The U.S. Library of Congress recently digitalized a series of handwritten and photocopied memoirs and biographies of 80 Soviet-Koreans, noting their contributions to, and sacrifices for, the establishment of North Korea. Concurrently, North Korea held its latest military parade on the morning of September 9 to commemorate the 73rd anniversary of its founding. While Pyongyang touts its reclusive nature as an act of national pride free from foreign influence, the reality is that a collection of outsiders – Soviet-Koreans, in particular – helped establish the country’s government and institutions still in place today despite claims of complete self-reliance.
While Pyongyang touts its reclusive nature as an act of national pride free from foreign influence, the reality is that a collection of outsiders – Soviet-Koreans, in particular – helped establish the country’s government and institutions still in place today.
The most notable contribution to the digitalized collection is the handwritten account of Jang Hak-Bong entitled “History Written By Our Blood and Tears.” According to Voice of America, Jang previously served as the first head of the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as the commander and director of operations for the Korean People’s Army, making him one of the highest ranking Soviet-Koreans within the North Korean government. However, even rising to the highest echelons of North Korean society couldn’t protect Jang from accusations of cultural and ideological weakness due to his mixed upbringing, which Kim Il Sung cited as the reason for his forced repatriation back to the Soviet Union during the 1950s.
Read the full article from The Diplomat.
More from CNAS
CommentaryOnline Shopping for Nukes? Tune Into a North Korean Military Parade.
The ostentatious display of lethal weapons in massive military parades serves both a political and financial purpose: to demonstrate military might to enemies and entice poten...
By Jason Bartlett
PodcastEngaging North Korea
Van Jackson joins the Hopkins Podcast on Foreign Affairs to discuss the strategy of pressure through isolation towards North Korea. Listen to the full conversation from Hopki...
By Van Jackson
CommentaryHotels and Free Wi-Fi Are Sitting Ducks for North Korean Cybercriminals
The dangerous combination of weak or nonexistent cybersecurity protocols, relaxed travelers and employees, and increased e-commerce and digital financial activity provide an i...
By Jason Bartlett
CommentaryGetting North Korea Back To The Table
North Korea sees the U.S. democratic electoral system as a strategic weakness it can take advantage of...
By Duyeon Kim