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The Tuvan People's Republic (or People's Republic of Tannu Tuva; Tuvan: Тыва Арат Республик, romanized: Tıwa Arat Respublik; Uniform Turkic Alphabet: Tьʙа Arat Respuʙlik, IPA: [tʰɯˈʋa aˈɾatʰ resˈpʰuplik]; 1921–1944) was a partially recognized puppet state[3] in the territory of the former Tuvan protectorate of Imperial Russia also known as Uryankhaisky Krai (Russian: Урянхайский край).[note 1]

Tuvan People's Republic

Tьʙа Arat Respuʙlik
Tannu Tuva in 1936
Tannu Tuva in 1936
51°41′53″N 94°23′24″E / 51.698°N 94.390°E / 51.698; 94.390Coordinates: 51°41′53″N 94°23′24″E / 51.698°N 94.390°E / 51.698; 94.390
Common languages
GovernmentMarxist-Leninist single-party socialist republic
Prime Minister 
Historical eraInterwar period, World War II
• Independence proclaimed
14 August 1921
• Annexed
11 October 1944
1944170,500 km2 (65,800 sq mi)
• 1944
CurrencyTuvan akşa
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Asiatic Cavalry Division controlled Russia
Republic of China
Tuvan Autonomous Oblast
Today part ofMongolia

The Soviet Union and Mongolia were the only countries to formally recognize its existence.[4][5] It was annexed by the Soviet Union in 1944, at the request of Tuva's parliament.[citation needed]



Before its annexation by the Russian Empire, Tuva (then called Tannu Uriankhai) was part of Mongolia, which in turn was a vassal state of the Chinese Qing dynasty. At the fall of the Qing dynasty (China's 1911 revolution), it became nominally independent (as the Urjanchai Republic). It then became a Russian protectorate (the Uryankhay Kray) on 17 April 1914.

Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, socialist troops took Tuva in January 1920. The chaos accompanying this era allowed the Tuvans to again proclaim their independence. On 14 August 1921, the Bolsheviks (supported by the USSR) established the Tuvan People's Republic, called Tannu Tuva until 1926. Tannu refers to the Tannu-ola Mountains while Tuva is derived from the Tuvan ethnicity.

The capital Khem-Beldir was eventually renamed Kyzyl ('red' in Tuvan; in Tuvan and Russian: Кызыл; in 1922–26 named "Красный", Krasnyy, 'red' in Russian). A treaty between the Soviet Union and the Mongolian People's Republic in 1926 affirmed the country's independence. No other countries formally recognized it, although it appeared on maps and globes produced in the United States. It also appeared in the map section of The Children's Encyclopedia

1930s US map of Asia that includes the Tuvan People's Republic.

Tuva's first Prime Minister was Donduk Kuular of the Tuvan People's Revolutionary Party. Kuular made Buddhism the state religion and tried to limit settlers and propaganda coming from Russia. He also tried to establish ties with Mongolia. The Soviet Union became increasingly alarmed by these initiatives and in 1929 Prime Minister Kuular was arrested and later executed in the 1929 Tuvan coup d'état.

In the USSR meanwhile (in 1930) five members of the Communist University of the Toilers of the East (KUTV), the same group that executed Kuular, were appointed "commissars extraordinary" for Tuva. Staunchly loyal to Joseph Stalin's government, they purged the Tuvan People's Revolutionary Party of about a third of its members and pushed collectivisation in the traditionally nomadic cattle-breeding country.

Flag of the Tuvan People's Republic from 24 November 1926 to 28 June 1930. The text, in Mongolian, reads:
ᠪᠦᠭᠦᠳᠡ ᠨᠠᠶᠢᠷᠠᠮᠳᠠᠬᠤ ᠲᠤᠸᠠ ᠠᠷᠠᠳ ᠤᠯᠤᠰ
Bügüde Nayiramdaqu Tuva Arad Ulus
"Tuvan People's Republic".

The new government set about trying to destroy Buddhism and shamanism in Tuva, a policy encouraged by Stalin.[citation needed] Evidence of the success of these actions can be seen in the decline in the numbers of lamas in the country: in 1929 there were 25 lamaseries and about 4,000 lamas and shamans; in 1931 there was just one lamasery, 15 lamas, and approximately 725 shamans. The attempts at eradicating nomadic husbandry were more difficult. A census in 1931 showed that 82.2% of Tuvans still engaged in nomadic cattle breeding. Salchak Toka, one of the commissars extraordinary mentioned above, was made General Secretary of the Tuvan People's Revolutionary Party in 1932. He stayed in power in Tuva until his death in 1973.

World War IIEdit

It is sometimes written that Tuva entered World War II with the USSR on 22 or 25 June 1941, three days after the German attack on the Soviet Union – but the sources are dubious.[6] Nevertheless, a voluntary funding campaign in Tuva helped the Red Army in the fight against the Axis Powers. Additionally, Tuva despatched thousands of horses, skis, overcoats, and leather goods.[6] Tannu Tuva sent an infantry regiment and a cavalry squadron to fight the Axis as part of the Red Army.

On 11 October 1944, at the request of Tuva's Small People's Khural (parliament), Tuva became a part of the Soviet Union as the Tuvan Autonomous Oblast of the Russian SFSR by the decision of Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. The Small People's Khural formalized the annexation at its final session on 1 November 1944. Salchak Toka was given the title of First Secretary of the Tuvan Communist Party.

Tuva remained an autonomous republic (Tuvan ASSR within the Russian SFSR) from 10 October 1961 until 1992. The area that was the Tuvan People's Republic is now known as Tyva Republic within the Russian Federation. Over 75% of the population of Tuva are ethnic Tuvans.


Population of Tuva[7]
1918 1931 1944 1958
Tuvans 48,000 64,900 81,100 98,000
Russians and other 12,000 17,300 14,300a 73,900
Total 60,000 82,200 95,400 171,900

a. Russian population declined due to the Red Army conscription during World War II.[citation needed]

See alsoEdit

Tannu Tuva on a globe bank. (Note the incorrect Khartoum in northern Siberia.)


  1. ^ Part of the Qing Empire until its collapse in 1911.


  1. ^ Minahan, James (2009). The Complete Guide to National Symbols and Emblems. ABC-CLIO. p. 193. ISBN 0313344973.
  2. ^ Новые исследования Тувы. Электронный журнал «Новые исследования Тувы» (in Russian). Retrieved 2018-08-18.
  3. ^ Toomas Alatalu (1992). "Tuva: a State Reawakens". Soviet Studies. 44 (5): 881–895. JSTOR 152275.
  4. ^ Dallin, David J. Soviet Russia and the Far East, Yale University Press, 1948, p. 87.
  5. ^ Paine, S.C.M. Imperial Rivals: China, Russia, and Their Disputed Frontier, M.E. Sharpe, 1996, p. 329.
  6. ^ a b Denys J. Voaden: Mongolian and Tuvan aid to wartime Russia, in: M. Gervers/U. Bulag/G. Long (eds.): History and society in Central and Inner Asia, Toronto 2007, pp. 273–277 (here: p. 276).
  7. ^ ‹See Tfd›(in Russian) V. A. Grebneva, "Geography of Tuva", Kyzyl, 1968.

External linksEdit