Khmer Empire and French Protectorate
In the early twentieth century, Cambodia was a protectorate of France. A French protectorate over this country, located in the southeastern part of Indochina, was established in 1863. By this time, the once powerful Khmer empire was in a state of complete decline. If in the IX-XV centuries. Cambodia - the Khmer state - included the territories of modern Cambodia, Laos and Thailand, then after the onset of the Thai tribes and the emergence of a new powerful neighbor - the Thai state of Ayutthaya, the Khmer domination in Central Indochina gradually came to an end. Thai troops repeatedly captured Angkor, the capital of the Khmer state, as a result of which the Khmer kings had to move the center of the country to Phnom Penh. Then the functions of the capital were performed by other cities of the country. In the XVII century. the capital of Cambodia was moved to Udong. To protect themselves from the attacks of Ayutthaya, the Khmer kings appealed for help to Spain, Portugal, and later to France. Paris began to show a steady interest in South and East Indochina back in the 1784th century. Vietnam was the first to enter the orbit of French influence. Here back in the XVII century. French missionaries appeared, and in 1787, the representative of the ruling family Nguyen Fuc An, who had survived the Taison uprising, turned to France with a request for military assistance. In 4, the Treaty of Versailles was signed, according to which Nguyen Fuc Anh ceded several territories to the French and allowed the French monopoly to trade throughout Vietnam. In response, France pledged to hand over to Nguyen Fuc Anne a squadron of 1650 ships and a detachment of XNUMX soldiers and officers. However, the Great French Revolution disrupted the plans of both the French and the Vietnamese ruler. Vietnam later intensified and “forgot” about the treaty. Moreover, anti-Christian laws began to be adopted in the country, and repressions began against the Vietnamese who adopted Catholicism. Concern for the safety of the Christian population has become one of the formal reasons for the raid of the French naval fleet to Vietnam. In 1858, Napoleon III ordered the deployment of French troops to Vietnam under the command of Admiral Rigot de Genouilly. Units of the Spanish colonial troops stationed in the Philippines also came to the aid of the French. In 1859, the French occupied Saigon. In 1862, the Vietnamese emperor was forced to sign the Saigon Treaty, according to which the three provinces of South Vietnam, Zyadin, Dintong, and Bienhua, passed under the control of the French administration. They constituted the French possession of Kohinhin.
The Khmer king of Norods (reigned in 1860-1904) decided to take advantage of the revitalization of France in Indochina (he reigned in 11-1863), who saw in France a possible advocate in difficult relations with Siam (Thailand) and Vietnam. 3 August 1864. King Norodom (pictured) secretly signed an agreement on France's protectorate over Cambodia. Although the Siamese authorities, as soon as they learned about the contract, expressed their dissatisfaction with what was happening, they could no longer change the situation. 1866 March XNUMX, French forces entered Udong. In fact, Cambodia lost its political independence, becoming a French colony. In XNUMX, the capital of Cambodia was moved from Udong to Phnom Penh. Seeking to regulate relations with Siam, which was a fairly powerful state, which could bring many problems to the colonial expansion of the French in Indochina, France agreed to a treaty with Siam about the division of Cambodia. As a result of the agreement concluded in 1867, Siam received the provinces of Angkor and Battambang. However, already in 1904-1907. these territories were returned to the French protectorate. Despite the fact that Cambodia formally remained a monarchy headed by the king, the real administration of the country fell into the hands of the French administration. Under the influence of the French, certain reforms began in Cambodia, aimed at “Europeanization” of the system of governance, justice, education and health care. In Cambodia, slavery was abolished, the Supreme Court was created - that is, positive measures were taken to humanize life in the country. At the same time, the king of Cambodia actually lost real political power, and the decrees signed by him became binding only after their ratification by the French administration. In 1913, France carried out a number of democratic reforms, in particular in Cambodia a constitutional assembly was created - the legislature, and the Khmer received equal rights with the French and other Europeans. Around the same time, in 1911, the first secular educational institution of the European type, the Royal Lyceum, appeared in Cambodia. However, the growth of Cambodian population literacy contributed to the emergence of national liberation attitudes. Initially, the national movement was manifested in the form of peasant uprisings, however, in the cities, among the emerging Cambodian intelligentsia and the bourgeoisie, circles were formed that favored the liberation of the country from colonial dependence. The most radical positions were those representatives of the Khmer intelligentsia who managed to get an education in France - and it should be noted that the number of such people gradually increased, as well as the request of a wealthy part of the population to receive European education. Son Ngoc Thanh (1908-1977), a Vietnamese-born Cambodian politician with a law degree in Montpellier and Paris, became the leader of the Khmer nationalists. It was he who in 1936 began to publish the first political newspaper in the Khmer language Nagaravatta.
The end of the 1920-x - the beginning of the 1930-x. were the time of the formation and development of the Khmer nationalist movement. In 1930 was on the basis of 1920, which operated from the middle. Communist groups was established Communist Party of Indochina. The main activity of the Communist Party took place on the territory of Vietnam, the benefit and the vast majority of activists were Vietnamese. But communist ideas gradually infiltrated among the nationally oriented Cambodian intellectuals. As in other regions of Southeast Asia, the Second World War was the turn that predetermined the further fate of Cambodia. The territory of Cambodia was occupied by Japanese troops, although until 1944 was Cambodia formally remained under the authority of the Vichy government of France. However, the Japanese had an impact on the French administration and 1 / 3 of the territory of Cambodia, ceded to Thailand, which was considered the main ally of Japan in Southeast Asia. When the Vichy collaborationist regime in France was overthrown, the Japanese moved on to the tried and tested practice of creating puppet states. Under pressure from the Japanese command 9 March 1945 King Cambodia Norodom Sihanouk proclaimed the independence of the Kingdom of Kampuchea. A little later, Son Ngoc Thanh, who was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs and later Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Kampuchea, returned to the country. But to stay formally independent country of Cambodia was a short time. In August, the 1945 Japan capitulated. In October 1945 in Cambodia, the French administration was restored. The French arrested Son Ngoc Thanh and sent him to France for house arrest. However, a significant part of Khmer nationalists, who did not want to again be under the rule of France, moved to the territory of neighboring Thailand. There began the formation of the armed anti-French movement "Khmer Issarak" - "Khmer Free". The anti-colonial movement united representatives of a wide variety of political views - from nationalist monarchists to bourgeois republicans and communists. Naturally, the process of formation of factions began soon in Khmer Issarak. Some supporters of the independence of Cambodia, especially from among the intelligentsia who received education in Europe, were influenced by Marxism. She contacted the Communist Party of Indochina and set about forming the communist underground in Cambodia. In 1951 was on the basis of the Communist Party of Indochina, three independent political parties were created - the Vietnamese Labor Party, the Lao People’s Party and the Khmer People’s Revolutionary Party. The construction of the PRC was originally influenced by the Vietnamese, who had previously dominated the Indochinese communist movement. However, gradually their own talented leaders appeared in the ranks of the Cambodian Communists, who saw the need for the further development of the communist movement in the country. One of them was someone Salot Sar, later known worldwide as Pol Pot. When he was a communist leader, Pol Pot preferred to speak rather vaguely about his origin. Usually, he declared that his parents were poor peasants, which fit into the overall concept of the Polpotov ideology. But the king of Cambodia, Norod Sihanouk, obviously wanting to discredit Pol Pot in the eyes of his supporters, reported that Salot Sar (the name Pol Pot wore in childhood and youth) came from an aristocratic family close to the Khmer royal court. In fact, they both exaggerated, and the truth, as usual, was somewhere in the middle.
The son of a "court peasant" and a Parisian student
In 1925, the boy Salot Sar was born in the village of Prexbauw. He became the eighth of nine children in the Khmer family Peck Salot and Sok Nem. Although Peck Salot was a small landowner, virtually indistinguishable from ordinary peasants, his family had strong positions at the court. So, elder brother Salot Sarah Lot Suong worked in the palace as an official of the royal administration protocol department. Sister Salot Royong was a dancer of the royal ballet, and later became the concubine of King Moniwong. Her cousin Salot Sarah Khuon Meak became Sisovat Moniwong's concubine even earlier - when the king of Cambodia was still the crown prince. At court, Meak held the position of "Khun Preab Me Neang" - "Responsible for Women." From communication with the king, she gave birth to a son Kossarak. So, despite the provincial origins, the Salot Sarah family was considered very successful. It was sister Khuon Meak who gave young Salot Sarah a big patronage, after which the green light was turned on for the boy to receive a good education. When Salot Sarah was nine years old, he was sent to the capital, Phnom Penh, to receive a traditional education. As is known, in the Indochina countries — Burma, Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia — wherever Hinayana is common Buddhism — there is a practice of giving teenagers and young men to Buddhist monasteries as novices. Someone lives in the monastery for several months, someone - a couple of years, and some choose a spiritual career and remain monks. The fate of the novice and Salot Sarah did not escape. The teenager spent several months at the Wat Botum Waddey monastery, where he studied Khmer, writing and Buddhist philosophy. However, it was impossible to build a good administrative career in traditional education in colonial Cambodia. Therefore, in 1937, the city of Salot Sar enrolled at the École Miche Catholic Primary School, where he had already received European school education. In 1942, he graduated from high school and continued his education at Norodom Sihanouk College in Kompong Cham. After graduating from college at 1948, Salot Sar wanted to enter the Royal Lyceum Sisovata, but could not pass the difficult entrance exams to this prestigious institution and entered the Technical School in Phnom Penh. It seemed Salot Sar finally decided on a career as an engineering specialist.
In 1949, he received a government scholarship awarded to talented Khmer students to continue his education in Europe. In the same year, Salot Sar arrived in Paris to study radio electronics at the University of Paris. He studied hard, met his peers, both from other French colonies and the French. In the summer of 1950, Salot Sar went, together with other students, to Yugoslavia. Considered a socialist country, Yugoslavia, nevertheless, led a different policy from the Soviet Union and maintained closer relations with Western countries. Then, in 1950, Salot Sarah Ieng Sari (1925-2013) arrived in Paris. He was a native of Vietnam — Khmer krom after his father (Khmer — Kromi is the Khmer population of the Mekong Delta living in Viet Nam) and Chinese by mother. Unlike Salot Sarah, Ieng Sari smiled luck - he was able to enter the prestigious Royal Lyceum Sisovata in Phnom Penh, and after graduation went to France - to study at the Institute of Political Science. In France, at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Paris, a third prominent Khmer Communist, Khieu Samphan (born 1931), also studied. Like Ieng Sari, Khieu Samphan was half Khmer, half Chinese. His father, who worked as a judge, was imprisoned for bribery and abuse of office, so Khieu Samphan’s childhood years were spent in poverty - it was only his mother who traded in fruits provided him. Nevertheless, a young man who was not deprived of talent managed not only to get a good education in Cambodia, but also to go to France to study economics. A few years later, in 1959, Khieu Samphan was able to defend his doctoral dissertation on "The Economics and Industrial Development of Cambodia" in Paris. By the way, it was the sisters of Khieu Samphan who were married to the friends of Salot Sar and Ieng Sari, becoming sisters-in-law. Sisters Khieu Ponnari and Khieu Tirith also studied in Paris. Khieu Ponnari (1920-2003) graduated from the Royal Lyceum Sisowat in Phnom Penh in 1940, becoming the first Khmer woman to receive a bachelor's degree. In Paris, Khieu Ponnari studied Khmer linguistics. Her sister Khieu Tirith (1932-2015) also linked her studies to philology — she studied English and became the first Cambodian woman to receive a degree in English philology. Despite the twelve-year difference in age, the younger sister Khieu Tirith first married. In the summer of 1951, she became the wife of Ieng Sari, changing her name to Ieng Tirith. The marriage of Salot Sarah and Khieu Ponnari took place much later - only in 1956, on July 14, symbolically choosing the Bastille Day as the wedding date.
An association of Khmer students studying in France was established in Paris. Its chairman was Ieng Sari, and the general secretary was Khieu Samphan. Later, the Association was transformed into the Union of Khmer students, the core of which was on the left-wing positions. Young Khmer students met with the French Communists and created their own Marxist circle. Followers of the teachings of Marx - Lenin from distant Cambodia gathered in the apartment of a young nationalist Keng Vannsak, a fellow student of Ieng Sari in a lyceum, who also lived in Paris at that time. Ieng Sari and Rat Samoyon entered the circle at the Keng Vannsak apartment, later Salot Sar joined them. In 1952, he took the pseudonym Khmer Daom (Khame Daim - “True Khmer”), under which Khmer Nisut published his first article “Monarchy or Democracy?” In the Khmer Students Magazine. Around the same time, Salot Sar joined the French Communist Party (PCF), met Jean-Paul Sartre, the famous French philosopher, who had left-wing political views. The views of Salot Sarah and his comrades at that time, although they were called Marxist, actually included not only Marxist, but also anarchist components. Salot Sar advocated the immediate construction of communism in Cambodia through the expropriation of peasant farms and the complete socialization of property.
However, his enthusiasm for politics had a negative effect on the study of a Cambodian student. In the same 1952, the city of Salot Sar was expelled from the university and on December 15 1952 left France for his homeland. In Cambodia at that time, according to Salot Sara, it was much more interesting - the national liberation struggle was growing in the country, the anticolonial and communist movements were gaining momentum. Returning to Cambodia, Salot Sar settled in Phnom Penh - in the apartment of his older brother Lot Swang, who served in the royal palace. In the capital, Salot Sar contacted the representative of the local branch of the Communist Party of Indochina, Pham Van Ba, who was asked to accept him into the KPI ranks on the basis of confirmed membership in the French Communist Party. In August, 1953 Salot Sar became a member of the People’s Revolutionary Party of Cambodia, where he began organizing mass propaganda as part of the relevant department. In parallel, he got a job in one of the private lyceums of Phnom Penh, where he taught history and geography.
Norodom Sihanouk - the "red prince" of Cambodia
Meanwhile, epochal changes were taking place in Cambodia. 9 November 1953. French troops were withdrawn from the country. The colonial administration ceased to exist, and Cambodia became a sovereign state under the rule of King Norodom Sihanouk. The young king was practically the same age as Salot Sarah. Norodom Sihanouk was born in 1922 and was brought to the grandson of King Sisovat Monivong and his eldest son, Prince Norodom Suramarite. On the royal throne, Norodom Sihanouk was crowned in September 1941 after the death of the grandfather of the king Sisovat Moniwong. The candidacy of Norodom Sihanouk was pushed through the Vichy government of France, and later the Japanese, who occupied the territory of Cambodia, were loyal to him. Norodom Sihanouk sympathized with the national liberation movement of Indochina and tacitly supported the Khmer nationalists. In May, 1953, Mr Norodom Sihanouk, went to Thailand altogether and declared to the French government that he would not return to the country until its independence was proclaimed. France went to meet the king - and on November 9, 1953 was proclaimed the independence of Cambodia. However, in May, 1955 by Mr. Norodom Sihanouk still abdicated the throne - in favor of his father Norodom Suramarite (1896-1960). Norodom Sihanouk himself became prime minister and foreign minister in sovereign Cambodia.
Prince has developed his own concept of social and political modernization of the country. According to Norodom Sihanouk, an ideal development option for Cambodia would be a combination of the most effective components of traditional monarchy, liberal democracy, and democratic socialism. To implement his ideas, Norodom Sihanouk created the center-left social and political movement “Sangkum” - “People’s Socialist Society”, which included most of Cambodian political organizations. In fact, the views of Norodom Sihanouk represented a Khmer version of the “Buddhist socialism” that was quite widespread at that time in the countries of Southeast and South Asia, combining traditional and nationalist components with the idea of socialist reorganization of the economy. The policy of Norodom Sihanouk caused great concern to the leadership of the United States and neighboring Thailand, since they feared that the prince in a veiled form was implementing the assertion of socialist ideas in Cambodia and could, in the long run, turn Cambodia into another outpost of Soviet influence in Indochina. In 1959, pro-American forces even attempted to overthrow the government of Sihanouk, relying on the support of the United States and Thailand, but the insurgency was suppressed by government units loyal to the prime minister.
After King Norodom Suramarith passed away in 1960, the National Assembly of Cambodia appealed to Norodom Sihanouk with the proposal to retake the royal throne of the country. But the prince refused, moreover - he made changes to the constitution of Cambodia, in accordance with which the head of state became an elected person. In June, 1960, by Norod Sihanouk, was elected head of the State of Cambodia. The overwhelming majority of Cambodian voters supporting the social transformations initiated by the Sihanouk government voted for him. As head of the Cambodian state, Sihanouk continued his socio-economic and political reforms. In foreign policy, despite the difficult times and difficult situation in the world, Sihanouk tried to maneuver between the Soviet and capitalist blocs. He constantly emphasized the neutrality of Cambodia in the confrontation of the Soviet Union and the United States of America, did not accept any of the parties in the Sino-Soviet conflict. At the same time, relations between Cambodia and the United States deteriorated markedly in 1963. Norodom Sihanouk spoke out categorically against US military and political interference in the affairs of the countries of Indochina, first of all - neighboring Vietnam. On the other hand, the Americans were also unhappy with Sihanouk, because they could not count on his support in confrontation with North Vietnam, and the territory of Cambodia was of great strategic interest to the United States in this context. In 1965, Mr. Norodom Sihanouk, by this time enlisted the support of Mao Zedong, severed diplomatic relations with the United States of America. In addition, secret treaties were concluded with China and North Vietnam on the provision of Cambodia’s territory to house the bases of the Popular Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam and the movement of its units and rear carriages through separate provinces of Cambodia to South Vietnam.
Creating a combat party
The influence of Norodom Sihanouk and his People’s Socialist Social Society in Cambodia was enormous, which contributed to a significant weakening of the position of the People’s Revolutionary Party of Cambodia. By 1960, when King Norodom Suramarith died, and Sihanouk became head of state, the number of the People’s Revolutionary Party of Cambodia was reduced to 250 people. It seemed that for “Buddhist socialism” Communists, Marxist-Leninists would never acquire any significant positions in the political life of postcolonial Cambodia. Moreover, even this small organization of 250 people failed to maintain internal unity. Three groups of activists were singled out in the ranks of the People’s Revolutionary Party of Cambodia — the pro-Soviet, oriented towards the Soviet way of building socialism and seeking to develop ties with the Vietnamese communists; pro-Chinese, Mao-oriented, gaining strength in the communist movement of Southeast and South Asia; ultra-radical, characterized by a combination of revolutionary communist views with nationalistic, primarily anti-Vietnamese sentiments. Salot Sar and his comrades joined the third group. By the way, in the second half of 1950's. Salot Sar has become increasingly use the pseudonym "Paul" - from the French "politique potentielle" - "the policy of the possible." However, the second part of the pseudonym appeared only in 1976, so for twenty years Salot Sar was known in the communist movement in Cambodia as “comrade Paul”. According to Salot Sarah, Cambodia should have made a revolutionary leap even higher degree of intensity and radicalism than the revolution in China. At the same time, in the opinion of “comrade Paul”, the most important condition for the revolutionary changes in Cambodia was to be self-reliance, which provided for the rejection of Soviet or Vietnamese assistance to the communist movement of the country.
The views of Salot Sarah impressed the most radical part of the Cambodian Communists, especially the revolutionary youth. However, they were not shared by the leaders of the Cambodian communist movement - Too Samut and Son Ngok Min. Too Samut is no longer young (1915-1962) was a veteran of the Cambodian revolutionary movement. Coming from a family of mountain Khmer people who lived in the southern part of modern Vietnam, Tu Samut, in his youth, chose a spiritual career for himself and studied the language fell in one of Phnom Penh monasteries. Then, after the end of World War II, Tu Samut returned to Vietnam, where he joined the Viet Minh and participated in organizing a group of Khmer volunteers as part of the movement. When the Communist Party of Indochina split in 1951, Too Samut and Son Ngok Min created the People’s Revolutionary Party of Cambodia. Tu Samut was actively involved in the activities of the anti-colonial United National Front "Khmer Issarak", holding the post of Minister of the Interior in the "shadow government" of the front. In general, the man Too Samut was honored and began to participate in the activities of the Communists much earlier Sarat Sarah and Ieng Sari. At the same time, Tu Samut believed that the communists should support the progressive transformations in the country, initiated by the government of Prince Norodom Sihanouk, and also work to attract Buddhist monks who traditionally enjoyed the sympathy and respect of the Khmer population to the ranks of the communist movement. For these views, the more radical followers of Salot Sarah accused Tu Samut of "opportunism and conciliation."
The Vietnamese faction in the NRPD was headed by Son Ngok Min (1920-1972) - Comrade Samuta, for the creation of the People's Revolutionary Party of Cambodia. Son Ngok Min was a Khmer krom after his father and a Vietnamese mother, and in his youth, like Too Samut, was a Buddhist monk in one of Cambodian monasteries. He advocated the need to expand cooperation with North Vietnam and the South Vietnamese partisans - the Communists. Nuon Chea (born 1926), another Cambodian Communist leader who originally supported the Tu Samut line, unlike the latter and Son Ngoc Minh, was not a Buddhist monk, but unlike Salot Sarah and Ieng Sari did not study in Europe. Nuon Chea, who in his youth was called Lau Ben Con, studied at 1940 in Thailand, where he managed to take part in the work of the local Communist Party. Then, returning to Cambodia, Nuon Chea went to the illegal position and gained fame as one of the Khmer Issarak guerrilla warlords.
28-30 September 1960 was held at the station in Phnom Penh, the II-nd Congress of the People's Revolutionary Party of Cambodia, in which 21 was the head of party organizations. It was the second congress that became a turning point not only for the history of the communist movement in Cambodia, but also for the history of the country as a whole. First, it was decided at the convention to rename the People’s Revolutionary Party of Cambodia into the Workers Party of Cambodia (PTC), apparently with a claim to cover broad sections of the Cambodian working population. Secondly, the standing Central Party Committee was elected as a member of the Central Committee members 8 and the candidates for the Central Committee members 2. Tu Samut was elected General Secretary of the party by the congress, and Nuon Chea was elected his deputy. Representatives of the radical wing, Salot Sarah and Ieng Sari, were also elected to the Central Committee of the party. By the way, Ieng Sari received the position of personal secretary of the party leader Tu Samut. Like many other Indochinese Communist Parties, the Workers Party of Cambodia decided on the necessity of acquiring its own armed formations. This is how the Secret Guard, created to protect the leadership of the Central Committee of the NPC, emerged to defend the revolutionary military and training bases and capture weapons have government troops. In the meantime, the party has begun to develop grassroots structures. The internal struggle between supporters of various trends in the Cambodian communist movement did not cease. 20 July 1962 The secretary general of the Workers Party of Cambodia, Tu Samut, was found dead in one of the conspiratorial apartments used by the communists in Phnom Penh. The circumstances of his murder remained unclear, but many supporters of the deceased were suspicious of Salot Sarah, one of the most ambitious Cambodian communists, who almost did not hide his desire for leadership in the party. The elimination of Tu Samut could hasten the process of Salot Sarah’s career ascension and the attainment of full party power.
Red bases on the "Mountain of gems"
After the assassination of Tu Samut, Salot Sar resigned from his post as a teacher at the lyceum and, moving to an illegal position, he focused entirely on political activities. He began work on the creation of a disciplined and conspiratorial organization of professional revolutionaries, which, in the opinion of Salot Sarah, was to accomplish the communist revolution in Cambodia. In January, 1963 hosted the 3rd Congress of the Workers Party of Cambodia. At this congress, the party received a new name - the Communist Party of Cambodia. Salot Sar was elected general secretary of the CCP, and the party’s central committee included mainly supporters of his political line. The intensification of the Cambodian Communists caused a negative reaction from the country's leadership, therefore, fearing the police repressions that had begun, the majority of the Communists switched to an illegal situation and moved to remote forest areas of Cambodia.
The main bases of Cambodian Communists are located in the province of Ratanakiri in the northeast of the country. Translated from the Khmer language, "Ratanakiri" literally means "Mountain of gems". Despite its beautiful name, this is the true backwater of Cambodia, its most backward region, located on the border with Laos and Vietnam. Even now, half a century after the events described, Ratanakiri remains the least developed province of Cambodia. Every fourth child in a province dies before the age of five, and three-quarters of the population of the province cannot read and write. The socio-economic backwardness of the province is aggravated by the specifics of its ethnic composition. The population of the province of Ratanakiri, especially its rural areas, is the so-called “mountain Khmer”. These are not just Khmer people living in the highlands, but representatives of separate nationalities united in Soviet ethnography under the name of “Mountain Khmers” or “Mountain Monks”. In the provinces, mountain Khmers make up more than 50% of the population. These include the tampuan ethnic groups (24,3%), zyaray (17,1%), krung (16,3%), bru (7%), jock (2,7%), kavet (1,9%), forge (0,5%), loon (0,1 %). Mountain Khmer agriculture was characterized by backwardness, as well as their culture. The peoples of the Cambodian periphery retained traditional beliefs and experienced only the weak influence of Buddhism, the official religion of the country. Mountain Khmers have always been at the very bottom of the Cambodian ethnosocial hierarchy, have been subjected to discrimination by Khmer rulers and officials. Low social status and economic disadvantage contributed to the spread of anti-government sentiments in the villages of the mountain Khmer, and Cambodian communists benefited from this by deploying agitation in this very problematic environment. Indeed, the Communists soon succeeded in attracting several hundred young Khmer Rouge on their side, from which the armed units of the Revolutionary Army were formed, into which the Party Secret Guard was transformed into 1966.
Salot Sar proclaimed a course for the preparation of an armed uprising with the aim of overthrowing the "bourgeois regime" and committing the communist revolution. Turning to the illegal situation and settling on forest bases, the Cambodian Communists launched a massive campaign among the Khmer peasantry. The most disadvantaged sections of the Cambodian village, who were oppressed by landlords and government officials, were the most susceptible to the social rhetoric of the communists. Salot Sar skillfully played on the national feelings of the Khmer peasantry, where it is necessary to use the hatred of Chinese merchants, Vietnamese or Tyam people - representatives of the Muslim ethnicity of Indonesian origin, who had been living in Cambodia and South Vietnam since antiquity.
Simultaneously with the strengthening of their positions among the Khmer peasantry, the Cambodian communists began to establish foreign policy ties. In 1965, Salot Sar visited China, where he met with Mao Zedong. The leader of the Khmer Communists was very inspired by the "Great Chinese Cultural Revolution", the experience of which Salot Sar later used in Cambodia. Nevertheless, unlike many other communist parties in Southeast and South Asia, the Communist Party of Cambodia did not become a purely Maoist organization — despite sympathy for Mao Zedong, Sarah Sahot had his own authentic program of action. It should be noted that the ideas propagated by Salot Sar and his associates found great support among the underprivileged segments of the Cambodian population, especially in the backward mountain provinces. Therefore, going to the beginning of the armed struggle against the government, the Cambodian Communists, who had received fame as the Khmer Rouge by this time, knew that they could count on the sympathies of a sufficiently large part of the country's population.
To be continued ...