Historical details of events after the invasion by Soviet troops on August 8 and 9, 1945 are incomplete outside of North Korea. The Soviets took their position of power before their American counterparts because they arrived a month earlier and there were a great number of Soviet troops that were of Korean descent. These people had fled from Japanese colonization and became citizens in the Soviet Union. There were a few thousand of them operating in the North, many of them officials and political operatives with experience. The Soviet Union chose to operate in the background since they had a large number of followers there was by far less resistance than the United States had in the south.
In August 1945, the Soviet Red Army established the Soviet Civil Authority to rule the country until a domestic regime that was friendly to the USSR could be established. They set up provisional committees across the country, putting communists into key positions. In March 1946, land reform was instituted as the land from Japanese landowners was divided and handed over to poor farmers; most prior landowners fled to the south. Quickly key industries were nationalized. The economic situation was as difficult in the north as it was in the south. One reason was that Japan concentrated agriculture in the south and heavy industries in the north. As a result, there was a deficit in both halves of the country.