China, Jilin (Kirin)

Jilin (Kirin or Girin) for Russian emigration is known as the “Far Eastern Gallipoli”. The largest Russian military and refugee camp of the Great Russian Exodus of 1922 from Vladivostok is almost completely unknown to historians in Russia.
The first attempt to describe him was made by M. Blinov in 2010, when Girin was included in the directory of Russian military and refugee camps. Below we publish available information and research on the history of the Russian stay in the city of Kirin.

Kirin, a brief history

During the boxing uprising, the city was captured by Russian troops, who remained here for many years. Description of the city of Jirin in 1904 *.
Kirin (Jilin) city and the adjacent reach of the Sungari River..
…Kirin or Jilin also has the third name “Chuan Chan”, which means “Boat Shipyard”. The name is justified by the fact that the city of Jirin is the largest forest and shipbuilding marina on the Sungari. In addition to private shipbuilding in Jilin, there is also a state-owned Chinese shipyard: it repairs all ships – military junks, ferries and even steamboats.

The size of the city. The city is located on the left bank between the city walls: 3 versts wide and 1-2 versts deep, occupying about 5 square versts among its 3 walls. Outside the walls there are vast city suburbs, and the river part of the city on the right bank of the Sungari. Counting the stalled parts, the city spreads over a circle area with a diameter of up to 7 versts.

The walls of the city. City walls are made of bricks; they are serrated, have a height of about 2 fathoms and a thickness of 3 arshins (below) to 1 arshin at the top. 8 city gates were made in the wall. Behind the wall there is a wide moat, in many places gradually being leveled.
Internal view of Jirin. The streets of Girin, except for the most important, are not wide, dirty, partly paved with a wooden log bridge. They are densely furnished with gray brick or wood fanzas with tiled gable roofs, and have two main directions: longitudinal, parallel to the river bank from west to east, and transverse, perpendicular to the river. In addition to the coastal street, sometimes passing into the embankment, sometimes built up on both sides, there are 3 more longitudinal streets that go to the city gates with their ends. On the first of them, counting from the river, there are shops with European goods and Russian institutions; on the second – rows of Chinese shops; on the third – street – a large indigenous bazaar. In the middle of the city, on an elevation, behind a high brick wall, there is a spacious manor, or an entire block, with the house of the Governor General.

China, old Kirin / Jilin, city panorama photo

old Kirin / Jilin, city panorama, photo of 1902

The population of Jirin. The number of inhabitants of Jirin is considered to be from 75 to 150 thousand people, there are indications of the concentration in the city of up to 200 000 people. There are about 8,250 yards in it. the inhabitants are predominantly Chinese, among whose mass the Manchus and other tribes are lost. The natives of the Mohammedans (“red beards”) stand out in part.
Trade and crafts. Among the numerous commercial and industrial institutions, there are: shops and shops up to – 1430, workshops and factories up to 550; hotels, taverns, inns, smoked opium, money changers and pawnshops up to – 500. Workshops and factories make all kinds of local native life. The most flourishing are leather and shoemaking (about 90 establishments). In trade terms, in addition to the timber trade and shipboard exchange, Jirin is important for the export of tobacco, Manchurian, for the import, export, and consumption of opium, and for the sale of furs.
The location. The terrain on which Jirin is located is open, flat, bordered nearby by mountains. The plain is revived by villages, groves, individual estates and trees scattered around it. Above the city, the plain gently descends to the river, but in the southern suburbs the descent is already steep. The city itself stands on a terrace ending in a loamy cliff above the Sungari with a height of 4 to 6 fathoms. Above the cliff is a coastal street.
At least 3 ferries are provided for crossing the Sungari in Jirin. Downtown:
Not far from the house of the Governor General – 2, behind the northern suburbs of the city at the bottom of Mount Lun-Tan-Shan – the third. The Russian authorities also arranged their ferries for the needs of military units in the city (a ferry between the powder factory and the arsenal, on different banks, in the northeastern part).
The Russian colony is located on the left bank in the southwestern part of the city on the coastal street.
The military camp occupies the top of the bend of the Sungari against the city on the right bank, near the suburbs of Bamatun. On the same shore below the camp, at the beginning of the concavity of the shore, there is a powder factory. On the left bank, the northeastern suburb of Girin ends with an arsenal, beyond which a section of the coastline is occupied by the forest quay of the CER.
Arsenal – manufacture and equipment of metal cartridges, casting grenades, fixing weapons. Built in the early 80s, occupies a quarter, cars discharged from Germany and England.
Lun-Tan-Shan mountain beyond the northern suburbs, ferry (available on the map).
Bamatun – the area where the camp is on the right bank.
Un-do-ho – a river in the suburbs.
Mountains from the west, the Xiaolun ridge through the Mayan and Kule ridges, they are connected with the Chan-bo-shan, the local name Laolin, the closest ridge to Jirin in 4-5 versts to the south-west, ends in the north of Jirin with the noticeable mountain of Wanzi Shan, which the fort is arranged. The ridge is low, the peaks are canopies
From it and parallel to it, a high ridge with the peak of Ta Pei Shan (2550 m) is noticeable in the south-west of the city
Both mountain ranges, with their jails of Tudolins and Sandolins, approach Sun-Hua-Jiang (below Jirin).
Right bank. The mountains are closer, 3 km. In the south they are connected to the mountain system of Laolin, and to the north-west inland, as it were, with Xiaolun.
They attract 2 peaks from Jirin. In the east and northeast of Lun Tan Shan (1460 m) or the Dragon Lake mountain. Closer to the city – Mount Tuan sha tzu (Round Mountain 1588) – approaches the city behind the powder factory – against the northern suburbs, arsenal and fort.

China, old Kirin Jilin map

old Map of the transition to Kirin / Jilin, fragment

Russian military and refugee camps 1922-1925

The transition from 400 miles from Hun Chun to Jirin took 400 miles. Arrival of the first batch – December 31, 1922

There were a total of 5 camps **:
– North
– East
– South
– Western
– Camp “Voivode”

East Camp Dong-da-in,
The chief of all the troops in the camp is Gen. M. Yastrebtsov M.F. (After the Girinsky sitting, Yastrebtsov – he left for Chan-Chun, where on July 7, 1924 in the city of Chan-Chun and was buried in the old Kuanchenz cemetery. The modest inscription “Gen. Major Yastrebtsov died on July 7, 1924)

Officers-gunners, cavalrymen and Annenkovsky Cossacks are located on the other side of Girin, across the Suifun River. Guarded by Chinese gendarmes.
There is a revolutionary committee, which offers sending to Soviet Russia.
Departure of troops.
The first batch of April 28 1923 departed to Shanghai) (in it Leontiev E.A. et al.)

In the photographs of the signature “Tong-da-ying camp” (? 东 Dōng east – 大 Da large – 营 Yíng camp)
On June 2, 1923 – this is the location of the Prikamsky regiment.

By the end of the 1920s, most of the Russian military had left Jilin, but some remained until the end of World War II.

China, Kirin / Jilin, 30 years

China, Kirin / Jilin. Train station and square with cabmen. 1930s

to be continued…

* Edition of the Department of Inland Waterways and Highways. Issue XI
Sungari from source to confluence with Amur. Based on materials from the study of the Sungari by the party of the Ministry of Railways in 1904.
Compiled by the party chief engineer Rodevich
(Rodevich, Vsevolod Mikhailovich (1878 – 1942).

** Dmitry Reshetnikov, manuscript