The Vladivostok railway station, which is about a 10-minute walking distance from the Central Square of Vladivostok, has a special bond with South Koreans. The station, which was built in 1893 when the Vladivostok-Ussuriysk line opened, has become famous as the last stop of the Trans-Siberian Railway (9,334 kilometers). It was frequently used by South Korean independence fighters, who fought for independence in the Maritime Province of Siberia and Manchuria.
A special bond was created in 1907, when confidential emissaries sent from Korean Emperor Gojong visited the station to attend the Hague Convention. Carrying a letter from the emperor and his message to inform the world of the unfairness of the Korea-Japan Protectorate Treaty of 1905 and of the sufferings Japan’s invasion caused to Korea, Yi Sang-seol and Yi Jun took a train traveling from Vladivostok to Saint Petersburg on May 21, 1907. Fifteen days later on June 4, the two met Yi Wi-jong in St. Petersburg and headed for The Hague, where they denounced the act of aggression by Japan.
Korean independence fighter Ahn Jung-geun, who killed Hirobumi Ito in Harbin on Oct. 26, 1909, also used the Vladivostok Station. Ahn cut off the last joint of his left ring finger along with 11 other independence activists in an early settlement of Korean immigrants in Russia on Feb. 7 of the lunar calendar in 1909. They wrote “Korean Independence” on the national flag in blood and pledged to give their life for the country. Later in Gaecheok-ri, Korean settlement in Vladivostok, Ahn heard Ito will be making a tour of inspection to Manchuria and decided to eliminate him there. Choi Jae-hyeong, the leader of the settlement, supported Ahn by getting him a Browning pistol. Finally at 8:50 a.m. on Oct. 21, Ahn shot down Ito with his comrade Woo Deok-soon. So many unknown independence activists also used the Vladivostok Station to fight for independence.
The last scene of Korean independence movement in Russia took place at the Vladivostok Station. Due to deportation of Koreans by Stalin in 1937, Koreans were sent on trains to various part of Central Asia. Hong Beom-do, the hero of the Battle of Bongodong, was taken to Kazakhstan during the deportation. “While the Central Square is the symbol of Vladivostok, the Vladivostok Station is the symbol of Korean independence movement,” said Park Hwan, professor at Suwon University.