A reluctant journey: Soviet Koreans Dispatched to North Korea and their Roles in the Soviet Occupational Period, 1945-1948.

This talk by Donghyun Woo, Seoul National University, touches upon Soviet Koreans and their dispatch to as well as their roles in the nation-building of North Korea especially during the Soviet occupational period from 1945 to 1948. Open for all.

Ch'oe Chonghak inspecting the KPA with Lee, Peng, and Han in Aug 1953. Photo: From the Library of Congress

The ‘North Korean revolution’ did not correlate with ‘Sovietization’ and did not solely derive from self-reliant project of Kim Il Sung. Rather, there were multiple forces that caused the revolution to unfold in its own way, but Soviet Koreans have been omitted from this process in the official histories of the ‘Two Koreas.’

Drawing upon the memoirs of Soviet Koreans and primary sources, this talk aims to shed light on the rationale behind the Soviet Koreans’ moves to North Korea and its implications, as well as the role and historical character of Soviet Koreans in early stage of North Korea.


Mr. Donghyun Woo studied Modern Korean history at Seoul National University from 2007 to 2016. He completed his master’s thesis in 2016, which dealt with Soviet Koreans in North Korea from 1945 to 1950. Research interests include: Modern Korean history (mainly focusing on North Korea), Soviet Russia, Socialism and Nationalism in East Asia. Presently, he is looking forward to studying the Cold War history in the context of East Asia. During his military service as a KATUSA translator, he was awarded the Army Commendation Medal by the United States Department of Defense. He also runs a blog: http://donghyunwoo.com

Published Aug. 25, 2016 2:57 PM - Last modified Nov. 22, 2017 2:32 PM