Turkistan, it should be considered a war by the Soviet Turkic people, not the Chinese Turkistan turkic people. So, my using “rebels” was not right. I did not know the exact motive behind the Soviet funding of the war in Chinese Turkistan other than what Ledovsky referred to as the demand for 50% ownership of the mines and industries that the Soviets operated with Sheng Shicai previously. This 50% matter went all the way to the 1945 Sino-Soviet treaty, and it shows how pragmatic Stalin was. For a pragmatic person like Stalin, Chiang could have loosened a bit his patriotism and “sold out” some interests to appease Stalin so as to keep his power. (What I read was a house of Chinese politicians at the national assembly talking about maintaining the 51 % nominal sovereighty in early 1946 while Mao and the Chinese Communists, blood-thirty as always, went ahead to bayonet engineer Zhang Xinfu to create a national anti-Soviet fervor in a deliberate sense, hence shutting off the rapprochement between Stalin and Chiang. (Certainly, Chiang was naive about the Americans, not knowing that Stalin’s agents already controlled the U.S. state department and treasury department; otherwise, Chiang had more chips to strike a deal with Stalin than Mao, and on a personal ground, I believe Stalin looked down upon Mao and in fact respected Chiang as a great national leader of China. The previous article about the 2-3 years of tit for tat correspondence in regards to Mao’s visit to Moscow, shows you what Stalin thought about Mao.)



I mentioned previously that Stalin was pragmatic, and I believe Stalin would not hesitate to strike deals with devils if he had this chance. Stalin was happy with extracting the terms of controlling the Chinese Eastern Railway for 30 years, till 1975. However, the Chinese Communists outsmarted him, and provoked the Sino-Soviet confrontation by bayoneting the engineering entourage led by Zhang Xinfu, as said before.

Stalin’s other top priority was to kick out the Americans from Manchuria and China as a whole. That’s what he said to Jiang Jingguo , Chiang Kai-shek’s son, as the precondition for a better relationship between R.O.C. and the Soviet Union. –If Chiang had known that the whole house in America was hijacked by the Soviet agents, he should have struck deals with Stalin. Chiang of course would not know what VENONA said about the Soviet spies’ hijacking the U.S. government. McCarthy only knew a tiny bit from Edgar Hoover, while Hoover was a coward to stand out against the Soviet spies. Stalin had a Moscow conference, which set the blueprint for the three foreign secretaries of the U.S., the Soviet Union and Britain to pressure the R.O.C on the matter of taking in the Chinese Communists to form a coalition government.

On the surface, you have a 1945 treaty between the ROC and Stalin, as well as a three-power consensus on pressuring Chiang and the R.O.C. on the matter of dealing with the communists. China was 100% isolated internationally, and no country in the whole world gave Chiang any aid, other than the British bribery (i.e., warships) which was meant for delaying China’s recovery of H.K., and the undertable transfer of limited weapons and shells from the American navy which was less infiltrated by the CPUSA than the U.S. army. In contrast with the Chinese government troops, the CPC, other than the Japanese bounty Stalin gave to Mao in 1945, had access to the Kwantung Army depots in Korea. Thousands of trains equivalent quantity of weapons were delivered to the CPC via land and sea, from North Korea. There were at least two high-profile visits to Korea by the CPC officials from 1946 to 1948.

Nevertheless, this time period, Stalin was still trying to make gains in Berlin and Eastern Europe. The North Korea operation was of course sanctioned by Stalin. So far, I haven’t read any detailed Soviet account as to what exact order the Soviet army commander in Korea received from Stalin. The CPC officials, while visiting Korea to get the Soviet commander to supply weapons, apparently did some other stuff. The CPC officials, at about the same timeframe, launched massive “barter” trade with the Soviet Union, as detailed in the thousands of tons of petrol/diesel/oil I quoted earlier. This “barter” trade with the Soviets to the north and free weeapon pickup from North Korea to the east can’t be de-linked. They were meant to be a CPC requital for the Soviet good will. According to records from the CPC, the offer to give ‘barter’ goods to the Soviets was voluntary. That is, the Soviets did not ask for it. In another word, Stalin did not ask for it. It was Mao and the CPC who wanted to thank Stalin for the generocity.

Now back to Malenkov’s involvement. This guy ascended to the top apparently because the Soviets changed scheme again to go east, as Lenin did when he failed to instigate the German and Hungarian munities in early 1920s. From Ledovsky, you could read Mao’s telegram to Stalin, in which Mao asked for the 30 million USD equivalent of silver loan in 1948. This was a scheme to map the U.S. offer, which the Republican Party strenuously succeeded to extract from Truman’s Democratic Party to lend aid through the China Aid Act to help Chiang. Stalin of course gave Mao the aid without strings, while the American aid did not get shipped out till Nov 1948 and further, cargo ships were ordered to turn around at Okinawa and Saipan, pending the defeat of the R.O.C. troops at the Huai-hai Campaign.

The linkage here was Stalin’s 30 million USD equivalent of silver loan, which was of course a “free” gift for Mao, to be repaid when Mao signed off China’s 50% resources to Stalin in 1950. If Malenkov was involved, he would be the person who would have overseen the disbursement of this money. By early 1949, when Mikoyan visited Mao, the CPC troops were almost completely equipped with the Soviet guns and Czech guns, and hence Mao’s promise to Mikoyan that he had ordered Lin Biao to switch gear to the American lend-lease weapons so as to create an impression that Mao’s communists acquired the American weapons by defeating the R.O.C. troops. Again, according to Ledvosky, and Shi Zhe’s memoirs, the Soviet railway army corps stepped into China in 1948. That was the determinant factor in the communist victory at the battle of Jinzhou, where 900+ artillery pieced were shipped over to blast the city to pieces, while the communist-mole, commander Wei Lihuang, synched up with Mao in ordering all R.O.C. troops to defend three major cities of Shenyang, Jinzhou and Changchun, leaving the communists in control of the wilderness. Nobody knew the scheme. Lin Biao did not know either. That’s why Lin Biao, who was scared of the bloodbath in twice attacking Sipingjie, loitered between Sipinjie and Jinzhou for half a year, till 900+ Soviet artillery pieces were shipped over.

In Manchuria, the CPC had a few factions. Li Lisan’s Soviet returnee faction; Gao Gang and Zhang Xiushan’s pro-Mao faction; Lin Biao and Tao Zhu’s Whampoa communist faction; Zhu Lizhi’s ex-Wang Ming faction; and Chen Yun and Peng Zhen’s Liu Shaoqi white-area faction. Lin was an army man, Zhu was shipping the Soviet weapons from Korea; Chen and Peng were killing the landlords so as to make all young men to join the communist army; Gao Gang was running the trade with the Soviets; and Li Lishan was fruitlessly attempting to reclaim leadership. Mao was telegramming Stalin for a visit to Moscow from 1947 to 1949, of course, suggesting a forceful fight across the Peiping-Suiyuan Railway to reach Manchuria so as to take the Soviet airplane for a trip to Moscow. All actors at play. I don’t think I missed any one.

Stalin’s strategic viewpoints. I re-read Shi Zhe’s memoirs, the guy who was Mao’s secretary and one of few who were allowed to have their Russian wives move (relocate) to China. He mentioned as early as 1951, Stalin was probing the CPC about starting up the rubber plantation in Hainan and southern China. Zhou Enlai sent agents to Southeast Asia to steal the rubber tree seeds. In 1952, Stalin personally went over a Sino-Soviet treaty covering three items, i) extending the lease of Dairen/Port Arthur; ii) construction of a Sion-Mongolia RR; and iii) a bilateral agreement on planting and harvesting rubber. Wasn’t that something extraordinary? It was after this Aug-Sept 1952 meeting that Malenkov was listed as someone next to Stalin and Molotov, in regards to the PRC’s 5-year plan, not the three-points treaty mentioned earlier. (See Shi Zhe pp 520-522.)

Throughout Shi Zhe’s memoirs, I see Stalin going through details in person, not delegating power to anybody.

I should also correct my previous assertion that the CPC learnt everything from Stalin. It was not true. Stalin was suggesting that China relocate the landlords and wealthy peasants to some place like what he did with settling 3 million landlords to Siberia. But the CPC declined it. (See Shi Zhe pp 533-534.) The CPC just decided to kill them all, but pretended to Stalin that they wanted the ‘poor’ peasants to supervise the landlords and reform them into a laborer. Shi Zhe, on page 360, carried a conversation between communist general Heh Long and Mao. Mao was telling Heh around the time of summer-autumn 1948 that the elimination of landlords was a ‘leftist’ mistake, referring to the massive kill conducted in 1947 for agitating the peasant into enrollment in the communist army. Heh replied: “How much difference was this (referring to the non-elimination and re-education versus the elimination of landlords)? Wasn’t it good to solve the problem as a side job [to the land reform]?”

Back to the topic. Stalin’s emphasis on the uranium materials in Chinese Turkestan. The rubber story corroborated Stalin’s strategical consideration.






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