Historical Notes: Russian Political Influence Over Korea

The history of Russia's politics and the power of these ideas for Koreans. Includes tactics to promote communism.

The onset of Russian interest in Korea around 1860 signaled the beginning of Russian involvement in Korean events. Though it was not overwhelming, Russian support for the Communist party in Korea during the end of the Japanese rule facilitated the organization and strength of this group. The division of political parties in Korea is one of the causes of the lack of a unified nation after Japan's withdrawal, and it is possible that if Russia had not supported the Communist party, it would not have been as influential and the nation might have been able to unify under a different system. However, as Japan surrendered, Russia's interest in Korea increased and Japanese surrender of North Korea above the 38th Parallel allowed the Russians to spread communism and firmly establish a territory in the east.

Russian invasion of Korea in August of 1945 resulted in the looting of much of the land as the army made its way south, flagrantly demonstrating its dominance and simultaneously destroying some of Korea's resources. As Soviet forces settled in, the year 1948 saw the

establishment of the People's Democratic Republic of Korea. This communist government was monitored by the Soviet government in the USSR, and it entirely wiped out the former colonial order. The expulsion of Japanese collaborators unified the Koreans and allowed them to assume positions in their own government relatively quickly, compared with South Korea. This beneficial change is contrasted with the American approach, in which Japanese were still employed and many Koreans were angered by this.

The lack of military occupation by Russia was an important change, demonstrating that peaceful exercises of power are possible and also not hurting or killing Korean citizens in order to attain a goal. Where Japan had previously used violence and force to command subjugation, the Russian government worked with the existing People's Committee in order to establish a socialist government which would be favored by the North Korean population. This cooperation provided a positive example for future Korean elections.

Some beneficial changes which were instituted include the Land Reform Policy, in which land was taken from Japanese sympathizers and redistributed to Koreans, who rightfully deserved it. For the first time, Korean citizens received the rights which had been denied them, and they were able to direct their own country more than ever before. Major industries were nationalized, which brought about much-needed labor reforms, shorter workdays, and a social security system was established. The order and organization with which the Russian government directed this change in North Korea allowed for a smooth, peaceful transition and aided North Korea's political, economic, and social arenas.

Today, many manufacturing goods are produced in North Korea and it is still functioning under Communism. Although Russia brought about some much-needed changes in the political, economic, and social arenas of North Korea, it is important to note that North Koreans were not allowed to decide for themselves whether they wanted a Communist or other type of government. The Russian influence has dictated many regulations to the North Koreans and they were accepted as law, though not always voted on. Also, Russia's interest in North Korea is for ideological reasons, just as the U.S.'s interest in South Korea is. Russia is involved in order to spread the ideals and practice of communism, and any aid offered to the struggling nation is in order to facilitate the spread of this system.

© High Speed Ventures 2011