1931 Russian Invasion of Turkestan

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Wars of Ill Bethisad
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Name(s):Russian Invasion;
Invasion of 1931;
Attack on Turkestan
Start of hostilities:20th February 1931
End of hostilities:18th March 1931
Winning side:Losing side:
Turkestan flag.PNG
Russian Empire
Imperial China flag.png
Empire of China
Major consequences:China-Turkestan defence pact;
Increased Russian hostility to China;
Chinese influence in Turkestan

After the Chinese reneged on their 1924 deal with Russia over Siberia, the Russians were looking for a way to retake the territory that they felt was rightfully theirs, but were very hesitant to provoke a full war with the powerful and dangerous Chinese state. The White Council therefore decided to try to outflank the Chinese by attacking the weak Turkestan.


Early in the winter of 1930, riders from Russian Qazaqstan began arriving in Turkestani border towns warning of Russian troops massing on the steppe with weapons of war that could only mean an invasion force, rather than troops meant to pacify a restive local population.

The Turkestani Qurultaı government, having confirmed the reports through its own reconnaissance efforts, took quick stock of its own forces and realised that it would not be able to stop a determined invasion force. The technology gap had widened considerably since independence, and Turkestan would need allies.

The Qurultaı quietly approached the Chinese for a mutual defence agreement, and managed to gain the treaty they wanted; the expansionist government of China was looking to expand their influence in the region, and a safely vassal Turkestan would allow them to extend their sphere still further to the west.

The Russian commander, General Gennadiy Ivanovich Shilkov, quickly realised that the element of surprise had been lost, but under pressure to prove his political reliability, he ordered the attack in late February 1931.


The Turkestani and Chinese allied forces were ready. Divided into three groups, two under Chinese command and one Turkestani under the Tajik Bahram Firuz Sardar (=General Bahram Firuz), they were stationed, according to their best intelligence, at Yası (=*here's Turkistan city, Kazakhstan), Aq-Meşit (=*here's Qyzylorda) and Muynaq (in *here's Karakalpak region, Uzbekistan).

However, General Shilkov had changed his plan of attack at the last minute, and all of his forces were now converging on Firuz Sardar's Turkestani army at Muynaq.

Badly outnumbered and with inferior weapons, Firuz Sardar nevertheless managed to hold off General Shilkov's forces until their Chinese allies were able to arrive and counterattack. With Chinese aid, the White Army was driven back in tatters, its pride badly bruised.


This attempted invasion became further grievance for the Russians against the Chinese, and eventually flared up into the Sino-Russian War of 1934-1938.

Firuz Sardar became a hero in Turkestan, and though in the SNORist period his victory was downplayed and ignored due to its being against the White Army, since the collapse of the SNOR he has become a hero once again.

Shilkov is rumoured to have taken his own life after his army broke apart rather than face a firing squad for failing to carry out the will of his political masters; official Russian sources say a sniper's bullet killed him.

Turkestan retained its independence, but moved further and further under Chinese hegemony.

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