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The Yalta Symposium (Ялта симпозиум) was a meeting of one hundred influential White Russian leaders, along with supporters. The conference occurred on January 5, 1918 at the Livadia Palace in Yalta.
The goal of the conference was to work out objectives for the counterrevolutionary war against the Bolshevik Party, which had overthrown the Russian Provisional Government on November 7, 1917 and how to govern Russia after attaining victory.
Among the attendees were ex-Russian Commanders-in-Chief Lavr Kornilov and Mikhail Alexeyev, Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak of the Black Sea Fleet, Brusilov Campaign veterans Piotr Wrangel and Anton Denikin, Lieutenant General Yevgeniy Miller, Aleksandr Kutepov of the Preobrazhensky Regiment, and General Nikolai Yudenich.
The leaders were deeply divided as to Russia’s fate in the case of the Bolsheviks’ defeat. While Denikin, Kornilov, and Alekseyev demanded a republican government; others wanted to restore the monarchy; Wrangel, while somewhat a royalist, was comfortable with a republic.
Czar Nicholas II’s stance of autocracy was the argument cited against the monarchists. Though he was forced to create the State Duma in the aftermath of the Revolution of 1905, he had the ability to dissolve the assembly on a whim. Whenever the legislature wouldn’t vote the way he wanted, he’d force it to disband. Furthermore, there were concerns that the presence of a czar would promote sympathy for the Bolsheviks.
In order to appease the royalist and pro-democracy elements of the assembly, it was decided that the czar would serve only a ceremonial role in the new society, rather than a political one. The Duma and prime minister would oversee the running of the country instead. If Nicholas were found, he would not be allowed to retake his former office.
While most of the delegates agreed to the statutes of the Yalta Document, Kolchak rejected them. He disagreed with the presence of the czar being in the new Russia and stormed out for Siberia to fight the Bolsheviks on his own terms, proclaiming himself "Superme Ruler of Russia" as he left the conference. The delegates decried the admiral's actions as treason.
- Formation of a new representative republic, modeled after the American and British systems.
- The czar would be present, but would no longer serve a political or executive role. The monarch is to serve only as a ceremonial and representational figure; a focus for identity.
- Bolshevik reparations would be in the form of forced labor.
- Russia would participate in the League of Nations.
- Communist war criminals were to be hunted down and brought to justice.
- Distribution of anti-Bolshevik information among the populace.
- Improved urban housing.
- Improved safety standards for factories and industrial centers.
Kolchak would be branded a traitor by the western Whites, yet they would allow his faction to fight as a means to occupy the Bolshevik forces in the east and, hopefully, weaken him.
The capital of "Free Russia", as they called it, would be based in Yalta.
News of this reached the Germans, who would ultimately keep their hands off of Crimea as an added insult to the Bolshevik government for not accepting the initial terms of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. It would remain autonomous throughout the Russian Civil War.