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Introduction TOURAJ ATABAKI, JOHN O’KANE

Of the many momentous events which have marked the twentieth-century, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the world’s greatest empire, has undoubtedly had the most far-reaching consequences. The formation of eight independent republics in the southern region of the former USSR was accompanied by political tension between neighboring states as well as separate ethnic groups, which in some cases led to bloody confrontation. Academic specialists and political observers concluded that these were the inevitable symptoms of a transitional phase which many new-born nations have to go through. ‘Central Asia and the Caucasus in transition’ has become a dominant theme for discussion in academic circles and conferences since the dismantling of the Soviet Union. But transition, in the narrow sense of the word, could not remain the chief characteristic of these societies indefinitely. Citizens of the fledgling republics are presently engaged in a post-Soviet restructuring of the region, where old identities are being recast and in some cases new ones invented. Post-Soviet Central Asia is the proceeding of the Fifth Conference of the European Society for Central Asian Studies (ESCAS) held in Copenhagen in August 1995. The papers primarily deal with subjects relevant to presentday social, political and economic problems in the region, but also include contributions which throw light on the region’s historical background. Most of the contributions are densely packed with up-to-date information or present a review of a particular research area and its specific methodology so that they challenge the abilities of a would-be paraphraser who is not a specialist on the subject. Shirin Akiner’s contribution in several ways provides a good introduction to the present volume. It attempts to set an intellectual perspective and to address some necessary methodological considerations. While characterizing the task facing social scientists engaged in studying Central Asia as similar in certain respects to the one faced thirty years ago by their colleagues who attempted to analyze the processes of change associated with decolonization, she would accord top priority to the mapping out of the social reorganization that took place under Tsarist and Soviet rule in Central Asia. She points out that the chief lines of social and political

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development still need to be traced in this period of transition from ‘traditional’ to ‘modernized’ society. Soviet social scientists have to date neglected ‘the dynamics of transition’ as well as the ‘clan’ networks of power that emerged which are essential for understanding the present-day post-Soviet socio–political situation. Not only identifying changes but recognizing continuities where they exist is also important. Akiner’s essay is primarily taken up with presenting in outline a preliminary sketch of the major historical changes that form the background to the confused and precarious state of affairs that has resulted from the recent break-up of the Soviet Union. The reader will profit from her lucid introductory overview and acquire a welcome orientation in so large and complex a field of study. Four papers deal with what, broadly speaking, can be viewed as foreign policy relations in the region. Vyacheslav Belokrenitsky sketches the Russian Federation’s present-day relationship to the Central Asian states. He begins by reviewing Russia’s political and developmental policies in the region during the Tsarist and the Soviet periods. His primary focus, however, is on the role Russia plays today in the affairs of the Central Asian states and in particular the Russian policy shifts that have taken place since the region acquired independence. These changes in policy are explained in terms of Russia’s internal politics – particularly the on-going struggle for reforms and Russia’s inability to shoulder the financial burdens of closer involvement in the region. Whereas Russia’s relationship with the region is bound to remain a special one – the author refers to plans for future Russian exploration for resources in the region – Russian policy has at this point by no means taken on a fixed and finalized form, and will to a large extent depend on eventual internal developments in Russia. Tatiana Shaumian presents us with an overview of the main parameters and trends which presently characterize the foreign policies adopted by the newly independent Central Asian republics. She sketches the internal political and economic difficulties faced by the states concerned and surveys the immediate and long-range interests of those neighboring nations which will play an important role in the future of the region. Special attention is given to the newly evolved relationship between the Russian Federation and the Central Asian republics, as well as the various forms of economic cooperation that have been established between the republics themselves since their independence. She stresses the vital importance for the world of the fundamental changes taking place at this moment in Central Asia and concludes that there is no guarantee of a positive outcome. Tchangiz Pahlevan offers an interesting Iranian point of view on present-day affairs in Central Asia. While he does not hesitate to criticize the Iranian leadership for errors in judgement regarding policy and notes that the Shiite principle of velayat-e faqih (rule of the Islamic jurist) is not exportable to the Central Asian

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republics, he pleads for acceptance of Iran’s important cultural role in the region and laments the USA’s short-sightedness in attempting to exclude Iran, particularly by blocking any attempts to organize an oil pipeline from Central Asia through Iran to Turkey and the Mediterranean. He gives a description of Central Asia’s various neighboring countries and their specific political and economic interests in the region and assesses the role of various organizations for inter-regional cooperation such as ECO. The statistics he presents relevant to Iran’s trade with the CIS and the Central Asian states give an idea of the relative economic importance of each country as a trading partner with Iran. In closing he speculates on the nature of Iran’s relations with Central Asia in the immediate future. Gareth Winrow assesses the importance of Central Asia in the context of Turkey’s overall foreign policy priorities. Turkey’s top priority is admission into the EU but, among other things, problems over human rights violations in suppressing the Kurdish independence movement makes this impossible. With US encouragement to act as a counter-weight to Iranian influence, Turkey has made promises of large-scale financial aid to the Central Asian states. The present extent of Turkish private and governmental investment in Central Asia is described. The nature of Pan-Turkic sympathies and their possible development in the future is discussed. Special attention is given to the allimportant issue of building a pipeline from Central Asia to Turkey, possibly through the Caucasus. This would enable the poor Central Asian states to market their valuable oil and natural gas at international prices. Edward Tryjarski surveys recent efforts towards better mutual linguistic comprehension between the Republic of Turkey and the Central Asian states. Aside from national rivalries, it is difficult for Republican Turkish to assume the role of lingua franca among the other Turkic nations because of its having purged much of its traditional Islamic vocabulary and adopted neologisms in their place. In addition, the Central Asian Turkic languages have borrowed their modern technical vocabulary from Russian, whereas Republican Turkish has been influenced in this respect by Western Europe. Proposals to adopt a common rational alphabet in an effort to facilitate further mutual comprehension are discussed. Parallels with the older agenda of Pan-Turkism as well as differences are sketched. One is given a view of the wide range of possibilities at the disposal of the Turkic nations along with all the hurdles that block closer rapprochement. Tadeusz Swietochowski, sketches the politics of oil with regard to the Caspian Sea beginning with a review of the oil industry in and around Baku in the Tsarist era. Special attention is given to the lack of investment during the Soviet period. The greater part of his article, however, discusses the internal power struggle that has been taking place since the independence of Azerbaijan and the negotiations for concluding ‘a big deal’ with international oil consortia. The

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instability caused by fighting with the Armenians in the Karabagh region, which has created an enormous influx of displaced persons in Baku, is also described as a major factor affecting Azerbaijan’s post-Soviet internal development. Three articles deal with different cultural aspects of Uzbekistan. Roberta Micallef reports on her visit to Tashkent in 1993 and her contacts and interviews with Uzbek literati. She discusses the role the literati played as activists in the independence movement and comments on the literary options of earlier generations of writers under Soviet restrictions. In particular she notes the present emphasis on nationally oriented literature and how it underpins Uzbek self-representation but inevitably excludes the other minorities living in Uzbekistan. Victoria Koroteyeva and Ekaterina Makarova present a report on the social institution in Uzbekistan known as the mahalla, or the neighborhood community. The mahalla is examined from the perspective of how the state makes use of this social structure to underpin Uzbek identity as part of the larger process of nativization which has been going on since independence. The concrete social functions of the mahalla are enumerated, as well as the specific uses that the state makes of it, for instance in collecting information, imposing social conformity and wielding economic influence. Cay Dollerup, an expert on foreign language teaching, reports on the radical transition presently taking place in Uzbekistan under three distinct headings: de-russification, the creation of an Uzbek national identity and, generally speaking, Westernization. The concrete difficulties currently being faced in the area of education are discussed along with the problem of varying educational standards. Specifically, the level of foreign language learning is assessed in the context of a decreased role for Russian and a growing demand for English. Similarly, the author describes the new nationalistic emphasis being given to the official use of the Uzbek language. Rainer Freitag-Wirminghaus reviews the political and economic situation in Turkmenistan today. The primary focus is on the problems to do with exploiting the large oil and natural gas resources of the country. The average national income is very low. Turkmenistan’s oil industry is dominated by Russia and its customers such as the Ukraine pay little or nothing for the oil they consume. Being in a sense geographically isolated, there is no easy way for Turkmen oil and gas to reach the world market and profit from the high international prices. Plans to build possible pipelines are discussed, in particular Turkmenistan’s relations with Iran and Turkey in this regard. Turkmen politicians dream of the country eventually becoming a Central Asian Kuwait but at the moment there are numerous barriers standing in the way of such a development. Two papers deal with particular ethnic minorities in Afghanistan. Kristian

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Berg Harpviken examines the unusual process of politicization that the Shiite Hazara have undergone since the communist coup in 1978. As a political force to be reckoned with they have been somewhat neglected in writings on present-day Afghanistan. He begins by sketching the earlier social and political structure of the community, in particular their lack of political development under Pashtun domination. He then traces the partial breakdown and adaptation of the old structure against the background of the resistance movement to overthrow the communist regime. How as Shiites the Hazara were excluded from Sunni resistance organizations is described. The role of the Hazara Shiite clergy and their relations with Iran are discussed, as is the rise of the Hezb-e Wahdat (Unity Party) which is now capable of formulating Hazara demands at the national level. Gabriele Rasuly-Paleczek’s paper on the Uzbeks of Northeastern Afghanistan reviews the historical stages of Afghan state-formation, noting the fundamental barriers that have hampered the creation of a unified nation-state. The Pashtuns have always been dominant to the exclusion of other peoples, with the result that bases for identity other than the nation-state have prevailed among the different Afghan peoples: religion, ethnic distinctions, regional loyalties, etc. The flexible concept of qaum is discussed with regard to its varying definitions and social functions. The Chechka–Uzbeks, as a particular case-study, are examined in terms of the basis of their distinct identity. Their relation to other ethnic groups and to different waves of immigrants (other Uzbeks and Tajiks) is reviewed. But after two decades of war there have been significant changes in self-representation among the Chechka–Uzbeks. The Uzbek General Rashid Dostum, without whose support the Mujahedin could not have captured Kabul in April 1992, is now the focal point of the upsurge of ethnic consciousness among the Uzbeks of Afghanistan. Ali Attar presents an anthropological review of the history of the Nawruzfeast and its present-day function in Tajikistan. He begins by considering some recent anthropological definitions of ritual and goes on to sketch the changing function of the Nawruz-feast throughout history down to the time of its suppression in Tajikistan as part of the process of modernization under the Soviets. The Nawruz-feast re-emerged in 1988 and was recognized as an official national holiday in 1990, now having become an expression of political freedom as well as a means of asserting Tajikistani national identity in the face of a sense of social and cultural jeopardy. The special traditional role of women in the Nawruz celebrations is examined. Links with previous political uses of the Nawruz-feast are pointed out going all the way back to the mythical King Jam. Likewise, reference is made to the numerous nonIranian peoples who now celebrate Nawruz in other parts of the world as well. Gulnar Kendirbaeva has contributed a study of the Kazakh

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intelligentsia during the first two decades of the twentieth century and the debate they were involved with around the important issue of the nature of qazaqtyk ‘Kazakhness’ and the sedentarization of the Kazakhs. She draws primarily on literary and intellectual magazines of the period such as Aiqap and Qazaq where a wide range of related questions were discussed in terms of the specific intellectual categories that were current at the time. The topics she elucidates on the basis of her sources include: notions of civilization (particularly in terms of material culture), nomadism versus a settled agricultural lifestyle, Russian colonization and cultural influence, the problems of education which affect the survival of the Kazakhs as a distinct people (especially with regard to creating a standardized Kazakh language and literature), the role of Islam and the need for Kazakh solidarity with the other Muslim peoples in the Russian empire. The principal actors in the debate are described along with their concrete effects on education and the development of the Kazakh language. The following five papers have in common that they treat subjects relevant to Xinjiang, whether from a historical, socio–political or anthropological perspective. Kulbhushan Warikoo informs us on the recent ethnic religious resurgence in Xinjiang. The Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region of China is characterized by a unique ethnic diversity. Likewise, it is the only autonomous region where Muslims are in the majority. The author gives us a historical sketch of the region with emphasis on events since the establishment of Communist China. The activities of independence movements both locally and abroad are reviewed. It is noted that since Gorbachev’s policies of perestroika and glasnost were implemented, and especially since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of the independent Central Asian states, the situation in Xinjiang has become even more acute. Islamic fundamentalism, promoted in Kashgar for instance by Islamic activists from Pakistan, and a growing Pan-Turkic consciousness are increasing the tensions between Han–Chinese settlers and the local ethnic inhabitants. Information is presented on the revived movement for an independent Eastern Turkestan. The author closes with a survey of China’s latest policies for dealing with these separatist threats. These include plans for further settlements of Han–Chinese and future exploration of the huge mineral resources in Xinjiang, as well as the recent creation of free trade zones between the Central Asian states and Xinjiang. Sabira Stålberg presents an original speculative historical essay on the Gansu Corridor in Northwestern China. She reflects on the methodological shortcomings of historical research dealing with this exceptionally heterogeneous ethnic melting pot. To begin with she examines the limitations of the ancient Chinese sources that describe events and peoples of the region. In contrast to the simple stereotypes of historiography to date, she explores more

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sophisticated anthropological paradigms regarding the operation of ethnic assimilation, transformation and multiple identities which are characteristic of the Gansu region. Similarly, she points to the common pitfalls of a historiography that unconsciously follows European assumptions about the identity of nations and ethnic diversity. In particular, she rejects the practice of early European and present-day Chinese identifications of contemporary ethnic groups with the ancient peoples of the region. Her essay is full of examples drawn from ancient and modern contexts to do with the history of Gansu. Dru Gladney looks at the phenomenon of ‘nations transgressing nation-states’. He takes three case-studies involving Dungan, Uygur and Kazakh families from China who emigrated to Turkey where they have adapted but continue to maintain certain aspects of their original identities. Gladney’s intellectual perspective on their different forms of selfrepresentation in their new home is provided by the sociological concept of ‘relational alterity’. This concept seeks to take account of the different elements of identity which are emphasized in different contexts, depending on the nature of the new setting and ‘the other’ which persons come into contact with. The three groups in question exercise three widely divergent forms of discourse about their identities. The writings of other anthropologists on related subjects are reviewed where relevant to the situations of the three chosen case-studies. Liliya Gorelova offers us a report on what is known about the history and present situation of the Sibe, a small ethnic minority in Xinjiang belonging to the Tungus-Manchu peoples. She reviews the scant historical evidence about their more distant history as well as some theories regarding how the Sibe came to be in Xinjiang. In particular, attention is given to the Sibe language and its relation to literary Manchu. The influence of Chinese, Russian, Mongol, Kazakh, etc., on its later development is illustrated. Likewise, the present-day situation of the language and its place in the local school system is described. In this connection, information about newspapers in Sibe and the latest catalogue (1989) of Sibe-Manchu publications is presented. Marina Mongush reports on another small ethnic group in China, the Tuvans, who are not officially recognized as a distinct nationality but are erroneously described as Mongolians in their passports. The Tuvan population which is living within Russian territory has been much more extensively studied in terms of their language, customs and folklore, whereas their fellow-Tuvans living in China have been relatively neglected. The author’s report is primarily based on limited information published in Chinese journals of the last decade along with her own fieldwork among the Tuvan-speaking Monchaks. Despite the influence of the Mongolians and the Kazakhs on their language, the Tuvans in China have maintained their ethnic consciousness and still feel deeper cultural ties with the Tuvan Republic outside China.

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Two historical contributions deal with late medieval Islamic subjects. Richard Foltz presents a cultural–historical essay which ranges over the broad subject of the various forms of attachment of the Mughal emperors of India to Central Asia. Babur, the founder of the Mughal dynasty, was born in Andijan in the Ferghana valley. His memoirs in Chagatay Turkish are filled with nostalgic reminiscences of his homeland. The dynamic figure of Timur stood as a role model for the Mughal emperors who claimed descent from him. Folz offers numerous concrete examples of supposed Mongol titles and customs perpetuated among the Mughals. Similarly, there are numerous parallels between Mughal and earlier Timurid features of architecture. The Muslim army that conquered Northerm India and maintained Mughal power was built upon a network of loyalties inherited from the Central Asian steppe tradition. Through the 16th and 17th centuries the Mughals continued to patronize craftsmen and religious figures from Central Asia and imported upwards of 100,000 horses a year from the region. Folz documents all his remarks on the basis of the contemporary Persian-language sources written in Mughal India. Audrey Burton examines various aspects of the predicament of Russian slaves in the Khanate of Bukhara in the 17th century. The primary sources she exploits in order to gather together an array of interesting detail on the subject are mostly Russian, including archive materials, traveller’s accounts and reports of embassies. However, some Islamic Persian-language works which throw light on Russian slaves are also consulted. Much attention is given to the records describing negotiations undertaken by the Tsar’s agents to free the slaves, either by redeeming them with cash or through promises of future gifts and political support. The different categories of Russian slaves and their status are discussed, for example as household help, bodyguards or other forms of military roles. Political considerations and local intrigue influenced the Muslim authorities with regard to their willingness to free slaves or to accept reasonable sums as a ransom. Available documentation about the travel expenses of imperial agents and the varying amounts paid out as ransom provides interesting economic evidence for the period. Finally, we have two papers which do not fit into any of the previous categories. Sergey Klyjashtorny has contributed a brief specialized article which provides an up-to-date review of the philological problems associated with the ancient designation of the royal clan of the Turks. He assesses the wide spectrum of early literary and epigraphic evidence that pertains to the name applied to the earliest Turks: the ancient Chinese histories, Greek sources, the Orkhon inscriptions, Khotan-Saka, Tocharian and Sanskrit evidence, etc. The author considers recent alternative hypotheses that have been proposed to interpret the evidence and then offers his own hypothesis in an attempt to make sense of the heterogeneous data. Susanne Juhl

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presents us with a report summarizing the latest archaeological excavations of ancient post-Han burial sites in Hexi (present-day Gansu Province in North-West China). She examines what burial sites can tell us about Han– Chinese influence on the population of North-West China when this region was ruled by various non-Chinese tribes. Archaeological evidence is important in supplementing what the early Chinese historical sources tell us about the region. Funerary practices that are divergent from contemporary Han practices elsewhere in China demonstrate cultural and social interactions between the Chinese and the non-Chinese peoples of the region. The editors felt that it was at times appropriate to make some changes to the text of those contributors whose mother tongue is not English. However, editorial intervention of this kind was purposely kept to a minimum in order to preserve the character and the personal slant of individual authors. Generally speaking, we have been impressed by the good level of written English of the participants in the ESCAS Conference and wish to express our appreciation to all those scholars who, for the sake of reaching a wider audience, have accepted the burden of publishing their work in a foreign language. Any occasional changes made to their text aim solely at improving grammar and clarity of expression. As for the thorny question of transliteration, we felt the best policy would be to allow a certain degree of variation and inconsistency. The only alternative would have been to attempt to fit all contributions into a Procrustean bed of uniformity, an effort that we felt was bound to be futile in view of the broad range of languages and intellectual perspectives involved in the conference papers. Scholars working with Russian– or Chinese-language sources will naturally prefer one set of conventions of transliteration over another. Where we felt it was natural to use Anglicized forms of place names or to have recourse to IJMES forms of transliteration, we have done so, but inevitably some measure of arbitrariness persists in the articles. In our judgement, however, this degree of deviation will not cause problems of comprehension for readers with a minimum of familiarity with the subjects being treated. We have also chosen to retain the English spelling system – British or American – used by the authora. In closing, on behalf of the contributing authors and ourselves we wish to extend the warmest thanks to the International Institute for Asian Studies for providing the financial support which has made it possible to publish the present volume. Touraj Atabaki John O’Kane

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Social and Political Reorganisation in Central Asia: Transition from Pre-Colonial to Post-Colonial Society SHIRIN AKINER

The decolonisation of Asia and Africa in the aftermath of the Second World War presented Western analysts and civil servants alike with an acute problem: how to make sense of the changing scene in these newly independent countries? The experience of the colonial administrators seemed as outmoded as that of the social anthropologists whose chief interest hitherto had been the study of primitive societies. There was no conceptual framework within which to locate an examination of ‘the character and morphology of developing polities’,1 no methodology for analysing the dialectics of tradition and modernity, of national and sub-national identities under conditions of accelerated cultural change. In the mid-1960s, however, there was an upsurge of academic interest in the ‘changing societies’ of the developing world, particularly among political scientists (driven in no small measure by the needs of policy-makers in national and international agencies), and simplistic generalisations were gradually replaced by more nuanced critiques. Today, there are still many questions that remain unanswered, but at least there is a clearer understanding of the complexity of these issues. Moreover, a relatively large body of primary research in relevant fields has now been established, providing the necessary foundation for further analytical refinement. Post-Soviet Central Asian studies are currently at a stage reminiscent of that of the earliest post-colonial studies of Africa and Asia. There is a similar, though arguably even greater, lack of consistency in the nature and depth of information that is available. The past century and a half has been a time of intensive social, economic and political modernisation. There have been three watersheds: annexation by the Tsarist empire in the nineteenth century; establishment of Soviet rule and subsequent National Delimitation of 1924–25; disintegration of the Soviet Union in December 1991. Each of these events has had profound consequences for the region, marking an abrupt shift in orientation. Some aspects of the resultant changes are documented in official reports and statistical surveys (not always entirely reliable); scholarly monographs (though these must also not be accepted 1

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uncritically, since Soviet scholars were hampered by severe ideological constraints and their Western counterparts by very limited access to the region and to relevant data); and the fragmentary evidence of photographs and travellers’ accounts. Such material, by its very nature, recorded the ‘public face’ of society. The more intimate spheres, especially those relating to informal social networks, to the complex codes of group behaviour and the structure and role of authority within the community, remained hidden from view, constituting, in effect, a parallel, but virtually invisible, world, one which constantly interacted with the ‘public domain’, but nevertheless, continued to function according to a logic and a morality of its own. Soviet ethnographers (and indeed, anyone with first-hand experience of the region) were aware of the existence of this parallel social organisation, but it was not deemed a suitable subject for research. This was partly because it was politically unacceptable to acknowledge the limitations of Soviet influence in Central Asia, the extent to which, far from eliminating previous power structures, the new regime had acquiesced in the negotiation of a mutually advantageous modus vivendi. Partly, too, it was the result of the local communities’ extreme aversion to attempts to violate their privacy. Consequently, Soviet social scientists, in so far as they devoted any attention at all to the dynamics of transition, tended to concentrate their efforts on studying and recording the vestigial ‘survivals’ (a favourite term of the period) of premodern customs and traditions, particularly in such ideologically unimpeachable fields as material culture, craft-related practices, seasonal rites and specialised terminology. Over the past few years, and especially since the acquisition of political independence, Central Asian society has become slightly more transparent. Old sensitivities die hard, however, and whereas it may now be acceptable to have a comparatively open discussion on, for example, the actual status of women, as opposed to the idealised picture propagated in official writings, attempts to explore the role of so-called ‘clan’ networks are likely to be met with disapproval, suspicion and even outright hostility.2 Yet it is essential that such questions be addressed. Whereas in the past, the apparatus of the Soviet state acted as both buffer and intermediary between these republics and the outside world, today they constitute full members of the international community. If there is to be genuine integration, there must be a greater level of mutual comprehension. Part of this process entails ‘outsiders’ embarking on a learning curve similar to that which was required thirty odd years ago in order ‘to make sense’ of the then newly decolonised world. There are no ready-to-hand algorithms to aid the decoding of the inner workings of contemporary society in Central Asia. Analogies with developing

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polities elsewhere appear to be valid for some stages of the modern history of the region, but how helpful they will be in shedding light on post-Soviet trends is less clear. The first step towards a better understanding of Central Asia must surely be the mapping of the scope of the social reorganisation that took place under Tsarist and Soviet rule. In particular, it is important to examine the interplay between indigenous and imported culture, the extent to which each has modified the other. Given the huge lacunae in primary research on the region, at this stage any study of the subject must of necessity be of a very preliminary nature. The aim of the present paper is to trace the chief lines of social and political development in the period of transition from ‘traditional’ to ‘modernised’ society in Central Asia, identifying the changes but also the continuities. Published material is used where possible, supplemented by informed (though inevitably limited and subjective) personal experience. In conclusion, the possibilities for further change in post-Soviet Central Asia are assessed in the context of the region’s complex, and in many ways ambiguous and contradictory, heritage. ‘Traditional’ Central Asian Society The term ‘traditional’ is used here as shorthand for ‘pre-Tsarist, unRussified’ customs and institutions. It does not imply either stasis or uniformity. On the contrary, the two most distinctive characteristics of the region’s culture are, firstly, its absorptive and adaptive capacity, and, secondly, its enormous local diversity. Situated athwart the main north– south, east–west trans-Eurasian routes, Central Asia has, throughout its history, been the point of contact, collision, and in varying degrees fusion, of peoples, languages, philosophies, technological and artistic innovations. The long chronicle of invaders includes various groups of Iranian peoples, various groups of Turks, White Huns, Greeks, Parthians, Arabs and Mongols. Out of this great array of influences, four strands emerged as defining elements of Central Asian society. The major linguistic groupings were Iranian and Turkic – a division emphasised by cultural differences and geographical distribution. The Iranophones, who were located in the oasis belt, river valleys and mountains of the south-east, followed a sedentary way of life as agriculturalists, traders and craftsmen. The Turcophones inhabited the steppes of the north and the deserts of the south, and were primarily nomadic pastoralists, although in time, some assimilated to the sedentary culture, and became bi-lingual in Turkic and Persian.3 In the field of religion, and by extension socio–cultural institutions, Islam, introduced by the Arabs in the seventh and eighth centuries, came to be the dominant force.4 Dynastically, as well as in military organisation and some features of administration, it was the Mongol legacy that set the parameters for most

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of the region, since after the fourteenth century the ruling families among both nomads and sedentary peoples traced their descent, directly or indirectly, from the house of Genghis Khan.5 Although there was considerable variation in the details of social organisation, some features were common to Central Asia as a whole. The basic social structure was a tightly knit pyramid, formed of hierarchically ranked levels of authority, bound together by chains of mutually acknowledged loyalty and responsibility. The nucleus was the patriarchal family,6 consisting of a senior male and his immediate dependents, who cohabited, in nomad communities in a single tent, in settled areas in an enclosed courtyard. These cellular units were linked horizontally and vertically to form larger pyramids, which in turn, while retaining their internal integrity, were encapsulated within yet more complex groupings, culminating ultimately in discrete ‘tribe states’. At the apex of the entire corpus was the Khan, both supreme ruler and, symbolically, supreme patriarch. Amongst the nomads, the social fabric was reinforced by a highly developed sense of genealogy. It was (and in many areas still is) customary for male, and in some cases female, children to learn in early infancy to recite their paternal lineage back to at least the seventh generation. This helped to maintain an awareness not only of historical continuity, but also of the family as a defining feature of an individual’s identity. The structural subdivisions of nomad society are conventionally classified as tribes and sub-tribes.7 However, the precise nature of the relationship between these different levels is not clear. The local terms for groupings are often derived from such sources as personal names or totemic symbols; the designations of larger tribal groupings occasionally reveal a military origin, as, for example, the Kyrgyz sol kanat and ong kanat, ‘left wing’ and ‘right wing’ respectively.8 The system, in its formal dimensions, conveys an impression of considerable rigidity. In practice, however, it appears to have been relatively flexible. There was a constant, subtle negotiation of obligations and benefits between patrons and clients; the subordinate unit, be it family, clan or sub-tribe, could, as a final resort, choose to give its allegiance elsewhere.9 Moreover, biologically unrelated groups could also be assimilated at various levels of society and to differing degrees of intimacy. Thus, despite the undoubted importance of blood ties, the tribal congeries were by no means homogenous, ossified structures. Rather, they were constantly evolving, responding to changing circumstances. In sedentary communities, hereditary kinship networks were not without significance, but the key feature of identification, of self and of others, was not clan/tribal affiliation, but place of domicile. The ‘pyramid’ groupings were based on regional/administrative divisions, extending upwards from the village settlement (kishlak), through the district and provincial levels to

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the over-arching state formation. The cities were denser, more complex entities, but here too, there were distinct layers of subordination, with the mahalle (‘quarter’) as the base unit.10 The relationship between the different socio-hierarchical levels amongst the settled peoples was characterised, as in nomad communities, by a patron–client balance of power. However, there was far less opportunity for subordinate elements to take action to defend their interests, a circumstance which engendered a greater submissiveness, even subservience, in the sedentary population. On the eve of the Tsarist conquest of Central Asia the chief ‘state’ formations were the Khanates of the central belt (Bukhara, Khiva and Kokand), which jointly covered a territory corresponding approximately to that of present-day Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and the northern margins of Turkmenistan; the three Kazakh Hordes (zhus) of the northern tier; and the Turkmen tribes of the south-west, the largest of which were the Tekke and the Ersary. From a modern perspective, the Khanates, and to a lesser extent the Kazakh and Turkmen formations, were multi-ethnic, albeit with a preponderance of one particular group.11 There was also no clear-cut division along nomad/sedentary lines: thus although the main power base of the Khanates was in settled areas, they included high proportions of nomads, who constituted an important military asset; likewise the Kazakh and Turkmen groupings, although they followed a predominantly nomadic or semi-nomadic way of life, were not without links with the sedentary population. Insufficient documentary material is available on the Kazakh Hordes and Turkmen tribes for it to be possible to gain a full understanding of their organisational and administrative structures. Detailed archival records do, however, exist for the Khanates. Much research remains to be done, but the main features of government are clear, especially for Bukhara. Here (as also in the other Khanates) the rulers were Uzbek. Succession was generally from father to son; there was, however, no law of primogeniture and vicious struggles between the various family contenders for the throne were not uncommon.12 In broad outline, the Bukharan state conformed to what has been termed the ‘bureaucratic’ model exemplified by, on a much larger scale, the Ottoman empire.13 Spiritual and secular, legislative, executive and supreme judicial powers were concentrated in the hands of the Emir (the title assumed by the rulers of the Manghit dynasty in the mid-eighteenth century). He dealt with both the major affairs of state and the mundane details of domestic routine. The senior officers of government and religion were appointed by, and answerable directly and solely to, the Emir; later, there was a putative Consultative Council, but its functions were little more than nominal. In accordance with sharia law, ultimate ownership of the land lay with God, but the Emir, as his representative on earth, was deemed to

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have temporal custodianship and could therefore dispose of it as he pleased, keeping it for his own or ‘state’ use, or granting the usufruct to others, either as a reward for services rendered or in return for the payment of taxes or other fiscal arrangements. There was no clear demarcation between the public exchequer and the ruler’s private purse. Similarly, most officials did not receive fixed salaries, but abstracted their income from the gifts and tax revenues that passed through their hands. The consequence of the highly personalised nature of authority was on-going rivalry and intrigue, and chronic instability in government circles.14 If the structure of dynastic rule in the settled regions encouraged the centralisation of state administration, so, too, did the physical geography: water management was of vital importance in this arid region and the development of extended irrigation systems required central planning and control.15 Nevertheless, on an administrative–territorial basis there was considerable devolution of power. The largest sub-division was the province (vilayat, beklik or local equivalent). This was headed by a Hakim or Bek (or local equivalent), who was appointed by the ruler, usually from amongst his own close kinsmen. Tax farmer and, in times of war, military commander, this functionary was in theory subordinate to the ruler, but in practice, within his own territory he enjoyed a high degree of autonomy, even, at times, virtual independence. The administrative apparatus in the province, smaller, but similar in structure to that of the central government, was selfcontained: the officials were appointed by the hakim/bek and were therefore dependent on his patronage and goodwill. The same organisational structure was repeated, with a corresponding reduction of size and complexity, at every stratum of the administrative–territorial scale. Amongst the nomads, there was a similar balance of subordination and autonomy, with clan and tribal leaders exercising absolute power within their own units, while, at least nominally, accepting the authority of the overall Khan. The religion of almost all the indigenous Central Asians was Sunni Islam of the Hanafi School (the exceptions were the small group of Ismailis in the Pamir mountains, communities of Shia Muslims in Bukhara and some of the other cities of the south, and some Jewish communities, also in the Bukhara–Samarkand region). In the settled areas, especially the cities, there was a large Sunni Muslim establishment.16 This included religious–legal experts of various grades (the most senior Muslim official in Bukhara was the Sheikh ul-Islam, followed by the Qazi kalan), teachers attached to elementary schools (maktab) or colleges (madrasa), mosque functionaries (e.g. imam, muazzin), Sufi orders and itinerant dervishes. Amongst the nomads, the religious establishment was represented primarily by ishan (local spiritual leaders). They had moral authority in the community, usually reinforced by a close coalition with the local clan/tribal leader. Unlike their

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sedentary counterparts, however, they functioned on a more independent basis, largely free of institutional ties and controls. Islam in these nomad communities was not the text-based orthodoxy of the cities but more syncretic in nature, strongly influenced by customary law (adat) and traditional shamanistic practices. Links between Central Asia, especially the southern tier, and the wider Islamic world remained quite strong up till the fifteenth century. Thereafter they began to decline, partly because of on-going internecine conflicts in Central Asia, and partly because developments in neighbouring states made long-distance travel increasingly hazardous (e.g. the Russian conquest of the lands of the Golden Horde). Devout believers continued to make the haj (pilgrimage) to Mecca, but for the most part, contacts with fellow Muslims were restricted to those in countries closer to home, principally Iran and India. The intellectual life of the region began to decline. Bukhara, once a renowned centre of Islamic learning, became enmeshed in sterile pettifoggery. The accounts of foreign visitors as well as of reformist Bukharan Muslims such as Donish (c. 1828–97) and Fitrat (c. 1886–1938) indicate that by this time corruption, ignorance and religious hypocrisy were endemic.17 Women in settled communities led a segregated existence, their contact with men being limited to close family members; when they ventured outside the patriarchal ‘courtyard’ they wore an all-enveloping veil. In nomad and semi-nomad communities women did not wear the veil, although it was customary to cover their head and upper body. Male/female segregation here was less rigid, expressed more in terms of the allocation of tasks rather than strict physical seclusion. Arranged marriages were the norm amongst both nomads and sedentary peoples. There was frequently a great disparity in age between husband and wife, since the financial obligations incurred by the male, notably the payment of the ‘bride price’, were very considerable and generally far beyond the means of a young man. Child brides were sometimes purchased by wealthy older men; polygamy, as permitted by sharia law, and concubinage were also not uncommon. However, while there was undoubtedly overall gender asymmetry in structures of power and prestige, the most senior and/or able women could achieve a position of real, though indirect, power within the social sphere to which they had access (family, clan, tribe, state), generally through the agency of a husband or a son. There was a highly developed culture of trade and craftsmanship in Central Asia. However, relatively little is known about the internal functionings of the social and professional organisation of merchants and artisans. Historical research, supplemented by modern fieldwork in adjacent regions (e.g. Afghanistan), suggests that in settled communities in the south

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there would have been various types of associations. These would probably have included the following groups: urban-based male artisans and master craftsmen (e.g. textile-workers, embroiderers, leather-workers, metalworkers, paper-makers), who operated within self-governing and selfregulatory guilds; itinerant male artisans (e.g. sieve-makers, smiths); semi-skilled male artisans who undertook a variety of mending and making tasks in isolated rural communities; and skilled women artisans (e.g. potters), to be found in villages or smaller towns, who formed their own craft organisations. Alongside the technical and organisational aspects of their crafts, these groups appear to have had a strong sense of communal identity, supported by such bonding mechanisms as semi-religious rituals and beliefs; especially important was the celebration of cult practices linked to the patron saint of a guild or craft, a figure who might be Islamic or pre-Islamic, of local fame or revered throughout the Muslim world.18 Other sectors of society may be identified through their titles and designations, sometimes through the taxes they paid (specified in archival documents), but very little is known of their social organisation. In the cities there were numerous providers of services, such as, for example, doctors, scribes, cooks and bath-house attendants; also a large unskilled workforce of casual labourers and domestic servants.19 In the countryside there were several categories of peasants and agricultural workers. Amongst the nomads, too, society was highly segmented, the chief differentials being wealth, as determined by the size of flocks and herds, and, concomitantly, the degree of material dependency on a more powerful patron.20 Slaves were a feature of nomad as well as sedentary societies. There are several graphic descriptions of the buying and selling of the latter in the great slave markets of Bukhara and Khiva, but little is known of their fate thereafter.21 The military consisted of irregular troops, raised when necessary by local officials or nobles. In Bukhara, it was not until the 1830s that the Emir Nasrullah created a standing army. Tsarist Administration The modernisation of Central Asia falls into two phases. The first, which took place under Tsarist rule, introduced some important changes, but was very uneven in its impact. Compared with what was to come later, during the Soviet period, it was little more than an introductory stage. The Kazakh Hordes of the northern tier were the first to come under Russian domination. This began in the second quarter of the eighteenth century, although it was not until the following century that the power of the Khans was finally broken. Colonial policies towards the Kazakhs were openly interventionist in

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character. The nomads, perceived to be less cultured than the sedentary peoples, were the focus of a ‘civilising’ project. This assumed two forms. The first was the introduction of religious orthodoxy and, concomitantly, an identifiable, and hence accountable, organisational infrastructure. Initially the preferred religion was Islam, hence encouragement and support were given to Tatar missionaries; from the mid-nineteenth century onwards, however, partly because of the Tatars’ excessive zeal, partly because the Russians were about to embark on the conquest of yet more Muslim lands, the emphasis shifted to attempts (in the event unsuccessful) to introduce Christianity. The second, more limited, bid to reform Kazakh culture was the introduction of Western-style education. Several members of the Kazakh aristocracy came to know and admire Russian culture;22 for the majority, however, it remained alien, and in some circles was actively resented. Tension between the colonisers and colonised was exacerbated in the early twentieth century by a massive influx of Slav settlers, who appropriated the nomads’ grazing pastures and blocked their transhumance routes. Increasing numbers of Kazakhs were forced to adopt a sedentary or semi-sedentary way of life. During this period, too, copper, coal and oil mining expanded rapidly, largely financed by Western European and American capital investments.23 These industries were mostly manned by Russians, but some Kazakhs were drawn into peripheral employment. 24 The conquest of the southern tier was accomplished within some thirty years, beginning with the capture of Ak-Mechet in 1853 and culminating in the victory over the Turkmen at Gök-Tepe in 1881. The Khanate of Kokand was fully incorporated into the Russian empire in 1876, but Bukhara and Khiva, considerably reduced in size, retained nominal independence as Protectorates. The Tsarist administration in this part of Central Asia was less intrusive than in the north. Some changes were introduced in the systems of local administration and taxation, and slavery was formally abolished (though it survived illicitly). Muslim customs and institutions, however, were scarcely affected. The Russian presence, civil and military, was mainly confined to urban centres. A familiar form of colonial segregation developed, with satellite European suburbs or ‘new towns’ emerging alongside traditional native settlements.25 There was little social interaction between the settlers and the indigenous population in Central Asia. Nevertheless, Russian domination could not but have an impact. There were three areas in which it was of fundamental significance. The first was the psychological effect of the shift of the seat of power. Two new tiers were now added to the ruling hierarchy, that of the Russian Governorate-General and, higher still, that of the ‘Great White Tsar’ in St Petersburg.26 This was not simply an administrative change, but a matter of prestige. Even in the Protectorates of Bukhara and Khiva,

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where the Khans retained some semblance of autonomy, ultimate power lay no longer with them. Their courts, once the supreme source of patronage in the realm, were that no longer; the former ‘centres’ were now the ‘periphery’, dependent on the support and goodwill of a superior force. It was this psychological loss of status that undermined the authority of the traditional leaders more effectively than the actual military conquest. The second area was economic, the outcome of the gearing (and consequent subordination) of the local economy to the needs of the Russian economy. In the south, the salient feature was the huge growth in cotton production in the 1880s. This destroyed the traditional agricultural balance and laid the foundations for the monoculture of the Soviet period. Much of this initial expansion was financed by credit provided by Russian businessmen to local peasants, who then became locked into a cycle of debt dependency. A related development was the construction of the Trans-Caspian railway line linking Central Asia to Russia (the main track to the Ferghana Valley was completed by 1899), which facilitated the export of raw cotton, but also encouraged the import of cheap manufactured goods;27 the labour-intensive, ‘imperfect’ Central Asian handicrafts could not compete with the glossy uniformity of mass-produced factory goods and soon lost ground in the marketplace. Another change was the emergence of a new class of entrepreneurs, the interface between local and Russian trade. They were particularly active in the transport sector – which now required an ability to deal with train schedules, bills of lading and all the other paraphernalia of the long-distance movement of goods in the modern world – and rapidly displaced the powerful magnates who had formerly dominated the caravan trade. Such developments changed the social structure of commerce, opening up new, non-traditional, avenues of advancement and of access to wealth. The third area in which the Russian presence made a major impression was the socio-cultural. Central Asians were suddenly confronted with the physical reality of a very different life-style.28 This was reflected in the new urban environment, which, laid out in accordance with alien principles, incorporated strange architectural styles and unfamiliar institutions such as banks, trading houses, railway stations, hotels, churches, hospitals and theatres.29 It was emphasised by the introduction of modern science and technology, such as, for example, printing presses, a development which ushered in the first stage of mass communication.30 It also brought a different work ethic, with its own norms of efficiency, punctuality and ‘smartness’. For most Central Asians this remained an exotic world from which they were either excluded, or only included in a peripheral capacity. For a small number of intellectuals, however, it provided a powerful stimulus, fostering the development of reformist ideas and the first stirrings of Western-style political awareness.

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The Politics of Soviet Modernisation: Change … The second, and far more comprehensive phase of modernisation of Central Asia was implemented under Soviet rule. Less than four decades after the conquest of Central Asia had been completed, the entire Russian Empire was engulfed by revolution and civil war. In the mid-1920s, after the Bolsheviks had gained control of Central Asia, and the anomalous status of the former Protectorates had been resolved through incorporation into the newly formed Soviet Union, the new regime embarked upon a programme of radical transformation, intended ‘to help the working masses of the nonRussian peoples to catch up with Russia’.31 Mass mobilisation was achieved through the full exercise of the persuasive and coercive potential of the totalitarian state. The result of this mammoth campaign was that within some three decades there were dramatic increases in literacy rates, improved standards of health care and nutrition, electrification of virtually the entire region, intensified industrialisation, the creation of serviceable communication and transport networks, a huge expansion of mass media outlets, the diversification of employment opportunities, of cultural facilities such as museums, libraries and art galleries, the establishment of modern state institutions and of a modern bureaucracy. These and many other aspects of modernisation were phased in almost simultaneously; inter-connected, they constantly reinforced one another, integral components of a larger complex. Space does not permit a full consideration of this process here, but a summary of developments in the areas most relevant to this discussion is given below.32 Concepts of Identity The social reorganisation of Central Asia was formally initiated by the National Delimitation of 1924–25 whereby, within the framework of the Soviet Union, the pseudo-nation states of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan were formed. These new entities had no historical precedents. Moreover, they were based on the concept of language as the chief marker of ethnicity (an idea which has its roots in late eighteenth-century German romanticism), whereas in Central Asia, the traditional forms of identification were clan, tribe, region and, when confronted with non-Muslims, religion.33 However, the new boundaries served to consolidate within a single administrative–territorial space, without any forcible movement of population, the great majority of speakers of the main dialect groups. This laid the structural foundations for a reformulation of the parameters of identity. It was not that tribal/regional groupings were physically destroyed (on the contrary, most were preserved intact) but that the bases of definition were ‘modernised’, formally tied to territorial and

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linguistic criteria, a connection made explicit by the expanded use of generic ethnonyms.34 Thus, tribal/regional designations were now subsumed under institutionalised ‘nationalities’ (e.g. ‘Turkmen’, ‘Uzbek’, ‘Tajik’, etc.). Similarly, the dialect groupings were codified and elaborated into standardised national languages.35 National histories were crafted that gave depth and substance to the new ‘creation myths’. Abundant use was made of other integrative mechanisms such as national symbols (e.g. flags, emblems) and national institutions (republican Constitutions, branches of the Communist Party, etc.). These ‘national’ identities were in turn developed in tandem with, and as part of, the over-arching Soviet identity. This, too, was reinforced by appropriate symbols and institutions. The two levels of identity were symbiotically linked within a rigid hierarchical framework. The Soviet level represented the state and hence contact with the international community was enacted primarily through this medium. Thus, for example, the army, the diplomatic service, the major sports teams were ‘Soviet’ not ‘national’. Positive identification with the new concepts was indefatigably promoted through education, the media and other channels of mass persuasion. These included the creation of a system of vested interests – posts with associated privileges and powers of patronage – that were dependent on the assumption of the new identities. At the same time, rejection of traditional norms, including of ‘outmoded’ markers of religious or regional ethnicity, was assisted by, among other means, a ceaseless campaign of public ridicule and denigration. Emancipation of Women The campaign to emancipate Central Asian women had a moral as well as a political dimension. In the early stages the movement was dominated by activists from European parts of the Soviet Union who were genuinely appalled by what they perceived to be the cruel exploitation of women in Central Asia. It was also, however, a means of striking at the heart of traditional society, a challenge to the entrenched male hierarchies as well as a bid to create a new, revolutionary environment. Women were urged to abandon the veil (the prime symbol of male subjugation); to take up work outside the home and earn their own wages; to initiate divorce proceedings rather than suffer polygamy and other perceived injustices; and to join political organisations in order to fight for their rights. Legal, social and practical support for these measures was provided by the state. Progress was slow and hesitant at first, and bitterly opposed by the more conservative elements of society; gradually, however, especially as the educational reforms began to take effect, women started to play an active role in public life and by the 1950s were to be found in senior positions in a broad range of

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professions as well as in Communist Party organisations.36 Nevertheless, these were the exceptions. The majority of women continued to follow, in modified form, a traditional pattern of behaviour. Girls tended to leave school early, to marry young – often through arranged matches – and to have large families.37 Employment outside the home was mostly in low-paid seasonal work. Literacy and Education At the start of the Soviet era some 95 percent of the indigenous Central Asian population was illiterate. Literacy rates were highest amongst the Kazakhs, lower by far in the south, and lowest of all amongst women. A massive campaign to eradicate adult illiteracy was launched in the late 1920s; shortly after, free and compulsory primary education was introduced for all children, male and female. By the 1960s, virtually 100 percent literacy had been achieved. The school programme (unified throughout the Soviet Union, taught in Russian and the national languages) was gradually increased, first to an eight-year, then to a ten-year cycle.38 Tertiary education, for which most students received stipends, was encouraged. Each republic was endowed with at least one university, several vocational and polytechnical colleges, and a national Academy of Sciences consisting of numerous institutes of advanced research. There was considerable student mobility, especially at postgraduate level, with Central Asians frequently moving to other republics to study, as well as ‘outsiders’ coming to Central Asian higher educational establishments. Collectivisation and Dekulakisation The collectivisation of Soviet agriculture was implemented during the first five-year plan (1929–34). Described in official circles as a spontaneous initiative on the part of poor and middling peasants to band together in work collectives, the movement was in fact orchestrated from above. It was accompanied by mass arrests, deportations and expropriation of the property of the ‘kulaks’, the richer members of the community. In parts of Central Asia some enforced redistribution of wealth had already been achieved through the land and water reforms of 1925–28. By 1931, the collectivisation of the cotton-growing areas of the south was under way. This caused innumerable difficulties, including the disruption of the irrigation system. In the north, the situation was even more chaotic since here, collectivisation required the sedentarisation of the nomads. Ill-conceived, poorly organised and executed without proper supervision, the policy resulted in huge losses of livestock and immense human misery;39 almost two million Kazakhs (nearly half the entire population) either perished or fled across the frontier into China or Iran.40

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Collectivisation transformed agricultural practice in the region, introducing mechanisation and other technological innovations, and vastly enlarging the scale of operations. Concomitantly, the relationship between the individual and his work was altered; in particular, the sense of personal initiative and responsibility was eroded, replaced by routine obedience to orders from above. However, the extent to which the traditional social order was affected is not clear. In some cases the collective farms may well have perpetuated kin-based networks, retaining the old structures and merely relabelling them (e.g. the senior-most member of the group automatically becoming ‘Chairman of the Collective Farm’). In other cases, as for example in areas where there had been large-scale deportations (e.g. the Ferghana Valley), some restructuring of the networks was inevitable.41 There was also an influx of political commissars from the cities, which undoubtedly changed the internal balance of power in these communities. Possibly the groups that were able to preserve the greatest homogeneity were the political exiles who were deported en masse from other regions (e.g. Koreans, Germans, Crimean Tatars, Chechens), since they remained largely isolated from others. Urbanisation Central Asian urbanism has a history of over two millennia. For centuries, however, it was confined to the oasis-river belt of the south. This pattern began to change under Tsarist rule, but it was during the Soviet period that there was a major extension of urbanisation, both as regards the proliferation of urban settlements and the demographic and structural growth of such centres. The greatest change in the ratio of urban-dwellers to rural-dwellers took place in the steppes and deserts, followed closely by the foothills of the south-east. The proportion of urban-dwellers in these areas (corresponding approximately to the territory of present-day Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) in the early twentieth century averaged some 10 percent of the total population; by 1987, this had risen to 33 percent in Tajikistan (the lowest level in the Soviet Union) and 58 percent in Kazakhstan (comparable to that of the Transcaucasian republics). In Uzbekistan the increase was less acute, rising from 24 percent to 42 percent over the same period.42 The ethnic balance in the urban/rural distribution of the population varied from republic to republic. There was a major influx of Russians and other immigrants into urban centres, but a much more limited movement of the indigenous peoples from rural to urban areas. Thus, by 1970, Russians constituted approximately 30 percent of the total urban population in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan and only one to two percent of the rural population; the titular nationalities in these republics constituted 43 percent, 41 percent and 39 percent respectively of the total urban

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population, but 86 percent, 80 percent and 67 percent of the total rural population. In Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan the titular nationalities constituted only 17 percent of the urban population, the Russians over 50 percent. In terms of the urban/rural distribution of the titular nationality (as opposed to the total population of the republic), the great majority continued to be rural-based, ranging, in 1970, from 68 percent among the Turkmen to 85 percent among the Kyrgyz.43 This imbalance in favour of rural-dwellers was partly the result of low geographic mobility (Central Asians at all levels of the economic and educational scale still show a marked reluctance to move away from their place of origin), and partly of the higher birth rate in rural areas. By the 1980s, however, the Central Asian percentage of the urban population was beginning to rise, most notably in Uzbekistan. This was to some extent the result of the out-migration of Russians and other non-indigenous peoples, but also of the continuing intensity of demographic growth.44 Demographic Trends and Population Movements Under Soviet rule the Central Asian republics moved into the early expanding stage of demographic transition, with birth rates remaining high and death rates falling (by 1960, the crude birth rate was approximately 40 per 1,000, the crude death rate 6 per 1,000). As in other developing countries, the population was predominantly young, some 40 percent in the 0–15 year age group.45 The male to female ratio came to be almost equal, whereas in the 1920s there had been a slight preponderance (approximately 5 percent) of males. The average growth rate in 1960 ranged from 28.4 per 1,000 in Tajikistan to 35.9 per 1,000 in Turkmenistan. There was a slight deceleration in the 1970s, with a fall in birth rates and a rise in death rates, but in the 1980s there was a new demographic spurt, largely the result of rising birth rates in rural areas; by 1987, in some republics these were as high, or even higher, than they had been 25 years previously. This contributed to a widening of the gap in the rate of increase between ruraldwellers and urban-dwellers.46 Demographic change in Central Asia was also brought about by large scale movements of population. During the 1920s and 1930s this took the form of massive influxes of professionals (doctors, teachers, engineers, administrators, etc.) and other skilled workers from the European republics of the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, some sectors of the indigenous population were displaced as a result of intra-regional politically and economically motivated deportations, connected with the collectivisation, dekulakisation, expansion of cotton and grain production and industrialisation campaigns of the 1930s. Moreover, thousands of Central Asians, amongst them the wealthiest, the best educated and the most politically and/or religiously

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committed, fled abroad; another, predominantly male, emigration took place during the Second World War.47 The ethnic balance in the region was changed yet further by the arrival of the ‘punished peoples’, entire populations of supposedly disloyal nationalities, amongst them Koreans from the eastern seaboard, Volga Germans, Crimean Tatars, Chechens and Black Sea Greeks. The war years also saw the relocation of whole industries, complete with their predominantly Slav personnel, from the exposed European republics to Central Asia. The last major wave of immigration was prompted by the grandiose schemes to boost agricultural and industrial output in the 1950s and 1960s, most notably the Virgin Lands project in Kazakhstan. The result of these various demographic developments was that the ethnic composition of Central Asia became more complex, with over one hundred different nationalities being represented in the region. By the 1950s, the percentage share of the titular nationalities in the total population of their respective republics had fallen quite considerably, especially in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan but thereafter began to recover; by 1989, the Turkmen and Uzbeks were back to approximately the 1926 level and the others, though still well below, were on the increase.48 In urban areas there was a high level of interaction between the various nationalities in educational establishments (especially at the higher stages), at work and in socio–professional organisations, but this was often accompanied by ethnic rivalries and antagonisms.49 Informal socialising between the indigenous groups and the immigrants, even when neighbours, was comparatively rare and inter-marriage more uncommon still. Secularisation The Soviet authorities initially adopted a policy of cautious accommodation towards Islam. Muslim institutions were allowed to continue functioning and attempts were made to co-opt religious leaders and Quranic teachings to introduce new political and social concepts. By the second half of the 1920s, however, there was a perceptible change of attitude. Islamic courts, schools and colleges were phased out before the end of the decade, to be replaced by secular, Soviet equivalents. These moves were followed by the wholesale closure of mosques; the few that were permitted to remain open were required to obtain a licence from the Ministry of the Interior. The printing of religious literature was forbidden, as was the provision of religious instruction for minors. Thousands of Muslim teachers, scholars and mosque functionaries were arrested; many were subsequently executed.50 The annual pilgrimage to Mecca was prohibited; when it was finally reinstated, after World War II, only small groups of hand-picked officials were allowed to participate. The Arabic script, an important symbol of

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Islam, was abolished, replaced first by the Latin (c. 1928), then the Cyrillic (1940). The rhythm of Islamic life, with its strong sense of communal identity, was destroyed. Anti-religious propaganda, meanwhile, was ceaselessly disseminated through educational establishments, political, social and professional organisations, and the mass media. This combination of tactics undermined the position of Islam to such an extent that, for the great majority of the population, within a generation or two it had become little more than a modified adjunct of the ‘national’ culture, devoid, for the most part, of formal religious or ethical content.51 Cultural Change Every aspect of public, and some of private, life, underwent intensive Europeanisation/Russification. This was manifested in personal behaviour, in dress, modes of speech and even body language. Work practices were revolutionised, subjected to automatisation, standardisation and collectivisation. Indigenous art forms were replaced by Western genres, albeit with a token obeisance to ‘local colour’, in everything from popular entertainment (staged circus performances, for example, instead of spontaneous street displays of acrobatics) to high culture (opera, ballet and symphony concerts instead of the classical performing arts of the region). In the cities, the change in orientation was emphasised by the new, international-style architecture, with its use of gleaming modern building materials, open public spaces and multiple windows – a self-conscious statement of dissociation from the private, intimate scale of traditional urban planning, characterised by narrow, winding streets, lined with blind, mud-brick walls. … and Continuity On the surface, the Soviet state and the traditional Central Asian state formations would appear to have had little in common. However, closer study indicates that, slogans and institutional apparatus apart, there were several parallels between them. These included: the dichotomy between centralisation and factual administrative–territorial devolution of power; the personalised nature of loyalties; the primacy of ideology, which legitimised the regimes and rendered them unaccountable to their citizens; the exclusive, opaque nature of government; the emphasis on the community, not the individual; the formal emphasis on social justice; and the interpretation of ownership as stewardship, therefore a temporary, not an absolute right. On a conceptual level there was thus sufficient overlap between the old and the new systems for there to be a perception of continuity rather than of total rupture, of a change of terminology and presentation rather than of content. Possibly for this very reason – because the medium itself was most of the

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message – the Soviet authorities gave such priority to changing the external face of society. By contrast, the inner face, less visible and less accessible, was able to preserve, in spirit if not in precise detail, its principal features. The family unit, with its highly structured hierarchy and strict etiquette, was the chief agent for maintaining older forms of socialisation. It was here that parallel attitudes and values were acquired and that the traditional pattern of personal relationships was preserved. Thus, for example, the campaign for female emancipation resulted in formal gender equality in public life, but in the home, women continued to occupy a subordinate position.52 In this private, informal sphere pre-Soviet identities (tribe, region, religion) retained their vitality, counterpointing the newer, state-sponsored identities. Likewise, client–patron relationships, encapsulated in a variety of social networks, remained of crucial importance. There was, however, some modification and adaptation. The modern networks (colloquially referred to as ‘clans’ by Central Asians and others alike) were analogous in structure to traditional units, but more diverse in composition, function and degree of bonding.53 In its simplest form, the clan of the Soviet period was a loose cluster of individuals linked by some form of shared experience or interest. The internal ordering of seniority and authority in such a network was arrived at by an instinctive consensus. It functioned as both social safety net and self-help mechanism, enabling individuals to cope with the obduracies, brutalities and arbitrary terrors of the state machinery. However, at this level mutual obligations of loyalty and support were limited. Kinship-based clans carried much stronger moral imperatives, while the largest clan structures, ‘pyramids’ based on regional networks, retained considerable political significance. Their ability to mobilise support vertically, throughout society, gave them great resilience and power. So, too, did their capacity to transform themselves from dynastically dominated hierarchies into meritocracies in which, although age and inherited rank commanded some degree of deference, the ablest members of the group could rise to positions of authority. These regional clusterings rapidly colonised the new Soviet structures, creating, in effect, covert fiefdoms in which, as previously, they held the monopoly of power and patronage. In the 1930s they were not averse to using the murderous political purges to destroy their rivals. In three of the republics the clans that established their supremacy during this period remained in power throughout the Soviet period: the Ahal-Tekke tribe in Turkmenistan, the Issyk-Kul clans in Kyrgyzstan and the Khojent/ Leninabad clans in Tajikistan. In Uzbekistan, there was no clear victor, resulting in an on-going struggle between the three main factions: those of Ferghana, Samarkand and Tashkent. In Kazakhstan, likewise, there was no

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definitive regional monopoly of power, although networks from the eastern provinces (former territory of the Great Horde) held a privileged position for most of this period. Post-Soviet Consolidation and Fragmentation The Soviet-driven modernisation of Central Asia was not, in some respects, very different from that which took place in other parts of Asia and Africa. However, it had three distinctive characteristics: firstly, it was imposed from without rather than generated from within; secondly, it took place in the context of a tightly controlled totalitarian system (consequently, all outward expression of opposition was suppressed and there was virtually no regard for the economic logic of the process); thirdly, it was implemented at very great speed and across the whole spectrum of society. The result of this hothouse development was, as indicated above, that although fundamental change was achieved in some spheres, in others the impact was limited. Specifically, it did not lead to political mobilisation. In so far as there was any extension of political demands it was a very late process (dating from the end of the 1980s, thus well into the perestroika period) and confined to a very small group of urban intellectuals. Although under Soviet rule there was general suffrage, and in a formal, institutional sense what appeared to be a broad span of political participation, in reality this had as much substance as a Potemkin village. For the great majority, there was no expectation that an individual might have the capacity to influence decisions taken by ‘them’, the ruling elite. Active involvement in the political arena in any shape or form, whether in the ‘centre’ or at local level, was restricted to Communist Party careerists. Indeed, the forced pace of social transformation, far from stimulating participation, had the very opposite effect, since passivity and deference to authority were the most effective, and sometimes sole, means of defence against the ruthless progressivism of the state. Similarly, the attempts to eradicate the old social system did not result in the creation of new, more diverse and more numerous social forces: rather, traditional structures (albeit modified, as described above) were strengthened. Thus, in 1991, on the eve of independence, the level of political development in the region was not very different from that which had obtained seventy, or even a hundred, years earlier. In a very real sense, the Central Asians were ‘cheated of their revolution’, not only of the bonding experience of the struggle itself, but also of the preparatory period of politicisation, mobilisation and organisation. The sudden collapse of the Soviet Union was accompanied by both psychological and economic dislocation. The immediate response, an instinctive move to

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ward against incipient chaos, was a manifest strengthening of the conservative features of society. This exhibited itself in a variety of ways, from attitudes on gender issues to attitudes towards religion, from the reintroduction of pre-Tsarist administrative titles such as hakim to the public revival of traditional festivals. There was no transfer of power to new leaders: on the contrary, the ruling elites, far from being discredited on account of their umbilical links to the Communist regime, gained additional legitimacy since they were regarded as symbols of continuity in a time of flux and uncertainty. That they lacked the revolutionary credentials of a Gandhi or a Nkrumah was of no consequence: in popular mythology they were instantly endowed with heroic status as the ‘founding fathers’ of the new states, and by extension, as guarantors of national unity and independence (although the rapid fall of President Nabiyev of Tajikistan was a potent reminder of how fickle such acclaim could be). At the same time, the embryonic political movements that had begun to emerge in the last years of the Soviet era (the largest and best-organised of which was Birlik, ‘Unity’, in Uzbekistan) rapidly lost most of the popular support that they had initially succeeded in attracting. This was largely because they were organisationally weak and lacked functional adaptability: most had been formed out of concern for a single issue, such as the status of the national language or the environment, and the leaders had neither the experience nor the skill to broaden their platforms to include other questions. Above all, however, such groups were distrusted because they attempted to challenge, no matter how weakly or ineffectively, the established order, and hence constituted a threat to the fragile post-Soviet stability. Gradually, new parties and movements did begin to appear, especially in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. However, for the most part they have remained tied to individual personalities and have very limited support. Hardly any – with the possible exception of some of the reconstituted Communist Parties (e.g. in Kyrygzstan) – can be said to constitute a genuine opposition. Thus, independence has not provided nearly as much of a stimulus for political liberalisation as had been anticipated, but rather, arguably, has served to cut short the experiments in pluralism that were beginning to take shape in the 1980s. The collapse of the Soviet Union has reversed the translation of power that took place in the nineteenth century, when the ‘centre’ moved from the courts of the Khans to the distant Russian capital, relegating the Central Asian lands to the status of a periphery. The late twentieth-century leaders of the newly independent Central Asian states have now regained administrative centrality and, concomitantly, control of the levers of prestige, patronage and authority. Compared with the pre-colonial past, the exercise of power today has certainly been modified by the modern

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institutions of state management established during the Soviet era; also by the influence of international organisations, exerted through a variety of direct and indirect channels. Nevertheless, there are clear socio–cultural parallels between the style of government of the Khans of traditional society and of the current Presidents of the Central Asian states. The terms and conditions under which the latter hold office have been defined, and in theory limited, by their respective state Constitutions. In practice, however, they enjoy powers that are tantamount to absolute. The checks and balances that exist on paper to ensure an orderly and open system of government are expressed in terms so vague that they are liable to manipulation and subversion. The temptations and the opportunities to do this are all the greater since the leaders of today, as in the past, have very direct, personal control over all public affairs, from the most trivial matters of domestic policy to major international issues. Moreover, although there is a division of institutional functions and powers, the responsible senior officials are selected by the Presidents, generally from amongst their own networks of dependents and ‘clients’. These in turn appoint their own subordinates, a pattern that is repeated at every level of the administrative hierarchy, thereby creating chains of interlocking personal loyalties that can readily be used to by-pass the normal bureaucratic channels. The system inevitably fosters jealousies and rivalries which, coupled with the very real lack of professional experience of many of the individuals, leads to a high turn-over rate amongst the administrative personnel. As under the Khans, the leader is still the one fixed point at the heart of a constantly changing constellation. The coagulative capacity of Central Asian society helped to minimise the initial trauma of transition from the status of Soviet republic to independent statehood. Also, after the first shock had passed, there was a surge of national pride and self-confidence. It prompted an almost euphoric sense of optimism, galvanising people at all levels of society. This, however, began to fade quite rapidly. It became clear that there were deep-rooted stresses which could jeopardise the future of the region. The most immediate problem was the economic situation. In the aftermath of the disintegration of the Union, the disruption of inter-republican trade, the disbanding of all-Union industrial complexes (particularly in the military sector), and the cessation of budgetary transfers from the central government caused a disastrous decline in output. This was accompanied by high rates of inflation, spiralling unemployment, chronic shortages of essential commodities and severe cuts in social welfare services. All the Central Asian states have embarked on some degree of economic restructuring. Reforms to date have included the launching of national currencies, the liberalisation of prices, the overhaul of the tax system and

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the introduction of phased privatisation programmes. The benefits, however, have as yet scarcely become apparent.54 The immediate consequence, for the bulk of the population, has been an acute fall in living standards. The worst hit are family groups with several dependents and few wage-earners;55 academics and other professionals in the arts and sciences, formerly a highly privileged elite, have also suffered serious material hardship, their salaries not only lagging far behind inflation rates, but also frequently not being paid for months on end. There are, however, some positive features. The new economic climate has encouraged the emergence of an entrepreneurial class, mostly in the services sector and import–export trade. Small artels of craftsmen are also beginning to reappear. Yet these trends are not without their ambiguities. The huge profits that can be made in the burgeoning private sector are attracting the most able and energetic members of society, creating a veritable brain-drain out of academic and government circles. Moreover, the lack of a proper regulatory framework, coupled with a weak administrative infrastructure, has opened the way to an upsurge in criminal activity. As a result, the so-called ‘mafia’ (criminal networks that frequently have some degree of protection from within the state apparatus) have come to constitute both a private law-enforcement agency and a significant force in politics, with links throughout the CIS and possibly further afield as well. Another potential source of instability is the renewed political struggle between the regional clan structures. Now that there is no longer a single, all-powerful external patron to mediate in local power struggles, these ‘pyramids’ are competing for group hegemony in two key spheres: firstly, control of the government–administrative apparatus (which gives automatic access to power, and therefore wealth) and secondly, control of economic resources, particularly of high-value strategic commodities such as oil, gas and gold. Far too little information is available for an outsider to be able to comment authoritatively on the internal structure of these groupings, other than to note that, on the political plane at least, they still appear to be dominated by patronage-based networks. Moreover, in some (perhaps most?) areas, regional allegiances continue to generate a sense of group identity which possesses an emotional appeal that rivals, if not surpasses, that of the synthetic national identities. In Tajikistan, these local loyalties proved to be so strong and so unyielding that within a year of the disintegration of the Soviet Union they resulted in the dismemberment of the state.56 This was the most artificial of the Soviet administrative–territorial creations and hence the most vulnerable. However, similar tensions, which could be activated at any time by an ill-starred concatenation of events, are to be found throughout the region.

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Inter-ethnic relations are likewise beginning to show signs of strain. Several hundreds of thousands of Slavs, Germans, Greeks and other nonindigenous peoples have already chosen to emigrate rather than to face an uncertain future as ethnic minorities in these new states. Those who remain are increasingly succumbing to a ‘siege mentality’, closing ranks against a perceived threat to their cultural specificity. Other forces are also emerging that seem likely to contribute to the atomisation of society. Whereas formerly the social networks were held together by strong vertical linkages, now cross-cutting cleavages are beginning to favour horizontal solidarity. The deepest of these rifts is between the Europeanised/Russified urban elites and the more ‘traditional’ communities of the villages, small provincial towns and poorer quarters of the big cities; this cultural polarisation, articulated more clearly since the disintegration of the superficial homogeneity imposed by Soviet rule, is, in some areas, acquiring hostile, judgemental overtones, a portent of possible future confrontations. A perceptible gulf is also developing between the generations (the dividing line being approximately thirty years of age). This is precipitated by a number of factors. One is that the moves towards a market economy and integration into the international community require specialised technical and linguistic skills that few of the older generation possess; this is creating opportunities for younger people to acquire unprecedented privilege and prestige, as well as authority over those to whom they would traditionally have deferred. Greater exposure to foreign culture is another important influence, introducing new concepts, new role models and new aspirations; social conventions are still very powerful and exert a moderating influence, but it is inevitable that there will gradually be a change in attitudes. Yet another cleavage is between those who espouse a secular way of life and those who favour some formal degree of re-Islamicisation. The latter are still very much in the minority, but they are beginning to find support not only in the conservative rural communities, but also amongst those members of the educated, urban-based youth who are disenchanted with Western/Soviet materialism. These and other new alignments might well lead to the formation of ‘flatter’, more horizontal clusters, although in all likelihood there will still be a residual vertical dynamic, linked to core tribal/ regional identities and loyalties. From Civic Order to ‘Praetorian Disunity’? The Central Asian states inherited a high degree of civic order. During the Soviet period this was based on the Communist Party’s absolute monopoly of power, ideological sanction and control of political institutions. The

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challenge that confronts these countries today is whether or not, as independent states, they will be able to maintain the ordered, stable structures of the previous regime; and if so, by what means will they achieve this. As of now, three hypotheses may be postulated for their future development. The first hypothesis is that, through a combination of national will and external aid, they might not merely negotiate this period of social, political and economic transition with a minimum of disruption, but progress further by transforming modernisation into full-blown Western-style modernity. They will succeed in: a) creating structures and institutions to reintegrate society; b) retraining their bureaucracies so as to enhance, not lose, current levels of efficiency; c) establishing liberal–democratic forms of government, with genuine political competition and broad popular participation in the choice of leaders and formation of policy; d) stimulating economic growth by attracting inward investment in industry, upgrading the transport infrastructure and developing international routes, mobilising savings and other such measures. By these means, they will create a dynamic indigenous business culture, thereby giving economic substance to political independence. A second hypothesis is that there will be some degree of economic growth, mostly connected to the export of raw materials and certainly subject to strong government regulation; political liberalisation will be slow and strictly limited, but, despite underlying tensions and sporadic outbreaks of civil disorder, there will be overall stability. ‘Pseudo-democracies’ will emerge, consisting of puppet political parties founded (or sanctioned, subject to control) by the ruling regimes in response to pressure from international donor organisations.57 The political inheritance of these states is one of extreme authoritarianism: first, of the hegemonic dynasties of traditional society, then of the Soviet one-party system. Since independence there have been attempts to develop democratic institutions and in all the Central Asian republics there is now a constitutional commitment to the holding of regular elections. However, the low level of Western-style political culture, the rudimentary nature of non-government political organisations and continuing direct or indirect state coercion, mean that there is as yet no real political competition or even dialogue.58 This will continue to be the pattern for the foreseeable future. A third hypothesis is that there will be long-term instability and decline. These newly independent states will be unable to mobilise sufficient resources to sustain the level of development achieved under Soviet rule. Standards in health care and education are already showing signs of severe erosion; scientific and cultural facilities are under increasing financial strain; the general social and technical infrastructure, especially in remoter rural

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areas, is deteriorating, owing to inadequate maintenance. The situation is exacerbated by the high rate of demographic growth which, merely to preserve present services, without expansion or improvement, requires ever greater investment. This regression will continue and will have disastrous social and political consequences. Pauperisation, frustrated hopes, bitter competition for scarce resources and the increasing gap between aspirations and the ability to satisfy them, will provide a fertile breeding ground for inter-communal violence and clan/regional confrontations, such as have already emerged in Tajikistan. In some areas, particularly in the south, this will find expression through a politicised, militant form of Islam. To realise the optimum solution, namely, the first of the three hypotheses outlined above, would require a more fundamental shift in social and cultural attitudes than has yet been achieved. Yet it is not impossible: if sound economic policies are pursued and there are no extraneous shocks (e.g. arising out of upheavals in Russia), then a stable environment could be created which would favour the emergence of a broad-based entrepreneurial middle class. This might stimulate greater mobility, which in turn would lessen the rural–urban divide. It would not necessarily destroy the clan networks, but would reduce their influence by opening alternative avenues of access to wealth and power, thus initiating the process of multiplication and diversification of social forces, essential components of a fully modernised (in the Western sense) society. The magnitude of the changes that are required to bring about this state of affairs, however, is so great that it is highly improbable that it could happen in the near future in any of the five countries. As of now, there is little promise that it will happen in any of them. The second hypothesis coincides with the current status quo in all the Central Asian states. It is most obviously the case in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. However, in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, despite an initial impression of greater liberalism, the situation is not, in fact, very different.59 In Tajikistan the situation is still very fragmented, but nevertheless, here, too, the same features are apparent. Stability is predicated on the continuance of strong, autocratic rule. It is very likely that this will indeed be maintained, since there are no obvious competitors for power. It is possible that the question of political succession could eventually cause a crisis, but this will probably be mediated through compromises based on a discreet sharing-out of benefits between the rival contenders. The national armies in these countries are very new, created on the basis of men and material inherited from the units of the Soviet army that were previously stationed on the territory of the Central Asian republics.60 As of now, they are of predominantly symbolic significance, thus neither a threat nor a protection. Law and order is ensured by the security forces (in large part

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successors to the KGB), whose loyalties appear to be to the leader rather than the state. In the longer term it is possible that such regimes could become vulnerable to challenges from internal opposition factions. However, were this to happen, the incumbent leaders would probably be able to count on considerable support, open or covert, from governments and multinational corporations that have developed strategic and economic interests in the region and thus have a stake in safeguarding continuity. Given these factors, authoritarian rule is likely to remain the reality, at least for the foreseeable future. The third hypothesis – that there will be long-term instability and decline – is showing signs of forthcoming reality, though as yet the process would not appear to have reached the point where it becomes irreversible. The current material hardships are very considerable, but perhaps the more serious problem today is the threat to morale. The modernisation of most post-colonial states has been accompanied by a vicious cycle of violence and instability, but nevertheless, these societies have been able to derive comfort and political capital from the belief that conditions will, in time, improve. The Central Asian states, by contrast, are in the unique position of having achieved a degree of functional modernisation comparable to that of developed countries, but without the political and economic independence that this generally entails. Rather than the hope that matters will improve, they are faced with the very real prospect of large-scale retrenchment, all but amounting to a modern version of the Dark Ages. This has contributed to the creation of a pervasive sense of insecurity and anxiety which, combined with social and regional tensions, and exacerbated by exogenous influences (especially competition over the exploitation of the rich mineral resources of the region), could precipitate confrontations that would readily escalate to conflicts. This has already occurred in Tajikistan and it is not inconceivable that it could happen elsewhere in Central Asia. Future Prospects In 1992, many Western politicians cherished the same hopes for the Central Asian countries that had previously been held for the newly decolonised world of the 1950s, namely, that it would be possible to launch these states on a ‘relatively smooth and linear process of cultural change, economic growth and stable democracy.’61 The reality here, as in other parts of the developing world, has already proved to be far more complex. Having traversed (to use Samuel Huntington’s model of political development for changing societies) the path ‘from praetorian disunity to civic order’,62 these new states are in danger of reversing the paradigm. Whether or not all, some or any of them will be able to pull back from the brink of chaos it is

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too soon to say. The indications, as of now, are that they will. It seems likely that a degree of stability will be restored even in Tajikistan. However, the fragility of the situation throughout the region, in all five states, should not be underestimated. The maintenance of order and stability will, for the foreseeable future, require measures that are not conducive to the fostering of Western-style political systems. Some Central Asians believe that this may be no bad thing: that the only viable model is one that draws on their own cultural traditions rather than mimicking (yet again) foreign models. They see firm, paternalistic, authoritarian rule as their best hope for achieving social and economic development. They may well be right, but however strong the links with the past may be, there have, nevertheless, been many changes, too. Today, as independent states, members of the international community, the Central Asian countries are faced with the necessity of evolving, in whatever form, effective ‘political institutions capable of mediating, refining and moderating political action’.63 This, under present conditions, will not be an easy task. It will inevitably take time, and possibly several painful readjustments, before a satisfactory solution is reached. Notes 1 V. Randall and R. Theobald, Political Change and Underdevelopment: A Critical Introduction to Third World Politics, Durham, N.C., 1985, p. 2. 2 A recent illustration of this was the angry response from leading Turkmen government officials to an article by Dmitri Trofimov, a Moscow-based academic who specialises in Central Asian affairs, in which he speculated on the influence of clan rivalries in Turkmen politics (Izvestiya, 20 May and 9 June 1994). Few, in private conversation, would deny that such divisions exist, but to discuss such matters in public is considered inappropriate. A rare exception to this rule was the article on Kyrgyz clan tensions in the English-language Bishkek paper Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, 21 December 1993, no. 4, p. 4, ‘The North-South Axis: What is Shattering It?’. 3 M.E. Subtelny, ‘The Symbiosis of Turk and Tajik,’ in B.F. Manz, ed., Central Asia in Historical Perspective, Boulder, Col., 1994, pp. 45–61, provides an excellent overview of this relationship. 4 The most comprehensive study to date of Islam in Central Asia is T.S. Saidbaev, Islam i obshchestvo, Moscow, 1984. 5 Morris Rossabi, ‘The Legacy of the Mongols,’ in Manz, Historical Perspective, pp. 27–32. Tamerlane was an exception since he was not a Genghisid, though he did come from a Mongol line, the Barlas. This did not give him the right to the throne and he therefore made a true Genghisid the nominal head of his empire. 6 For a review of Russian/Soviet studies on family structure in Central Asia in the pre-revolutionary period see M.A. Bikzhanova, Sem’ya v kolkhozakh Uzbekistana, AN UzSSR, Tashkent, 1959, pp. 7–11; also pp. 23–4. 7 In Western Europe social anthropologists have come to regard these terms as misleading. As one authority put it, ‘The concept of the tribe, for example, has come

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under scrutiny for several reasons ... surely the “tribe” may best be viewed as a colonial administrative unit given legitimacy, and, indeed, in some cases reality, by colonial recognition?’ (J. Vincent in Politics and Change in Developing Countries, ed. by C. Leys, Cambridge, 1969, p. 59). For a Soviet/Russian view on the use of this terminology see Narody Srednei Azii i Kazakhstana, II, ed. by S.P. Tolstov, AN SSSR, Moscow, 1963, p. 171. Whatever the scientific shortcomings of these terms, they are used here because they have gained general currency and are widely used outside anthropological circles. 8 Z.V. Togan, Bugünkü Türkili Türkistan ve Yakın Tarihi, Istanbul, 1981, pp. 37–84, gives a full survey of the various tribes, sub-tribes, etc. for each of the main groups. See also relevant articles in Narody Srednei Azii i Kazakhstana, I and II, ed. by S.P. Tolstov et al., AN SSSR, Moscow, 1956–63. 9 See Rossabi, ‘Legacy of the Mongols’, p. 31. 10 V.A. Nil’sen, U istokov sovremennogo gradostroitel’stva Uzbekistana, Tashkent, 1988, p. 29. 11 The populations of the three Khanates, for example, were predominantly Uzbek, but included significant numbers of Tajiks, Turkmen, Karakalpaks, Kazakhs, Jews, Persians, Arabs, Indians and Gypsies. See further Istoriya Uzbekskoi SSR, I, pt. 2, ed. by M.G. Vakhabov et al., AN UzSSR, Tashkent, 1956, p. 11. 12 See Ahmad Donish’s Risola on the history of the Manghit dynasty, written c. 1895–97, for a vivid account of the lives of the rulers, as well as of social and economic conditions in the Bukharan state. An abbreviated account of this valuable work, edited by R. Hodizade, appeared in print in 1959; the full text, based on the five extant manuscripts, was published by A.M. Mirzoev in 1960. M.N. Osmanov’s Russian translation appeared in 1960 (Tadzhikgosizdat, Stalinabad), followed by the fuller and more literal rendering of I.A. Nadzhafova (Donish, Dushanbe) in 1967. See also the chapter on ‘The House of Manghit’ in F.H. Skrine and E. Denison Ross, The Heart of Asia, London, 1899, pp. 204–21, which gives a brief but informative survey of the subject. 13 For a definition of the ‘bureaucratic state’ see S. Huntington, Political Order in Changing Societies, New Haven, 1968, p. 148; the relevance of this model to the Ottoman empire is discussed by E. Özbudun Perspectives on Democracy, ed. by E. Özbudun, Ankara, 1988, pp. 2–5. 14 As one visitor described it, ‘The ruler is surrounded by greedy and venal followers, and his Court is a centre of intrigues’ (Skrine and Ross, Heart of Asia, p. 379). 15 H. Carrère d’Encausse, Islam and the Russian Empire, trans. by Q. Hoare, London, 1988, p. 8. See also A.B. Babakhanov, Arkhitektura irrigatsionnogidrotekhnicheskikh sooruzhenii Srednei Azii, ‘Uzbekistan’, Tashkent, 1980, pp. 10–11. 16 Saidbaev, Islam i obshchestvo, pp. 78–84. 17 See, for example, Ahmad Donish, Istoriya Mangitskoi dinastii (originally entitled Risola – see note 12 above), trans. by I.A. Nadzhafova, Donish, Dushanbe, 1967, p. 27. Abdurauf Fitrat, too, frequently criticises the ignorance and corruption that he saw around him, as, for example, in Rasskazy indiiskogo puteshestvennika (Bukhara, kak ona est’) (Tales of an Indian Traveller: Bukhara as It Is), trans. from Persian into Russian by A.N. Kondratev, published by Mahmud-Hoja Begbudi, Samarkand, 1913. He speaks bitterly of the decline of Holy Bukhara, once a renowned centre of learning and now ‘this sky of the sun of culture, this heaven of the world of mankind,

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this well-ordered house of the sciences of the world, this auditorium of knowledge for the entire globe... has become a land ringed about by mountains of stupidity and shackled by chains of contempt!’ (p. 23). Further on he comments that, although there are some 200 madrasas in Bukhara, and special schools that teach the recitation of the Quran, ‘nevertheless in all Bukhara there is not a single person who would not pronounce the holy word Allah as either Avakh or Ablakh (p. 26). See also O.A. Sukhareva, Bukhara XIX – nachalo XX v., Moscow, 1966, pp. 70–5. 18 Z. Jasiewicz, ‘Professional Beliefs and Rituals among Craftsmen in Central Asia: Genetic and Functional Interpretation,’ in S. Akiner, ed., Cultural Change and Continuity in Central Asia, London, 1991, pp. 171–80; also Saidbaev, Islam i obshchestvo, p. 206. 19 Sukhareva, Bukhara, especially pp. 182–266, gives a survey of the different classes and occupations that were represented in Bukhara in the nineteenth century. 20 B. Suleimenov (ed.), Kazakhstan v XV–XVIII vekakh, Alma–Ata, 1969, pp. 164–7, discusses the divisions in Kazakh society in the pre-modern period. 21 Skrine and Ross, Heart of Asia, p. 378, note that in the early nineteenth century: ‘There was a regular tariff for these human cattle. A labourer fetched £29, a skilled artisan £64, and a pretty girl nearly £100. The treatment meted out to them by Bokharan taskmasters was more atrocious than anything recorded by Mrs Beecher Stowe.’ Half a century later ‘the traffic in human flesh’ was still prevalent, although conducted with greater secrecy. 22 The most famous of these were Shokan Valikhanov (1835–65), a prolific writer, historian and ethnographer, Ibrai Altynsarin (1841–89), an advocate of educational reform, and Abai Kunanbaev (1845–1905), generally considered to be the father of modern Kazakh literature. 23 E.B. Bekmukhametov, Tsvetnaya metallurgiya i gornoe delo dorevolyutsionnogo Kazakhstana, AN KazSSR, Alma–Ata, 1964, gives a well documented study of the pre-revolutionary mining industry in Kazakhstan. As is to be expected in a work of this period, the author views Western involvement as ‘rapacious exploitation’ (p. 211). For information on specific foreign enterprises in north-east Kazakhstan see pp. 207–11 (Spasskii factory) and 345–8 (Ridder factory). 24 Bekmukhametov, Tsvetnaya metallurgiya, p. 201, gives a break-down of the workforce by nationality, job and pay for the Spasskij factory in December 1902. There are 30 Russians to 73 Kazakhs; the former appear to be paid at least twice as much for doing the same task. 25 Nil’sen, U istokov, especially pp. 36–91, 94–108, gives a detailed study, with plans and photographs, of the growth of cities such as Tashkent, Samarkand and Kokand, also of New Bukhara and New Margilan, under colonial rule. See A.D. King, Urbanism, Colonialism and the World Economy, London and New York, 1990, for a broader perspective on the role of urban centres under colonial rule. 26 An English translation of the text of the capitulation of Tashkent to ‘the Great White Tsar’ is given in E. Schuyler, Turkistan, I, London, 1876, p. 115. 27 Ella Christie, in Through Khiva to Golden Samarkand, London, 1925, p. 17, summed up the situation at the time of her first visit to Central Asia in the early years of the century thus: ‘Krasnovodsk ... On its quays may be seen mountainous bales of raw cotton ready for shipment to the mills of Moscow and other manufacturing towns in Russia, while European goods of all kinds supply the requirements and gratify the tastes of ten to twelve million inhabitants of Central

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Asia, who, year by year, are discarding their native-made articles in favour of Western goods, which in many cases is to be deplored.’ 28 More than 1,400,000 Russians moved into Kazakhstan in the period 1896– 1916; 22 percent of these were temporary migrants, however, and subsequently returned home. (G. Demko, The Russian Colonization of Kazakhstan 1896–1916, Bloomington, Ind., 1960, especially pp. 98–9). By 1917 there were about 750,000 Russians in the south, constituting some 10 percent of the total population of the region (A. Fomchenko, Russkie poseleniya v Turkestanskom krae, Tashkent, 1983, pp. 71–8). There were also a number of Western Europeans, including two colonies of German Mennonites, one in Ak Mechet (140 families) and one in Aulie Ata, who had been given permission to settle there by the Khan of Khiva c. 1882. They carried out important work reclaiming the salt marshes. Self-sufficient (even making their own wine), they lived according to the rules of their faith. They were still there more than fifty years later (E. Maillart, Turkestan Solo, trans. by J. Rodker, New York, 1935, pp. 269–75), but eventually disappeared without trace. 29 Christie, Through Khiva, pp. 248–54, ‘At the risk of this being taken for a guide-book’, lists the main public buildings of Tashkent in lively detail. 30 The first Uzbek periodical publication appeared in 1870 as a supplement to the Russian-language government organ Turkestanskie vedomosti (Turkestan News); the following year a bi-monthly Kazakh edition was added, until, in 1883, the Uzbek version became a publication in its own right. The first independent, privately owned Uzbek/Tatar periodical appeared in 1906, the first Kazakh in 1907. 31 I. Stalin, Marksizm i natsional’nyi vopros, OGIZ, n.p., 1939, pp. 267–70. 32 Some of these ideas are discussed at greater (though still far from sufficient) length in other writings of the present author, e.g. Central Asia: New Arc of Crisis?, Royal United Services Institute for Defence Studies, London, 1993; ‘Ethnicity, Nationality and Citizenship as Expressions of Self-Determination in Central Asia,’ in D. Clark and R. Williamson, eds., Self-Determination: International Perspectives, London, 1996, pp. 249–74. 33 However, ethno–linguistic differentiation had already started to acquire significance in the early twentieth century when, under the influence of pan-Turkism, some intellectuals began to define themselves through their choice of language. Fitrat, for example, wrote his early works in Persian, but turned to Uzbek when, on his return from a stay in Turkey (1910–14), he became more actively involved in Bukharan politics. 34 The ethnonyms of the main Soviet Central Asian nationalities were used prior to this period, as historical documents and travellers’ accounts attest, but very loosely and in general more by ‘outsiders’ than as terms of self-definition. 35 See further S. Akiner, ‘Uzbekistan: Land of Many Tongues,’ in M. Kirkwood, ed., Language Planning in the Soviet Union, London, 1989, pp. 100–22. 36 Data on the situation in Uzbekistan for this period are given in Deyatel’nost’ Kompartii Uzbekistana po usileniyu sotsial’no-aktivnosti zhenshchin, ed. K.F. Fazylkhodzhaev, ‘Uzbekistan’, Tashkent, 1986, pp. 96–7. There is as yet no comprehensive study of Central Asian women during the Soviet period. Studies by Western authors tend to focus on the political aspects of the emancipation movement (most notably, G. Massell, The Surrogate Proletariat, Princeton, 1975), those by Soviet authors on the economic and infrastructural developments (see, for example, Sh.M. Masharipova, Raskreposhchenie zhenshchin Khorezma i vovlechenie ikh v sotsialisticheskoe

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stroitel’stvo, Tashkent, 1990, especially pp. 67–85). 37 This was very marked in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. In 1959, for example, 31.8 percent of Uzbek girls in the 16–19 age range were married, 36.6 percent of the Tajiks; by 1970 these figures had fallen somewhat but were still high: 24.7 percent for the Uzbeks, 24.9 percent for the Tajiks. The greatest shift has taken place amongst Kazakh girls: in 1959 28.7 percent of those in the 16–19 age group were married, in 1970 only 12.3. Children are considered to be a great blessing and men and women alike look forward to having large families. In 1970, 29.7 percent of the total number of families in Uzbekistan consisted of seven or more cohabiting members, in Tajikistan, 32.0 percent. (Source: 1959 and 1970 Soviet censuses. A summary of the relevant data is given in S. Akiner, Islamic Peoples of the Soviet Union, 2nd ed., London, 1986, under the headings for the main ethnic groups.) 38 In 1970, per 1,000 of the ethnic group aged 10 years and above, living in their titular republic, the proportion of those with higher and secondary education (8– year and 10-year cycles), was as follows: Uzbeks 420; Kazakhs 403; Tajiks 387; Turkmen 433; Kyrgyz 407. (Source: Soviet census 1970.) 39 Very little information is available on the process of collectivisation. A. Nove, An Economic History of the USSR, Harmondsworth, revised and reprinted 1992, pp. 159–88, gives a concise description of events in the Soviet Union as a whole and some specific data on Central Asia. See also Istoriya Kirgizii, II, ed. by A.A. Altmyshbaev et al., Frunze, 1963, pp. 334–44; the multivolumed series Ozbekiston kolkhoz va sovkhozlari tarikhi, Tashkent, gives detailed information on technical innovations, production figures, etc., but throws very little light on the sociological aspects of collectivisation. From the material presented in Vol. XV (ed. by A.R. Razzoqov et al., 1986) it would appear that collectivisation was introduced as early as 1928 in some regions of Uzbekistan. 40 See F. Lorimer, The Population of the Soviet Union: History and Prospects, League of Nations, Geneva, 1946, p. 121. A detailed break-down of estimated losses is given by M.B. Tatimov, Sotsial’naya obuslovlennost’ demograficheskikh protsessov, Alma–Ata, 1989, pp. 120–2. 41 Bikzhanova, Sem’ya v kolkhozakh, pp. 84–5, touches on the effect this reorganisation had on extended families. 42 Source: Goskomstat, statistical handbook Naselenie SSSR 1987, ‘Finansy i statistika’, 1988, entries under relevant republics. 43 Goskomstat, Naselenie SSSR 1987, entries under relevant republics. 44 Many foreign visitors, including the present author, have had first-hand confirmation of this through encounters with highly qualified young professionals who, having completed their training, nevertheless have preferred to return to their villages or small towns and to take semi-skilled, stress-free jobs rather than to move to the capital city to pursue their careers. The out-migration of Slavs and other non-titular peoples from the late 1980s onwards has somewhat changed the percentage balance of the titular peoples in the urban population, but in terms of the geographic distribution of the titular population itself, the great majority are still rural-based. In 1989, for example, the Uzbek share of the total urban population of the republic had risen to 54 percent, but 70 percent of the total Uzbek group were still ruraldwellers. See further statistics in M. Buttino (ed.), In a Collapsing Empire: Underdevelopment, Ethnic Conflicts and Nationalities in the Soviet Union, Milan, 1993, pp. 349–65.

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45 This figure is for the total populations of the various republics. Amongst the titular nationalities the proportion of those in the 0–15 year cohort is much higher. Information provided in the 1970 census on the age structure of the different ethnic groups showed that over 50 percent of the Uzbeks, Tajiks, Kyrgyz and Turkmen were aged 15 and under; only amongst the Kazakhs was the level slightly lower. 46 In Uzbekistan in 1987 the annual increase was 36.0 per 1,000 in rural areas, 19.0 per 1,000 in urban areas, and in Tajikistan, 39.5 per 1,000 and 25.9 per 1,000 respectively. (Source: Goskomstat, Naselenie SSSR 1987.) 47 It is not known how many Central Asian soldiers fought on the German side during the Second World War. The ‘Turkistan Legion’, the first of the ethnic Muslim legions in the German army, was formed in November 1941 (mainly, it would seem, of prisoners of war opposed to Russian/Soviet rule); by 1943 it had grown in size to over 10 battalions and was dispatched to Yugoslavia. In May 1943 the 162nd Turkic Infantry Division was created; it was sent to Italy, where, in September 1944, at Rimini, it surrendered to the Allies. In addition to this formation, there was also an Osttürkischer Waffenverband in the SS, and several rear echelon formations (Road and Rail Construction battalions, Ordnance, Depot and Supply companies and transportation units); these included five Turkmen Labour battalions, with a total strength of some 20,000 men. The insignia of the Turkistan Legion underwent an interesting linguistic shift. The first armshield, issued in 1942, was oval-shaped (100mm by 68mm), with a green background and the words Biz Alla Bilen (‘We are with God’) in gold around the top, and in the lower half a white mosque with the word ‘Turkistan’ written across it horizontally, in black. The second issue, dating from 1943, was shield-shaped, the upper half red, the lower half blue, with a white bow and arrow along the dividing line between the colours, and the word ‘Turkistan’ in blue across the top. The third and final issue, made in 1944, was again an oval, though smaller (80mm by 60mm) than the 1942 version; it had a blue border with the words Tänri Biz Menen (‘God is with us’) i.e. using the Turkic word for ‘God’ instead of the Arabic, round the top, and the word ‘Turkistan’ in blue written across a more elaborate white mosque, at the bottom (see further Foreign Volunteers of Hitler’s Germany, pamphlet by W. Odegard, 1968, pp. 27–31; also D. Littlejohn, Foreign Legions of the Third Reich, IV, San José, Cal., 1987, pp. 250–71). 48 The proportion of the titular nationalities in the population as a whole in 1989 was as follows: Kazakhs 39.7 percent; Kyrgyz 52.4 percent; Tajiks 62.3 percent; Turkmen 72 percent; Uzbeks 71.4 per cent. (Source: Vestnik statistiki, Moscow, nos. 11 and 12, 1990; nos. 4–6, 1991.) 49 The titular nationalities had unofficial priority treatment in many fields within their own republics (e.g. housing, education). In employment, however, especially in the industrial sector, immigrant groups were often favoured (A.A. Golovanov, Sel’skokhozyaistvennye rabochie Uzbekistana, Tashkent, 1987, pp 38–9). Resentment over inequalities such as these prepared the ground for the outbreaks of communal violence between Meskhetian Turks and Uzbeks in 1989 and subsequently, on a smaller scale, between other groups elsewhere in the region. The clash between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in 1990 also had economic causes, but here these were exacerbated by long-standing territorial claims. 50 These events are only now being more or less openly discussed in the Central Asian states. Much archival work still remains to be done before a complete picture can be constructed. B. Hayit, Soviet Russian Colonialism and Imperialism in Turkistan,

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n.p., n.d., gives a forceful and apparently accurate account of the attacks on Islam as documented by an outspoken opponent of Soviet rule. 51 E. Chylinski, ‘Ritualism of Family Life in Soviet Central Asia: The Sunnat (Circumcision),’ in S. Akiner, ed., Cultural Change and Continuity, pp. 160–70, presents an interesting case study of the confluence of Islamic, national and Soviet symbolism. 52 This is not to say, however, that they necessarily perceive it to be so. Many women, even highly educated, urban-based career women, see this duality as a cornerstone of the social order. 53 Discussions with a variety of informants in all five states indicate that there are different degrees and types of mutual obligation, ranging from ‘helping if it does not harm your own interests’ to ‘helping whatever the consequences’. In Uzbekistan, the institution of gap (‘conversation’) plays an important role in sustaining and expanding informal networks. Akin to a private dining club, its members, who are all drawn from a single social or professional circle (e.g. work, mosque, college friends, sporting activity), meet on a regular basis (at least once a week), to relax, eat and discuss matters of mutual interest, ranging from communal celebrations (e.g. a wedding) to current political issues. Although these gatherings are a typically male activity, there are a few female gap; mixed-sex circles, however, are rare. Every male adult normally belongs to at least one gap and often to several. Members of such a circle acknowledge a social obligation to assist one another wherever possible. The tradition (generally known as gashtak) also exists in Tajikistan. Some commentators have suggested that during the Soviet period these gatherings served to preserve Islamic awareness, and possibly to foster a spirit of resistance to the secular authorities. This may well have been the case in some areas (and possibly still is), but since such meetings are by their very nature closed it is difficult to judge how widespread a tendency this was (or is). 54 By 1995 economic liberalisation had proceeded furthest in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan (see From Plan to Market: World Development Report 1996, Oxford University Press and the World Bank, Oxford, 1996, pp. 14–15). However, the country which was showing the most promising signs of stabilisation and recovery was Uzbekistan, as was acknowledged by the World Bank in December 1994, when the Uzbek President was commended by Yukon Huang, a senior Bank official, for ‘the effectiveness of the reforms’ which were being carried out: a rehabilitation loan was subsequently made available. 55 The proportion of those in the working age range in relation to the total population of the republic in 1990 was as follows: Kazakhstan 55.2 percent; Kyrgyzstan 50.4 percent; Tajikistan 47.2 percent; Turkmenistan 49.8 percent; Uzbekistan 49.2 percent; cf. Russian Federation 56.8 percent. (Source: Vestnik statistiki, no. 7, 1991, p. 73.). 56 In September 1994, Davlat Khudonazarov, a prominent Tajik opposition leader, told the author that in his opinion the concept of ‘Tajik-ness’ as the basis of a national/territorial identity had all but ceased to exist. Regional affiliations had become the new focus of ‘nation-hood’, as, for example, in Badakhshan, once part of Tajikistan but now a virtually independent state. 57 ‘Presidential parties’ have been created in all the Central Asian states; they provide a means for consolidating popular support for the incumbent leader and his policies.

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58 The parliamentary elections held in these countries since independence have illustrated this very clearly. The Kyrgyz President, referring to the February 1995 elections in his own country, admitted that campaigning had been along clan/ethnic lines (Reuters, 20 February 1995). Presidential elections have been equally flawed, marked by massive block voting in favour of the incumbent. Referendums extending the Presidents’ terms of office likewise elicited almost unanimous support. 59 See, for example, Kyrgyzstan: A tarnished human rights record, Amnesty International, May 1996. 60 For a survey of the strength of the armed forces in these countries see J. Green, ed., Jane’s Sentinel: Security Assessment, Russia and the CIS, London, 1996, under relevant headings. 61 Randall and Theobald, Political Change and Underdevelopment, p. 21. 62 Huntington, Political Order, p. 237; see p. 83 for a discussion of praetorian society contrasted with civic polity. 63 Huntington, Political Order, p. 196.

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The Impediments to the Development of Civil Societies in Central Asia1 TOURAJ ATABAKI

Of the many momentous events which have marked the twentieth century, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the world’s greatest empire, has undoubtedly had the most far-reaching consequences. The formation of eight independent republics in the southern region of the former Soviet territories was accompanied by political tension between neighbouring states and ethnic groupings, which in some cases led to bloody confrontation. Citizens of the fledgling republics are presently engaged in the post-Soviet restructuring of the region, where old identities are being recast and in some cases new ones invented. What concerns scholars and political activists in the immediate context is the overriding question of which global models of development may be viable in this region and which path of development the new republics are likely to follow. From the repertoire of known political models, a pluralistic society within the framework of a nation-state based on democratic government is the most favoured choice, argued for by the local political elite and the establishment, as well as by advocates of democracy outside Central Asia. The call for democratization, rather than liberalization, is the common denominator around which a broad spectrum of democratic activists in the region have united. For these activists the distinction between the practice of liberalization and democratization in these societies are not interchangeable. As Linz and Stepan have remarked: Liberalization may entail a mix policy and social changes such as less censorship of media, somewhat greater space for the organization of autonomous workingclass activities, the introduction of some legal safeguards for individuals such as habeas corpus, the releasing of most political prisoners, the return of exiles, perhaps measures for improving the distribution of income, and most important, the toleration of opposition. [However], Democratization entails liberalization but is a wider and more specifically political concept. Democratization requires open contestation over the right to win control of the government, and in turn free competitive elections, the result of which determine who governs. Using these definition, it is obvious that there can be liberalization without democratization.2

In this connection, however, those who champion the cause of democratic 35

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government stress quite rightly that the formation of a civil society is an indispensable precondition for the establishment of a pluralist and democratic society in the region.3 Before considering more closely the features of civil society and examining its components in the former-Soviet South, one should not overlook the fact that the emergence of a civil society itself depends on the existence of a minimum degree of basic social organization, without which it is virtually unattainable. Indeed, an effectively functioning state which protects the constitution and the rule of law in society precedes the formation of civil society. Thus, in order to achieve democracy in a given society, i.e. to institute genuinely free elections and to guarantee that the majority can exercise political power through the ballot-box, it is first necessary to establish a modern state or any compatible competent social organization, which observes the rule of law and safeguards collective as well as individual rights. Consequently, in Tajikistan today, for example, where the rule of law is lacking, the creation of a competent state would be a necessary first step on the road to establishing a civil society and democratic political institutions. To avoid any misunderstanding as to what is meant by a modern state, one may single out the essential characteristic which distinguishes it from the other type of state which has exercised power from time immemorial in the arbitrary societies in Central Asia and the Caucasus: the arbitrary state which has obstructed the development of a law-based society in the region.4 The arbitrary state is not merely conceived of as the ruler of a country but also as its proprietor, political authority being understood as the right of ownership of a country’s resources and its subjects or in our time its citizens. In such societies, ‘the system of arbitrary rule [is] based on the state monopoly of property rights, and the concentrated - although not necessarily centralized – bureaucratic and military power to which it gave rise.’5 Consequently, although ‘there always existed social classes in terms of difference in official position, occupation, type of property, wealth and income: royal persons, state functionaries, religious dignitaries, merchants, traders, artisans, town labourers, peasants, and so on,’ as far as the nature of their relationship vis-à-vis the state (as well as each other) was concerned, the state in these societies turned to be ‘functional, while the social classes were empirical.’6 Furthermore, in the ‘absence of functional social classes which [is] associated with the transitory nature of private ownership and the state’s monopoly of all independent power, social mobility in Central Asian societies was extremely high. Practically, this meant that – in principle – any humble individual or family could rise to the highest positions and greatest fortune even within their own lifetime; and the highest people of society and state

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could likewise lose everything, sometimes including their lives, within the same generation’.7 Consequently, what emerged in these societies, was what might be called the ‘existence of no law’. The absence of law, in the sense of basic rule which ‘set a boundary to the exercise of state power, and made it generally predictable’, is a characteristic of an arbitrary society. While it is true that the modern state, the outcome of the modernization process, does not necessarily act as a guarantor of the rule of law in a modern society, it is equally true that without a modern state, one could not possibly refer to a state of law. The modern state contains within it the potential, not only for observing the rule of law, but of restricting itself primarily to the political domain and to exercising public authority in a country’s socio-economic life. In other words, the state, according to such a conception, is not seen exclusively as a threat, or in John Hall’s words, an institution ‘sitting autonomously above society, detached from the key groups’,8 but performs the vital task of providing a stable framework within which civil society can emerge and is esteemed by the citizens as a trusted institution over which they have ultimate control. Thus, eventually the statesociety interaction becomes civilized.9 Conversely, if a modern state paves the way – and not more – for the formation of a civil society by safeguarding the citizen’s social and political rights, civil society, for its part, fulfills the essential role of monitoring the relationship between state and society and preventing the state from wielding arbitrary power. Ernest Gellner convincingly argues that: Civil society is that set of diverse non-governmental institutions, which is strong enough to counterbalance the state, and, whilst not preventing the state from fulfilling its role of keeper of the peace and arbitrator between major interests, can nevertheless prevent the state from dominating and atomizing the rest of society.10

In a society of this type, not only are various forms of governmental depredation checked by a politically empowered society, but equally, the society in question, through rule of law, fosters a culture of tolerance, political compromise and social as well as political diversity. Here ‘individuals enter into voluntary association and thus freely carry out the social construction of a bounded polity, i.e., a political society.’11 As appealing as such a political ideal may appear, one should not underestimate the difficulty inherent in implementing it, especially when one is dealing with a territorial state, rather than a nation-state. If in a nation-state national identity is a criterion for state building, in the territorial state, due to the lack of substantial ethnic and cultural homogeneity, territorial identity provides the basis for defining the nation or, at an advanced stage, the citizen. In the case of the new Central Asian republics, one should bear in mind that all five of them were founded as territorial

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states and not as nation-states, although subsequently, during the Soviet period, a nation-state policy aiming at increasing cultural homogeneity was pursued by the nomenclatura of the dominant nationality. Nevertheless, with regard to ethnic make-up each of these states has remained as heterogeneous as it was at the beginning of the century, if not more so, and each continues to be a territorial state. The necessity of civil society as a precondition for establishing democratic government leads to another question which generally has not received sufficient attention by scholars studying nationalism and nation-state formation. If one assumes that the formation of a civil society is the outcome of modernization and modern state building, then what is the connection between modern nation-state building and the ethnic homogeneity of a given territory? In other words, to what extent is the tenacity and legitimacy of an emerging civil society related to the society’s ethnic homogeneity and low cultural diversity? Linz and Stepan maintain that ‘if there is no significant irredentism outside the state’s boundaries, if there is only one nation existing (or awakened) in the state, and if there is low cultural diversity within the state’, then a stable civil society has more chance of emerging and surviving. Similarly, ‘when empirically almost all the residents of a state identify with the one subjective idea of the nation, and that nation is virtually contiguous’, then one is justified in cherishing hopes for the creation of a confederated civil society.12 Let us consider this hypothesis in the light of Uzbekistan’s twentieth-century history. Following their invasion of Central Asia in the second half of the nineteenth century, and according to the rules of the ‘Great Game’, strategic, military and political exigencies were the criteria which determined Tsarist demarcation policy in the newly annexed territories. Subsequently, the Bolsheviks decided to introduce new boundaries into the empire they inherited from the Tsarist regime based chiefly on the linguistic differences of the toppled empire’s subjects and the distribution of economic wealth throughout the region. The task confronting the Bolsheviks in the early 1920s of bringing together the numerous ethnic groups which were scattered in Central Asia was not an easy one. Based on the available Soviet statistics of the period, Steven Sabol notes that: Among the major national groups living in Turkistan, the Uzbeks made up over 41% of the population, followed by the Kazaks, who made up about 19% of the population. The Kyrghyz were third largest group and lived mainly around Bishkek, Farghana, Osh, and Pamir; Tajik lived generally in Samarqand and Farghana; Turkmen lived mainly in Transcaspia; and Karakalpaks around the Amu-Darya district. In Bukhara, Uzbeks constituted just over 50% of the population. Tajiks were the next largest national group at 32% and concentrated in the eastern mountainous region. In Khwarazm Uzbeks made up over 79% of the population. Turkmen were just under 15%.13

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In April 1924, the Central Asian Bureau (Sredazburo) of the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party voted to partition the Republic of Turkistan, whose boundaries corresponded to the old Tsarist administrative province of Turkistan. Three national-territorial entities were created based on Kazaks, Turkmen and Uzbeks. Uzbekistan encompassed the heartland of the former Turkistan along with various closely co-mingled ethnic groups. It extended from Osh at the eastern edge of the Farghana valley to Khiva and Khwarazm in the west, and from Tashkent in the north to Zarafshan in the south and to Termiz near the northern border of Afghanistan. The newly founded republic of Uzbekistan included on its soil cities which for centuries had accommodated diverse ethnic groups. Since medieval times cities such as Bukhara, Samarqand and even the capital Tashkent had been known for their multi-culturalism and multi-lingualism. The new demarcation, however, left the Tajiks of Bukhara and Samarqand, who formed the second largest group in both cities, with a strong sense of having been betrayed. Though in the new delimitation process the Tajik people were not considered as eligible to have their own territorial state, the Tajik elite, which included men such as Sadreddin Ayni, soon launched a campaign to convince the Russian authorities to recognize the legitimacy of a distinct Tajik historical identity. They not only laid claim to the old capital cities of Samarqand and Bukhara, but also stressed the importance of Tajik enclaves in rural areas of Farghana, in the region south of Tashkent and in parts of Zarafshan. Similarly, Kazaks pointed to their ethnic preponderance in the region north of Tashkent and demanded that at least part of that area be included in the new republic of Kazakstan. The Bolsheviks rejected the demands of both these ethnic groups, claiming that such territorial realignment was economically unfeasible in view of the region’s developmental needs. Thus, it was decided that Tashkent and its adjacent region together with Bukhara and Samarqand and even the Zarafshan region would remain within the territory of the Uzbek republic. A major task which the new Soviet territorial state of Uzbekistan set itself was to attain some degree of homogeneity within its borders. A process of nativization began which meant that Uzbeks, or those who claimed to be Uzbeks, came to have access to high positions in the local administration. Whereas it was possible for the so-called ‘recognized ethnic minorities’ to enjoy ‘cultural freedom’, it soon became clear that if one wished to advance one’s career, it was necessary to adopt a certain degree of overt Uzbekness. Meanwhile, Uzbek cultural distinctiveness was gradually constructed and Sovietized, and members of the Uzbek nomenclatura were encouraged to advance the particular interests of their republic. The old Chagatai language was phased out and a newly created literary Uzbek was introduced. Uzbek

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cultural institutions launched a new campaign to foster national homogeneity throughout Uzbekistan. On the other hand, in bilingual or multilingual regions, although the ‘recognized ethnic groups’ had the right to use their own language for teaching in elementary schools, they were denied a fair share of the republic’s financial revenues. Likewise, the Soviet policy of nationality registration in the internal passport in Uzbekistan tended to encourage non-Uzbek ethnic groups, in particular the Tajiks, to declare themselves as Uzbeks in official documents for the sake of advancement in the government apparatus. While these developments were taking place at the local level in Uzbekistan, at the Soviet level the party-state system, with its drive to centralize power, monopolized the key command positions throughout the Soviet Union and denied access to these positions to almost all non-Russian nationalities. Its high-ranking administrators formed the privileged core of a trans-ethnic population. The so-called Sovietsky chelevok (the Soviet man) was the ideological embodiment of this trans-ethnic party-system and his identity was grounded in a sense of loyalty to the Soviet state. This sense of absolute loyalty to Moscow predominated over any form of loyalty to an individual republic. The original, revolutionary, popular idea of Soviet patriotism was state-based rather than nationalist. Nevertheless, within the republics a concealed ethno-nationalism gradually developed not only among each dominant group but among the ethnic minorities which fostered interests different from those of the titular nation. Although the Soviet government never genuinely encouraged ethno-nationalism anywhere within the Soviet Union, one can point to occasional instances when Moscow made concessions to minority groups in order to consolidate its power at the local level. One may therefore conclude that in the post-Tsarist empire the Bolsheviks, while aiming to construct a distinctive institution of ethnofederalism of the USSR, together with the invention of the Sovietsky chelevok, and state-patriotism, in the end unwittingly contributed to stimulating ethno-nationalism by applying elitist and centralizing policies. Underlying this fundamental problem was the fact that the imposed territorial borders never corresponded adequately with the cultural groupings. Ethnonationalism during the Soviet era became the most dynamic force in local politics. While the titular nationalities in each republic enjoyed preferential treatment and tended to make up the local administrative hierarchy, ethnic minorities by adopting a defense system based on nepotism, strove to consolidate their presence in particular sectors of the administration, especially those which were more controlled by the Russians.14 Ethno-nationalism in the Central Asian republics is the direct outcome of the peculiar type of Soviet ethno-federalist administrative structure

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adopted by the Soviets. They attempted to link a single constructed titular nation to its own state. At the same time, in order to achieve social homogeneity and political cohesion it was deemed necessary to deny the smaller ethnic minorities in each republic equal rights with the titular nation. While this policy was meant to strengthen individual states, from the vary outset it impeded the formation of civil societies in the Soviet Union. Although the state-party rule maintained a forced harmony among diverse ethnic groups during the Soviet era, when Gorbachev began to implement his reform programme it became apparent that inter-ethnic hostility ran deeper than one had anticipated. Thus, if with regard to Western societies Ibn Khaldun proved to be wrong in saying ‘the basic tragedy of the human condition was to choose between having civilization or cohesion but never the two jointly’15 as far as the societies of the Soviet South were concerned, the late-fourteenth-century social theorist’s remark appears to have some validity. A civil society has another cardinal constituent which was lacking in Soviet society, namely civil allegiance. If one takes civil society to be an individualistic, market- and contract-based form of associational life of free citizens – contractual in nature rather than adversarial with regard to the state16 – then it stands diametrically opposed to the Marxist outlook which seeks to subordinate society and the state to class interests. The totalitarian rule of the party-state did not leave any room for the Soviet polity to enjoy political pluralism which smooths the path for the development of a sense of civil responsibility. Without the sanction and surveillance of the state, the creation of any organization, even one which was not overtly political (church/mosque, etc.), was strictly forbidden. Those organizations which were given permission to exist were so dominated or assimilated by the party-state that, during the early days of Soviet disintegration, they could be substituted for the government apparatus. As Hall remarks: Civil society had been destroyed by Bolshevism – still more than by Tsarism – that a reforming elite could find no partner with whom to make pacts, so as to conduct a controlled decompression of political life.17

It was not difficult to foresee that all the former Soviet republics which proclaimed their independence during the year 1991 would to varying degrees inherit the Soviet legacy. The rapid disintegration of the Soviet Union triggered movements for immediate independence, which were permeated with popular nationalism and had priorities other than guaranteeing the democratic rights of minorities. In the absence of a transrepublic Soviet identity, the inhabitants of each republic were expected to identify with the newly emerged state and that state was presumed to correspond to a single nation, i.e. the titular nation whose name designated

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the republic. New laws were passed to establish the titular nation’s language as the sole official language instead of Russian. Moreover, in order to ‘purify the nation’, the state cut off its support to those educational institutions which taught their curriculum in languages other than the state language. During the early days of independence, nationalism promoted by the titular nation was broadly successful to the extent that most old Soviet elite paid lip service to nationalistic ideologies in the hope of preserving their top political positions. It is noteworthy, however, that the old guard did little to institutionalize support of nationalism in the new Central Asian republics. The early all-consuming endeavour for independence in the former Soviet republics marginalized the need for democratic reform and the construction of a civil society. Instead of democratic reform, so-called popular mobilization was encouraged as an indication of political openness. Accordingly, some liberal measures were taken by the new regimes both to make public display of their openness, and to confer an air of legitimacy on their power. Among these measures one may refer to the Soviet-style phenomenon of electoralism. During the six-year period since independence, the government in Kazakstan has called its citizens to the ballot-box on six separate occasions. In Kyrgyzstan national elections have been held seven times. Moreover, claiming to be the sole guarantor of stability and development in the country, the governments in all the Central Asian republics, except Tajikistan – for obvious reason – have asked the citizens to extend the presidential term of office into the early twenty-first century by means of nation-wide referendums. Conspicuously, the old slogan of ‘all power to the Soviet’ has been replaced in true Soviet spirit by ‘all power to the president’. As far as independent autonomous organizations are concerned, there is no sign indicating a break with the Soviet era. In Central Asia today genuine political parties either do not exist at all or their routine activities are blocked by a great variety of obstacles introduced by the government. Throughout the entire former Soviet South, with the exception of Kazakstan, there is no trace of independent trade unions. And in Kazakstan too, the miners’ trade union, still in an early stage of development, tried to participate in the parliamentary elections of 1995, especially in the southern region of Turkistan, but its activities were effectively discouraged by numerous government restrictions and it finally had to stop canvassing. In all Central Asian countries, without exception, the formation of any autonomous organization is interpreted by the authorities as an act of conspiracy to overthrow the government. Even inclusionary forms of association based on kinship or clan ties, such as exist within the extended family and the tribe, are non-existent. Thus, one can conclude that, the distinctive Soviet state legacy of not collaborating with society but rather usurping its duties and prerogatives is

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currently being perpetuated by the Central Asian states. Moreover, nothing indicates that the Soviet legacy in the former Soviet South might disappear in a foreseeable future. Notes 1 In developing this paper I benefited from valuable commentaries and suggestions of Homa Katouzian and Assef Bayat. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to both of them. 2 J. J. Linz and A. Stepan, Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation, Southern Europe, South America, and Post-Communist Europe, John Hopkins University Press, London, 1996, p. 3. 3 One may refer to the working definition of the consolidated democracy as referred by Juan Linz and Alfred Stepan: ‘A democratic transition is complete when sufficient agreement has been reached about political procedures to produce an elected government, when a government comes to power that is the direct result of a free and popular vote, when this government de facto has the authority to generate new policies, and when the executive, legislative and juridical power generated by the new democracy does not have to share power with other bodies de jure’. See: J. J. Linz and A. Stepan, op.cit., p. 3. It is also worth nothing that although democracy is ‘acceptable as a shorthand code term for participatory and accountable government, [it] carries with it a model’ which according to Ernest Gellner is ‘less useful than the one suggested by civil society’. See: E. Gellner, ‘Civil Society in Historical Context’, International Social Science Journal, no. 129, August 1991, p. 495. 4 For a detailed analysis of the arbitrary state and societies, see: Homa Katouzian, ‘Arbitrary Rule: a Comparative Theory of State, Politics and Society in Iran’, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 1997, 24/1, pp. 49–73. 5 Ibid., p. 53. 6 Ibid., p. 54. 7 Ibid., pp. 55–6. 8 J. A. Hall, (ed.), Civil Society, Theory, History, Comparison, Polity Press, Cambridge, 1995, p. 16. 9 Ibid., p. 3. 10 E. Gellner, ‘The Importance of Being Modular’, in: J. A. Hall, (ed.), op.cit., p. 32. 11 K. Tester, Civil Society, Routledge, London, 1992, p. 124. 12 J. J. Linz and A. Stepan, op.cit., p. 25. 13 S. Sabol, ‘The Creation of Soviet Central Asia: the 1924 National Delimitation’, Central Asian Survey, 1995, vol. 14, no. 2, p. 234. 14 For instance in each republic the KGB mostly recruited staff from minority groups. 15 E. Gellner, ‘Civil Society in Historical Context’, International Social Science Journal, op.cit., p. 502. 16 J. B. White, ‘Civic Culture and Islam in Urban Turkey’, in: C. Hann and E. Dunn (ed.), Civil Society, Challenging Western Models, London, Routledge, 1996, p. 144. 17 J. A. Hall, (ed.), op.cit., p. 22.

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Russia and Former Soviet Central Asia: The Attitude Towards Regional Integrity VYACHESLAV YA. BELOKRENITSKY

The integrity I intend to discuss here is the comparatively high degree of harmony and cooperation that presently exists between the former Soviet Central Asian republics. I will not be concerned with speculating on the peril of possible interstate or inter-ethnic conflicts but wish to examine the foundations of the region’s homogeneity and the prospects for regional cooperation and eventual integration. As a self-proclaimed and universally acknowledged chief successor state to the defunct USSR, the Russian Federation in the immediate past has played, and is currently playing, an important role in the affairs of the now independent Central Asian states (CAS). Moreover, it is obvious that Russia’s policies will continue to influence the developments in the region and have an impact on the foreign policy of all the CAS. The present paper consists of three parts. In the first part certain objective factors, i.e. historical, geographical, ethnic, religious, cultural, etc., which underlie the unity of the Central Asian region, will be briefly reviewed. The second part is devoted to the efforts the CAS governments have undertaken to establish a framework for political and economic coordination in the region. In the third part the stages in the new-Russia foreign policy evolution with special reference to relations with the socalled ‘near abroad’ will be discussed, and the Russian government’s concrete measures will be sketched from the perspective of their impact upon the integrity and concord in Central Asia. Finally, in my conclusion I will address some broader issues concerning the future of Central Asia and its relations with Russia. Central Asia’s Unity: the Ontological Aspect Former Soviet Central Asia would appear to constitute a region that shares common features of historico–geographical, ethnoracial and religious– cultural origin. Taken as a whole, these features form an objective or ontological background which is to a large extent immune from a wishful and partial attitude. However, upon closer inspection the ontological status 44

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of Cental Asian unity, thus defined, proves to be less predetermined and unassailable than it appears at first glance. One must recall that for seven decades the region was known in the Soviet Union to consist of two major units – on the one hand, Kazakhstan and, on the other, the rest of the Central Asian republics. To be precise, these republics were never called Central Asian in the Russian terminology. They were referred to as Middle Asian on the basis of the name given to the whole region (Srednyaya Aziya) – barring Kazakhstan. The outside, English-speaking world scarcely noticed this difference of little apparent semantic significance. Nor did the Soviets object to the use of the term Central Asia, commonly using it themselves in translations. Of greater ideological and political importance has been the separate designation of Kazakhstan and Central Asia. The tradition of detaching Kazakhstan from the other Central (Middle) Asian administrative units dates back to the beginning of the 1920s when the Soviet government created this autonomous national republic within the Russian Federation (RSFSR). It then became known as the Kirghiz Republic, a misnomer based on an incorrect use of the term Kirghiz or Kirghiz–Kaisak, applied in imperial Russia to the Turkic nomads who called themselves Kazakhs.1 Renamed the Kazakh Republic in the course of the so-called ‘national-state delimitation’ in 1924–25, Kazakhstan obtained the status of a full-fledged Union republic in 1936. In the meantime, considerable territorial adjustments were made leading to changes in the territorial–administrative borders created during the Tsarist period. In the end, Kazakhstan gained large tracts of land in the south which originally belonged to the Uzbek zone of the Turkestan Autonomous Republic, and ceded to the Russian Federative Republic areas in the north around the cities of Orenburg and Omsk. Since 1936, when Kazakhstan, though not independent, underwent a process of state-formation, it has possessed a huge territory of 2.7 million sq. kms. The total area of the other four Central Asian republics is less than half that size (circa 1.3 million sq. kms.). There was an important difference in the population density between Kazakhstan and Central Asia, that of the former being considerably smaller. By 1940, Kazakhstan’s population was 6 million, whereas that of the Central Asian republics had reached circa 11 million. In 1989, Kazakhstan had a population of 16.5 million and the Central Asian republics had approximately 33 million. Some other differences, chiefly in the economic field and in the ethnocultural structure of the population, prompted the division of the Asian republics of the USSR into two subregions. The reflection of the subregional composition went beyond the scope of political documents and scholarly works being used in the elaborate process of centralized economic planning wherein Kazakhstan and Central Asia

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were treated as separate regions. In the 1960s, for a short period the four Central Asian republics were lumped together under the economic (and, to some extent, political) jurisdiction of SOVNARKHOZ (Council for Running the Economy), while a separate council was created for Kazakhstan. Looked at from this angle, the ontological unity of former Soviet Central Asia thus appears to be questionable. But what arguments are there that support the notion of the region’s unity? Firstly, there is the shared historical fate of the peoples who today claim the right to this territory. And secondly, there is the fact of a close traditional interconnection of the ‘core-periphery’ type between the various subregions. Taken together, Kazakhstan and the Central Asian republics comprise a vast area of about 4 million sq. kms, a territory exceeding that of India or Western Europe, belonging climatically to the arid continental zone of high and moderate temperatures. As a part of the broad belt of steppes in the middle of the Eurasian continent, former Soviet Central Asia, since the mid-19th century known as Western Turkestan, has served as the conduit for the hordes of nomads moving from the eastern edge of the steppe-belt to the West. In the aftermath of the invasion of the Huns, the Turkic tribes made their appearance in the region. The 6th and 9th centuries of the Christian era witnessed the rise of the first Turkic empires, while from the 10th to the early 13th centuries Turks had spread further west from the Central Asian region in the direction of Iran, Turkey (Asia Minor) and the Caucasus. The next 200 years are well known as the period of Mongol domination.2 When the wave of military invasions by the forces of Genghis Khan and his immediate successors had subsided, the Mongols either returned to their desolate homeland, or mixed with the local Turkic population of the western steppe-belt. In the process of assimilation, the Mongol elite blended with the Turkic peoples to become a ruling class that was Turkic in language, Muslim in religion, and claimed descent from the great Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan. In the 14th and 15th centuries Central Asia became the center of a huge empire ruled over by Timur and his successors. The territorial core of the empire consisted of the historical provinces of Sistan with the city of Herat as its center and Ma Wara’ al-Nahr (meaning literally in Arabic ‘beyond the river’, i.e. the Oxus or Amu-Darya). Timur made his capital in the city of Samarkand in Ma Wara’ al-Nahr and is buried there. The steppes and semi-deserts to the north of the agricultural oases in the basin of the two great rivers, the Amu-Darya and the Sir-Darya with their tributaries, can be characterized as Central Asia’s (Western Turkestan’s) periphery, inhabited by the Turkic nomads referred to as the Uzbek–Kazakhs.3 One portion of this tribal conglomerate remained in charge of the

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periphery and founded the Kazakh Khanate in the 1470s, while the other, known as Uzbeks, invaded the core of the region and established control over it by the beginning of the 16th century. Since that time the whole of Central Asia lapsed into the oblivion of internecine strife and stagnation, with almost no population growth and the prevalence of mostly nomadic patterns of rule in the steppes, deserts and in the few oases where marginal agricultural surplus supported a modest urban population engaged chiefly in trade, handicrafts, religious activities and services provided to the ruler’s courts. The decay of urban life caused by local conditions coincided with the crisis in the eastern Islamic world provoked by the Ottoman empire. This made the Central Asian region, the core and periphery, more homogeneous by levelling out the cultural contrasts. These developments, among other things, helped the integration of Turkic nomads into the urban milieu dominated ethnically and culturally by the local population of predominantly Iranian, Persian-speaking stock. This brief recapitulation of a few well-known facts should give some indication of the historical unity of Kazakhstan and the other regions of Central Asia. But historical events of the more recent centuries have added some new features. Towards the beginning of the 18th century, the Kazakh steppes succumbed to the persistent intrusions of the Jungars, i.e. Western Mongols, who had succeeded in founding a powerful, though short-lived, military–nomadic empire. Certain Kazakh khans looked to the Russian tsars for protection and thus opened the door for an encounter between Russia and Kazakhstan. For almost a century and a half the Russian empire expanded in a south-eastern direction by-passing the Central Asian states of the core region, i.e. the Khanates of Bukhara, Khiva and Kokand (the latter had emerged by the beginning of the 19th century). The first Russian fortresses in Kazakhstan, such as Semipalatinsk and Ust-Kamenogorsk, were built in the second decade of the 18th century in the time of Peter the Great. In the second half of that century, the Kazakhs living in the western and middle parts of the Great Steppe gradually came under the direct supervision of the local Russian administration. The process continued in the 19th century provoking occasional protests and the anti-Russian mutinies led by members of the traditional Kazakh elite. The Russian subjugation of Central Asia occurred between 1860 and the 1880s, a whole century later than the annexation of the major portions of the Kazakh steppes. This difference in historical fate was furthered by the migration and permanent settlement of Russian peasants which began during the last decades of the 19th century and increased dramatically as a result of the Stolypin reforms in 1906–11. The Kazakh territory, primarily north-eastern fringes of the Steppe, attracted many hundreds of thousands

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of settlers, whereas the settlement movement sponsored by the government in the core of Russian Central Asia never assumed significant proportions.4 During the Soviet period, the pattern of economic development in Kazakhstan and the other Central Asian republics was by no means identical. In line with the natural differences between the steppe and arid regions, the Soviet policy stressed the significance of non-irrigated agriculture in Kazakhstan. In the 1930s the collectivization campaign produced a tragic result for the Kazakh rural population. One million or more of the Kazakh grazers died of famine, while several hundred thousand fled to China and Mongolia.5 During this period Khazakhstan was used as a settlement area for the ‘kulaks’ (well-to-do peasants) exiled from Russia and the Ukraine, and for deported ethnic groups: Koreans, Germans, Turks, Kalmyks, Crimean Tatars, Chechens and other peoples of the North Caucasus. In the mid-1950s another state campaign, this time of ‘cultivating the virgin lands’ resulted in a migration to northern and north-eastern Kazakhstan of more than half a million new settlers from the European parts of the then USSR. Unirrigated risky agriculture, the primary specific feature of Kazakhstan’s rural economy – in contrast to the irrigated agriculture of the core of Central Asia – was seen as supplementary to the leading role of mining and heavy industry. The exploration for coal, iron and non-ferrous metal deposits in Kazakhstan started in the 19th century, although really intensive exploration dates from the period of Soviet industrialization between the 1930s to the 1970s. The latter development was not confined to Kazakhstan. The Central (Middle) Asian republics had their place in the Soviet schemes for fostering mining and heavy-industrial production. Compared with Kazakhstan, they were latecomers, attracting state capital within the framework of Soviet planning mainly from the 1960s through the 1980s. In view of the aforementioned peculiarities both in the rural and urban sectors, it was logical to make an economic distinction between Kazakhstan and the Central Asian regions. Rooted in the economic structure, certain social and cultural differences had developed. The proportion of the nonKazakh population in Kazakhstan reached 70 percent by 1959. The share of non-Central Asians in the four republics did not exceed 25 percent at that time, decreasing gradually to between 10 and 12 percent by 1989, while in Kazakhstan it was still slightly more than 50 percent.6 Not only Soviet, but Western scholarship as well, has readily acknowledged the distinction between Kazakhstan and the Central Asian republics from the point of view of economic geography – this despite the fact that the line of demarcation runs through Kazakh territory, separating its south-eastern corner, i.e. the lands lying to the south of Lake Balhash.7 In sum, an ontological homogeneity of the whole of Central Asia can be

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easily posited on the basis of historical evidence from the rather distant past, whereas in more recent times the peripheral zone has been in part drawn into closer contact with the South Urals, Western Siberia and the Altai-Kemerovo regions of Russia. The core of the former Soviet Central Asian region also presents a highly complex picture. Its central area belongs to Uzbekistan, the most populous republic with some 24 million inhabitants (a 1994 estimate). The major portions of Uzbekistan lie along the western slopes of the Tien-Shan mountain range, stretching along the Amu-Darya and Sir-Darya, and include the Farghana valley with a population density approaching 200 per sq. kms. To the south of Uzbekistan lies Tajikistan, sharing with the former the legacy of the traditional Muslim urban culture of Samarkand and Bukhara. Two other newly independent states, Turkmenistan located to the west, and Kirghizstan to the east, are peripheral in relation to the central Uzbek– Tajik zone of civilization. The complex structure of the Central Asian core increases if we take into account the Iranian identity of the Tajiks, the distribution of the Turkmens between Turkmenistan and Iran, and the special closeness between the Kirghiz and the Kazakh ethnic groups.8 Central Asian Integrity: Political Reality Ostensibly, the Soviet Central Asian republics were ill-prepared for independence. They were catapulted into a new situation too early and too suddenly even for the political elites.9 With hindsight the pre-independence period can be see to have started in 1990 with the ‘parade of sovereignties’ which overwhelmed the Soviet Union. It is true that already in 1989 some of the Union republics, such as Turkmenistan, had begun to search for their own line of contacts with foreign countries, while the internal socio– political and socio–cultural solidity throughout Central Asia had been under pressure since the beginning of the 1980s.10 In 1990 Turkmenistan concluded no less than nine bilateral agreements with Iran. This ‘sub-Union ‘ level of foreign relations helped the Turkmens gain experience and taught them how to distance themselves from Moscow. But on the whole, the elites of the republic would definitely have preferred to acquire greater rights while remaining in the reforming Union, at least for the time being. The Central Asian leaders were never blamed for undermining or hampering the process of signing the new Union Treaty in the fateful year of 1991. Nevertheless, even before independence all five Central Asian republics had taken certain steps towards strengthening regional ties. Bearing in mind the above-mentioned Soviet-era cleavage between Kazakhstan and Central (Middle) Asia, it is significant that the initiative for independence came from the Kazakh leadership. In July 1990 Alma-Ata convened a meeting of

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the Central Asian republics which can be considered the first step towards Central Asian regional cooperation. Virtually appalled by news of the decision to dismantle the USSR which was reached by the leaders of Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine on 8 December 1991, the Central Asian ruling elites were tempted by the desire to abstain from joining the proclaimed Commonwealth of Independent States. At the gathering in Ashkhabad they presumably discussed the socalled Turkmen plan, though, upon consideration, they opted for the CIS.11 The signing in Alma-Ata on 21 December 1991 of new documents regarding the formation of the Commonwealth symbolized the importance of Central Asia for post-Soviet political arrangements and the unanimity and concord among the Central Asian leaders. Though unexpected and almost undesired, independence did not fail to produce a kind of euphoria among local cadres in Central Asia, particularly among those who belonged to the main, so-called titular ethnic community. The interest of the outside world in the newly formed countries helped to sustain this feeling. Central Asia for some time remained in the public limelight in the West, in particular during the official visit of the US State Secretary James Baker at the beginning of 1992. Turkey under President Turgut Özal was energetically wooing the former Soviet Turkic republics. Iran and Saudi Arabia expressed the wish to help the independent ‘Muslim’ states and promote their return to the fundamentals of the Islamic heritage. Pakistan and India competed for the attention of the new neighbors to the north of their unsettled borders. China and Japan announced their appreciation of the new geopolitical reality and expressed the desire to probe into the prospects of economic aid and cooperation with the CAS. Western Europe, and even such distant countries as Australia and the members of ASEAN, did not remain aloof from the new prospects of relations with the former USSR Asian republics. The initial euphoria, however, did not last long. On the issues of national security, the CAS had to rely exclusively on the Russian Federation as the new states did not possess either armed forces or even border troops. The military–security umbrella offered by Moscow appeared to be a strait-jacket to the radical nationalists. The pragmatic elite, on the contrary, seemed to be content with the guarantees from Russia. The events in Tajikistan soon demonstrated very clearly the limited extent to which opposition groups in the region could rely upon support from abroad. Neighboring countries, including Russia, China and Iran, and the international community in general, obviously preferred political stability in the new states adjacent to the still bleeding Afghanistan. With the status quo so universally cherished and admired, the ruling circles in the CAS could largely concentrate on economic and foreign policy issues.

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In the latter field they thought it prudent to strengthen regional cooperation and integrity. The plans for economic cooperation were discussed at the Ashkhabad meeting in May 1992 with the participation of the Iranian president and the prime ministers of Turkey and Pakistan. Even earlier (in February of the same year), all five Central Asian states, some of them with evident caution and restraint, agreed to join the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), founded by Iran, Turkey and Pakistan. Regional solidarity seems to be one factor which helped to overcome the hesitation of Kazakhstan and Kirghizstan. The same sense of acting together in the face of Moscow’s dissatisfaction made it easier for the new leaders to be receptive to Turkey’s wooing by attending the Summit of Turkic States in Ankara in October 1992. Finally, in January 1993 the leaders of CAS gathered in Tashkent to announce plans to coordinate their economic programs. They declared that all five states belonged to the region of Central Asia. In Russian this sounded like a change of name from Srednyaya (Middle) Aziya to Tsentral’naya (Central) Aziya. The unanimous decision flew in the face of Soviet terminological tradition and, more significantly, symbolized the annexation of Kazakhstan to Central Asia. CAS have been trying to balance all these moves towards regional unity and growing cooperation with the southern Muslim and Turkic neighbors by maintaining a close relationship with Russia through participation in the CIS, and by means of bilateral contracts. In contrast to the accord achieved in the field of military–security issues, economic cooperation proceeded by stages of growing disengagement despite the declarations calling for the opposite. To a considerable extent this was an unavoidable result of the structural crisis and decline in output both in Russia and the CAS. In addition, the process of reforming the economy on the principles of market regulation and liberalization took its toll. The Russian initiative to embark decisively and abruptly on this strategy aggravated the economic situation in Central Asia. Hopes were dispelled of an economic management policy of moving slowly towards reforms, while maintaining special economic links with Russia by remaining in the rouble zone and using the familiar distributional tools of running the economy. In the brief period of brisk reformist policy in September–December 1993, initiated by Igor Gaidar back as the senior cabinet member, Moscow refused to take measures to retain Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in the ruble zone, thereby forcing them to follow the example of Kirghizstan and Turkmenistan by introducing their own currency. Deprived of Moscow’s support and disappointed in the immediate results of economic aid and cooperation with other international agents, the Central Asians began to think seriously about a form of regional integration.

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In January–February 1994, the presidents of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kirghizstan signed agreements on the formation of a common market, abolition of customs and free crossing of borders by their citizens. They actually created a political and economic regional organization having such ‘superstate’ bodies as an executive committee with its headquarters in AlmaAta, the Interstate Council (at the presidential level), as well as a Council of Prime Ministers, a Council of Ministers for Foreign Affairs and a Council for Defence. Meeting regularly in 1994–95, the leaders of the three countries succeeded in overcoming occasional frictions and gradually evolved procedures for mutual help and cooperation. The Central Asian Bank for Cooperation and Development was founded with the paid-up capital of $9 million shared equally by the participating governments. By May 1995, it had declared the intention to mobilize $48.3 million for the financing of several projects in the sectors of heavy industry and health care.12 The scope of bilateral arrangements between the Central Asian commonmarket countries has so far remained quite limited due to the lack of funds and generally rather bleak economic situation. In spite of these limitations, the regional integration retains a geopolitical importance signalizing the neighborly goodwill, absence of interstate disputes and essential harmony in foreign policy pursuits. Its participants have announced that it is open for others to join. Rather unexpectedly, two countries of the Central Asian core abstained from joining the regional grouping. Turkmenistan under the leadership of Saparmurad Niyazov chose to stress the importance of bilateral ties in his country’s foreign affairs. A mode of ‘self-reliance’ seems to appeal to a comparatively isolated and potentially rich state inhabited by only 4.5 million people. Turkmenistan’s natural gas reserves exceed 15 trillion cubic meters. Known oil deposits are equal to 6 billion tons. The per capita future income from these assets is comparable to that enjoyed by the Arabian sheikhdoms. Endowed with this natural wealth, Turkmenistan has lulled itself into dreams of fabulous riches and is endeavoring to achieve success independently of the Central Asian sister-states by relying upon her well-established connections with neighboring Iran. Competition with Kazakhstan, whose prospects of economic recovery are also closely linked to eventual oil and gas exports, may be another reason for Turkmenistan’s cool attitude towards Central Asian integration. The Turkmen leadership took the decision to abstain from such integration toward the beginning of 1993 when it refused to host the summit meeting of all five republics which had been tentatively scheduled for April during the January Tashkent gathering.13 Two years later, in March 1995 Turkmenistan hosted a summit of the five Central Asian states in the city of Tashauz – dedicated primarily to the problems of the Aral Sea. The

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participants decided to set up the Aral-ECO-Bank, and to utilize in cooperation the $39 million of international aid provided for ecological projects. Moreover, the leaders of the five states also signed a joint political statement in which they specifically mentioned the right of each state to choose its own pattern of development and its own foreign-affairs policy.14 Tajikistan is the only new state of Central Asia to lapse into the selfdestruction of civil war. The hot phase of fighting ended by the beginning of 1993. Uzbekistan was instrumental in stabilizing the situation, only to find out that power in the neighboring republic was in the hands of representatives of the local clan hailing from Kulyab in the southern part of Tajikistan. This manifested a definite shift from the well-established tradition of power sharing in Tajikistan which afforded first place to the northern clan from the Leninabad (Khojand) oblast. Culturally, the ‘northerners’ are closer to the Uzbeks and their holding power would have reduced the possibility of a rift between Uzbeks and Tajiks. The failure to restore the position of the ‘northerners’ in Tajikistan’s power pyramid evidently affected the relations between Uzbekistan and Tajikistan and explains the latter’s non-participation in the tripartite Central Asian integration. The two outsiders vis-à-vis Central Asian integration, i.e. Turkmenistan and Tajikistan, have recently opted for drawing closer to one another. Besides an exchange of high-level visits, the two countries have concluded a number of bilateral agreements. Russia and the Central Asian States The role of Russia in Central Asian regional affairs has been complex and fluctuating, reflecting the fluid and indecisive nature of the Russian internal political situation. During the first stage, in 1989–91, when the key figures of the future Russian political establishment were on the way to power, Central Asia attracted their attention only by virtue of its nascent opposition movements. Russian politicians offered moral support to the Tajik democrats and their presidential candidate, eminent film director Davlat Khodonazarov. Liberal opposition groups in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan also received their approval. Once in power, former Russian opposition leaders assumed new rights and responsibilities, and at the same time a fresh vision of Central Asia. Moreover, the democratic personalities of the ‘first wave’ constituted only a thin layer on top of the little-changed Moscow state bureaucracy. In 1992–93, during the second stage in the development of the new-Russia home and foreign policy, the reform efforts slowly subsided under the growing resistance from within, although there had been success in laying a foundation for a market economy. The initial philosophy behind foreign

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policy focused on the rebuttal of the Soviet-era legacy. Moscow proclaimed that not only partnership but friendship with the West would be the cornerstone of its policy. According to the Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs Andrei Kozyrev, the promotion of a liberal economic development program was henceforth to become the chief and almost exclusive objective of foreign policy.15 The intentional outspokenness aimed at justifying and legitimizing such a drastic event as the voluntary dissolution of the USSR soon gave way to a cooler and more realistic approach based on the concepts of national interests, as well as geopolitical and economic competition. In the first half of 1992, Moscow tried not to bother about the state of affairs in former Soviet Central Asia and apparently approved of the international recognition the republics had received. The Commonwealth of Independent States seemed to provide a temporary framework for cooperation and coordination rooted in the widely accepted views about the acute necessity of introducing deep changes into the Soviet-type economy and social life. Predictably, reality fell short of expectations. The Commonwealth was but another version of the new Union that was more acceptable to the national republics – a kind of confederation. The immediate initiation of the program of radical economic reforms in Russia left the Central Asians with the choice of either following suit or seeking other means of conducting both economic and foreign-policy affairs. The marked drift of the Central Asian republics away from Moscow in the direction of Turkey and Iran alarmed Russian public opinion. The peril of such a development was vividly demonstrated by the civil conflict in Tajikistan. The democratic forces in that country proved rootless, devoid of meaningful support by the common people, and had to rely increasingly on an alliance with the stronger Islamic opposition in their struggle for power against the Soviet-era elite. The clandestine Iranian backing collided in the civil war with the more or less open sympathy of the Russian troops remaining in Tajikistan, and with Uzbekistan’s help to the forces fighting against the Islamicists. A definite shift had occurred in Moscow’s policy towards the whole southern region, including Afghanistan, during the one year from the autumn of 1991 to the autumn of 1992. The Soviet Union’s decision to stop aid to the Najibullah government in Kabul as of the first day of 1992 resulted in the overthrow of the so-called Communist regime at the end of April. The Islamicists’ claim to power in Tajikistan in May of the same year raised the question of a new retreat on Moscow’s part, implying unforeseen and unpredictable consequences. But by autumn, the Russian Federation had definitely accepted certain obligations in Central Asia, having decided not to leave the frontiers of the former USSR undefended. The pragmatic approach of minimizing expenses and maximizing profits in relations with the Central Asian and other erstwhile brotherly republics

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has since been practised by Russia. Till the events in Moscow in September– October 1993, the representatives of the party-state nomenclature clinging to power in the CAS could have expected a reversal of Moscow’s policies. After the autumn events and the December elections they had to abandon these hopes. The Russian policy during the third and current stage, which began in January 1994, looks more assertive. The idealism of the first year in power has largely evaporated. The West is considered as a model, a partner and a competitor. A sense of greater opportunities and perspectives has been acquired, based on the demonstration of Russia’s still very formidable military, technological and intellectual capacities buttressed by rich natural resources. Russian public opinion had seemingly succeeded in diverting the attention of Moscow’s foreign-policy makers to the East. The rise of nationalism helped legitimize the new assertiveness of Russian official policy. Despite all this, it is erroneous to label Russia’s foreign policy as imperialistic or neo-imperial. It can best be regarded as an experiment in Realpolitik. In its foreign policy Moscow has ostensibly assumed certain roles, the most obvious among which is that of Serbian sympathizer in the Balkan crisis. Another obligation which has much to do with her relations with the Central Asian countries is the protection of Russians and the Russian-speaking population residing throughout the territories of the former Soviet Union, the so-called ‘near abroad’. From this point of view Kazakhstan attracts the utmost attention among the CAS. The proportion of such a population in this republic is the largest not only in Central Asia but in the whole ‘near abroad’. People of Russian origin in the Ukraine and Belarus make up about a quarter of the population, whereas that proportion in Kazakhstan amounts to two-fifths. Moscow has many times approached Alma-Ata with a proposal to conclude an agreement about ‘double citizenship’. Kazakhstan, out of legitimate concern, has refused to recognize up to half of its inhabitants as disavowing association with a sole state. Another cause of irritation is the provision of the Kazakhstan constitution declaring Kazakh as the only state language, while relegating Russian to the status of ‘inter-ethnic medium’. Moscow’s concern is in response to the protests of the emergent Slavic movement ‘Lad’, which counts the support of the Russian and the Russianspeaking population. The discrimination against non-Kazakhs and their culture by the Kazakhstan authorities remains the major accusation raised by the ‘Lad’ functionaries who are not militants, although they can coordinate their activities with the more radical but miniscule organizations claiming to represent Russian Cossacks. The Cossacks were one of the first ethnic and professional groups to

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settle down in Kazakh territory in the late 19th century. Organized in the voiska (armies), the Cossacks had combined military service with husbandry. In the course of the Civil War, the Cossacks who fought fiercely against the Reds were defeated. The great majority of them were killed, while the few survivors were forced to flee the country. The Cossack movement sprang up in Kazakhstan as late as 1990 and, no doubt, has little to do with the true descendants of the Cossacks. Nevertheless, the contemporary Cossacks of Kazakhstan, assembled mainly in the Semirechie Voyisko (in the north-east of the republic), could become a political factor affecting relations with Russia, especially as they maintain close ties with the Siberian and other Cossack organizations in Russia. The Kazakhstan leadership seems to be aware of the dangers and traps of the precarious situation caused by the intermediate position of the country between Russia and the core of Central Asia. Already in 1992, the president of Kazakhstan signed a treaty of friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance with Russia. In January 1995, during President Nazarbayev’s visit to Moscow he and the Russian president issued a declaration concerning bilateral relations. The two countries also concluded a customsunion treaty. The diplomatic game is not the only one Alma-Ata plays with Russia. The creativity and restlessness of Kazakhstan’s diplomacy is remarkable. In addition to the other bilateral contacts, it has launched two projects in the field of multilateral diplomacy. The first aimed at developing a system of security, mutual trust and cooperation in Asia; the second proposed the formation of the so-called Eurasian Union in place of, or in addition to, the CIS. The first initiative is of primarily symbolic meaning and subsists on the ‘experts-diplomats’ level. The purpose of the second project is to indicate that Kazakhstan is utterly disappointed with the performance of the Commonwealth and is ready for real integration with Russia and other former Soviet states. The idea was publicized by Nursultan Nazarbayev in March 1994. In September the participants of a large conference in AlmaAta discussed the prospects of the new Union, and the Kazakhstan president sent a drafted proposal to the heads of all the Commonwealth states. At the CIS Moscow summit in October, the proposal was received coolly and laid aside. However, Russian president Boris Yeltsin has acknowledged ‘many positive’ aspects in the Kazakhstan project which can be used in the process of gradual integration. Presumably, Russia must be attracted by Nazarbayev’s ideas. Moreover, more than sixty Russian politicians participated in the Alma-Ata conference in September 1994. Sergey Shahrai, the well-known leader of one of the parliamentarian parties who holds the post of vice-premier, publicly backed the Kazakhstan plan. However, officials

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in Moscow seem content with the present state of cooperation through the CIS, and are reluctant to adopt someone else’s initiative. And Moscow is suspicious of Kazakhstan’s intentions. By proposing the Union, which involves common citizenship, Nazarbayev can confront the internal problems of the non-Kazakhs in his country by blaming Russia for hesitating to integrate. Similarly, it helps him refute the argument in favor of ‘double citizenship’. In this regard, it is noteworthy that the draft version of the Union’s charter concedes more or less automatic approval of any member country’s domestic policies. Russia’s relations with Uzbekistan, Kirghizstan and Turkmenistan reflect the basic decision to adopt a certain distance vis-à-vis the Central Asian region and its problems. This does not mean that Moscow wants to leave the region or cut its ties with it altogether. The present Russian establishment would like to have military and security issues under its exclusive control. After failing to preserve the former Soviet-turned-CIS high military command, Moscow entered into a series of bilateral arrangements with the Central Asian countries concerning its assistance and guidance in creating the national armed forces and border troops.16 On a bilateral basis as well, it started providing training to the newly formed police and state-security cells. From the beginning the major concern of the Russian and CAS governmental bodies had been the problem of drug manufacture and smuggling because already in the 1980s certain regions of Kirghizstan and other republics had become known as centers of hashish production. Drug smuggling from Afghanistan constituted yet another formidable common problem. The desire to modify ties with Central Asia coexists in Moscow with the fear of seeing another power fill the vacuum in the region. This double concern determines the prevailing logic of Russian strategy. The geopolitical situation of the region and around the world is more or less conducive to achieving this double goal, i.e. partly withdrawing, but with no one taking their place. The case of Tajikistan exemplifies Russia’s double attitude in this respect. Whereas Moscow had obviously played a role in the prolonged civil conflict and continues to guard Tajikistan’s borders with Afghanistan, it has recently indicated an inclination to relinquish the excess burden of being responsible for the stability and political set-up there. At the end of last year it was revealed that Moscow did not intend to support indefinitely the regime in Tajikistan unless it found means for its own survival. Russian diplomacy took seriously the task of searching for a compromise in the conflict between the warring Tajik factions. By the summer of 1995, Tajikistan was obliged to leave the rouble zone, and issued its own money, being the last among the Central Asian and former Soviet

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republics to take this step. The Tajik government received assistance from the IMF, which clearly removed from Russia’s shoulders exclusive responsibility for the economic conditions in Tajikistan. With the passage of time, the pattern of Russian relations with CAS has undergone a profound shift from predominantly multilateral agreements mediated through CIS forums and agencies, to bilateral ones. Although the first instance of this shift, the Russian–Turkmen relationship, should mostly be credited to the initiative of Turkmenistan, other bilateral contacts seem to represent a real change in Moscow’s approach. Prime Minister Victor Chernomyrdin’s visit to Uzbekistan in July 1995 must be viewed as an ample indication of this change. Evidently, Moscow is attempting to transform certain special relationships with the Central Asian countries into more ordinary diplomatic practice. The choice by the influential premier of Uzbekistan for his first visit to Central Asia was a good one since it shows regard for the fact that Uzbekistan occupies the focal point in the natural configuration in the region. On the other hand, the Russian policy vis-à-vis the CAS is far from having become finalized. Some experts close to the Russian president have publicly expressed an opinion in favor of efforts to promote political and economic integration among CIS members. At the same time they stress the importance of exploiting the potential of Russia as a leading force for the formation of a new system of interstate relations throughout the former Soviet territory. Conclusion Beyond any doubt, it seems that the 21st century will witness the reappearance of Central Asia as a separate geopolitical and civilizational region. This development is in line with certain trends of the present century: firstly, the regionalization of the global political space; secondly, the emergence of compact national states based on a growing ethnic consciousness; thirdly, the evident upsurge in exploration of the natural resources of the Eurasian mainland; and fourthly, the remarkable population increase in the Muslim socio–cultural zone, including its north-eastern Central Asian extension. The Central Asian region will not be self-contained and isolated. The image of closed regions contradicts the prevailing tendency of adjustment to the pattern of ‘open regionalism’, characterized by a variety of inside and outside links and delineations, as well as mixed border zones of asymmetrical configuration. Assuredly, Kazakhstan constitutes a huge frontier belt which can separate or unite the core of Central Asia with Russia seen as a gigantic Northern Eurasia.17

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The prevailing mood in Moscow until recently seemed to favor a partial disengagement from Central Asian affairs. The main argument for such a policy is an economic one. According to the proponents of this view, Russia’s budget cannot sustain a further drain of resources in the direction of Central Asia. They propose to solve the problem of the Russian and the Russianspeaking population left behind in the region by increasing the funds assigned to a resettlement program of would-be migrants. The advocates of this strategy are presently preparing public opinion to accept the idea that the migration of millions of people back into Russia is desirable. In this connection, the demographic crisis the country is experiencing is given prominence. It is stressed that Russia’s vast geographical area is grossly underpopulated and the future migrants of Russian origin can be a true economic asset and contribute to social harmony and political stability. Provided this attitude prevails in the future, Russia will definitely wish to play a role in furthering unity and stability in Central Asia, while at the same time trying to avoid increased direct involvement in regional affairs. As in the case of other guesses and forecasts concerning Russia’s future, the main proviso concerns the success of economic reforms. Of course, political and cultural factors may prove to be of vital importance too. The coming presidential and parliamentary elections could alter significantly the prevailing political atmosphere in Moscow. An alternative policy will either bring a radical or a moderate change. In the extreme case, it could result in efforts to retain Russia’s political clout in the region. Moscow certainly possesses the resources and the necessary preconditions for conducting a policy of pressure and renewed efforts to integrate the Central Asian countries. The first target would most probably be Kazakhstan, followed by Kirghizstan. There are also other quite plausible scenarios, but it does not seem to make sense in this context to enter into further abstract speculation. The Central Asian states are by no means a passive element in the political equation. Their newly acquired independence allows them to choose their own strategy both in domestic and foreign policy. Indeed, numerous options are open to them. Here it is enough to mention the obvious positive correlation between stability and progress in each country and regional cooperation which can include certain forms of selected integration. On the other hand, the pursuit of integrationist goals by any one state or schemes to build a larger all-inclusive state, such as Turkestan, would undermine regional harmony and provoke interference from outside forces. Similarly, were the states of the area to rely exclusively on any one extraregional power or coalition of powers and in so doing close the geopolitical trough which Central Asia now represents, this would constitute a formidable danger to the region’s security.

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Notes 1 This fact has been mentioned in numerous recent articles and specialized books published in Russian as well as in English. See, for example, M. Brill Olcott, The Kazakhs, Stanford (California), 1988. 2 On these historical movements see, for example, S.A.M. Adshead, Central Asia in World History, London, 1993, pp. 6–14. 3 See S.G. Klyashtorny, ‘Rossiya i tyurkskie narody Evrazii’ (‘Russia and the Turkic Peoples of Eurasia’), in B.S. Erasov, ed., Tsivilizatsii i kultury (Civilizations and Cultures), Scholarly Almanac 2, Moscow, 1995, p. 194. 4 The Russian and Ukrainian population in north-eastern Kazakhstan increased from half a million in 1897 (13 percent of the total) to 1.5 million by 1917 (30 percent). These figures were cited by O.I. Brusina in her report at the conference ‘Russia and Kazakhstan’ organized by the Russian Center for Strategic and International Research under the general sponsorship of the Russian oil company LUK-Oil in Moscow, February 1995. See the published conference papers, Russia and Kazakhstan, eds., V.V. Naumkin and A.A. Novotochinov, Moscow, 1995, p. 129. The modest scale of Russian agricultural colonization in the Central Asian core territories is obvious from numerous publications of that time. See, for example, Senator von Palen, Report of the Special Committee of the Russian Crown, I, St. Petersburg, 1910, and the voluminous reference work, Aziatskaya Rossiya (Asiatic Russia), St. Pertersburg, 1914. 5 The varying estimates of the Kazakh casualties seem to be of secondary importance in view of the fact that the tragedy of Stalin’s experiment is accepted by the scholarly communities both in Russia and Kazakhstan, and by other groups creating and reflecting public opinion in present-day Russia and Kazakhstan. The tendency among the Russians is to quote a minimal figure of losses (not more than 20 percent of the population) and among the Kazakhs to quote a maximum figure (c. 50 percent). See Brusina, ‘Russia and Kazakhstan’, pp. 14–18. 6 For the figures regarding 1959 see M. Rywkin, Moscow’s Muslim Challenge. Soviet Central Asia, New York, 1982, p. 64. For the 1989 estimates see Narodnoe Khozyaistvo SSSR v 1990 g. (The Economy of the USSR in 1990), Finansy i Statistika, Moscow, 1991, pp. 67–73. 7 See L. Dienes, Soviet Asia. Economic Development and National Policy Choices, Boulder (Colorado), 1987, Chapter 1. 8 The present author discusses these complexities in greater detail and proposes different ways of analyzing the structure of the new Central Asia in V.Y. Belokrenitsy, ed., Tsentralnaya Aziya: puti integratsii v mirovoye soobshchestvo (Central Asia: Ways of Integration into the World Community), Moscow, 1995. 9 M. Brill Olcott, ‘Central Asia’s Catapult to Independence,’ Foreign Affairs 71, no. 3 (Summer 1992), pp. 108–30 10 See, for example, A. Abduvakhitov, ‘Islamic Revivalism in Uzbekistan,’ in D.F. Eickelman, ed., Russia’s Muslim Frontiers, Bloomington (Indiana), 1993, pp. 19–100. 11 See U. Kasenov, ‘Osnovnie itogi vheshnepoliticheskoi deyatelnosti Respubliki Kazakhstan i ego prioritetnie zadachi’ (‘The Main Results of the Foreign Policy Activity of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Its Priority Tasks’), published in Kazakhstan i vbrovoe soobshchestvo (Kazakhstan and the World Community), the Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies, no. 1, Alma-Ata, 1994, pp. 12–37.

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12 Finansovie Izvestiya (The Financial News published in collaboration with The Financial Times of London), Moscow, 30 June 1995. 13 Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Moscow, 6 January 1993. 14 Ibid., 10 March 1995. 15 Andrei Kozyrev, ‘A Chance for Survival,’ Foreign Affairs 71, no. 2 (Spring 1992), pp. 1–16. 16 The details of the arrangements are discussed by the present author elsewhere; see V.Y. Belokrenitsky, ‘Russia and Greater Central Asia,’ Asian Survey 34, no. 12 (December 1994), pp. 1096–7. 17 See the analysis of these issues in A.Z. Rubinstein, ‘The Asian Interior. The Geopolitical Pull on Russia,’ Orbis (Fall 1994), pp. 567–83.

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Foreign Policy Perspectives of the Central Asian States TATIANA SHAUMIAN

The disintegration of the Soviet Union has brought about a new geopolitical configuration in world politics. As a successor state Russia is a smaller, weaker and as yet a rather uncertain entity, no matter how aggressive or confident its rhetoric at international forums may be. The truth is that it is a superpower largely by courtesy of the West. The Baltic states and Eastern Europe, with the exception of some of the Balkan countries, are steadily moving towards a symbiosis with the European Economic Community. Byelorussia and the Ukraine are still making up their minds though in the long run the pull of Moscow may prove to be considerable, if not entirely irresistible for them. The Caucasian states of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia are experiencing a wave of acute civil strife and mutual conflict. In this context the Central Asian republics appear to be in an unusual position. Of the five republics, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are relatively stable. Tajikistan, on the other hand, is in a state of virtual civil war and faces threats to its security from across the Afghan border. As promising as their destiny might seem in view of the enormous natural resources they possess, their immediate future is even more uncertain than that of the other break-away states of the former Soviet Union. They also stand apart from the other ex-Soviet republics in terms of their distinct culture, ethnicity and religion. Moreover, their new separateness is further magnified by the larger parameters of Central Asia as a geopolitical unit which includes Mongolia, the Xinjiang region of China, Tibet, Afghanistan and the northern regions of India, as well as Kashmir and Pakistan. The former Soviet Central Asian states, on the other hand, are free from the pressure of any legal obligations and commitments to the international community. Because of their former isolation, they are also relatively free from involvement in disputes or conflicts with neighboring countries. In many ways they are in a position to enter upon a new phase of their history with a clean slate. The present paper is not intended to be a detailed analysis of the day-today running of foreign policy in each of the individual states in Central Asia. Rather, it seeks to identify in outline the main parameters and trends 62

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of their foreign policies and consider what niche they can realistically expect to occupy in the wider community of nations. In certain respects the Central Asian states are inland islands, surrounded not by a sea but by other states, some of them powerful like Russia and China, others less so like Afghanistan, Iran, India and Pakistan. But they are islands of strategic importance. And while they may be starting out with a clean slate in one sense, there are important aspects of both their distant and their recent past which will determine the course their future development will take. One fact stands out quite clearly: for a long time to come they will be directly dependent on Russia for military security. Tajikistan is a dramatic case in point. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the political and economic situation in the larger part of Central Asia was seriously affected by the Great Game – the rivalry between Russia and Britain in the struggle for dominance in this strategic region. Russia was busy consolidating its position by annexation or conquest of the Central Asian states. Britain was energetically preoccupied with safeguarding that ‘jewel’ in the crown of its empire, India. In China the Manchu rulers were desperately trying to maintain their hold on the periphery of the Han provinces proper, and to keep some measure of control over Xinjiang and Tibet, which bordered on British India. The Russian Revolution and the formation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) early in this century brought about a fundamental change. Firm and inviolable borders came to be established for the Central Asian states of the Union and an iron curtain separated them from their other neighbors. The new curtain cut across the living tissue of the ethnically and religiously close, even identical, communities of the Tajiks, Turkmens, Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Dungans and Uigurs. This culturalpolitical divide and isolation became even more intense after the emergence of the Chinese People’s Republic in 1949. The Tibetan saga, the flight of the Dalai Lama and the emigration of large numbers of Tibetans to India and other countries, combined with China’s drive to change the ethnic balance in Xinjiang by settling more and more Han Chinese in the area, created new instability in Central Asia. From that time the spectre of China began to haunt the region and continues to do so to this day. Similarly, even though the Soviet Union has for the most part physically withdrawn from the region, its ghostly presence is still felt. With the consolidation of Communist China from the early 1950s onwards, the whole Central Asian region became a focus of intense divisions brought about by the cold war. India and Pakistan constructed rival alliances with Moscow and Washington. Antagonism over Kashmir and Aksai Chin led to repeated clashes between both countries and even to wars. The Chinese take-over of Tibet alarmed India, as did China’s emergence as a

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nuclear power. These issues remain unresolved. India and Pakistan have also declined to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. In the late 1970s and early 1980s Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, and the Islamic revolution in Iran, immensely added to the instability and tensions throughout the region. Though the Soviet Union finally withdrew its troops from Afghanistan in 1989, bloodshed in that wore-torn country did not stop but moved on to a civil war phase. Meanwhile, the West, and in particular the United States, remained highly suspicious of Iran, as well as of Iraq. Unexpected and sudden freedom came to the Central Asian states against this recent historical backdrop. The new republics hastened to establish relations with all their neighbors regardless of ideological considerations, which was proper. But they also had to learn to cope with the sudden breakdown of what had been the previous political-ideological order. This involved creating new institutions which had to take full account of the religious aspirations of the people, long denied them under the Soviet dispensation, and their enhanced ethnic identities. It also meant that they had to come to terms with their geographical isolation in some new way since Russian ports were no longer part of their political heritage or their economic resources. Assured easy access to the sea could not be taken for granted. In these circumstances the Central Asian states reacted the only rational way they could. While allowing their ties with Russia to slacken, which in any case depended mostly on Moscow’s will or political policy, they set out to broaden and deepen their contacts beyond the range of the former USSR, and even beyond the range of the newly formed Commonwealth of Independent States. At the same time they also sought to define their own status in ways that were wholly new to them. Quite obviously, the fledgling republics did not wish to join new blocs immediately but were concerned to secure international recognition of their independent status and respectability. Pursuing this objective, they rapidly took up membership in the United Nations Organization and its various agencies. Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, though all possessing stocks of uranium ore, confirmed their non-nuclear status. In 1994 Kazakhstan, where strategic nuclear weapons of the USSR were stored, signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Moreover, they all joined the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Council for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and other such bodies. Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan joined the Islamic Conference Organization, Uzbekistan became a member of the Non-aligned Movement, and so on. Many countries responded positively and showed interest in developing

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ties with the newly established Central Asian states. For instance, 120 countries recognized Uzbekistan and 45 of them established diplomatic relations with the republic. The leaders of the new states also made many official visits abroad, particularly to the G7 countries and the Islamic states. However, history has a way of exacting its own price. The effect of the long Soviet/Russian tutelage over the Central Asian states cannot be ignored or dismissed so easily. Whatever they may or may not do in the near future, whatever alternatives or new partnerships they pursue, the question of relations with Russia will always remain at the heart of Central Asian foreign policy. This is not simply a psychological factor, though that too undoubtedly plays a significant role. It is a matter of objective realities. There are three essential geopolitical connections between Russia and the new states. In the first place, the Central Asian republics form a natural and highly controlled buffer between Russia and the other countries of Asia. Secondly, a thorny legacy of the past decades of Moscow’s supremacy consists of the vast Russian diaspora that has occurred throughout these states. Russia is naturally concerned to safeguard the rights and welfare of Russians who find themselves living in these newly created states and is increasingly worried about the slow but relentless exodus of ethnic Russians from the region which is presently under way. Lastly, special types of essential economic links have been established between Russia and the Central Asian states during the Soviet period. Now that direct control from Moscow no longer exists, the willingness of the Central Asian republics to play the role of buffer states has become problematic. So, too, has the future of the Russian diaspora facing open or veiled threats of expulsion under the pressure of new nationalisms and ethnic assertions in these states. Basically what is taking place is an unstoppable process, though given a modicum of wisdom and goodwill solutions can be found to space out the adjustments over a long period of time and make it as painless as possible. Above all, however, the economies of these states are undergoing stress because the old system of organization which had prevailed up to the collapse of the Soviet Union has suddenly disappeared. True, the new republics are theoretically in a better position to cope with this stress because of their natural wealth in gas, oil, gold and other metals. But any benefits from their natural resources will only come in the future. Under the former system they were an integrated segment of the Soviet economy with a rigid linkage to the more developed areas of the USSR. While this kind of linkage had its negative side, it cannot be denied that severing these ties has had a serious disruptive effect on the Central Asian economies as well as on the social and political structures in the region. To add to the complications, the high-handed and arbitrary manner in which the three Slaved republics peremptorily abolished the Union did

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little to foster confidence that Russia will be looking out for the interests of the new republics. This distrust of the ‘Big Brother’ has given a strong impetus to attempts to form a community based on religious identity, the Islamic heritage. Nevertheless, leaders of the Central Asian republics clearly appreciate the fact that, for the time being at least, Russia is the only reliable guarantor of stability and security in the region. Consequently, having swallowed their pride, they agreed to join the newly created Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) at a meeting in Ashkhabad on 12-13 December 1991, and likewise in May 1992 signed the Collective Security Treaty. Presently there is a tendency among many observers of Central Asian developments to exaggerate the negative side of the Russian imperial and Soviet rule in Central Asia and encourage irrational Russophobia in the region. This could do immense harm to the Central Asians themselves. Without a doubt much criticism can justifiably be made of Russian behavior not only in the past but in the present as well. The barbarism and brazenness with which Moscow has pursued the goal of preserving Russian territorial integrity in Chechnya is enough to make Milosevic and Karadzic of Serbia swoon with admiration at having found a soul-mate in Yeltsin. This kind of Russian policy cannot but give offence and cause revulsion in an increasingly Islamic Central Asia. Furthermore, those in Russia who think in terms of an exclusive sphere of Russian influence must realize that it cannot be sustained by force. None the less, for the sake of critical objectivity we must resist the temptation to create a malignant monster out of Russia/Soviet Union in this connection. Similarly, it is essential to avoid another new tendency which is to consider any present-day contact between Russia and Central Asia as automatically a revival of imperialist policies. Some degree of danger may exist, but there is no need to blow it out of all proportion. Central Asian leaders themselves are more balanced in this respect, being aware of all the complexities. In a television broadcast in June 1992, for instance, the Kyrgyz leader Akaev noted: As of this year, the history of mutual relations between Kyrgyzstan and Russia comes to 205 years. Exactly 205 years ago far-sighted representatives of the Kyrgyz nobility sent their ambassadors to St. Petersburg for the first time, seeking to come under the protection of the Russian Empire. Our friendship and cooperation date back to that time. Of course I do not wish to idealize these relations. There have been bright moments and moments which today give rise to controversy. Nevertheless, something eternal, bright and generous is characteristic of our mutual relations.

Recent developments in Tajikistan, in particular the prolonged conflict and tension along the Afghan–Tajik border, as well as the activization of the

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separatist Muslim movements in the Xinjiang region of China and other trends confirmed the validity of these assumptions. However, having little confidence in the willingness of Russia to protect them fully, the Central Asian states have opted for double insurance by joining the Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE). Given the highly volatile nature of ethnic and other kinds of territorial claims and counter-claims within the region, along with their scepticism about the CIS, they sought in the long run to ensure their territorial integrity and independence through international associations of this kind. Paradoxically, though they were distrustful of Russia, the expansion of such international contacts was helped by the mutedness of the Russian response. Moscow appeared to be absorbed in its honeymoon with the West to the exclusion of everything else, and its occasional growling at its Western partners did not substantially alter the situation. Despite all periodic attempts to create a contrary impression, Russia and Central Asia continue to drift apart. It is almost as if Russia thought it had no interests in the region, which is far from true. The relative Russian negligence of the area may be based on the calculation that the new states are not threatened by outside powers. As Karen Darwisha and Bruce Parrott have pointed out,‘For the non-Russian new states, there has been little danger that they will become the object of a scramble for control by other powers; the risk of being neglected by the outside world has been considerably greater.’1 Quite naturally, in order to advance and protect their own interests the Central Asian states undertook initiatives to form regional links. At a summit meeting of the Central Asian leaders on 4 January 1993, a communiqué was signed regarding the setting up of a common market, and envisaging expansion of all round ties between the signatories and participation in joint economic projects. One of the biggest of these projects involves the refining of Kazakh oil at Turkmen and Uzbek refineries, and the construction of a railway to Iran to carry the refined products to the Persian Gulf. Another joint project concerns the future establishment of a Central Asian television company with headquarters in the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, and the publication of a regional newspaper in Alma-Ata, the capital of Kazakhstan. Late in 1993, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan established a common economic zone, which Kyrgyzstan also joined early in 1994. In July 1994, the heads of state of the three countries met in Alma-Ata and created the institutions for the new Central Asian Union which includes an Interstate Council of Presidents and Prime Ministers, a Council of Foreign Affairs Ministers and a Council of Defense Ministers. On 6 August 1994, they met again in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, and worked out the operational rules of an Executive Council and established a Central Bank. Many other measures regarding the production and distribution of goods were also agreed upon.

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If these provisions really come into effect and the states in question find the necessary resources and qualified manpower to implement such ambitious policies, in a few years they may well become independent of Russia for supplies of oil products, ferrous metals and building materials. In the context of these developments, some analysts are coming round to the view that Central Asia is again becoming a field for the Great Game. This time, however, regional powers of medium size are involved in the game and not only the big imperialist states as some would describe them. In the new game the competition is based on ethnic, linguistic and religious commonality. This is an entirely plausible analysis of events, though only time will tell whether alliances predicated on such a basis will prove satisfactory to all the parties involved. The new players in the Great Game in Central Asia are logically enough Iran, Pakistan and Turkey, and at some remove Saudi Arabia. Eventually, if and when stability returns to Afghanistan, that country will also exert significant influence, not so much in the economic sphere as in ethnic and religious matters. Moreover, the role of China as a key player should not be underestimated. China has a very long frontier with Central Asia, not to mention the separatist tensions that are brewing in Xinjiang which has special economic ties and ethnic affinities with the region. More immediately, it would appear, two contemporary models are competing for the attention of the Central Asian states, the Iranian and the Turkish. On the surface, one is intensely religious, the other secular. Therefore, the adoption of either of the two models, symbolic though it may be, depends on the inclinations and preferences, real or pretended, of the elites of these states. Moreover, there can be no ad hoc adoption of any of these models. Much will depend on geography and economics, on the interplay of contending players and the level of economic and political development in each of the Central Asian states. Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan have shown preference for a secular mode of polity. The Uzbek leaders, too, have associated themselves with secular attitudes, though in Uzbekistan the influence of Islam is quite strong. Regarding Tajikistan, there is an additional factor to take into account, namely that the Tajiks share the Farsi language with Iran. As for Turkmenistan, the course its foreign policies take is likely to be determined by geography since, religious considerations aside, its long border with Iran has important economic implications. However, it should also be recognized that the secular postures adopted by the leaders of the Central Asian states are to a certain extent a conscious response to Islamic pressures they face from within. Turkmenistan would achieve huge earnings if it could export its gas through Iran. Saudi Arabia is considering extending substantial credits for

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development of the oil and gas resources of Turkmenistan. Pakistan, too, is interested in Turkmenistan’s gas but, for the time being at least, the civil strife in Afghanistan makes it impossible to construct a gas pipeline between the two countries. However, a crucial point not to be ignored is that some outside Islamic countries consider the re-establishment and propagation of Islamic values in Central Asia to be an even greater priority than other aspects of policy. Saudi Arabia and Libya are spending considerable sums in the region for building mosques and religious schools, and for the printing and distributing of religious literature. They have so far handed out millions of copies of the Koran throughout Central Asia. Of course, to a limited extent, the Islamic factor is beneficial to Central Asia. In November 1992, the General Secretary of the Islamic Conference Organization, Hamid al-Gabid, and the influential Kuwaiti, Shaikh Abdulaziz al-Babtain, visited Ashkhabad, the capital of Turkmenistan. They announced that, acting on their suggestion, some leaders and businessmen of the Arab world had decided to set up a Committee for Assistance to help further Turkmenistan’s development. Around the same time, the Iranian press reported that an agreement had been reached for joint investment in building the Tejen-Seraks railway which, by linking Turkmenistan to Iran, will provide the entire Central Asian region as well as Russia with the shortest route to Pakistan, India and the Persian Gulf. The building of a railroad to Mashhad has also been planned. The Central Asian region will thus be linked to two of the most important railway lines projected for the future. One branch will run from Europe, via Kazakhstan, to the rail network of China, and the other will run through the whole length of Asia from Istanbul, via Iran and Turkmenistan, to Beijing. In the days of the Great Game the possibility of a railway line from Central Asia to Mashhad had been one of the nightmares of the British. History is full of such ironies! On the other hand, the role of the Islamic factor should not be overestimated. Ultimately, a realistic appreciation of national commercial interests will count more than Islam. For instance, there are already tensions between Azerbaijan and Iran to do with oil exploitation, as well as a series of territorial disputes, etc. Kazakhstan occupies a special place in Central Asia. It possesses immense natural resources, as well as developed industry and agriculture. Located at the center of the Eurasian continent, it aspires to play a larger role as a pivotal country. Its international stature is also relatively high. The wider geopolitical interests of Kazakhstan have been underlined by its president, Nursultan Nazarbaev, who has repeatedly proposed far-sighted plans for a Eurasian Union in the post-Soviet space.

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Kazakhstan’s relations with China are rather complex. In the past China has laid claims to parts of Kazakh territory. However, during the Chinese prime minister’s visit to Alm-Ata in April 1994, an agreement was signed regarding the Sino-Kazakh border which extends a length of 1,700 kms. On the other hand, the Kazakhs remain uneasy about the continuing nuclear tests at Lop Nor, only 900 kms. from the border of Kazakhstan. Turkmenistan is also interested in developing relations with China. In particular it wishes to follow the highly successful methods the Chinese applied in developing their oil and refining industries and in setting up small enterprises in rural areas. An agreement has been reached to lay a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to China and to commence air services between the capitals of the two countries. The Chinese, for their part, are interested in prospecting for hydrocarbon resources in Turkmenistan and eventually exploiting these resources. Considerable symbolic importance was attached to the summit meeting held in Ashkhabad in May 1992, with the participation of the presidents of all the Central Asian states and Iran, and the prime ministers of Pakistan and Turkey, as the first such gathering of its kind, extending the Central Asian links to some of its Islamic neighbors. Unfortunately, because of disagreement among the Central Asian states the summit failed to achieve anything concrete. The Turkmen leader, Saparmurat Niyazov, did not agree with the proposal of the Kyrgyz leader, Askar Akaev, to create a common economic fund for innovation and a common monetary bank. Similarly, the participants were not altogether happy with the Kazakh leader’s assertion that their ‘exclusive relationship with Russia must be the first priority’. The Uzbek leader, Islam Karimov, actually argued for the ‘inadmissibility of an economic union of Central Asian republics within any kind of framework’. In the course of a gathering of the presidents of six Turkic-speaking countries, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Turkey, held on 30-31 October 1992 in Ankara, an alliance was established, informally known as ‘The Turk Common Market’. It was agreed to set up telecommunication links, allow citizens to travel between member countries without a visa, and to promote economic cooperation. There was also an agreement to study proposals for construction of oil and gas pipelines from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to the Turkish port of Iskenderun, in order to supply European markets. However, in this regard Nazarbaev sounded a note of caution, arguing that the establishment of a separate community on linguistic or ethnic grounds ‘does not bring people together but divides them’. In late November 1992, at a ceremony in Islamabad the Central Asian states were admitted to the Organization for Economic Cooperation, established many years ago between Iran, Pakistan and Turkey. A 10 percent

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reduction of customs duties and liberalization of trade between its members was envisaged. In February 1993, a plan was endorsed to put in place an integrated system of communication between the member states by the end of the century. It is also extremely important to note that a kind of rivalry exists between Iran and Turkey with regard to influencing the course of developments in Central Asia. This rivalry has been encouraged and fuelled by the West, particularly by the United States. The West tends to regard Turkey as a more benign influence because of its secular character, though this secularism is coming under threat from within Turkey itself. Conversely, the West is worried about the expansion of Iranian influence which it considers undesirable because of Iran’s Islamic militancy. In reality, however, the extent of Iranian Islamic influence will not be determined by religious sentiments alone. One more country, India, may be mentioned in this context. India is not an Islamic state and it has no common frontiers with the Central Asian republics. The territories of Pakistan and Afghanistan intervene. Despite this, Central Asia has played an important role in Indian history, culture, music and ultimately even politics. Thus, while New Delhi may appear to be on the sidelines, it maintains a keen interest in the unfolding Central Asian panorama. For this reason, while disposing over limited leverage, it is has been making determined, if somewhat discrete, attempts to establish a political and economic presence in Central Asia. What worries India most is the prospect of a solid Islamic bloc extending from the Bosphorus to the Punjab and Kashmir that form a frontier with India. This fear is obviously increased by the almost permanent hostility that has existed between India and Pakistan since the independence of both countries. But it is surely an unwarranted fear because past history shows that in reality there has never been any form of monolithic solidarity among the Islamic states and there never will be, despite the flamboyant rhetoric of Muslim politicians and mullahs. A typical indication of this lack of Muslim solidarity was President Rafsanjani’s proposal to a visiting Indian minister that India make use of Iran as a route for contacts with Central Asia, knowing that the route via Pakistan was closed to India. We are all experienced enough to know that in politics declarations and intentions are rarely fulfilled. There are always snags, always delays, always disputes. It is not surprising, therefore, that many of the agreements signed during the last three and a half years remain agreements on paper only. Meanwhile, political crises continue to plague the Central Asian states and their economies remain in a perilous state. But on a historical time scale the period we are considering is really very short indeed, even if the changes we have witnessed are so enormous that it might well seem that centuries have elapsed.

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The points we have touched on above are no more than a bare minimal summary of developments which have a bearing on the future of the Central Asian states. This is also a highly tentative assessment. We must accept that the furies which have presently been unleashed across the whole northeastern landmass of Eurasia will take considerable time to abate. Meanwhile, one of the greatest dramas in mankind’s history is beginning to unfold, and none of us can predict with certainty how it will develop or where it may lead. There are no guarantees of a positive outcome. We can only hope for the best. Notes 1 K. Dawisha and B. Parrott, Russia and the New States of Eurasia: The Politics of Upheaval, Cambridge, 1994, p. 320.

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Background It will perhaps be useful at the outset of this paper to remind the audience that the Iranian revolution of 1979 was predicated on the declaration that Islam is the sole foundation of Iranian identity. On the basis of such a world view, the Islamic Republic of Iran (the IRI) rejected any form of attachment to the East or to the West. Indeed, the IRI shaped its foreign policy in accordance with a very famous slogan: ‘Neither East, nor West!’ This policy, inspired by ideals rooted in Iran’s recent history and the reality of a bipolar world, seemed to be justified in order to mobilize national sentiment at home, while at the same time offering an alternative to Muslims all over the world, namely that they should turn to their own faith rather than to one of the superpowers to overcome their difficulties. Consequently, it should come as no great surprise to learn that Iran, perhaps even to a greater extent than the member states of the Soviet Union, was caught unawares by the sudden collapse of the Communist empire. Not only was the Iranian leadership uninformed about the latest turn of events affecting the Soviet Union, but, generally speaking, the IRI was engaged in developing a new approach towards the world and international relations, an approach that took for granted a geopolitical dichotomy of power and yet sought to manoeuver in such a way as to become a viable third player, different from the other great powers, and capable of offering an independent alternative. On the eve of the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the internal power struggle between Gorbatchev and Yeltsin was reaching a decisive turningpoint, Iran’s minister of foreign affairs visited Moscow to confirm the IRI’s readiness to cooperate with the Soviet Union regarding the new emerging republics, but he was criticized in Moscow for such a policy by the newspaper Izvestiya. He was informed that Iran should reorient itself and conduct its negotiations directly with the new republics.1 It was then that the IRI realized that it was confronted with a completely changed situation which would have important consequences for its famous slogan: ‘Neither East, nor West!’ Such a dramatic shift in the world arena obliged the IRI to 73

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enter on a wholly new policy phase, one which would be complex and difficult to master. The earlier bipolar policy of the IRI had been relatively simple to manage. It was primarily a Third-World policy: to assert the independence of Iran and resist the dominance of the superpowers. Such an approach aimed at remaining independent from the superpowers, but implicitly accepted their existence. As a result, the IRI undertook efforts to play an active role in Third-World movements. The difference, however, between Iran and the other Third-World countries was the IRI’s cultural and symbolic commitment to Islam. While the main characteristic of the Third-World countries was their anti-imperialist ideology, the IRI, in addition to this, wished for the reunification of the Islamic world, which consequently imposed a restriction on its influence in the anti-imperialist movement. The collapse of the Soviet Union has affected the IRI’s bipolar policy, but has not changed its Islamic policy. In view of its overriding aim of reuniting the Islamic world, and because of a lack of information and expertise, the IRI was predisposed to interpret the newly acquired independence of the Central Asian republics as a victory for Islam. It was thought that the disintegration of the Soviet Union would automatically entail a strengthening of the Islamic world and that new space had been created for the dissemination of Islamic ideals in the region. Such an analysis of the situation led the IRI leadership to predicate its policy in Central Asia on Islamic principles. It soon became clear, however, that principles of this kind would not help the IRI to exercise an effective influence in Central Asia. Not only did the secular form of society established during more than seventy years of Soviet rule differ from that of Iran, but, similarly, the form of Islam the IRI wished to propagate was not compatible with the form of Islam followed by the overwhelming majority of believers in these countries. As phase two of its efforts to cultivate relations with the new republics, the IRI tried to combine its Islamic policy with more general forms of cultural activity – by inviting Central Asian cultural personalities to Iran, allocating scholarships to students, arranging for the exchange of artistic groups (on a very limited scale), through promoting tourism, etc. In the third phase, however, the IRI clearly decided to assert its proRussian policy and concentrate its efforts on economic cooperation. One may conveniently divide the third phase into three sub-phases: an ECOoriented policy, an independent policy for economic cooperation and, finally, an economic plan that takes particular account of Russian interests in the region – this being the IRI’s present policy phase.

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The New Geopolitical Situation from the IRI’s Viewpoint Obviously, since the disintegration of the Soviet Union the number of significant political players in Central Asia has increased. From the viewpoint of Iran’s geopolitical situation we may classify the political players as follows: 1. Russia In the IRI’s view, Russia is still the main player in the region. The IRI is, therefore, trying to coordinate its policies in Central Asia with Russia’s interests. The constant US pressure on the IRI is another important factor forcing it to become closer to Russia. The IRI is now trying to develop a common strategy with Russia to prevent the USA from gaining influence in the region.2 Whether such a policy is realistic or not is open to debate. The scope of Russo-Iranian relations is steadily increasing. Despite all the historical mistrust that exists in Iran towards Russia, the IRI is presently pursuing an unprecedented level of cooperation with the latter country in various fields. The completion of the nuclear energy site in Bushire has become the symbol of this cooperation which has cost almost $1 billion.3 The IRI considers the Bushire project as a test case for Russia’s sincerity. Having become a matter of prestige in the eyes of the IRI and Russia, this undertaking has now assumed far greater importance than a simple energy cooperation project between the two countries. Both sides are now interested in expanding the extent of their cooperation. The Russians are talking of establishing a regional organization consisting only of Iran and Russia, although it is not clear exactly what this would mean in practical terms.4 With such an expanded policy of cooperation in mind, Iran has refrained from acting against Russia when the latter invaded Chechnya. Islamic solidarity has been set aside in view of Iran’s immediate need to keep Russia disposed to fulfil its promises regarding projects in various fields. Yeltsin, for his part, by way of demonstrating his sympathies for Iran and the Muslim world has declared that Islam is an inseparable part of Russian history. Although Russia is clearly supporting the Serbian interests in the present Balkan war, the IRI has restricted itself to denouncing the Western role in this repulsive crime against humanity. 2. USA Historically speaking, this is the first time that the USA has seriously attempted to establish its presence in Central Asia. Among other things, the USA has been concentrating its efforts on preventing the IRI from gaining influence in the Central Asian republics. Such an approach will undoubtedly

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harm both Iran and the USA, as well as the newly independent republics. To neglect Iran as a natural bridge between Europe and Asia could prove very costly for the West and give rise to artificial alliances in the region, whereas to acknowledge a reasonable degree of Iranian participation in the political developments in this area of the world would help to maintain a long-lasting peace in a greater part of Asia. For the time being the politics of the IRI appear to have blinded the USA to two other important dimensions of the situation: Iran as an influential civilization in the region, and Iran’s role as a nation-state capable of geographically linking various neighboring states to one another. 3. Europe Europe is the third power in Central Asia. Although there are some similarities between Europe and the USA with regard to political matters, in the IRI’s view the possibilities are considerably greater for cooperating with Europe than with the USA. Europe has a long tradition of dealing with Central Asia. Not only did the so-called Great Game between Russia and Britain involve the presence of these two European powers in the 19th century, but one may also point to the presence of other European powers such as Germany which played a role in this region during the same period. In addition, we should not forget that over the centuries there has been a tradition of serious European scholarship concerning Central Asia. Such a background puts Europe in a better position to deal with Iran and Central Asian countries as compared to the USA which lacks the capacity to understand the complex cultural factors of the region. Some European countries, despite the American imposition of an embargo, have continued to expand their economic relations with Iran. The recent French-Iranian oil contract may be considered a significant sign of the growing cooperation between major European countries and the IRI.5 Although there are a number of obstacles on the path to a full resumption of relations between Iran and Europe, IRI officials hope to be able to overcome these difficulties in the future. 4. China Though silent, China is assuredly an ever-present important power in Central Asia, with immense interests in different parts of the region. This emerging world power with a huge population has developed good relations with Iran. Not only during the Iran-Iraq War did China and the IRI maintain growing economic relations with one another, but in recent times as well the American pressure applied to them has continued to enhance their mutual desire to cooperate. Chinese-Iranian relations will in the long run go on developing, provided

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that the Chinese respect present national boundaries and prevent a dangerous population movement of Chinese into the Iranian world. At the same time, it is of great importance for China’s economic and political interests to develop in harmony with the interests of its neighboring countries and for China to forgo any aspirations of dominating Asia. China did not conform to the embargo declared by America against Iran. According to Moscow newspapers, China intends to continue its cooperation with Iran in the field of nuclear energy.6 5. India India, as one of the current and future main powers of Asia, also has an increasing interest in establishing access to Central Asia. India’s close relations with the former Soviet Union made it difficult to act rapidly when the Soviet empire disintegrated. On the one hand, India’s involvement in Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion and the sympathies shown towards the Soviets and the Communist regime in Kabul were obstacles which impeded India’s proper reaction to events. On the other hand, permanent hostilities with Pakistan have created a situation which obliges India to look for new allies in order to have access to Central Asia. One might conclude that the latest positive developments in Indo-Iranian relations is at least in part the result of recent complicated geopolitical changes. The IRI’s mediating role in the Kashmir conflict placed Iran in a position to improve its relations with India. In order to be able to assume such a role the present government of Iran had to act impartially in the Kashmir conflict and to set aside its policy of universal Islamic solidarity. Iran’s president, of course, does not agree with this interpretation. In an interview he gave before his visit to India, he said: ‘Perhaps the most important obstacle for the emergence of regional cooperation is the dispute between India and Pakistan which, we think, is hurting both countries and is hurting us as well.’7 Despite such obstacles Iran and India have tried to promote bilateral commercial and regional cooperation. On the eve of the Iranian president’s visit to India, the Indian prime minister, Narasimha Rao, said: ‘In the last few years our relations have improved enormously. We have come much closer to identify several areas of cooperation, particularly economic cooperation.’8 According to government media in Iran, the extraordinary reception accorded President Rafsanjani was a significant indication of the beginning of the new era of cooperation.9 Iran’s effort to help India acquire easier access to Central Asia was manifested by a number of contracts intended to facilitate the transit of Indian goods through Iran. The completion of 140 kms. of the SarakhsMashhad railroad gives Indian merchants the chance to make use of the

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Iranian port of Bandar Abbas to reach Central Asia. At the present time Indian goods are mainly transported through Ukrainian and Georgian ports to Central Asia. It is estimated that by using the port of Bandar Abbas the transport time of Indian goods would be reduced by 80 percent. Whereas the transport of goods from India via the Crimea takes more than 15 days, the distance between Bombay and Bandar Abbas can be covered by ship in only 3 days. Moreover, transit through Iran is absolutely safe, which is not the case with the route via the Crimea.10 The transport of Iranian gas through Pakistan to India is another project which may even improve the existing relations between these three countries and strengthen the mediating role of Iran.11 6. Pakistan Iran and Pakistan have had cordial relations since the foundation of the latter country. Cultural, economic and even military pacts have brought the two Islamic countries closer together. But Pakistan’s involvement in the power struggle within Afghanistan has led to certain forms of mistrust. Although both countries had agreed secretly to act in concert in a number of matters concerning Afghanistan, Pakistan’s tactical and strategic manoeuvres have revealed a serious desire to establish control over Afghanistan. Pakistan has been trying to create two routes to Central Asia, i.e. via Kabul and via Herat. Such a policy requires large financial resources, as well as political control of Afghanistan, which might cause great difficulties.12 Despite unpublicized differences of this kind, there are many fields in which both countries have been cooperating with one another. Iran and Pakistan, along with Turkey, are very important pillars of ECO and maintain permanent consultation on a number of issues. The construction of a joint refinery in the Sind province of Pakistan and a pipeline for the transport of natural gas to that country are among the big economic projects designed to strengthen mutual relations. Pakistan has promised to let the pipeline pass through its territory to reach India.13 Pakistan is also interested in increasing oil imports from Iran. A joint economic commission of Iran and Pakistan should help both countries identify possibilities for expanding mutual cooperation.14 Provided Iran and Pakistan continue to cooperate with each other in view of their mutual interest, and do not by-pass one another as in the case of Afghanistan, they will have a good chance to exercise a positive influence for preserving peace in the region and preventing chaotic situations in the immediate future. 7. Afghanistan As an unstable war-torn country, Afghanistan has a very important

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geopolitical significance for the future. Even now three Central Asian countries are in some manner involved with Afghanistan’s internal conflicts. Tajikistan has been associated with this country in three ways: a) Tajik refugees are in Afghanistan and have been enjoying the support of the local population; b) Afghanistan was able to host a peace talk between opposing Tajik groups; and c) the Russian army is still on the Tajik-Afghan border, influencing political developments in both countries. According to various conflicting groups in Afghanistan, there is also an increasing interest in Uzbekistan to influence the internal developments of Tajikistan and Afghanistan. Finally, Turkmenistan, while remaining publicly quiet, has been a very attentive and cautious neighbor. These three Central Asian neighbors will, in the future, have closer ties with the destiny and political-cultural developments of Afghanistan. Moreover, the internal evolution of events in these countries will undoubtedly have an influence on the form of presence which Iran comes to adopt in Central Asia. The present population movements in the region, which is the result of both Soviet disintegration and intervention, consist of thousands of ordinary displaced people, and for the first time the possibility has been created for different ethnic, religious and political groups to become acquainted with one another. As a result, many people are now aware of new perspectives for regional cooperation. 8. Turkey The Great Game that Turkey and Iran were expected to play as regional powers never took place. The IRI did not have the political will to do so, and Turkey did not possess sufficient economic and financial resources to adopt a large-scale role in the region. According to The Economist: ‘When Soviet Central Asia suddenly found itself independent nearly four years ago, there was much specualtion about whether Turkey or Iran would win the hearts of the Muslim peoples in a new Great Game in Central Asia. The answer has been clear for some time: neither.’15 The complex realities in Central Asia did not stop Turkey from dreaming of a zone of influence. Turkish leaders believe they can boost commerce by strengthening cultural ties with the region.16 On the other hand, it is now clear that Iran and Turkey have too limited resources to enter into even a Great Competition, not to speak of a Great Game. In view of all the obstacles and restricted possibilities on both sides, Turkey and the IRI were unable and unwilling to design joint projects in Central Asia or the Caucasus. Their cooperation as planned will take place within the framework of ECO. Outside ECO, as well, both countries are

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trying to build up their own regional organizations and are not investing all their efforts in ECO.17 The Organization of the Black Sea Countries and the Organization of the Caspian Sea Countries are expected to tackle the same kind of problems ECO is meant to deal with.18 Culturally speaking, at the very outset Turkey waged a strong campaign against Iran in Central Asia. However, it should be borne in mind that other forces, and not Iran, were acting against Turkey’s interests in the region. Serious cultural competition may take place in the future between India, China and the West, especially if Turkey and Iran are not capable of offering viable alternatives. In such a case, Turkey may not be able to act with any significant effect in the cultural field. An artificially instigated competition between Turkey and Iran at this point could be harmful to both countries. They must both respect the diversity of cultures that exists in Central Asia and the Caucasus, and try to develop forms of effective cooperation. Although the IRI believes that the USA is undermining relations between Tehran and Ankara, in the recent past there has been a steady observable improvement in their relations.19 9. Saudi Arabia There is a real rivalry between the IRI and Saudi Arabia in the region, especially concerning religious matters. Saudi Arabia does not belong to the region and is acting from outside without having any concrete responsibility or obligation to cooperate with the other regional forces. Saudi Arabia, from a sectarian point of view, is in a position to address the majority of the Muslim population of Central Asia, but in so doing should promote religious sentiments in these countries, while allowing other Islamic elements to be active as well. Since the people of Central Asia are not as strict in their religious observances and their Islamic faith as many other believers, the chances of them adopting exactly the same rituals and ceremonies as in other Islamic countries of the region, such as Iran or Saudi Arabia, are rather limited. Saudi efforts are concentrated on preventing Iran from disseminating socalled radical Islam. Yet at this stage Saudi Arabia is seeking cooperation even with radical forces in order to be able to control them at some later stage. All these kinds of rivalries are inevitably leading to new interpretations of Islam for the people of Central Asia. As a result, one might conclude that the religious culture of the Central Asian peoples is presently in the process of undergoing change.

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The Role and Position of Islam in Central Asia It is generally known that the Central Asian states as political entities are a creation of the former Soviet Union. They had never existed before or acted in their present form.20 But even during the period of Soviet rule, these units did not enjoy full sovereignty. Their foreign policy was entirely in the hands of the Soviets, i.e. the Russians: internally and culturally they were under the direct influence of the Central Committee of the Soviet Union and Russian Culture. The unity of the Soviet Union was mainly based on geopolitical and strategic principles in the interest of Russia. Although efforts were made to create a kind of common culture among the member and allied states, the Soviet-Russian leaders never succeeded in achieving this goal. The Russian language, as the main cultural instrument, was imposed on the people of the empire. Russian was considered as a first or second language, depending on the situation. It often functioned, and this was and still is an important point, as a working and scientific-educational language in most of the Central Asian states.21 Despite these facts and consistent Russian efforts to establish a so-called Soviet culture by means of language and political-ideological solidarity, the people of Central Asia were not encouraged to convert to the main cultural tradition of Russia, i.e. the Orthodox Church. Most past empires had tried to disseminate, one way or another, certain ideological forms (morality, religion or law) in an effort to foster a sense of solidarity among the dominated peoples. The Soviet Union was the only empire that declared an anti-religious ideology as the primary foundation of its world view. The idea of economic development was meant to function in place of all other kinds of dominating spiritual value systems and help to bind together different political entities. Religion and even general moral values regarding salvation and the hereafter were rejected. Efforts to improve the living conditions in the here and now acted as the supreme ideal of the secular and anti-religious Soviet empire. As a result, when the Soviet empire collapsed, the anti-religious materialist-based ideology on which it had been built simultaneously disappeared. In the case of Central Asia, the Islamic religion bound people together vis-à-vis the dominant culture, since the secular empire did not itself propagate the essence of its traditional culture, i.e. the principles of the Orthodox Church, but tried instead to implement a new mentality which was non-religious and based on Communist ideology as formulated by the Communist Party. Thus religion was replaced by Marxist ideology, and the Church by the Communist Party. But such an ideology could only bind together the emerging technocrats. It was never able to become the spiritual way of

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thinking of the ordinary people. Therefore, one might say that there was no real challenge to Islam during the Soviet rule, except the political challenge and pressures imposed on the believers not to follow their faith as they desired. None the less, it is noteworthy that exactly because of these kinds of political pressures and the ideology of the empire the faith of Muslims was affected. The mosques were under the control of the state and the believers were not allowed to organize religious manifestations spontaneously. The control of the Islamic organizations exercised by the Communist Party was meant to have the function of helping to keep all kinds of religious activities under the supervision of the Soviet Union. National Islamic leaders were nominated by the religious centers established by the Soviet state. On the other hand, one might say that the main achievement of the Soviet Union was the creation of a non- or even anti-religious technocracy. Culturally speaking, the technocrats were attracted by the Russian way of life, as opposed to the traditions of the native cultures, and they readily adapted themselves to certain forms of Russian customs and behavior. The new technocrats, educated in the Russian system, constituted the political élite of the Soviet republics and were practically hostile to the traditional culture of their own people. As a result, they were considered as collaborators with the Soviet regime. When the Soviet Union collapsed, this élite tried to play an independent role and to demonstrate its ability as the only qualified force capable of taking responsibility for running the country. To begin with, the leadership of Iran was not familiar with such a complex situation. It became gradually clear to the IRI that there are a number of forces that must be considered when dealing with the Central Asian republics. Although Islam is still a main force in the region, it is obvious that it is not the only force that must be dealt with. In general, one may point to two Islamic movements in this region, an active and a potential one: in Tajikistan (active), and in Uzbekistan (an as yet latent force). Both these movements, and Islamic forces in other republics as well, may be willing to receive support from Iran, but that does not necessarily mean that they are attracted by the ideas originating from Iran. The members of these movements have their own lifestyle, way of thinking, and development. It is clear that the anti-religious policy of the Soviet Union was not able to offer a viable alternative to the existing forms of religious culture and sometimes one may even say that it had absolutely no effect whatsoever on local religious values. But on the whole it would be wrong to ignore the influence that the Soviet system has had on people’s attitude to religion, both on a conscious and an unconscious level. Pressures from above and especially the presentation of Islam as a

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reactionary force, the changes made in nutrition and the Russified education system, have all affected the current forms of religious practice and religious knowledge of the people, as well as of the leaders. In view of these circumstances it was obvious that a religious revolution like that in Iran could not easily establish a dialogue with the Islam prevailing in Central Asia. Moreover, one should take into consideration that the Shi’ite system of government was and is no alternative model for the people living in these areas. Iran’s main obstacle to reaching a closer understanding with the Central Asian Islamic forces and movements is the system of velayat-e faqih (rule by a supreme theologian) itself. It is not a system to be extended and transmitted to other countries as a model. As long as other Islamic countries and movements are acting independently, there would be no real attraction for them to join a completely different system outside their territory and peculiar to Iranian experiences and circumstances. On the other hand, Iran is displaying a greater willingness to cooperate with non-Islamic governments, since it is easier to deal with them and to avoid any form of theological conflict. The Islamic movements and forces in Central Asia have characteristics in common with other Islamic movements. In my opinion, the main specificity of all these movements is their tendency to take part in the process of socialization in the countries and areas concerned. As a result, it may be difficult for them to enter into a closer dialogue with each other at this particular stage. Therefore, I would venture to say that we are not likely to witness the emergence of an overall, regionally coordinated Islamic movement predicated on the idea of pan-Islamism. In my opinion two main characteristics of these movements, socialization and completion of the process of nation-state building, are sufficiently restrictive factors so as to inhibit these movements from becoming transnational or even pan-regional in their scope.22 All these factors will not only have an inhibiting effect on the pan-Islamists, but will act as an insurmountable obstacle to the religious expansionism of other Islamic countries as well. Iran’s Present Relations with Central Asian Countries As mentioned above, at the present time the IRI is pursuing a kind of cooperation with the CIS which may be defined as ‘economic closeness’. Leaving aside the idea of cultural penetration which could have caused some opposition among the countries concerned, economic cooperation is being strengthened and now enjoys priority in Iranian foreign relations with regard to Central Asia and the Caucasus.

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To understand better the nature of the IRI’s efforts to establish economic cooperation, it is recommendable to consider and evaluate four quite separate aspects of these efforts: 1) Bilateral agreements and the exchange of goods. 2) Efforts at collective (mainly trilateral) cooperation, i.e. where more than two sides participate in a project or a plan. 3) Activities pursued through ECO. 4) Pressures applied to Iran to exclude it from Central Asia, which may have some effect on the kind of projects planned and set forth by the IRI. Bilateral Activities With regard to point 1, the following figures covering the two-year period 1992-1993 may help to throw some light on the commercial relations of Iran with Central Asian countries: a) During the two years 1992-1993, the IRI and the CIS exchanged a volume of goods with a total value of $1.6 billion. The value of these goods for the year 1992 was $730 million, and for the year 1993, $860 million which represents a 17.8 percent increase. b) The IRI’s exports to the CIS in 1992 were of the order of $214 million, whereas there was a decrease in exports for the year 1993. That year the IRI’s exports only amounted to $168 million. The main reason for this difference was the discontinuation of Iran’s natural gas exports to Azerbaijan. The value of the exported gas had been $32 million in 1992. c) With regard to its total exports, the share of Iran’s exports to the CIS decreased from 7.6 percent in 1992 to 4.5 percent in 1993. d) Whereas there was a decrease in Iranian exports to the CIS, the CIS’s exports to Iran increased from $512 million in 1992 to $724 million in 1993. The share of CIS goods in Iranian imports was 1.8 percent in 1992 and 3.6 percent in 1993. e) Deficit balance of payments with CIS countries was $303 million for 1992 and $555 million in 1993. f) During the same period Azerbaijan was Iran’s most important commercial partner. That country’s share of Iran’s total exports to CIS countries was 27.9 percent in 1992 and reached 41 percent in 1993. Azerbaijan’s share in Iranian imports from the CIS was 58.8 percent in 1992 and remained almost the same for 1993. During this period Iran mainly imported gasoil from Azerbaijan. The total value of Iranian imports from Azerbaijan was $304 million in

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1992. The gasoil share was $227 million. In 1993 the value of Iranian imports reached $420 million, whereas gasoil’s share decreased to $127 million. g) During the same period the Russian Federation was Iran’s second most important trading partner among the CIS members. In 1992 Russia’s share of Iran’s exports to the CIS was 61 percent, whereas 39 percent of Iran’s CIS imports came from Russia. In 1993 those figures decreased to: 20 percent of CIS exports and 25.8 percent of CIS imports. h) Kyrgyzstan’s share in the commercial exchange was the least among the CIS members. i) The value of the IRI’s commercial transactions in 1993 with Turkmenistan, the Ukraine, Armenia, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan, compared to 1992, increased by $40, $33, $29, $20 and $13 million respectively. j) Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Armenia’s share of Iran’s exports to the CIS reached 37.8 percent in 1992, and 60.5 percent of CIS imports into Iran came from these countries. In 1993 exports to these countries rose to a 72 percent CIS share, whereas imports from them rose to 65.2 percent. k) Caucasian countries (Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia) received 29.3 percent of Iran’s exports to the CIS. Iran’s CIS imports from this region reached 59.2 percent in 1992. There was an increase in both sets of figures for 1993: exports rose to 48 percent, and imports to 61.4 percent. l) Only 9.8 percent of Iranian exports to the CIS went to the five Central Asian republics, and only 2.2 percent of Iran’s CIS imports came from this region. In 1993 this situation was: exports at 30.5 percent, and imports at 8.5 percent. m) On the whole, we may note that countries bordering on Iran had a greater share in Iranian commercial transactions compared to the other countries in the same region.23 Trilateral Activities With regard to point 2, we may classify as trilateral all those activities of Iran in which at least three parties enter into some form of contractual cooperation. These kinds of activities are of importance especially when there has previously been no comprehensive cooperative structure in the region for resolving difficulties and problems. The attitude of Azerbaijan vis-à-vis Iran, and the exaggerated sympathies certain circles in that republic display towards Turkey and the USA, led the IRI to the idea of creating other forms of cooperation in the region. Being in an exceptional position to develop various forms of social and economic collaboration with Armenia, and being aware that Azerbaijan has no direct

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access to Turkey, the IRI launched a trilateral meeting in Tehran together with Turkmenistan to create a new possibility for cooperation in the fields of transport and commercial activities. Having organized meetings in Tehran and Ashkhabad, all three parties agreed to convene for a third time in Erivan, the capital of Armenia. The first meeting of this kind was held in Tehran on 8 April 1995. There the three parties concerned agreed to meet in Ashkhabad from June 27 to 28 of the same year. The third meeting will be held between the end of July and the beginning of August in Armenia. The creation of banking facilities will help the contracting parties to further their transport and export activities.24 Furthermore, in a meeting in New Delhi the IRI, Turkmenistan and India have agreed to facilitate the transit of their products through each other’s countries.25 During a recent visit of the president of Tajikistan to Tehran which involved peace talks between government and opposition groups, it was agreed to set up a separate commission, with the participation of Turkmenistan, to cooperate in the fields of commerce, economics and especially the transport of oil via Turkmenistan to Tajikistan.26 The transport of Iranian gas via Pakistan to India is another kind of trilateral agreement. Although in this case two of the parties concerned are not nations bordering on Central Asia, they have continuously shown interest in being present in that region. The planned creation of a Caspian Sea Organization will be a form of collective activity involving more than three parties. The member states of this organization will include Iran, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Russia – all nations bordering on the Caspian Sea. Such an organization will facilitate activities in the fields of navigation, environmental protection and trade.27 More than two years ago the IRI raised the idea of creating an organization for cooperation between Caspian Sea countries. Subsequently there were meetings in Tehran, Moscow, and Alma-Ata, and bilateral negotiations were undertaken with the eventual members of the proposed organization. Iran’s main argument, which was supported by Moscow, was that since the only contract relating to the Caspian Sea had been made with the former Soviet Union, and this political formation was in the process of being replaced by a number of new political entities, it was therefore of immediate importance to renew that agreement and to modify it wherever necessary.28 This argument acquired special urgency when Russia publicly declared its dissatisfaction with the efforts of Azerbaijan to reach separate agreements with Western companies for exploiting the Caspian Sea oil. At the same time Moscow was trying to develop an independent juridical position to the effect that the Caspian Sea, as a closed intercontinental sea, is the property of all the bordering nations.29

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Kazakhstan joined Iran and Russia by declaring that the Caspian Sea must be a place of peace and cooperation, and that therefore it is imperative to reach an agreement on its juridical status.30 Turkmenistan’s president Saparmurat Niyazov, when visiting Tehran in June 1995, clearly stated his support for the idea of a comprehensive juridical instrument with regard to the status of the Caspian Sea.31 Azerbaijan, although acting with some restraint, has never publicly denied the necessity of establishing a juridical instrument with regard to the Caspian Sea. Mr. Aliev, the president of the republic, declared that he was ready to enter negotiations over the matter.32 ECO With regard to point 3, we may consider ECO as the oldest regional organization. Established in 1964 by Iran, Pakistan and Turkey, ECO is actually a revised form of the previous body, Regional Cooperation for Development (RCD), which at the time of its foundation had been considered as the organization for economic cooperation of the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO). In February 1992, ECO decided to expand the scope of its membership. As a result, that same year a number of CIS countries entered ECO, including Afghanistan and Kazakhstan. Now ten countries are officially members of ECO. Most of these countries are either members of other regional organizations or are trying to create, or attain membership in, separate regional organizations involving the same countries. However, membership of Central Asian states in both ECO and CIS hinders these countries from acting with complete commitment to ECO. Moreover, Russia is unwilling to allow ECO to be the most effective organization at the regional level. Turkey is not only seeking membership in the European Union, but also wishes to establish a similar organization for the Black Sea countries which would include some countries not bordering on the Black Sea. And Iran is planning to establish permanent cooperation with certain of the ECO members bordering the Caspian Sea. In such a situation it is unrealistic to expect ECO to act as an effective economic organization. As the present author has stated elsewhere: ‘I believe that ECO is only a framework for a minimum possible cooperation at the regional level.’33 In addition to the difficulties mentioned earlier, there is also constant competition between the founding members of ECO. The IRI perhaps feels more committed to the objectives of ECO than other members since Iran has no membership in a similar organization. Plans for the establishment of a shipping company are among other numerous projects, the realization of which will not be easy to achieve.

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A Model for Future Rivalry in Central Asia Rivalry in Central Asia at the present time and in the foreseeable future is inevitable. Some of the players are new to the region and therefore unfamiliar with the complexities facing them. As a result, certain forms of competition are time consuming and lead to a waste of the already limited financial resources. For the moment, instead of structured cooperation we are facing structured competition which will also be unavoidable in the near future. Moreover, present rivalries are the result of situations unrelated to the region itself. The efforts of the USA to eliminate Iran from any form of presence is an example of an unrealistic policy which damages the opportunities for a harmonized development of the region as an interrelated organism. Considering the fact that the presence of a number of foreign powers in the region is a completely new reality, we may distinguish between foreign competition and regional or internal competition. By foreign competition I mean all kinds of rivalries arising from the new presence of foreign powers. And by internal competition I mean all those rivalries from within, such as competition between the different countries of the region to extract the greatest possible benefit from any cooperation they may eventually develop with one another. It is imperative for the countries of the region, as well as those foreign countries with commercial or strategic interests in the region, to succeed in creating an atmosphere of mutual understanding among the various parties involved. The Future of Iran in Central Asia Iran’s future role in Central Asia depends on internal, as well as external factors. By internal factors I mean the political system and political values which are prevalent within the country. The present government system in Iran is not capable of presenting itself as a model for Central Asian states and the Caucasus. It is a specifically Iranian phenomenon subject to change. The limits of the present system do not allow Iran to carry out a comprehensive policy with regard to Central Asia. Because of its affective attachments to the Arab world, especially to Palestine, the IRI has been unwilling to mobilize the the sentiments of the Iranian people in favor of the Central Asian countries. Recently when the IRI experienced a shortage of various commodities, it attempted to put the blame on Central Asian tourists by accusing them of undertaking an exorbitant degree of purchases in Iran.34 Even outside government circles, Iranian intellectuals have not been concerned with Cenrtal Asia in their thought or in their publications. Now

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that socialism as a world outlook and the Third World as a field for demonstrating solidarity no longer have an attraction, Iranian intellectuals are looking increasingly towards the West. Central Asia, the Caucasus and the destiny of Iranian civilization are not the central theme or an important topic of their concern. By external factors I mean the geopolitical policies that will be pursued by the major world powers with regard to Central Asia and with regard to the role Iran is expected to play in the region. As long as Iran is involved in various forms of conflict with some of the Western powers, especially with the United States, we will observe an on-going power struggle concerning the real position of Iran in Central Asia and there will always be misunderstanding between Iran and its geographical neighbors. Such a state of affairs could well have a harmful effect on the long-term interests of the region in general and Iran in particular. Iran as a civilization has a greater chance of achieving expanded regional cooperation, than Iran as a specific form of Islamic political entity. Subsequent political development within the Central Asian states themseves is another critical factor which will undoubtedly influence the degree and level of the Iranian presence in Central Asia. Until now we have not witnessed a clear policy on the part of the Iranians to help the newly independent Central Asian states to secure their stability. Any such policy would have to involve a willingness to enter upon a radical process of change. To date, however, the pragmatic approach of Iran in the region has chiefly consisted of initiating small-scale economic projects – the one exception being in the field of energy transport, i.e. the Iran-Turkmenistan pipeline project. In the immediate future internal political developments within the Central Asian states will not only determine their relations with Iran but will play a crucial role in shaping their response to the powerful extra-regional forces as well. Notes 1 in its 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

The BBC covered this visit of the Iranian minister of foreign affairs to Moscow daily Persian-language programs. See the Persian newspaper Kayhan, 21 June 1994, p. 7. Kayhan, 9 January 1995, p. 3. Kayhan, 12 June 1995, p. 16. Kayhan, 15 July 1995, pp. 1, 14. Ettela1at, 16 July 1995, p. 3. Tehran Times, 16 April 1995, p. 1. Ibid. Ettela1at, 18 April 1995, pp. 1-2. Kayhan, 29 March 1995, p. 6.

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11 Kayhan, 22 December 1994, p. 3. 12 On the political interventions of Pakistan see: Faryad-e Ashura (an Iranian weekly newspaper), 6 July 1995, pp. 1, 6, 8; Kayhan, 28 June 1995, p. 16. 13 Kayhan, 19 March 1995; 7 June 1995, p. 2. According to estimates, Pakistan’s consumption of Iranian gas would amount to 1.6 billion cubic feet a day. 14 Ettela1at, 26 June 1995, p. 3. 15 The Economist, 17 June 1995, p. 64. 16 Ibid. p. 65. 17 H. Malik, ed., Central Asia, London, 1994, pp. 283-310. 18 See T. Pahlavan, ‘Turkish-Iranian Competition or Cooperation,’ a paper presented in 1994 at a conference organized in Washington, D.C., by the US Institute of Peace, on the subject of Turkey’s contemporary role in Central Asia. 19 See Turkish newspaper reports on US efforts to create hostilities between the two countries, which have been published in the Iranian press: Kayhan, 24 June 1995, p. 16. 20 See G.E. Fuller, The New Geopolitics of Central Asia, Santa Monica, 1992, p. 20. 21 S. Crisp, ‘Census and Sociology: Evaluating the Language Situation in Central Asia,’ in S. Akiner, ed., Cultural Change and Continuity in Central Asia, London, 1991, pp. 84-118. 22 T. Pahlavan, ‘Culture and Politics in Contemporary Iran,’ paper presented at SOAS, London, January 1995. 23 All the figures cited here have been taken from a report published by the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Tehran, 1994. 24 Ettela1at, 26 June 1995, p. 3; 28 June 1995, p. 3; Kayhan, 26 June 1995, p. 3. 25 Kayhan, 28 June 1995, p. 3. 26 Ettela1at, 22 July 1995, p. 3. 27 Ettela1at, 27 June 1995, p. 3. 28 Kayhan, 9 October 1994, p. 14. 29 Kayhan, 17 October 1995. 30 Kayhan, 2 February 1995, p. 14. 31 Ettela1at, 5 June 1995, pp. 1, 3. 32 Kayhan, 17 October 1995, p. 3; Ettelacat, 7 June 1995, p. 16. 33 On Turkey’s role in Central Asia see T. Pahlavan, ‘Turkish-Iranian Competition and Cooperation,’ paper presented at a conference in Washington, D.C., 1994 (forthcoming). 34 See Jomhuri-ye Eslami, 13 May 1995, pp. 1, 3; 28 May 1995, pp. 1, 11; 29 May 1995, p. 9; Kayhan, 30 May 1995, p. 14.

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Turkish Policy in Central Asia1 GARETH M. WINROW

Introduction The main foreign policy objective of the current Turkish government (like that of its predecessors) is to secure Turkey’s full admission to the EU. This would result in the general acknowledgement of Turkey’s European credentials. The refusal of officials in Ankara to recognize the Kurds in Turkey as a separate ethnic minority, and the human rights violations committed by the Turkish security forces in their attempts to crush the terrorist PKK, are seriously damaging the prospects of eventual Turkish admission to the EU. The Kurdish issue also has an important regional dimension. Thus, relations with neighbouring Iran, Iraq and Syria occupy a prominent position on Turkey’s foreign policy agenda. Problems with Greece in the Aegean and with Russia in the Transcaucasus also occupy much of the attention of decision-makers in Ankara. Difficulties in the relationship with Russia puts an added emphasis on the importance of ties between Turkey and the USA. Hence, in spite of cultural, ethnic, historical, linguistic and religious links between Turkey and the four Turkic states in post-Soviet Central Asia2 – i.e., Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – relations between Turkey and these newly independent states by no means constitute a foreign policy priority for many officials in Ankara. Likewise, one should not assume that all of the Turkic states (including, here, Azerbaijan) perceive Turkey as their principal contact with the outside world. On the other hand, one should not underestimate the significance of ties between Turkey and these states. Many in Turkey had apparently hoped and believed that an active role in post-Soviet Central Asia would boost Turkey’s international image and would enhance the prospects of Turkey’s admission to the EU. This has yet to be realized, although the US administration is particularly appreciative of Turkish involvement in Central Asia believing that this has limited Iran’s role in the region. Turkish officials are stressing the importance of Turkey as an intermediary between the West (the EU and the USA) and Central Asia. The increasing rise of extreme nationalist sentiment in some quarters 91

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in Turkey, which is in part the product of the Kurdish problem and the Western reaction to Turkey’s handling of the problem, will mean that officials in Ankara and other groups in Turkey will continue to stress the importance of ethnic bonds of solidarity with the Turkic states. Moreover, tensions between Turkey and Russia in the Transcaucasus are bound to have a spin-off effect on relations between the two in Central Asia, bearing in mind Moscow’s concern for the fate of the nine million or so Russians still living in post-Soviet Central Asia. The Transcaucasus–Central Asia Connection Clearly, decision-makers in Ankara are confronted with specific problems in the Transcaucasus which are particular to that region. Fierce fighting in Nagorno–Karabakh, which at times threatened to spillover into the Azerbaijani enclave of Nakhchevan, almost led to direct Turkish military intervention. Turkish officials have vehemently opposed Russian moves to break the CFE limits on armoured vehicles and tanks in the northern Caucasus. They have also objected to Russian peacekeeping operations in Georgia, and criticized Moscow’s moves to re-secure access to all former Soviet military bases in the Transcaucasus. Unlike Central Asia, the Transcaucasus is an area of vital security interest to Turkey. However, the Transcaucasus is also strategically important for Turkey because it offers a direct access route – via the Caspian Sea – to Central Asia avoiding Russia and Iran. Stability in the Transcaucasus and improved relations with Armenia, would facilitate contacts between Turkey and postSoviet Central Asia. Bearing in mind ideological differences between secular Turkey and the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also taking into account Iran’s own interests in Central Asia, Turkish officials are unwilling to remain dependent on land access to the region through Iranian territory. In the first six months of 1994 evidently some 3,000 Turkish trucks used the road through Iran to Central Asia to transport commodities worth TL (Turkish Lira) 300 billion (at the time $1 = c. 30,000 TL).3 In spite of agreements concluded between Ankara and Tehran this land route is often blocked. The official opening of the Türkgözü border gate on the Turkish–Georgian frontier in August 1995 is likely to improve Turkey’s access to Central Asia avoiding Iran. The Transcaucasus–Central Asia connection is also assuming more importance for Turkey because of the increasing possibility that oil and gas from Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan could be transported to Turkey and then to Western Europe and beyond after the building of new pipelines across the Transcaucasus. The Turkish economy would benefit from the royalty fees and transportation costs. Some of the piped oil and

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gas would likely be used by the Turkish consumer (the importance of this is discussed later). The construction of new pipelines across the Transcaucasus would make Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan especially less dependent on Russia economically and politically. At present, the only pipeline routes from former Soviet Central Asia pass through Russia. It appears that many officials in Moscow are opposed to the construction of alternative pipelines presumably because this would reduce Russian leverage over the Central Asians. Currently three major export lines deliver oil from Kazakhstan to Russia. One of these lines from the Tengiz oilfield runs around the Caspian Sea to the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiisk via Grozny. Some Kazakh crude oil is able to be shipped to Baku across the Caspian Sea. As Turkmenistan’s only major oil pipeline is used to receive Russian oil, for export purposes Turkmenistan is also currently dependent on shipping oil across the Caspian. The Caspian Pipeline Consortium – the members of which are Russia, Oman, Kazakhstan and the US oil company Chevron – is constructing a new oil pipeline from Tengiz to Novorossiisk which would bypass the unstable region around Grozny.4 Officials in Ankara are very much interested in piping some of the future oil exports of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan across Turkish territory. There are plans to connect a Kazakh and Turkmen oil pipeline with a possible new pipeline linking Baku with the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan. There has been much discussion concerning the construction of a Baku– Ceyhan link after the agreement concluded in September 1994 between the Azerbaijani government and an international oil consortium (including the Turkish Petroleum Corporation with an eventual 6.75 percent stake) to explore and develop three offshore oilfields in the Caspian. New Kazakh and Turkmen oil pipelines could be laid under the Caspian Sea to be connected with the Baku–Ceyhan link at Baku or at another point on the link. The Baku–Ceyhan link could pass through Georgia, or cross Armenia and Nakhichevan or Iran and Nakhichevan before entering Turkey. Turkish officials are exploring the possibility of transporting 25 million tons of oil per annum from Azerbaijan and another 20 million tons from Kazakhstan along these projected routes. Some Kazakh oil may indeed be transported across Turkey in the future. The Caspian Pipeline Consortium has run into difficulties because of a dispute with Chevron over financing and share ownership. This has led the US administration to back publicly a pipeline route through Turkey as an additional route to the Tengiz–Novorossiisk option. Russian officials are likely to object to the construction of an oil pipeline under the Caspian Sea connecting Kazakhstan and the Transcaucasus. In mid-July 1995 there were reports that the Russian Foreign Ministry in diplomatic notes sent to

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Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan had threatened the safety of all Caspian Sea related natural resource projects launched without its consent.5 Sensitive to Russian concerns the Kazakhs are proceeding cautiously. Visiting Almaty in August 1995 Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Çiller was disappointed when she failed to secure definite commitments from President Nursultan Nazarbaev with regard to the construction of a Kazakhstan– Ceyhan oil pipeline. Instead, it was agreed to establish a consortium open to all interested states (ie., including Russia) which would consider the Ceyhan option and other possible routes.6 Before Turkey may transport and possibly consume Kazakh oil, agreement will have to be reached on the route of a future Baku–Ceyhan pipeline. The American members of the international oil consortium will not be able to approve of a route through Iran. A line through Georgia could be sabotaged given the continued instability in that country. The Armenian option is only possible if the Nagorno–Karabakh dispute is successfully resolved. Moscow is also lobbying for a possible Baku– Novorossiisk link, which would require the rebuilding and upgrading of an earlier constructed pipeline. In October 1995 the Azerbaijani government and the international oil consortium agreed that ‘early oil’ extracted from the three offshore oilfields in the Caspian would be transported via the ‘Russian route’ (Baku–Novorossiisk) and also the ‘Western route’ (Baku– Soupsa, near Batum in Georgia). Oil from the Western route could then be shipped to Turkey where it could be refined and then consumed. This arrangement appears to increase the possibility that the eventual main pipeline for oil from Azerbaijan (and possibly from Kazakhstan) will run from Baku to Ceyhan along a path still to be determined. At present, Turkmenistan’s only gas pipeline for export to the West passes through Russian territory. In 1993 Moscow blocked Turkmen gas deliveries to Europe over a dispute on quota and tariff schedules. Eager to loosen their dependence on Moscow, Turkmen officials have concluded an agreement to transport Turkmen gas to Central Europe via Iran and Turkey. Surprisingly, Russian officials have not opposed this deal. Indeed, Russia is even represented on the steering committee which is working to realize this project. Perhaps, Moscow may be reasoning that the pipeline will never be built because of the high costs ($7 billion) and the possible difficulties of securing Western financial backing because of Iranian involvement. However, in a report released on 7 July 1995, the Turkish State Pipeline Company, BOTAÍ, proposed the construction of a Turkmen natural gas pipeline to Europe along a route beneath the Caspian Sea and via the Transcaucasus and Turkey, thereby bypassing Iran.7 In August 1995 in Ashkhabad Prime Minister Çiller held talks with Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov on the future of the natural gas

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project. Turkish officials were evidently concerned that a proposed Turkmen–Iranian agreement to construct a natural gas pipeline to northern Iran could divert much of the Turkmen gas that could otherwise be delivered to and exported via Turkey. Indeed, one month after Çiller’s visit, an Iranian–Turkmen deal along these lines was concluded. Niyazov had informed Çiller that the construction of a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Central Europe was no longer a priority, although in the near term he was prepared to allow the transport of Turkmen gas to Turkey via the upgrading of an existing pipeline running across Russia and Georgia.8 Çiller’s plans to convene in autumn 1995 a summit meeting in Turkey with the leaders of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Georgia and Azerbaijan to discuss the possibility of constructing an Uzbekistan–Turkmenistan–Georgia– Turkey gas pipeline have not materialized. In talks in Tashkent in July 1995 Çiller and Uzbek President Islam Karimov had referred to the possibility of constructing such a gas pipeline.9 Turkish Involvement in Central Asia: An Overview10 Turkish officials had showed little interest in the fate of the Turkic peoples in Soviet Central Asia until the final months before the disintegration of the Soviet Union. The Turkish government was hence taken by surprise when the Soviet Union rapidly unravelled and the Turkic peoples there had independence literally thrust upon them. This lack of interest in developments in Soviet Central Asia is explained in part by the fact that unlike parts of the Transcaucasus, Central Asia had never been part of the Ottoman Empire. Turkic tribes had originated from Central Asia and a number of these had migrated westwards in the Dark Age period. However, contacts between the Anatolian Turks and the Turkic peoples remaining in the region were cut in the mid-sixteenth century by the advance of Muscovy. By the late nineteenth century some leading officials in the Ottoman Empire were attracted to the idea of Pan-Turkism. Many of the original Pan-Turkic thinkers were Crimean Turks who had recently fled to the Ottoman Empire to escape Russian persecution. Pan-Turkism has as its goal the establishment of some form of union of Turkic peoples. This could entail a political union or empire, or could take the shape of a looser cultural association or Commonwealth. The original Pan-Turkic dream was effectively quashed with the death of Enver Pasha in 1922 who fell fighting with Basmachi rebels who were struggling to resist the imposition of Communist rule in Central Asia. In the following decades only fringe radical extremist groups in Turkey remained attracted to Pan-Turkism as Mustapha Kemal ‘Atatürk’ focused his attention on consolidating the Republic of Turkey based on a new

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Turkish nationalism. However, in his nation-building and state-building programmes Atatürk made use of the myths – based in part on reality – of the origins of the Anatolian Turks from Central Asia. The historians of the Atatürk era would embellish these myths with such notions that Central Asia was the cradle of Turkish civilisation and hence, reputedly, of all civilisations. Given the importance attached to these myths, it was perhaps surprising that Turkish officials paid so little attention to developments in Communist Central Asia. Turkey was the first state to recognize the independence of the Soviet Central Asian Turkic republics and the first to open embassies there. At the time there was a great euphoria in Turkey. This was whipped up by Turkish officials and the media. Western governments were also eager to promote the relevance for the Central Asians of the ‘Turkish model’ of a secular, democratic state based on a free market economy, in order to pre-empt the expansion of Iranian influence in Central Asia. The leaders of the newly independent Turkic states also played their part in stressing the importance of establishing ties with Turkey. For example, Karimov, visiting Ankara in December 1991 at the time Turkey announced the official recognition of Uzbek independence, declared that he looked up to Turkey as an elder brother (a©abey). Karimov noted that Uzbekistan and the other newly independent Central Asian states had much to learn from Turkey and added that Uzbekistan urgently needed economic, political and cultural assistance from Turkey.11 At the time the Central Asians, lacking experience in international politics and unsure of their future, were immensely grateful for Turkish offers of political and economic support. Stressing common ethnic links also helped the newly independent Turkic states in their search for identity. However, in the euphoria, Turkish officials somewhat recklessly pledged to extend generous aid to the Central Asians. In reality, given the limitations of the Turkish economy, these promises could not be fulfilled.12 Nevertheless, in the immediate aftermath of independence the Turkish Foreign Minister Hikmet Çetin toured Central Asia in February–March 1992 (including, interestingly, a visit to Farsi-speaking and largely non-Turkic Tajikistan), and the then Prime Minister Süleyman Demirel was welcomed in the region in April–May 1992. This initial euphoria was shattered with the ‘failure’ of the first Turkic Summit held in Ankara in October 1992 – attended by the leaders of Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. In his opening remarks, the Turkish President Turgut Özal had announced that the twenty-first century would be the century of the Turks. He declared that a Turkic Common Market and a Turkic Development and Investment Bank should be established, and requested firm pledges from

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Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to construct oil and gas pipelines from their territories to Europe via Turkey. However, the Summit only concluded with the vaguely worded Ankara Declaration which was short on detail and specific commitments. The Declaration talked about the possibility of cooperation in various fields, announced the formation of working groups to study various projects, and spoke of the need to convene regularly Turkic Summits in the future. It seems that by this time the Central Asian leaders, more sure of themselves having secured general international recognition and membership in various international organisations, and by now aware of the relatively limited financial and technical support Turkey could offer, wished to maintain their freedom of manoeuvre and cultivate ties with other states interested in the region such as Iran. The Central Asians were also not prepared to antagonize Russia by committing themselves fully to exclusively Turkic bodies or formations. In contrast, the much better planned second Turkic Summit which assembled in Istanbul in October 1994 was a relative ‘success’. The leaders praised what had become the regular meetings of ministers of culture and education, decided to hold similar gatherings of their foreign ministers, and referred to the need to encourage interparliamentary cooperation. Unlike the first Turkic Summit, specific reference was also made to the Nagorno– Karabakh dispute, with the leaders demanding that the Armenians should abide by all UN Security Council resolutions and hence withdraw from all territory occupied in Azerbaijan. It seems, though, that Nazarbaev was not prepared to upset Yerevan and Moscow by branding Armenia an aggressor. The leaders also declared that new oil and gas pipelines should be constructed using the most economic and shortest route, and in this light they valued the work being done on the possibility of building lines to Europe and the Mediterranean via Turkey. The third Turkic Summit held in Bishkek in August 1995 also made similar references to the Nagorno–Karabakh dispute. The delegates appeared particularly careful not to antagonize Russia. Thus, in the Bishkek Declaration, the leaders pledged to boost bilateral and multilateral economic ties ‘without prejudice to their international obligations’ (i.e. CIS obligations).13 Oil and natural gas joint projects should be developed ‘with all interested countries’ (i.e. including possibly Russia). The participants expressed their satisfaction at the initiation of parliamentary cooperation between their countries and underlined the importance of regular consultative meetings between foreign ministers or their plenipotentaries. The Declaration also expressed support for the efforts undertaken by Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Uzbekistan to set in motion and expand ‘integration processes’ in the region. In order to help finance joint projects and coordinate payments transactions these three Central Asian states one month earlier had launched

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the operation of the Central Asian Bank for Economic Cooperation and Development. The Bishkek Turkic Summit thus openly recognized and praised Central Asian initiatives to which Turkey was not a party. Since late 1991 there has been heavy diplomatic traffic between Turkey and the newly independent Turkic states of Central Asia. Turkish businessmen are actively involved in the region investing in various construction projects. Even with the constraints of the Turkish economy, the government in Ankara has still encouraged the allocation of credits to the Central Asians via the Turkish Eximbank to boost trade turnover and support construction work. Humanitarian aid has also been granted. Turkish officials have attempted to circumvent the problem of access to the region by developing telecommunications links and establishing airline connections. There is much cooperation in the cultural and educational fields. Turkish cultural centres and schools have been established in Central Asia and there are plans to open up universities in Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Turkmenistan. Since the 1992/93 academic year students from the Central Asian Turkic states have been attending schools and universities in Turkey. In the 1994/ 95 academic year forty places in Turkish educational establishments were reserved for the first time for Tajik students. The Turkish television channel Avrasya is beamed to Central Asian homes with programmes broadcast in Anatolian Turkish with Turkish language subtitles.14 Diplomats, police officers, security personnel, military cadets and religious officials from the region have all received training in Turkey. Turkish ‘Policies’ in Central Asia No state is a monolithic entity. Foreign policy decision-making to say nothing of its implementation is not left in the hands of one individual. In the making of the foreign policy of a relatively democratic state, inputs are bound to come from various government ministries, opposition political parties, interest groups, business lobbies and other agencies, and public opinion. This may at times lead to contradictory policies and inconsistent behaviour by a particular state. However, overall, an outside observer is usually still able to perceive the general thrust of the foreign policy of a state toward another state or group of states. Ultimately, it is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in close coordination with top executive officials which formulates guidelines and is in control of the day-to-day management of foreign policy. Thus, one is able to maintain that there is ‘a’ Turkish policy in Central Asia as the title of this paper suggests. However, there are indications that other groups, agencies and individuals are having an increasing influence on Turkish policy in Central Asia. The activities of these groups etc. may run counter to the official line of the Turkish Ministry

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of Foreign Affairs (MFA). This could even complicate Turkey’s relations with other states interested in Central Asia. Arguably, different ‘Turkish policies’ toward Central Asia are emerging. It is too early to assess how influential these other policies might turn out to be. With reference to Turkish policy in Central Asia, the official line of the Turkish MFA remains predominant. However, the staff in the Ministry have had to acquire rapidly an expertise in a region which has been traditionally overlooked and disregarded by Turkish officials. A number of administrative arrangements have had to be made within the Ministry to accommodate for developments in post-Soviet Central Asia. This includes the appointment in 1995 of a minister of state responsible for the Turkic states. The Turkish MFA is eager to promote peace, stability and democracy in Central Asia.15 It is willing to work together with other states with interests in the region to fulfill these objectives. Economic ties are encouraged. According to the Ministry, Turkey aims to facilitate the integration of the Central Asian Turkic states with the rest of the world by sponsoring and assisting them in their applications to join various international bodies. If necessary, Turkey will inform Western states of the specific problems the Central Asians might be encountering. The Turkish MFA also intends to institutionalize further ties between Turkey and the newly independent Turkic states. This is meant to be an evolutionary process. The Turkic Summits are to be used as fora where problems of common concern may be addressed. The aim is not to establish a Turkic Union or a Turkic Commonwealth. A gradual institutionalization of ties is apparent when comparing the results of the first Turkic Summit with the following two summits. It appears that the Turkish MFA is attempting to stress the supposed political and economic relevance of the Turkish model for the Central Asians. However, the shortcomings of Turkish democracy and the weaknesses of the Turkish economy are wellknown. Turkish officials should be exceedingly careful not to come across as condescending when offering advice to their Central Asian counterparts. The approach of Turkish businessmen toward the region would appear to complement the official line of the Turkish MFA. Peace and stability provide favourable conditions for further investment and the expansion of trade. Turkish entrepreneurs are probably less concerned about democratization in Central Asia. Sound commercial relationships may be developed with stable authoritarian regimes which are embarking on the path of economic reform. The commitment of the Turkish MFA to the principle of democracy should also at least be questioned given Turkey’s swift abandonment of the Elchibay regime in the summer of 1993 when the democratically elected President of Azerbaijan was overthrown in what at first was a coup by a bunch of renegade military officers.16

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Certain governmental officials, ministries, political parties, interest groups and academics in Turkey do have definite Pan-Turkic sympathies. They are attempting to influence Turkish policy in Central Asia. Their aims and objectives do not appear to correspond with the official line of the Turkish MFA. They seem to be in favour of the formation of what would amount to a Turkic cultural union or Commonwealth. Even the then Prime Minister Demirel when touring the region in the spring of 1992 referred to the prospects of forming an ‘association of independent Turkic states’.17 The prominent Pan-Turkist Alparslan Türkeß, the leader of the Nationalist Action Party, whom Demirel had surprisingly included in his entourage to visit Central Asia, has spoken of the need to establish a Turkic Commonwealth or Association which would have a High Council of Turkic Republics of Presidents, Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers that would meet several times a year under a rotating presidency.18 Türkeß has become an increasingly influential figure in Turkish politics in recent years. The Çiller government has come to rely on his party’s support to avoid being outflanked by the rising nationalist–Islamicist opposition in Turkey embodied in the Refah Party. Türkeß played a leading role in convening the first, second and third General Assemblies of the Turkic States and Turkic Peoples’ Friendship and Cooperation Group which assembled in Antalya in March 1993, in Izmir in October 1994, and in Çeßme in October 1995. Although the Turkish MFA did not organize these consultative meetings, various sessions were nevertheless attended and addressed by Presidents Özal and Demirel and Prime Minister Çiller. The General Assemblies aim to develop cooperation in the fields of science, technology, education and culture. Most significantly, delegates to the General Assemblies expressed their interest in realizing the proposal of Türkeß to establish a High Council of Turkic Republics. It should be noted that participants in the General Assemblies were not only from the newly independent Turkic states but also included Turkic peoples living in various Russian republics such as Tatarstan, Bashkortostan and Yakutia. In particular the Izmir meeting, held immediately after the convening of the second Turkic Summit in Istanbul, alarmed Russian officials. The Turkish MFA is probably concerned that Moscow may not be able to differentiate clearly between the Turkic Summits and the basically Pan-Turkic General Assemblies. This could result in Russia, fearful of PanTurkism, pressurizing Central Asian leaders not to attend future Turkic Summits. Officials in Ankara were probably thus relieved that the third General Assembly was convened several weeks after the Bishkek Summit and that the Assembly met in Turkey and not in the Kyrgyz Republic. The Turkish Ministries of Education and Culture appear to share the Pan-Turkic sympathies of Türkeß and his supporters. Aiming to strengthen

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ties with the Turkic states, these ministries seem to be aspiring to place Turkey at the centre of what they perceive to be an emerging Turkic world or commonwealth. Since December 1992 the Turkish Education Ministry has been heading a project with representatives from Azerbaijan and the Central Asian Turkic states to prepare standard history textbooks to be introduced in schools in Turkey and throughout the region in the 1995– 1996 academic year. Standard literary textbooks will evidently later follow.19 In July 1995 Turkish Education Minister Nevzat Azay, on the occasion of the donation of 425,000 books to Azerbaijan, spoke of the importance of developing common history and literature textbooks, declaring: ‘We must protect the values we share through our history.’20 In reality, to what extent do these states share common values bearing in mind their different histories over the last several centuries? Also, one wonders to what extent the ‘Turkish line’ on history will prevail over different historical interpretations offered by Central Asian historians.21 However, one should bear in mind that there are already a number of Turkish schools which have been established in Central Asia and Turkish teachers are working there. Teaching staff from the area have been trained in Turkey. There are also plans to launch an Open University programme for the region to be organized and broadcast from Turkey. It appears that the Turkish Ministry of Culture is leading the work of the Turkic Cultures and Arts Joint Administration (TÜRKSOY). The members of TÜRKSOY in addition to Turkey are Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Turkmenistan, Tatarstan and Bashkortostan – note, the inclusion of the two Russian republics and the omission of Uzbekistan. Agencies in Turkey such as the Research Foundation of the Turkish World, the Turkish Cultural Research Association, and the Turkish International Cooperation Agency (TICA) are supporting the activities of the Turkish Ministries of Education and Culture. In addition to its technical and training programmes, TICA has helped to organize and sponsor ‘Turkic meetings’/‘Turkish-speaking meetings’ of youth leaders, university rectors, news agencies, etc. One may argue that there is a long term strategy here to foster ties with the Turkic states and peoples in order to create in effect a Turkic Commonwealth. As noted earlier, this is not the official line of the Turkish MFA. The inclusion of the Turkic peoples of the Russian Federation in this ‘emerging Turkic world’ is bound to alarm officials in Moscow. It is exceedingly unlikely that an actual Turkic Commonwealth will indeed emerge in practice. As recently as 1989 and 1990 there was intra-Turkic violence in the Ferghana Valley among the Meskhetian Turks and the Uzbeks and in Osh between the Kyrgyz and the Uzbeks. The proceedings and results of the three Turkic Summits clearly indicate that the current

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Central Asian leaders do not want to bind themselves exclusively to Turkey. Pan-Turkic political parties in the region such as Azat and Alash in Kazakhstan, Asaba in the Kyrgyz Republic, and the Turkestan People’s Movement in Uzbekistan are small, insignificant groupings, some of which are banned. Parties such as the illegal Alash also combine Pan-Turkic with radical Islamic views.22 Finally, another developing and separate ‘Turkish policy’ in Central Asia stems from the activities of unofficial Islamic Sufi orders (tariqats) based in Turkey which are now openly operating in post-Soviet Central Asia. The leader of the semi-illegal Nurcu sect in Turkey, Fethullah Gülen, who has close links with the Naqshbandiyya order, has been the subject of much publicity in Turkey in recent months. Gülen has personally established 150 religious schools in Central Asia and the Transcaucasus. Even former Turkish Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit, a stalwart of secularism, has praised the operation of these schools because in his opinion they would diminish the influence of Saudi Arabia and Iran in the region.23 It would appear that at present the low-scale activities of unofficial Turkish Islamic groups in Central Asia does not pose a problem for the Turkish MFA. Gülen is not under the control of the religious Refah party in Turkey. Of course, if Refah were to govern Turkey single-handedly, the official line of the Turkish MFA would most probably be subject to considerable revision. In those circumstances, officials in Ankara would abandon their intentions of joining the EU and would focus more of their attention on the Middle East and Central Asia. How Important is Turkish Involvement in Central Asia? As noted earlier in this paper, although relations with post-Soviet Central Asia are important, they by no means constitute a priority in Turkish foreign policy, at least with regard to officials in the Turkish MFA. Nevertheless, in economic terms, the extent of Turkish involvement in post-Soviet Central Asia and its importance for the Central Asians should not be downplayed. By the end of 1994 the Turkish government had allocated over $78 million of humanitarian aid to the five Central Asian states. Of the $666 million of credits the Turkish Eximbank had offered to these states, around $500 million had been opened. Of course, these figure scarcely match the size of loans and credits able to be offered by the Western states, Japan and the large international financial institutions. Turkey is after all a developing country itself which has been suffering from a serious economic crisis since the start of 1994. Figures may thus be deceiving. For example, according to the recent statistics of the UN Economic Commission for Europe, of the total foreign investment commitments in Eastern Europe and the former

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Soviet Union in the last few years, the USA had committed $67 billion, followed by Turkey with a commitment of $15.2 billion. In reality, commitments are not always fulfilled. Thus, the near term investment by Turkey in these states at the end of 1994 only totalled $24.5 million.24 Compared to the total amount of trade turnover, Turkish trade with the five post-Soviet Central Asian states is quite insubstantial. Turkish exports to the region in 1992, 1993 and between January–September 1994 (provisional figures for 1994) amounted to $83.9 million, $387.1 million and $310.8 million. These figures were 0.6, 2.5 and 2.5 percent of total Turkish exports in these periods. The corresponding figures for Turkish imports from the region and its percentage of overall Turkish imports were $61.9 million (0.3 percent), $162.8 million (0.6 percent) and $133.4 million (0.8 percent).25 It appears that some Turkish companies, rather than trading, prefer to be involved in small to medium scale construction projects in Central Asia building hotels and textile and cement factories inter alia. These low figures are also in part due to problems in distribution channels, banking services, and the difficulty in transporting goods. Most importantly, the Central Asians lack the hard currency to buy Turkish products. They are dependent on either barter or trade credits. The newly independent Central Asian states are still greatly dependent on trade with Russia and other former Soviet republics. However, Turkey appears to be a reasonably important source of goods for the four Turkic Central Asian states. According to figures for 1993, excluding imports from the former Soviet Union, imports from Turkey amounted to 22.5, 19, 16.7 and 16 percent of imports made by Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and the Kyrgyz Republic respectively. Whereas in 1993, only 5.8, 4.5, 3.5 and 3.4 percent of exports (excluding exports to the former Soviet republics) from Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Kazakhstan respectively were destined for Turkey. The corresponding figures for Tajikistan were appreciably lower.26 Currently, Turkey is mainly importing agricultural raw materials and food from Central Asia. Some iron, steel and non-ferrous metals from Kazakhstan are also imported. These products could easily be obtained from alternative sources. Trade turnover between Turkey and Central Asia could expand considerably if new oil and gas pipelines could be constructed across the Transcaucasus and through Turkey. Turkish consumers could make use of Kazakh and Turkmen oil and Turkmen and Uzbek gas. The hard currency the Central Asians could generate through exports of oil and gas could be used to purchase more goods from Turkey and elsewhere. In 1994 Turkey needed to import 22 million tons of oil. According to BOTAÍ estimates, by 2010 Turkey would have to import 40 million tons.27 At present, much of Turkey’s oil is transported from Russia. Iran is another

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important supplier. Tehran will export 5 million tons of oil to Turkey in 1995. Officials in Ankara are looking for alternative suppliers. In the long term therefore, Turkish consumers could make use of oil from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and even Turkmenistan if new pipelines were constructed across Turkey. Not all Central Asian oil would need to be shipped to other countries via Ceyhan. As in the case of oil, Turkey is also not a major gas producer. Turkey currently imports six billion cubic metres of gas per annum from Russia and two billion cubic metres of liquified natural gas (LNG) from Algeria. Small amounts of LNG from Australia are also imported. Again according to BOTAÍ figures, by 2000 Turkey will need to import 20 billion cubic metres of gas annually and Turkish consumption will continue to rise thereafter. There are plans to import up to 10.5 billion cubic metres of gas each year from Russia, and negotiations are ongoing with Qatar and Nigeria for supplies of LNG. In May 1995 an agreement in principle was struck between Ankara and Tehran whereby Turkey will receive gas from Iran over the next 23 years. The intention is to transfer annually at least two billion cubic metres of Iranian natural gas to Turkey. Turkish officials are probably not keen to become too dependent on Russia and Iran for their energy supplies given that relations with these two states are not entirely smooth. Hence, Turkmenistan could be another important source of gas for the Turkish market. As early as 1 May 1992 Turkey and Turkmenistan had agreed to transport gas by a pipeline from Turkmenistan to Central Europe via Turkey. In October 1994 the heads of state of Turkey, Pakistan, Iran and Turkmenistan attended the symbolic inaugural opening of this projected gas pipeline. At the same time, a deal was also concluded whereby Turkmenistan agreed to deliver to Turkey two billion cubic metres of gas in 1998 rising to 15 billion by 2010.28 But, as discussed earlier, first a gas pipeline to Turkey, and then possibly on to Central Europe needs to be built. Although Turkey is playing an important role in post-Soviet Central Asia, other states clearly are also actively involved in the region. Is there a new Great Game for influence as it were between Turkey, Russia, Iran and China? If so, this is not a zero-sum game. For instance, cooperation between Turkey, Iran and even Russia concerning the construction of gas pipelines has been previously noted. All states interested in the region are eager to promote stability there. This would facilitate the development of further economic ties, and thereby in the long term help to strengthen the Central Asian economies. Poverty often leads to social and political discontent. Certainly, Russia, with around nine million Russians still living in Central Asia, and Turkey and China are opposed to the spread of Islamic radicalism in the region from Afghanistan and parts of Tajikistan. Hoping to realize

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the construction of a whole network of oil and gas pipelines from Central Asia to the Persian Gulf, even the Iranian government is counselling moderation and is not at least openly backing the extremist Islamic elements in the region. In an interview in May 1995 the then Undersecretary in the Turkish MFA, Özdem Sanberk, noted: ‘Instability in the Russian Federation means instability for Turkey as well. A chaotic Russia cannot be in Turkey’s interests’.29 Moscow’s concern that Turkey may be helping to stoke up PanTurkic feelings not only in post-Soviet Central Asia but also within the Russian Federation has been noted earlier. One particular fear here is that Turkey could encourage the Turkic peoples in Tatarstan and Bashkortostan to attempt to divide Russia by seeking to link up their republics with the newly independent Turkic states of Central Asia.30 However, fearful of the forces of Islamic radicalism, the current Central Asian leaders wish to remain under Russia’s security umbrella. It is only in recent months that the Uzbek leadership, in an effort possibly to curry more favour with the West (but not specifically with Turkey), has resisted Moscow’s attempts to deploy Russian troops on Uzbekistan’s borders. Conclusion It appears that in the future Turkish involvement in Central Asia will be increasingly focused on developing further relations with Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan specifically because of the political and economic importance of these states. The Kyrgyz Republic will not be completely overlooked though. Prime Minister Çiller included Bishkek on her Central Asian tour in August 1995. Recently, agreements have been concluded to allow Turkey to develop a number of oil and gas fields in Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan’s considerable energy reserves are clearly attracting Turkish officials. In June 1995 Nazarbaev requested from President Demirel a $100 million loan to be used on several agricultural projects. Nazarbaev promised to pay back the loan with agricultural products.31 Two months later Çiller arrived in Almaty and announced that Turkey was ready to open a $300 million credit.32 Relations between Turkey and Uzbekistan are likely to improve following Çiller’s successful visit to Tashkent in summer 1995. Turkey has promised to grant Uzbekistan a $100 million loan. Previously, the activities in Turkey of the Uzbek dissident Muhammed Salih, the leader of the banned Erk party, had caused friction in Turkish–Uzbek relations. The Uzbek ambassador had been recalled and many Uzbek students who had attended Turkish schools and universities were not allowed to return to Turkey to continue their studies. Apparently, Salih had been attempting to recruit

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Uzbek students studying in Turkey.33 However, Salih is no longer in Turkey after having been granted asylum in Germany. Karimov, though, has still not apparently renounced his ambition for Uzbekistan to form a new ‘Turkestan’ in Central Asia which would exclude Turkey. In an address to the Uzbek parliament on 5 May 1995 Karimov again appealed for the formation of a ‘Turkestan’ with the other newly independent Central Asian states (presumably under Uzbek leadership), in order to secure their independence and contain ‘outside threats’.34 Turkish officials are also interested in cultivating ties with non-Turkic Tajikistan. In September 1995 President Demirel visited Dushanbe where he spoke of the need to develop a stable and peaceful ‘Eurasia’. Tajik President Imamali Rakhmanov urged Demirel to use his influence to bring about peace in Afghanistan. The Turkish President’s trip to Tajikistan immediately followed by an official visit to Mongolia led the Turkish press to speculate wildly that Turkey was interested in the formation of a ‘Eurasian’ as opposed to a ‘Turkic Union’.35 Barring a dramatic change in government, Turkish official policy toward post-Soviet Central Asia is not likely to change in the foreseeable future. The ultimate goal of the Turkish MFA and of the business community in general in Turkey remains membership of the EU. However, the Pan-Turkic hopes and aspirations of various groups and agencies in Turkey will not disappear. Indeed, Pan-Turkic sympathies would perhaps take a firmer hold if the situation in the Balkans continues to deteriorate and if the Kurdish problem in Turkey degenerates into a bloodbath. Under these circumstances, the rise of exclusive ethnic nationalism and xenophobia, and the possible further strengthening of the much-talked of nationalist–Islamic synthesis in Turkey, could eventually lead to an increase in support for Pan-Turkism. Continued exclusion from the EU could also play into the hands of the Pan-Turkic and Pan-Islamic lobbies. Notes 1 An earlier version of this paper was presented at the European Seminar on Central Asian Studies, Copenhagen, Denmark, August 1995. 2 This paper focuses on Turkey’s relations with post-Soviet Central Asia. The author is of course aware that the term Central Asia may also apply to other states in the region such as Afghanistan, Mongolia, Iran, Pakistan and parts of China. The close contacts Turkish officials enjoy with the Uzbek warlord General Dostum, who remains in control of a large part of northern Afghanistan, should thus be borne in mind. However, it would be somewhat of an exaggeration to talk for instance of a straight Turkish (Uzbek)– Iranian (Tajik) competition for influence in Afghanistan given the highly complex and fragmented nature of Afghan politics. 3 Sabah (in Turkish), 2 July 1995.

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4 J.P. Dorian, I. Sheffield Rosi and S. Hartono Indriyanto, ‘Central Asia’s Oil and Gas Pipeline Network: Current and Future Flows,’ East–West Center Working Papers, Energy and Minerals Series 9, November 1994, pp. 10–15. 5 Turkish Daily News (TDN), 17 July 1995. 6 Yeni Yüzyil (in Turkish), 16 August 1995. 7 TDN, 8 July 1995. 8 Hürriyet (in Turkish), 19 August 1995. 9 TDN and Hürriyet, 11 July 1995. 10 For a more detailed overview of Turkey’s involvement in post-Soviet Central Asia, see G.M. Winrow, Turkey in Post-Soviet Central Asia, The Royal Institute of International Affairs, Former Soviet South Project no. 1, London, 1995. 11 Cumhuriyet (in Turkish), 20 December 1991. 12 For the argument that US officials were also in part to blame here by encouraging the Turks to believe that they would work together with Turkey to provide considerable financial assistance to the Central Asians, see S. Sayari, ‘Turkey, the Caucasus and Central Asia,’ in A. Banuazizi and M. Weiner, eds., The New Geopolitics of Central Asia and its Borderlands, Bloomington and Indianopolis, 1994, pp. 182–3. 13 The text of the Bishkek Declaration was obtained by the author from the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 14 However, according to recent statistics, in Almaty very few Kazakhs actually watch Avrasya. See M. Haney, ‘Media Use and Ethnicity in Almaty,’ Central Asian Monitor 2 (1995), p. 16. According to various reports the programmes are boring and difficult to follow because Turkish, although closely related to Kazakh, Uzbek, etc., is still a separate language. 15 Information in this and the following paragraph was obtained from an interview with a prominent official in the Turkish MFA, Ankara, December 1994. 16 For further details see G.M. Winrow, ‘Turkish Relations with the Newly Independent Republics of the Caucasus,’ The Oxford International Review 5, no. 1 (Winter 1993), pp. 45–8. 17 TDN, 4 May 1992. 18 TDN, 11 June 1992. 19 Cumhuriyet, 13 December 1994. 20 TDN, 15 July 1995. 21 For an analysis of differing views Central Asian historians have of their histories, see B. Ersanlı Behar, ‘Ba©ımsızlık kimli©i: yeni Türk cumhuriyetlerinde kultürel/siyasal dönüßüm,’ Türkiye Günlü©ü 31 (November/December 1994), pp. 108–9. 22 For an overview of Pan-Turkic parties and other political groups in Turkic Central Asia, see N. ncio©lu, ‘Yeni Türk cumhuriyetlerinde toplumsal bölünmeler siyasi güçler ve yeni siyasal yapılanma,’ in B. Ersanlı Behar et al., eds., Ba©ımsızlı©ın ilk yılları: Azerbaycan, Kazakistan, Kirgizistan, Özbekistan, Türkmenistan, Ankara, 1994, pp. 105–42. 23 TDN, 6 July 1995. 24 Economist Intelligence Unit Country Report: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, 2nd Quarter 1995, EUI, London, 1995, pp. 17–18. 25 Figures from DEIK (Foreign Economic Relations Board) Bulletin: The Turkish

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Economy by Figures, January 1995, using information from the State Institute of Statistics (of Turkey). 26 These figures were calculated by the author using statistics from the State Institute of Statistics (of Turkey), and from the Economist Intelligence Unit, see note 24. 27 Information supplied by officials of BOTAÍ, the Turkish State Pipeline Company. 28 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Daily Report 206 (28 October 1994), by V. Socor and L. Fuller. 29 TDN, 31 May 1995. 30 A. G. Arbatov, ‘Russian Foreign Policy Priorities for the 1990s,’ in T.P. Johnson and S. Miller, eds., Russian Security After the Cold War, Washington, DC., 1994, pp. 26–7. 31 TDN, 14 June 1995. 32 TDN, 16 August 1995. 33 Abdumannob Polat, ‘Pursuing Dissidents in Exile: Illegal Activities of Central Asian Security Forces (Part I),’ Central Asian Monitor 2 (1995), p. 34. 34 Open Media Research Institute (OMRI) Daily Report 89, pt. 1, 9 May 1995, piece by L. Bezanis. 35 See for instance Yeni Yüzyil, 12 September 1995.

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Towards Better Mutual Comprehension among Turkic-Speakers EDWARD TRYJARSKI

The political disintegration of the Soviet Union, coupled with the formal independence of the Central Asian republics, has opened up new perspectives for direct contacts and cultural ties between the Turkic peoples of Central Asia and Turks living in other parts of the world. The citizens of the Republic of Turkey now have the chance to tighten the bonds of collaboration and friendship with their ‘separated brothers’ elsewhere in the ‘Turkic world’. They have the opportunity to offer them immediate relief funds as well as systematic and long-term assistance. Developmental aid can be targeted within various branches of the Central Asian economy, in particular by providing modern technology. And there is also much work that could be done in the cultural sphere, for instance in the field of education, publishing, films, staff exchange, etc. It goes without saying that all these endeavors will invariably lead to a considerable extension of Turkey’s multi-faceted influence. Many Turkish associations and government agencies have expressed their desire for close collaboration, which has likewise been encouraged by the highest political authorities of the Republic. For example, the president of Turkey, Süleyman Demirel, at the opening of the Second Congress of Brotherhood, Friendship and Collaboration of the Turkic States and Peoples held in Izmir on 20 October 1994, had occasion to proclaim ‘the unity of history, the unity of culture and the unity of love by which all Turkic peoples are bound’. He especially emphasized the strong sense of ethnic links with Central Asia that have been kept alive among his compatriots, declaring, ‘The magnanimous Turkish nation living in this country has never forgotten its brothers living in their motherlands in the Urals, the Altais, in all corners of Asia, and (has been mindful) of them without exception at all times.’1 After reviewing briefly that community of history, literature and various branches of the arts, he added, ‘Hoca Ahmet Yesevi, Dede Korkut, Nasreddin Hoca, Alißir Navaî, Mahtumkulu, Fuzuli, Mevlana – every one of them belong to all of us.’2 Similar declarations made by Turkish statesmen, officials and publicists, as well as by some scholars, proclaiming their deepest brotherly feelings, remind one of the patriotic declarations of party leaders or UN 109

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representatives. No wonder then that foreign politicians, as well as historians and all Turkey’s well-wishers, are interested in the historical and political basis of such pronouncements and their objectives. At first glance, some of these features appear to be familiar from nationalist movements of the past. Leaving aside Pan-Ottomanism, an utterly out-of-date phenomenon, as well as Pan-Islamism, which is rather difficult to promote without including the Arabs, one inevitably thinks back to Pan-Turanian ideas which seem to be well suited to present-day requirements. But this diagnosis is unpopular in Turkey, although its appropriateness cannot be denied. With regard to PanTurkism, the Polish historian J. Reychman has written: A tendency towards revival and the genuine Turkish tradition... was accompanied in the period of World War I by the propagation of ideas of cultural unity with kindred peoples throughout Asia, by interest in their languages, folklore, history, and by slogans (declaring) their cultural community.3

In connection with Reychman’s description, let us here recall such names as Yusuf Ahçura, Mehmet Emin, Ziya Gök-Alp, Alp Tegin, Aka Gündüz, as well as the journal Türk Yurdu, published since 1912, and the term ‘Turan’, itself embodying the idea both of unity of all Turkic peoples and a mythical country in the very heart of Asia. Proponents of the theory of history progressing in cycles will surely find this an attractive topic for consideration. Of course, comparaison n’est pas raison, and ‘You can never step into the same river (twice)’. None the less, one is immediately struck by a whole range of parallels with earlier Pan-Turkism. In particular, when one considers actual efforts to create ‘a common medium for mutual comprehension’, one cannot help but recall Genç Kalemler, a group headed by Mehmet Emin, along with its journal Yeni Lisan, and their many endeavors to create a common literary language for all Turkic peoples.4 The same old tendencies seem to have reappeared in present-day Turkey. On the basis of a plethora of heated discussions, resolutions, final decisions of congresses, seminars, mixed committees, etc., one comes to the conclusion that two problems are most important: 1) the introduction of a modified Latin alphabet for use in all the Turkic languages, and 2) the choice or creation of a new lingua franca that would facilitate mutual comprehension among the various Turkic-speakers. The proposed future lingua franca is often none other than Republican Turkish itself. Such measures are intended to help promote a unified linguistic area within the ‘Turkic world’ stretching from the Balkan Peninsula to China and Siberia. The first step towards realizing this bold scheme would involve the collaboration of the five main Central Asian republics with Turkey. Thus, the central issue here involves the creation of ‘a common language for communication’, or in Turkish ortak iletißim dili. Theoretically, this

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problem could be solved in three possible ways. A first possibility would be to implement the wider use of one of the major world languages among which English and Russian hold a privileged place. However, it is evident why this alone is not a preferred solution. Indeed, it would be embarrassing to use English continually for contacts between all ‘the Turkish brothers’. The Russian language, on the other hand, is traditionally associated with the former oppressor, and some Turkic peoples are doing their best to get rid of its influence. Certainly, the Turks of Turkey would not be particularly enthusiastic to learn a Slavic language. The acceptance of one of the Turkic languages as a medium for all Turkic-speakers is a second possible solution. But in each country this immediately raises the inflammatory question based on nationalist rivalry: ‘Why not our language?’5 The difficulty inherent in this question should not be underestimated. Even if a consensus could be reached, there would then arise a whole range of practical problems to do with a lack of qualified teachers or instructors, textbooks, funds, etc. According to some of the participants in domestic and international meetings, being mostly Turks themselves or representatives of other Turkic peoples working in Turkey, the common medium should be Republican Turkish, known as Türk Türkçe. It is generally acknowledged to be a well-developed language, rich in grammatical forms, possessing a diversified vocabulary, and receptive to foreign imports wherever necessary. However, its weak point as a language for pan-Turkic communication is its excessive reform tendencies, which have been at work over the last seventy years. Its purism has manifested itself in a steady stream of lexical changes often in the form of unnecessary neologisms, combined with an obsession to eliminate Arabic and Persian words which still play an important role in the present-day Turkic languages of Central Asia. The opinion that Republican Turkish could assume the leading role is also expressed by some foreign scholars, as for example Professor A. M. Shcherbak, who is, none the less, aware of how serious the difficulties would be in realizing this project. He adds the proviso that, ‘...the prestige of the Turkish used in Turkey should not be elevated at the cost of humiliating the other Turkic languages.’6 But this means nothing less than a veiled rejection of the project itself, as it would be impossible not to increase greatly the prestige of Republican Turkish by assigning such an important function to it. As an example of terms frequently misused in the current language debate, Shcherbak singles out words like ‘language’, ‘vernacular’, ‘dialect’ (Turkish dil, lehçe, diyalekt). In Turkey some politicians, journalists, and even scholars, eager to emphasize the prestige of their own language, reserve for it the first-class position among all other Turkic languages – the latter being labelled as no more than branches or offshoots (Turkish kol) of Republican Turkish. Thus, the Modern School

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of Languages (Tömer) at the University of Ankara, when advertising the languages it teaches, designates Republican Turkish as Türkçe but refers to the other Turkic languages as dialects: Kazak Lehçesi, Özbek Lehçesi, Türkmen Lehçesi and Kirgiz Lehçesi. It is no wonder that such a formulation, wrong as it is from the scientific point of view, provokes objections in the Central Asian republics where their own languages have become literary languages and are treated as fundamental elements of their ethnic identity and state-building. Similarly, in some serious Turkish publications one occasionally sees such dubious terminology as Kazak Türkçe, Özbek Türkçe, etc. This is not the proper place to discuss the mutual relations between ‘language’ and ‘dialect’,7 but it might be useful to recall those linguists who do not see any consistent difference between them. G. Doerfer’s proposal to distinguish two different principles of classification, namely a political and a scientific one, which can safely coexist, could probably appease the disputants.8 A deeper knowledge of the problem and a modicum of goodwill would be useful here. Unfortunately, both these commodities seem to be lacking in the present language debate. As for the republics of the former Soviet Union, they face serious difficulties in their attempt to endow their languages with higher status and to eliminate Russian influences from them. Let us take a look at the situation in the Republic of Uzbekistan. In that country a State Linguistic Committee has been created within the government cabinet. According to the new constitution, Uzbek is now the official language of the army and of administration. However, after nearly seventy years of formulating all their paperwork in Russian, it is very difficult for state officials to accustom themselves to the use of Uzbek. To facilitate matters, some auxiliary printouts have been widely distributed, while the whole process is being supervised by the above-mentioned committee. New courses for learning Uzbek have been set up. In schools where Russian is the language of instruction, Uzbek is taught starting in the first grade, and in institutes and universities in the Russian regions Centers of Uzbek Language and Literature have been founded. Meanwhile, there are still people who continue to feel strongly that Russian is the superior language.9 So it is probably not the most appropriate time to propagate Republican Turkish as a lingua franca to be employed on a large scale. A similar situation exists in the other republics. With regard to the present language conditions in Kazakhstan, let us consider the views of Professor R. Saydilkanov who presently works in Turkey. According to him, the differences that now exist between the Turkic languages are the result of centuries of evolution. In order to foster consolidation throughout the Turkic world, intensive learning of Turkic languages should be started and

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this should be regarded as a task of primary importance. The introduction of the Latin alphabet is highly desirable, since it will indicate all the differences between the languages in question. Another important task should be the unification of terminology, to make the reading of texts written in all the sister languages easier. With this objective in mind, a Terminological Council should be created. To study common problems in the methodology of teaching Turkic languages, as well as problems of history, literature and philosophy, an International Turcological Institute should be founded. The adoption of one Turkic language, Republican Turkish for instance, in formal meetings instead of English or Russian would result in a higher degree of consolidation of the whole community.10 The proposal to create an artificial language of communication for all Turks, being the third possible solution to the problem, and at present primarily debated among politicians, journalists and other not quite competent persons, is bound to arouse mixed feelings and various emotional reactions. One would have thought that the epoch of creating artificial languages such as Volapük, Novial, Occidental, and Ido, had passed away, leaving merely Esperanto, the good qualities of which are mostly extolled by its own propagators. On the other hand, the world-wide process of compressing human relations is capable of prompting old ideas to return, often in a new modern packaging. Consider Professor G. Décsy’s opinion on the subject: Die Verständigung zwischen Menschen verschiedener Zungen muss erleichtert werden. Dabei werden zunächst die traditionellen Übereinzelsprachlichen Kommunikationsformen vervollkommnet, dann aber auch neue Verständigungstechniken entwickelt. Eben in dieser Beziehung hat die Sprachwissenschaft, vor allem die angewandte Linguistik, ein unbestelltes Feld vor sich.11

As a matter of fact, the proposal is to create a new medium, composed of elements originating from various (but which?) modern Turkic languages, elements which are either identical or only slightly different from one another. To begin with, the procedure of creating a new medium will no doubt focus on basic vocabulary. It is worth noting that this will have something in common with previous attempts to reconstruct proto-Turkic vocabulary, since choice must be based on a historical background. However, the point is that even should these endeavors succeed in producing a common basic vocabulary in a standard phonetic form, it will be unserviceable for all practical purposes in the main areas of international cooperation. A further logical step would be to saturate this basic stock with technical terminology. Unfortunately, this is hardly possible. It is well known that the ways by which standard Western and international terminology entered into Ottoman, and then also Republican Turkish, were

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different from those by which they entered into the Turkic languages of Central Asia: in the first case, Western European languages were the transmitters; in the second case the transmitter was Russian. It is understandable that this situation has created long lists of words, phonetically and morphologically differentiated: Republican Turkish

Uzbek

Kirghiz

makineleßtirmek minyatür mitoloji radyoaktif televizyon telegrfçi

mashinalashtirmoq miniyatura mifologiya radioaktiv televidenie telegrafist

mashinalashtïrminyatyura mifolgiya radioaktivdüü televidenie telegrafist12

The above list, short as it is, allows one to distinguish the different channels by which adapted foreign words were assimilated by both sides. All possible manipulation of this linguistic material, necessarily based on arbitrary decisions, will be neutral from the scientific point of view. But it could well prove quite unsuccessful since an artificially ordered language is susceptible to all kinds of errors and misunderstandings, in accordance with the warnings voiced by J. Vendryes: Que penser des langues artificielles bâties sur un plan logique arrêté d’avance? De pareilles langues ne sont possible que comme langues spéciales: langues techniques ou codes de signaux. L’accord des quelques personnes qui s’en servent suffit à les maintenir telles qu’elles ont été créés, sans changement. Mais il ne faut pas que ces langues deviennent vivantes; elles ne tarderaient pas à s’altérer. Il s’établirait entre les formes des différences de valeur; certaines formes domineraient les autres, la loi d’analogie entrerait en jeu, et le désordre succéderait un bel ordre initial ... La langue logique idéale n’est qu’un rêve.13

It may be supposed that the majority of linguists and Turcologists would subscribe to the above opinion. Professor Shcherbak, when interrogated on this point, answered categorically, ‘I am certain that this project will never be realized.’14 Incidentally, it should be noted that the main role in this project is played by Republican Turkish, since a Kazakh when speaking with a Karakalpak, and a Bashkir with a Volga Tatar, have direct and nearly full communication with no go-between. The question being generally debated concerns not only oral communication but similarly the written form of the new language, as well as usage in correspondence, films, broadcasting, on television, etc. While theoretical and practical questions are discussed in more or less scientific journals like Türk Dili or Türk Kültürü, where experienced specialists present their many-sided doubts, the enthusiasts of the new idea

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have already set about implementing its realization. Thus, the journal Dil Dergisi has printed a number of Turkic texts in a reformed Latin alphabet. The Common Latin Alphabet, or Ortak Lâtin Alfabesi, is nothing other than the alphabet used in Turkey, enriched with three additional sign: ä, ñ, and q. As for the texts written in languages other than Turkish, the editorial board of the said journal applies the following regulations: texts in Azeri, Uzbek and Turkmen are printed in the reformed Latin script. The same holds true for Kazakh and Kirghiz, but they must be accompanied by summaries (abstracts) in Republican Turkish. Texts in all other Turkic languages, or in Russian, are accepted but will only be published in Turkish translation. These regulations are symptomatic of the problematic situation. On the one hand, there is a well-meaning desire to present the opinions of all Turkic-speakers, while at the same time there is a blatant favoritism, in that only a few prestigious Central Asian languages are printed without an obligatory summary. The special treatment accorded to texts written in Azeri, Uzbek and Turkmen, is no doubt justified by their easier comprehensibility for Turkish readers. Various projects to promote rapprochement have been formulated in numerous congress recommendations, final conclusions, etc., as for instance in the published final resolutions of the Committee for Culture, Science and Technology of the Second Congress of Friendship, Brotherhood and Collaboration of the Turkic States and Societies, held in 1994 in Izmir. Here we read of the necessity for ‘printing in Turkey works in the new alphabet originating from these Turkic states and societies which have not yet succeeded in reaching a convenient level of printing technology’ (point 7), ‘the standardization of religious terminology’ (point 8), and ‘teaching languages written in other Turkic countries, in order to solve in a short time the problem of inner communication in the Turkic world’ (point 10). Also among the conclusions of the Committee for Education and Teaching of the above-mentioned congress one finds recommendations such as ‘propagation of a common alphabet which will be helpful for the creation of a language of mutual understanding in all Turkic states and communities’ (point 1), ‘the foundation of an Academy of Studies on the Turkic World’ (point 11), and so on. Even a partial realization of the above plans will, no doubt, contribute considerably to a rapprochement in politics, economics and some branches of culture. An illuminating example of the difficulties confronting the reformers is the case of using a Latin script for writing Turkmen. To begin with, there seemed to be unanimous agreement among the linguists concerned and the idea was supported by the new state authorities as well as by large segments of the population. The Turkmen experts attended a

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number of meetings held in Turkey and, on the whole, gave their support to the project of a common alphabet. However, soon after the advent of independence in 1991, separate work on a new Turkmen alphabet began in Ashkhabad. In the summer of 1992, C. Göklenov and A. Hanverdiyev presented two different lists of proposed letters, more or less adjusted to Turkmen phonetics. In March 1993 two important meetings took place in Ankara and Antalya: the Conference on Alphabetization of the Turkic Republics (Türk Cumhuriyetleri Alfabe Imlâ Konferensı), and the Conference of Turkic States and Societies (Türk Devlet ve Toplulukları Kurultayı), in which the Turkmen scholars also took part and accepted the project of the Common Turkic Alphabet (Ortak Türk Alfabesi) which we mentioned above, consisting of thirty-four letters. But shortly thereafter on 12 April 1993, to the surprise of the other Turkic nations, the Turkmen president, S. Niyazov, signed a bill entitled A New Alphabet for the Turkmen Language (Türkmen Dilinin Taze Elipbiyi) and sent it on to the parliament. The new alphabet was immediately put into practice, but it will only become obligatory from 1 January 1996. It consists of thirty signs and has many shortcomings which make it relatively distant from the Republican Turkish alphabet as well as the Common Turkic Alphabet. It neglects the general rule according to which separate sounds should possess separate signs. Among its newly invented or applied letters one is surprised to find a graphic designation for the English pound: £=z!15 Only time will reveal whether the Turkmen authorities are disposed to modify their rather inappropriate choice of an alphabet. Notes 1 See ‘II. Türk devlet ve toplukları kardeßlik, dostluk ve iß birli©i kurultayı’nda Türkiye cumhurbaßkanı Süleyman Demirel’in konußmaları,’ Türk Kültürü 32, no. 380 (1994), p. 707. 2 Ibid., p. 708. 3 J. Reychman, Historia Turcji, Wroclaw–Warszawa–Krakow–Gdansk, 1973, p. 278. 4 See Reychman, Historia, pp. 278–9. 5 Central Asian Turks fully appreciate the role played by their languages as means of communication and are far from having an inferiority complex in this respect. 6 See A. Oyarkiliçgil and Ö. Aydin, ‘Prof. Dr. Aleksandr M. Íçerbak ile söyleßi,’ Dil Dergisi 15 (1994), p. 61. 7 This complex problem has been dealt with by numerous experts. For a recent treatment see A.B. Ercilasun, ‘Türk lehçeleri üzerine,’ Türk Dili 509 (1994), pp. 323–40. 8 ‘Es gibt sieben türkische Sprachen (im sprachwissenschaftlichen Sinn): Tschuwaschisch, Chaladsch, Jakutisch, Südsibirisch, Kiptschakisch, Uigurisch,

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Oghusisch. Alles was darunter ist, ist Dialekt (z.B. sind Kasantatarisch und Kasachisch Dialekte des Kiptschakischen).’ G. Doerfer, ‘Die Stellung des Osmanischen im Kreise des Oghusischen und seine Vorgeschichte,’ in G. Hazai, ed., Handbuch der türkischen Sprachwissenschaft, Teil I, Budapest, 1990, pp. 18–19. 9 See N. Mahmudov, ‘Özbekistan’ın devlet dili,’ Türk Kültürü 32, no. 372 (1994), pp. 233–9; Idem, ‘Milliy älifba ehtiyaci,’ Dil Dergisi 15 (1994), pp. 57–60. 10 Rezak Saydilkanov, ‘Ortok til maselesinen ulam tuulgan oylor,’ Dil Dergisi 15 (1994), pp. 49–56. 11 G. Décsy, Die linguistische Struktur Europas. Vergangenheit, Gegenwart, Zukunft, Wiesbaden, 1973, p. 233. 12 Türkçe Sözlük, fourth edition, ed. by M.A. Aßakay et al, Ankara, 1996; Russko– uzbekskii slovar’, ed. P. Abdurakhmanov, Moscow, 1954; Kirgizsko–russii slovar’, ed. K.K. Yudakhin, Moscow, 1965. 13 J. Vendryes, Le langage. Introduction linguistique à l’histoire, Paris, 1921, p. 193. 14 ‘Bu projenin hiçbir zaman gerçekleßtirilmeyece©inden eminim,’ Oyarkiliçgil and Aydin, ‘Prof. Dr. Aleksandr M. Íçerbak,’ p. 61. 15 See B.N. Íimßir, ‘Türkmenistan’da Lâtin alfabesine geçiß hazırlıkları,’ Türk Dili 518 (1995), pp. 115–38. For the alphabets used at present by the Turkic peoples and for various agreements concerning the introduction of the Latin alphabet, see the following recent works: A.B. Ercilasun, Örneklerle bugünkü Türk alfabeleri, Ankara, 1993; Idem, ‘Lâtin alfabesi konusunda gelißmeler.’ Türk Dili 523 (Temmuz 1995), pp. 738–79; B.N. Íimßir, Türk yazı devrimi, Ankara, 1992; Idem, Türkiye ile Türk Cumhuriyetleri ve Türk toplulukları arasında yapılan anlaßmalar, ilißkiler ve faaliyetler I, ikinci kitap, Milli E©itim Bakanlı©ı, Ankara, 1993.

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The Politics of Oil and the Quest for Stability: The Caspian Sea TADEUSZ SWIETOCHOWSKI

This essay will examine the impact that oil and natural gas, the chief mineral wealth of the countries bordering the Caspian Sea, has had on the political development of those countries in the perspective of recent modern history. Attention will be focused in particular on Azerbaijan, the country of the Caspian region whose destiny has been affected most profoundly and over the greatest length of time by its proximity to the Caspian Sea oil resources. The Caspian Sea, the world’s largest inland body of water, straddles the border between Europe and Asia. On the west the Caspian is bounded by Russia and Azerbaijan, on the north by Russia and Kazakhstan, on the east by Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, and on the south by Iran. As an important hub of water routes, it has served as the link between the Volga and Iran, between Transcaucasia and Central Asia. Geopolitically, the Caspian region has been a corridor for Russia’s expansion into the Middle East, notably into Iran, and somewhat later into Central Asia. The driving force behind this expansion was initially trade coupled with military–strategic considerations. With the passage of time, the Caspian eventually acquired a special significance as an oil producing region – indeed, the chief supplier for the growing needs of the Russian Empire. Oil has been extracted along the western coast of the Caspian from time immemorial. Popular etymology traces the name Azerbaijan to the Persian word azar ‘fire’, Azerbaijan thus meaning ‘the land of fire’ – allegedly because of the numerous Zoroastrian fire-temples fed by the plentiful local oil. As for the extraction and processing of oil, the industrial age only came in the wake of the colonial conquest of the Caspian coast by Russia, the upshot of the Russo–Iranian wars in the early 19th century. None the less, more than a century was to go by before modern industrial techniques of production were established in the region. Until the 1850s, the extraction of oil hovered around the modest level of 250,000 puds, an output that according to some estimates was less than that of the 10th century.1 The turning point only came in 1872 when Russian legislation abolished the practice of granting concessions on crown-land and replaced it with longterm leasing to the highest bidder. 118

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The application of this law by the colonial government, the Tsarist bureaucracy’s most significant act for the region, threw open the door to foreign investors with substantial capital and a willingness to engage in large-scale mechanized production. Within a year of the reform’s implementation, the first successful drilling had replaced the old methods of well-digging and a spectacular gusher inaugurated Baku’s rise to the position of a major oil-producing center. The Azerbaijani writer Hasan Bay Zardabi described the new situation in the following terms: The period when the eastern part of Transcaucasia was regarded as almost plagueinfested had lasted a long time. Then in the rocky fields around Baku, oil fountains shot high into the air, and all looked on in fascination at this marvellous phenomenon of nature. As the owners of the fountains quickly piled up their millions, capital and expertise began to flow in from everywhere. What in effect used to be a place of administrative exile, now began to bubble with life.2

Foremost among the foreign investors was the Nobel Brothers Company, which would come to control more than half of Baku’s oil output. Their chief competitors were the Paris Rothchilds, who in 1883 completed the construction of the railroad linking Baku with the Black Sea port of Batum, a feat which provided Caspian oil with access to world markets as an alternative to dependence on the markets of Russia.3 As new fountains continued to gush forth in the oilfields, the extraction and processing of oil grew on an unparalleled scale, with Baku’s 1898 output surpassing that of the United States. But the unregulated manner in which the oil industry was allowed to operate – a universal feature of Russian rule in all periods – soon led to serious problems. Chaotic or wasteful methods of drilling and extraction resulted in a decline in productive capacity. In the long run the damage to the fields in the immediate vicinity of Baku proved to be irreversible which hastened the exhaustion of the easily accessible supplies. Within ten years Baku no longer counted as a major source of oil for the world market.4 Despite all the characteristics of over-exploitation, the dynamic growth generated a range of virtually revolutionary transformations, albeit geographically confined to the Baku oil belt. Employment was created for tens of thousands of non-agricultural workers, modern economic phenomena occurred such as labor migrations, railroad and steamship transportation, and the meteoric rise of the modern metropolis of Baku took place. The overall result of the ‘oil revolution’, however, was a particular form of imbalance not uncommon in a colonial situation: a traditional economy is suddenly distorted by the overwhelming influence of a single rapidly growing industry based on mineral resources rather than manufacturing – an industry geared to external markets, operated by non-native skilled labor,

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and largely owned by foreign investors. Typical also was the stark contrast between a countryside submerged in old, timeless patterns of existence and a city haphazardly arising out of the chaos of industrialization. Still only a sleepy port of the Apsheron Peninsula at mid-century, by the 1870s Baku had begun to turn into a bustling boom town with the highest rate of population increase in the Russian Empire. The number of its inhabitants shot up from 14,000 in 1863 to 206,000 in 1903, making it the largest city in the Caspian region as well as in Transcaucasia.5 The ethnic mix in this immigrant city included not only diverse but potentially antagonistic elements, with the three largest groups consisting of Russians, Armenians, and Muslims. The latter designation covered the natives of Azerbaijan, as well as the immigrants from Daghistan, the Volga region, and northern Iran. Labor migrations across the border revitalized historical links with Iran, and for its part Russia kept extending its commercial and political influence along the Iranian part of the Caspian coast and into Iranian Azerbaijan. The Muslims accounted for more than half the labor force in the oil industry, but the fact that they were unskilled workers meant that they commanded correspondingly low wages. Russians and Armenians held the better jobs which required skill and specialized training. Glaring social and economic inequalities, which corresponded to differences in ethno–cultural background, were a source of simmering tensions in Baku.6 With the coming of the age of revolution in Russia, these tensions erupted in the conflict known as the Armenian–Tatar War which raged during the years 1905–1907. Ethnic violence and its concomitant, the restiveness of the working class, infused into the world of Baku oil an element of internal political instability, a recurrent problem which was a contributing factor to the region’s decline as an international exporter. None the less, Baku retained its position as the supplier of the Russian market. In fact, Baku’s role in this capacity grew as the vagaries of history restricted or eliminated foreign competition, and the onset of World War I brought a sharp increase in prices for Caspian oil. During the closing months of the war, Baku and its oilfields were a prize coveted by all the armies in the Caucasus theater of operations – Russian, Ottoman, German and British. They all viewed the seizure of the city as a way to prolong or alternately to shorten the duration of the world conflict. The increase in the region’s political instability was not solely due to the forays of foreign armies, but was to some extent based on an internal dynamics of its own. The eventful year 1918, the time of the rapid disintegration of the Russian imperial state, witnessed the resurgence of intercommunal violence in Baku: the March Days – the massacre of Muslims by Armenians; and the September Days – the revenge on the part of the Muslims.7

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Under the national government of the Democratic Republic of 1918–20, the oil wealth was regarded as the economic foundation of Azerbaijani independence, and the Baku regime made attempts to reorient oil exports from Russian to Western markets. These attempts were frustrated, however, by the steep post-war decline in oil prices on the world markets. An additional reason for the limited interest in Caspian oil shown by Western governments and companies was their conviction that Russia, in whatever form it emerged from the Civil War, would re-establish its rule over the region. The local oil-based industry, which had developed as an appendage of the Russian economy, suffered a major set-back when Russia’s links with Azerbaijan’s markets were severed because of the Civil War. Under the independent republic, Baku’s oil exports fell dramatically to a mere 30 percent of the figures for the immediately preceding years. In commenting on Azerbaijan’s economic situation, an official government publication stressed that, regardless of the amount of oil Europe might purchase, the Republic’s finances would not be restored to normal ‘as long as the Russian markets remain closed to us’.8 Remarkably, the same interdependence of Caspian oil and Russian needs was stressed by the native Communist leader, Nariman Narimanov, who warned the head of the Azerbaijani government, Nasib Yusufbayli, ‘For Soviet Russia, the union with Georgia and Armenia is not a matter of particular importance, but union with Baku concerns the very life of Soviet Russia.’9 A special task of the Red Army upon entering Azerbaijan in April 1920 was to seize intact the Baku oilfields, Lenin having already appointed their general-manager in advance. The Soviet period had all the characteristics of an intensified continuation of old trends in the Caspian oil industry, output being geared primarily to the Russian market. Eventually oil exports were resumed, since they were a primary source for hard currency vital to Russia’s efforts at industrialization. As for political stability, this was imposed by a regime that was prepared to resort to mass terror campaigns. The high point of these methods were Stalin’s purges in the 1930s which were especially brutal in Azerbaijan, as well as in Kazakhstan where a large proportion of the native population perished in the drive for collectivization. In the oilfields there ensued increasing over-exploitation in order to meet the insatiable needs of the USSR economy, with investments invariably lagging behind the rate of production. At the same time the centrally-planned pricing policy assured that only rather modest profits from oil production and exports remained in Azerbaijan.10 The onset of World War II brought to the fore the geopolitical dimension of the Baku oilfields’ security. In the first phase of the war, the potential threat was from Franco–British air raids, and protection from such an eventuality became the subject of Moscow’s negotiations with Nazi

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Germany. Later, the USSR came to negotiate the same issue of strategic security with Britain in face of the new danger from Germany and its agents in Iran. The result was the pre-emptive occupation of Iranian Azerbaijan by Soviet forces for the duration of the war, and suspicions were aroused that the USSR would try to establish its presence there permanently. By far the greatest wartime threat to the flow of Baku oil to Russia came from the German 1942 offensive, which in the end failed to penetrate the Caucasus barrier. However, the north Caucasian oil installations were seriously damaged. As decade after decade of Soviet rule wore on, the golden age of Baku oil faded into a memory, this being a consequence of the steady depletion of on-shore and shallow oilfields through over-exploitation, and even more as a result of under investment in exploration efforts. The same was generally true about the oilfields of Grozny and Maikop, north of the Caucasus. After World War II, as the west Caspian oilfields suffered decline, new deposits were discovered in the coastal Tenghiz area of Kazakhstan, and then in Turkmenistan. Despite this, the center of gravity of Soviet oil extraction went on shifting – partly out of strategic considerations – away from the Caspian borderland to the region between the Volga basin and the Ural Mountains, which became known as the ‘second Baku’. Then in the 1960s development of the West Siberian oilfields began, mainly in the Tiumen region, the ‘third Baku’, thus inaugurating a new era that would raise the USSR to the first place among the world’s oil producers. For Azerbaijan the shift had cascading effects, the impact of which was catastrophic. By the 1980s Baku’s oil output would dwindle to a meager 3 percent of total Soviet production. Even though the republic still provided most of the USSR oil and gas producing equipment (70 percent), some of the equipment employed in the Baku oilfields dated back to the days of the Nobel Brothers Company. In contrast with the rapid economic expansion of the pre-war years, during the period 1950–78 Azerbaijan had the lowest rate of industrial growth among all the Soviet republics. With the oil industry’s decline, Moscow’s central planning authorities cut the influx of investment capital and technical assistance to Azerbaijan – central planning would come to be seen as an instrument of colonial exploitation. Reduced investments accounted for the low growth in productivity: four-fifths of the Soviet Union’s average.11 At the same time, the population increase, concomitant unemployment, and the lack of alternative industries brought out into the open the structural crisis of the colonial economy in the Caspian region. The attempts to create replacements for the oil industry, such as the chemical complex in Sumgait or the promotion of large-scale cotton growing, produced limited economic results, while entailing unacceptably high ecological costs.

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As the twilight of the great age of Baku oil settled over the region, the incentives that had once attracted immigrants to the city were no longer in evidence and the reverse process set in – a slow but steady exodus of the Russian and Armenian inhabitants, noticeable since 1959. For the Armenians an additional cause for outward migration was, in the words of one demographer, the ‘historical antipathy between members of the two groups, which has crystallized in recent years to encourage mutual avoidance and resettlement’.12 By 1979 the proportion of Azeris rose to over three-quarters of the republic’s population. Half of the Azeris were urbanized, a quarter of them living in Baku. While some Azeris saw in these figures a welcome indication of national homogenization and proof that time was working in their favor, others concluded that Azerbaijan, with its declining oil industry, was now less a land of opportunity than it had been formerly. The element of political instability inherent in the ethnic distribution began to resurface as the Soviet Union gradually evolved away from strict Stalinist-type government controls. After a long period of hibernation, Armenian demands for union with Nagorno–Karabagh were raised again in the 1960s. The mountainous, largely Armenian–populated part of western Azerbaijan, by means of its slopes, rivers and road networks, had been economically linked to the Caspian coast rather than to Armenia which lay on the other side of the mountain barrier. At this juncture, however, the local Armenian community no longer regarded itself as closely dependent on Baku for employment and trade. In February 1988, even before the final break up of the USSR, the region was shaken by a violent upheaval, the renewed conflict over Nogorno– Karabagh. The Karabagh crisis stimulated the rise of nationalist movements both in Armenia and Azerbaijan, and as time went on it assumed increasingly brutal forms. The Armenian presence in Baku was brought to an end by the riots of the 1990 January Days; the bloodshed was followed by a mass exodus of the local Armenian population. On the other hand, the success of the Armenian troops in Nagorno–Karabagh resulted in a wave of ethnic cleansing of the local Azeri minority in that region, causing an influx of Azeri war refugees to Baku and elsewhere along the Caspian coast.13 During the twilight days of the Soviet Union, the condition of Baku’s oil industry became a chief public concern in the emerging spirit of glasnost. The issue of the environmental crisis that was destroying the ecology of the Caspian Sea was linked to the depletion of natural resources, particularly oil – a predicament which was seen to be the primary cause for keeping the peoples of the Caspian coast from joining the ranks of prosperous Middle Eastern nations. As political developments in the USSR led to the disintegration of the empire, in all three non-Russian republics bordering on the Caspian coast

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power remained in the hands of the former Communist elite, the nomenklatura, and their respective leaders, Ayaz Mutalibov in Azerbaijan, Nursultan Nazarbayev in Kazakhstan, and Saparmurad Niyazov in Turkmenistan. The transition was smoothest in Turkmenistan, a country the size of California with a small and relatively homogeneous population, and endowed with vast reserves of natural gas and oil, which elicited comparisons with Kuwait. In the case of Kazakhstan, there loomed in the background the potentially explosive chronic tensions between the native population and the immigrant, non-Kazakh majority, but the Nazarbayev regime carried out the transition skilfully without major upheaval. By contrast, Azerbaijan’s post-Soviet experience was marked by turbulence, the most obvious source of the country’s problems being the unending Nagorno–Karabagh dispute which was turning into a full-fledged war. As Azerbaijani set-backs on the battlefield multiplied and the numbers of war refugees mounted, Mutalibov was slow to build up the national army. He was apparently fearful of creating a challenger to his hold over the country. In the end, under the impact of military defeats the parliament, in March 1992, voted him out of power.14 Abulfaz Elchibay, who was the head of the non-communist People’s Front of Azerbaijan (PFA), became Nazarbayev’s successor and the first democratically elected president of Azerbaijan. The new regime made the oil industry a top-priority concern, with far-reaching implications. As during the years 1918–20, it was now believed that under the supervision of the national government the oil industry could become a solid base on which to build the country’s independence. While the on-shore oil fields were exhausted, Azerbaijan still had huge off-shore oil deposits, though the costs of exploiting them would be much higher. On barely 7 percent of Azerbaijan’s sector of the Caspian Sea, reserves of more than 500 million tons were identified, and estimates of potential resources ran to a billion tons.15 Taken as a whole, the oil deposits in the Caspian region were seen as the richest in the world, after those of the Persian Gulf. Despite these rosy prospects, the most pressing issue at present is the lack of funds for investment – the underlying cause for the oil industry’s long-term decline in Azerbaijan. The situation had deteriorated to such an extent that expenditure to extract oil exceeded income from sales, and some 200 wells remained out of commission due to lack of money for repairs. As an influx of foreign investment, along with technology and management skills, appeared to be crucial for the very survival of Azerbaijan’s oil industry, the new regime acted quickly – some critics on the right and left would say too quickly – to secure help from Western sources, in a major reorientation of economic links. In contrast to 1919, there was no reluctance on the part of Western companies (and the governments behind them) to negotiate a

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deal with independent Azerbaijan. The likelihood of Russia using military force to repossess Azerbaijan appeared remote, indeed counter-productive in view of Russia’s web of arrangements and ties with the West. In September 1992 an agreement was concluded with a consortium that consisted of American, British and Norwegian companies to develop the huge ‘Azeri’ oilfield. Preliminary agreements concerning other oilfields, such as ‘Giunashli’ and ‘Chiraq’, were negotiated as well, and plans were made for laying a pipeline from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, the country with which the Elchibay regime was eager to establish a special relationship.16 Understandably, the oil deal, regarded as an opening up to the West after so long a period of dependence on Russia, caused dissatisfaction in Moscow. Once again the factor of political instability came into play. During the winter of 1993, an Armenian offensive took place on the Karabagh front which resulted in the loss of almost one-fifth of Azerbaijan’s territory, and the creation of further hundreds of thousands of war refugees. When in March 1993 the Elchibay regime, as if oblivious to the warning, proceeded to sign an accord with Turkey to build a pipeline to the Mediterranean, it would seem that its fate was sealed in Moscow.17 In early June of that year, Colonel Suret Huseynov launched a military revolt from Ganja in the classical manner of Middle Eastern coups, with Russia as a visibly involved foreign power. The timing of the coup was significant. It took place immediately before Elchibay was scheduled to visit London to sign the pending oil deal with the consortium in question. As his troops marched on Baku, Huseynov found some support among those disaffected with the People’s Front, but for the most part the population was overwhelmed and reduced to passivity by economic hardship and the burdens of the Karabagh war. On June 18, Elchibay left the capital ‘to prevent fratricidal bloodshed,’ without formally relinquishing his office.18 His successor was an old veteran of Communist-era politics, Haidar Aliyev, formerly the head of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan, and a one-time member of the Moscow Politburo. The June 1993 coup in Azerbaijan reflected the broader pattern of a return to power by former Soviet leaders throughout most of the republics of the defunct USSR. Together with the comeback of the nomenklatura in Baku, the event was perceived as an attempt to restore Russia’s dominant influence in the Caspian region. One of the first political decisions Aliyev took was to return Azerbaijan to the Commonwealth of Independent States without, however, inviting back the Russian troops. Another of the regime’s moves was to postpone the signing of the oil agreement, and to order that it be renegotiated. Although initially Aliyev had been regarded as Moscow’s man, in the oil-

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driven foreign policy of Azerbaijan he has come to assume a position resembling that of the People’s Front. The first year of his presidency saw no essential changes regarding the Karabagh war, rather the key government concern of this period was the hammering out of the new oil deal. The difficult and protracted negotiations proceeded in the midst of the mounting ‘Caspian Sea controversy’, a legal–political problem raised by a disgruntled Moscow. Russia’s position was that the Caspian did not constitute a sea in the generally accepted sense, but rather an inland body of water with the status of a lake, and therefore should be subject to the joint exploration effort of all five countries bordering the Caspian: Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Iran.19 While Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan took up positions closer to those of Azerbaijan than to those of Russia, namely that littoral states should make joint arrangements about biological resources but be free to undertake individual exploitation of oil and gas in their own sectors, Iran was generally supportive of Russia’s stand. This attitude of Tehran was both an indication of improved Russo–Iranian relations, as well as a sign of Iran’s unwillingness to see Western influence creeping into the Caspian region. Moreover, there was an atmosphere of Iranian–Turkish rivalry surrounding the issue, and Tehran eyed with suspicion Ankara’s contacts with Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, the population of both those republics being ethnically close to Turkey. As for the economic stake of Turkey, a country which estimates that within a quarter of a century its gas consumption will reach 40 million cubic meters annually, it has already grown to be the largest investor in Turkmenistan with a commitment of $1.4 billion and some eighty projects presently under way. Included among these projects is the training of Turkmenistan’s army by Turkish officers.20 The Azerbaijani oil agreement, hailed as the ‘contract of the century’, was finally signed in Baku on 20 September 1994. The deal, covering thirty years and valued at more than $7 billion, was concluded with an enlarged consortium of foreign companies – four of them American (Amoco, Unocal, Pennzoil, and McDermott), one British (British Petroleum), one Norwegian (Statoil), one Turkish (TPAO), and Russia’s Lukoil.21 Iran was absent from the consortium, and when Tehran later made an attempt to join, its bid was rejected at the insistence of the American companies, a reflection of the sad overall state of US–Iranian relations. The agreement provides for laying down the pipeline within fifty-four months, but its routing was left undecided. The inclusion of a Russian company in the consortium has been construed by some as a sop to mollify Moscow’s displeasure which might arise from fear of too large a Western presence in the Caspian. If this is true, the manoeuvre was less than entirely

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successful. Moscow has hardly concealed its dissatisfaction and in an official statement warned that unilateral action by any state affecting the Caspian Sea is illegal and will be opposed. Within less than two weeks the region experienced a new political crisis of the post-Soviet period. In Baku the strains in the power-sharing arrangement between President Aliyev and Prime Minister Huseynev came into the open while the president, after signing the compromise agreement, was absent from the country. Upon his return on October 4, it was announced that a military coup had been attempted, again with its center in Ganja. Aliyev proclaimed emergency law and dismissed Huseynov, who took refuge in Russia. The public showed support for the president, the more so as he came to be seen as the champion of Azerbaijani national interests in face of Russian depredations.22 The attempted coup proved to be a failure and the oil agreement survived, but the issue of routing the pipelines for the transport of oil and natural gas was turning into a major controversy – the new focal point of Caspian-oil politics. The essence of the controversy is whether the pipelines should pass through the territory of Russia, the power which has lost direct control over the Caspian oilfields but is anxious to control the flow of fuel for export to the West. Or should the pipelines bypass Russian territory entirely, so as to reduce Moscow’s capability of turning off the tap? Meanwhile, now that the ‘early’ oil has been extracted, it must be transported with the existing facilities, and of the available options – the western route via Georgia to the Black Sea, or the northern route via Russian territory to Novorosisk – the latter has proved preferable.23 The long-term question of the pipeline construction retains its potential for generating political controversy and instability. In view of Russia’s geopolitical dominance in the region, a possible solution to the present conflict of interests might be to allow some part of the oil to flow through the territory of Russia. A larger part could be routed directly to the Mediterranean coast. This would not only have the effect of bypassing Russia but at the same time would eliminate the need for environmentally dangerous big tankers to pass through the Bosphorus. The collapse of the Soviet empire has been followed, after an interlude of confusion, by Russia’s neo-imperialist attempts to re-establish a sphere of vital interests. In pursuit of this goal the guiding principle has been profits without expenditures, in itself an acceptance of a diminished degree of direct control and responsibility. Russia’s present policy toward the region is consistent with the shift from colonialism to an attempt to impose satellite status. This new arrangement is all the more necessary as Russia lacks both the will and the resources to reverse the decline of the Caspian oil industry,

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which inevitably leaves the field free for outside investors. While Western interests, at least indirectly, will pose a challenge to Russian domination and will increase the real autonomy of native governments, the underlying element of local political instability remains the primary factor in the geopolitics of the Caspian Sea – a region of great mineral wealth situated at the border between Europe and Asia, Russia and the Middle East, the Turkic and the Iranian world. Notes 1 V. Bartol’d, Mesto prikaspiiskikh oblastie v istorii musul’manskogo mira, Baku, 1925, p. 10. 2 H. B. Zardabi, Kaspiy 21 (1899). 3 On the rise of the Caspian coast oil industry see R. W. Wolf, The Russian Rockefellers: The Saga of the Nobel Family and the Russian Oil Industry, Stanford (California), 1976, pp. 50–108; J. Mckay, ‘Entrepreneurship and the Emergence of the Russian Petroleum Industry, 1813–1881,’ in Uselding, ed. , Research in Economic History: A Research Annual 8, Grenwich, 1983; M. Ibrahimov, Neftianaya promyshlennost’ Azerbaidzhana v periode imperializma, Baku, 1984. 4 On the depletion of Baku’s oil see D. Yergin, The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power, New York, 1991, p. 132. 5 On the urban growth of Baku see R. Suny, The Baku Commune, 1917–1918: Class and Nationality in the Russian Revolution, Princeton (New Jersey), 1972; A. Altstadt, The Azerbaijani Turks. Power and Identity under Russian Rule, Stanford (California), 1992, pp. 20–49. 6 See A. Alstadt, ‘Muslim Workers and the Labor Movement in Pre-War Baku,’ in S. M. Akural, ed. , Turkic Culture: Continuity and Change, Bloomington (Indiana), 1987, pp. 83–91; I. V. Strigunov, ‘Baki proletariatinin tashakkulu masalasina dair,’ AN AzSSR, Trudy 10 (1955), pp. 42–77. 7 For a discussion of World War I and its closing months in Baku see T. Swietochowski, Russian Azerbaijan, 1905–1920. Shaping of National Identity in a Muslim Community, Cambridge, 1985, pp. 105–39. 8 Republic of Azerbaijan, Economic and Financial Situation of Caucasian Azerbaijan, Paris, 1919, p. 9. 9 Nariman Narimanov, Izbrannye proizvedeniya, Baku, 1989, p. 205 10 For a general discussion of the interwar period see Altstadt, Azerbaijani Turks, pp. 108–50. On the wartime Soviet policy toward Iranian Azerbaijan see T. Swietochowski, Russia and Azerbaijan. The Borderland in Transition, New York, 1995, pp. 135–62. 11 For a general discussion and statistics on the period see A. McAuley, ‘The Soviet Muslim Population: Trends in Living Standards, 1960–75,’ in Y. Ro’i, ed. , The USSR and the Muslim World, London, 1984; G. Schroeder, ‘Transcaucasia since Stalin: The Economic Dimension,’ in R. Suny, ed. , Transcaucasia: Nationalism and Social Change, Ann Arbor, 1983, pp. 397–414. 12 B. D. Silver, ‘Population Redistribution and Ethnic Balance in Transcausia,’ in Suny, ed. , Transcaucasia, p. 377.

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13 For an Armenian view of the dispute see C. Mouradian, ‘The Mountainous Karabagh Question: An Interethnic Conflict or a Decolonization Crisis?’, The Armenian Review 43, nos. 2–3 (1990), pp. 1–34; R. Suny, Looking toward Ararat. Armenia in Modern History, Bloomington (Indiana), 1993, pp. 192–212. For an account of ethnic violence see Helsinki Watch, Conflict in the Soviet Union: Black January in Azerbaidzhan. Memorial Report, May 1992. See also Helsinki Watch, Bloodshed in the Caucasus: Escalation of the Armed Conflict in Nagorno Karabagh, September 1992. 14 Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, Human Rights and Democratization in the Newly Independent States, January 1993, p. 110. For an Azerbaijani analysis of the situation see A. Iunusov, ‘The Karabagh War. Another Year Passed. What Next?’, Express-Khronika, 29 March 1993. 15 Vyshka (Baku), 1 March 1993. For a Turkish view see Milliyet (Istanbul), 11 April 1993. 16 For the details of this development see ‘Oil Fuels Azeri Hopes for Future,’ Christian Science Monitor, 13 January 1993. 17 See S. Blank, Energy and Security in Transcaucasia, Strategic Studies Institute, September 1994, p. 7. 18 For a detailed account of the coup see A. Iunusov, ‘Giandzhinskii taifun,’ Express-Khronika, 25 June 1993. For a Turkish description of the coup see Gun Kun, ‘Elchibeyin sonu, Türkiye modelinin sonu,’ Cumhuriyet (Istanbul), 24 June 1993. 19 Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, Report on the Parliamentary Elections in Turkmenistan, February 1995, p. 11. 20 Ibid. , p. 12. 21 For an official Azerbaijani publication describing the oil agreement see Contract of the Century, Azerbaijan Publishers, Baku, 1994. 22 For foreign press reports and commentaries on the October 1994 coup see ‘Azerbaijan – Who’ll Stop the Russians?’, The Washington Post, 11 October 1994; and ‘Azeriler darbeye gecit vermedi,’ Cumhuriyet, 6 October 1994. 23 On the pipeline politics see The Washington Institute, ‘The Great Powers and the Azerbaijan Oil Pipeline,’ Policy Watch 158 (21 July 1995); and D. Nissman, ‘Kurds, Russians, and the Pipeline,’ Eurasian Studies 1 (Spring 1995), pp. 30–6.

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Literature and the Nation in Contemporary Uzbekistan ROBERTA M. MICALLEF

In September 1993 I visited Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, with the intention of exploring what connections exist between the Uzbek literary community and the process of nation-building. What role had the literary community in fact played in bringing about political change in Uzbekistan? Had the literary community acted as a catalyst in fanning the flames of nationalism which brought about Uzbek independence? And what was the present-day role of the literati in independent Uzbekistan? These are some of the questions I would like to pursue in this paper. The Literati and Independence In every age writers are the people’s eyes, their conscience, the voices of their hearts. And now people are turning to us for answers to the thousands of questions in their hearts. They believe our words. They find hope in our answers. E. Vahidov, Izdirob1

In a letter to Maxim Gorky Lenin wrote that those intellectuals who wanted to enlighten the people and not pander to capital were paid a salary higher than average and were well looked after.2 When one examines the nationalist activism that preceded independence in Uzbekistan, one can see that many literati, as members of the Writers’ Union or independently, were very active in attempting to overthrow the Soviet system. Was this what Lenin had anticipated and tried to avoid? These intellectuals not only produced literary works that could be used for political ends, but they also actively participated in political movements. Birlik (Unity), the national popular front, came into being in November 1988 and many of its members were from the intellectual community. The first concrete manifestation of selfassertiveness in virtually every Soviet republic were the language laws, later to be followed by declarations of sovereignty and ultimately by declarations of independence. Indeed, as one Soviet commentator put it in 1989, ‘the language issue has become the detonator provoking an explosion of emotions’.3 In Uzbekistan Birlik mobilized a number of social groupings 130

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around the language issue. On 19 March 1989, students, workers and intellectuals, calling for official recognition of Uzbek as the state language, held a meeting in the center of the Uzbek capital. Among those who addressed the public were the writer Kenzhabaev and the poet Nurullaeva.4 In a subsequent demonstration in October 1989, members of Birlik increased their demands. They now asked that Uzbek replace Russian as the language of inter-ethnic communication.5 Other manifestations of increasing assertiveness and national pride can be seen in statements made by writers. Writers began to demand that those who condemned their colleagues at the turn of the century, which resulted in the execution of writers like Fitrat and Cholpan, be publicly exposed. After independence investigations were undertaken to determine who was responsible for their death, but the investigations were stopped before they could reach any conclusions. On 1 September 1991, the intellectuals got their wish: the Republic of Uzbekistan celebrated its first day of independence. Reactions ranged from outright happiness to cautious optimism. H. Abdusamatov, the one-time editor of Parq Yulduzi, had written one month earlier, ‘The breezes of democracy that can now be felt are having a cleansing effect ... As a result of this many errors of the past are being gotten rid of.’6 Birlik reacted with cautious optimism to Uzbekistan’s independence. The party’s chairman, A. Pulatov, stated, ‘This is a step toward the independent democratic Uzbekistan that Birlik wants. But independence with people in the frame of mind they were in under Communism is not true independence.’7 When I interviewed Uzbek writers and asked them what the connection was between literature and the nation, they regarded the answer as selfevident. Every writer I interviewed in Tashkent said that the Writers’ Union had led the march toward independence. Cemal Kemal, the current president of the Writers’ Union, concurred with that statement and emphasized the importance of a nation having its own government. Kemal pointed out that the writers were the first ones to write about independence, to write about a flag. He felt that writers generally play a crucial role in society. He said: Writers are necessary to explain independence to the people. Whenever anything important happens, any important decisions are made, the writers are the first to comment on them. We make declarations in the newspapers, we make suggestions to Parliament. We put forth the idea that a national army is necessary. We suggested that we commemorate the national army on 14 January every year. We suggested that we send students to foreign countries and now we have students in the USA, in Turkey.8

Uzbek intellectuals have also been very concerned with the environment. The largest and most complex environmental problem is the destruction of

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the Aral Sea. The sea and the area around it is becoming a wasteland, the effects of which are felt as far away as Pakistan and the Black Sea region. Climatic changes have been observed. Once again it was left to the writers to force this issue out into the open. A society for the protection of the Aral Sea was created under the auspices of the Writers’ Union in 1989. The Union took upon itself the task of raising public awareness about the issue.9 One must bear in mind, however, that the Writers’ Union occupies a complicated position in the literary community. When it was first established in 1934, its mission was to define new criteria for writing and publication, and to oblige writers to follow the Party line.10 If one scans its history during the Soviet era, it is clear that there have been numerous incidents like the one in 1937 when a plenum of the Writers’ Union initiated a search for ‘the people’s enemies’ in Uzbek literary circles. There were few literary figures of importance in 1937 who were not subjected to persecution.11 On the other hand, the Writers’ Union presently provides its 770 members with various forms of support. It provides writers with a space where they can gather and exchange ideas. A literature fund has been created to give financial assistance when necessary, and a special hospital is at the disposal of the Union members and their families. The Union also maintains a large estate in the countryside with twenty cottages and any writer can apply to spend some time there. Likewise, in face of the serious present-day paper shortage, the Union attempts to find consignments of paper so the work of deserving authors can be published. The Union even offers help to writers in solving their housing problems. To become a member of the Union one must have published two books and be recommended by three known authors.12 Now the Uzbek Republic is independent. It is functioning as a state. Uzbek literature has produced an ode on behalf of this historic event. For the independence of the Uzbek people was not only the desire of this hard-working and ill-treated people but perhaps a desire of Uzbek lyricism as well, that possessor of so long a history.13

The Literati and Uzbek Culture In her book The Soviet Novel: History as Ritual, Katerina Clark states that when it comes to Soviet literature, the Western approach has been to assume that the contents of Soviet novels were commissioned by the authorities or else were designed for the exclusive purpose of pleasing them.14 She laments the reaction she gets when she tells people that she is working on the Soviet novel, primarily its Russian manifestation. The reaction of disbelief is even greater when one tells people that one works on recent Central Asian literature. But in this connection it is interesting to note that all the authors

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who have been active in Birlik are products of the Soviet period. And as we mentioned, they were committed to championing independence in the years that immediately preceded the collapse of the Soviet Union. What kinds of literary works had they been producing up until independence? Did they indeed only produce literature that was exclusively intended to please the authorities? If one looks at Uzbek-Soviet literature during previous decades, one can see that authors certainly followed official government guidelines. During World War II they produced literature that glorifed the homeland, the warrior, and the girls who ran the factories in the absence of the men. In the era of collectivization and mechanization they produced works in which the heroes and heroines were young people leading their villages to prosperity. But within the fixed framework they were obliged to follow did they not manage to say anything else? Many authors, I believe, while following the guidelines imposed by the state, managed to produce multifaceted works that contributed to the establishment of Uzbek ‘cultural roots’ — what B. Anderson has defined as monunments saturated with ghostly national imaginings. Anderson argues that even though it is widely conceded that nation-states are ‘new’ and ‘historical’, the nations to which they give political expression always loom out of an immemorial past.15 The Uzbek works that won praise and are still remembered today managed to link the nation of Uzbekistan to a glorious past. To take just one example, Hamid Alimjan, a much acclaimed UzbekSoviet author who continues to be appreciated today, produced works such as Aigul blan baktiyar, a folkloric tale in which a young woman avenges her father’s murder and frees her people from a despotic ruler with the help of her poor but honest husband. The work draws on oral Turkic folk tales that have circulated for many centuries. While it can be read as a dramatization of the class war in that the peasants overthrow the ruler, there is really nothing in this tale which is not completely traditional. In addition to portraying the class war, it is also a love-story, a story about heroism, bravery winning out in the face of great odds, about the abuse of power and reversal of fortunes. All of these themes are found in traditional tales such as Keloglan, Koroglu, and even in the 1001 Nights. There is nothing exclusively Soviet about this epic work. A more overt example of literature establishing cultural roots that link the Uzbek nation with the immemorial past is Muhammad Ali’s famous poem about Emir Timur. The poem was published in the 1960s when Timur was a forbidden historical figure, and the poet was called upon to explain himself. Since the poem talks of light emanating from Timur’s tomb, Muhammad Ali dodged the issue by claiming that he was only glorifying Timur’s architect.16 Contemporary Uzbek literature is especially preoccupied

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with the past. One writer explained this by claiming that an author needs a certain distance from events in order to extract their significance. Others explained this preoccupation as a search for national identity, an identity which had become unclear after seventy years of totalitarian rule. The Soviet authorities carried on an intensive campaign over a period of seventy years to ‘internationalize’ the ethnic identity of national minorities. In early 1990 researchers found that of 275 Uzbeks and Karakalpaks who were questioned more than 50 percent could not name a single tradition or custom of another ethnic group in the republic.17 Other evidence of the weakening of a sense of ethnic identity can be seen in the failure of authors to produce work that was both national and international. Abdusamatov wrote in 1982, while he was the editor of the respected literary journal Parq Yulduzi, that Uzbek authors had difficulty in creating convincing characters who were both Uzbek and Soviet.18 It is not surprising then that one of the pressing questions to be answered in Uzbekistan today is ‘Who are we?’ An inclusive and exclusive national identity is being constructed as a unifying agent to motivate and accommodate political and economic agendas. Cultural works often contribute to making this identity appear to be ‘natural’ and ‘eternal’. Who is included and who is excluded, and how natural and eternal this identity is, is highly relevant in a nation-state such as Uzbekistan where the population is not homogeneous. Out of Uzbekistan’s total population of 22,127,946 only 71.4 percent is Uzbek. Of the remainder, 8.3 percent is Russian, 4.7 percent Tajik, 4.1 percent Kazakh, 2.4 percent Tatar, 2.1 percent Karakalpak and another 7 percent is made up of Koreans, Germans, etc., exiled to Central Asia by Stalin.19 According to one Uzbek scholar, in addition to ethnic, tribal and territorial differences, the population is even further divided by clan and caste distinctions.20 In an informal discussion in which I joined in Tashkent, the general consensus among literati was that literature is an essential ingredient in any community and writers are important because through their works they explore numerous available scenarios and possibilities. Without writers people would be prone to violence. By means of their works, throughout the Soviet era, the intellectuals set about creating cultural roots. These roots, however, were not Soviet but Uzbek roots. Today efforts are being made to elaborate further a mythical past and link it to the newly independent Republic of Uzbekistan. The age of Emir Timur is being reconstructed as a golden era. There are countless historical novels and biographies of important people being published in Uzbekistan today. Nor is the wish to establish a national identity limited to the literary community. Walking around Tashkent, one sees newly erected monuments that celebrate Uzbekistan’s glorious past – such as the gigantic statue of Timur on

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horseback. In the center of Tashkent one finds the country’s high hopes for the future expressed by means of a globe on which a larger than true-scale Uzbekistan impresses the viewer. But all this activity aimed at establishing the nation’s cultural roots, whether through literature or other forms of cultural manipulation, only concerns Uzbek identity. For example, Vahidov’s essay on Uzbekness, written in 1990, describes with some irony Uzbek characteristics which include loyalty, hospitality and modesty, as well as a lack of concern for oneself or rather a desire to put the needs of one’s guest before oneself.21 Surely it is reasonable to ask what possibilities are being visualized for the non-Uzbeks? While other Turkic groups are acknowledged as related peoples in literature, they are not accepted as part of the inner core. One finds poems with titles like ‘Ozbek bir, Turkmen bir’ (Uzbeks and Turkmens are the same). But if one looks at a different type indicator such as who is subjected to discrimination, it is clear that adherence to an Islamic minority sect can become the basis for presecution. In June 1989, for instance, the Uzbeks carried out an actual pogrom against another Muslim group, the Meskhetian Turks. According to official accounts, because of the price of a basket of strawberries fighting broke out between Uzbek youths and Meskhetian Turks settled in the Ferghana valley. Within days the whole Meskhetian settlement had been razed to the ground and nearly a hundred people had been killed.22 The descendants of Timur do not include the Koreans, Germans and other such minorities who were exiled to Uzbekistan by Stalin in 1937. By the same token these groups may not want to be perceived as part of the Uzbek nation. The Russians are in an uneasy position. The most common response I got from Uzbek intellectuals was that the Russians could stay if they wanted, but they would have to adapt to the new Uzbekistan. None of these minority groups appears in today’s literary works in any capacity. The literary community was active in establishing Uzbek cultural roots through their writings during the years preceding independence. Now they are searching for a national identity by means of historically oriented literature. Meanwhile, there are those who look forward to the day when the role of journalists in the community will be more important than that of the writers. As one Uzbek intellectual put it, ‘In a democracy the writer’s role diminishes while the role of the journalist increases in importance.’ Notes 1 2 3 4

E. Vahidov, Izdirob, Tashkent, 1992, p. 100. V.I. Lenin, On Literature and Art, Moscow, 1967, p. 209. Y. Ro’i, ed., Muslim Eurasia: Conflicting Legacies, London, 1995, p. 199. Radio Liberty Report on the USSR 1 (28 April 1989), p. 17.

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5 FBIS-Sov, 30 August 1989, pp. 89-167. 6 H. Abdusamatov, ‘Zamon va tanqidlik’ (‘The Times and Being a Critic’), Uzbekiston adabiyoti va san’ati, 9 August 1991, p. 3. 7 G. Nurullaeva, ‘Saflar kurapda toblanadi Birlik xalq harakatı raisdopi Abdurahim Pülatov bilan Gulcehra Nurillayeva suhbatı’ (‘The Ranks Gathered at the Battle: A Talk with Abdurahim Pulatov, Co-Founder of the People’s Movement Birlik’), Mustaqil Haftalik 1 (January 1992), p. 1. 8 Communicated to the present author in a personal interview (Tashkent, 1993). 9 S. Akiner, ‘Ethnicity and Nationality in Central Asia,’ Journal of Area Studies 4 (1994), p. 221. 10 I. Lapidus, A History of Islamic Societies, Cambridge, 1988, p. 806 11 For further details and a historical survey of the activities of the Writers’ Union see E. Allworth, Uzbek Literary Politics, The Hague, 1964, p. 76. 12 Information gathered through interviews with various members of the Writers’ Union (Tashkent, 1993). 13 Uzbekistan Respublikasi Fenler Akademisinin fen nashriyati, Adabi turler va zhanrlar, Tashkent, 1992, p. 129. 14 K. Clark, The Soviet Novel: History as Ritual, Chicago, 1981. 15 B. Anderson, Imagined Communities, London and New York, 1983 and 1991, p. 12 (1991 edition). 16 Muhammad Ali’s communication with the present author (Tashkent, 1993). 17 R. Hanks, ‘The Islamic Factor in Nationalism and Nation-Building in Uzbekistan: Causative Agent or Inhibitor,’ Nationalities Papers 22, no. 2 (1994), p. 312. 18 H. Abdusamatov, ‘KPSS XXVI sezdi va kahraman meselesi. Daire stal etrafida suhbat,’ Parq Yulduzi 1 (1982), p. 158. 19 Central Intelligence Agency, The World Fact Book 1993, Washington, D.C., 1993. 20 M.-B. Malikov, ‘Uzbekistan: A View from the Opposition,’ Problems of PostCommunism, March/April 1995, p. 20. 21 Vahidov, Izdirob, pp. 82-3. 22 M. Brill Olcott, ‘The Slide into Disunion,’ Current History, October 1991, p. 340.

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The Assertion of Uzbek National Identity: Nativization or State-Building Process? VICTORIA KOROTEYEVA

and

EKATERINA MAKAROVA

Like other Soviet successor states Uzbekistan is currently engaged in a nationalizing project. That is, it is attempting to build a state which derives its legitimacy from a particular ethnocultural nation. Measures undertaken to consolidate the link between the culture of a titular nation and the state are similar throughout the whole post-Soviet space. They include the ascription of official status to one language, promotion of national cadres, large-scale invention of ‘national’ festivals, and the rewriting of histories. The process of building the nation-state is tightly intertwined with the process of building state institutions which would allow the ruling elites to exercise close control over society. The Uzbek leader Islam Karimov has always been explicit about the limits of spontaneous political development in the Central Asian region and has always favored state intervention to maintain ‘law and order’ in the local society. We would like to analyze how successful his policy is at the lowest level of state administration where state and traditional popular institutions tend to coincide. In Uzbekistan, as in Tajikistan, there had already existed structures to underpin the state-building process. However, while Tajikistan has demonstrated a failure of state-building, coupled with a failure of nationbuilding, Uzbekistan has turned out to be more successful on both counts. This has much to do with the overall continuity of policy in the postindependence and Soviet periods, despite the ideological efforts of the Uzbek leadership to make it seem otherwise. The term ‘indigenization’ is not used in official vocabulary; the state prefers to put the stress on the ‘restoration of national tradition’. Nevertheless, we will try to show that the state’s efforts at promoting nation- and state-building are based on appropriating specific indigenous local institutions. In so doing, the state alienates other, non-indigenous groups and sets limits as to who can be included in the Uzbek nation. In the course of our fieldwork in Uzbekistan, which started ten years ago, we have observed how the attitude of the Uzbek state towards the most indigenous local institution, the neighborhood community, has been changing. This change reflects the stages of the assertion of nationhood in 137

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Uzbekistan immediately prior to independence and in its aftermath. We will use the example of the mahalla to illustrate how traditional Uzbek institutions have merged with Soviet structures and how this heritage is mobilized by the modern Uzbek state. The neighborhood community in Uzbekistan is variously called mahalla (mostly among Uzbeks) or guzar (among Tajiks). We will use the Arabic term mahalla as more widespread and more familiar to any specialist on Islamic institutions. Being a neighborhood community of a quarter, the mahalla determines the whole range of social relations of an individual in daily life. It is not a vanishing institution, a simple remnant of the distant past, as is the case in many Muslim countries. It is a living unit, which had even flourished during the Soviet era. The mahalla appears to be a real social group which bestows certain obligations on its members and thus involves them in a web of mutual responsibilities. Every event in the family attracts the attention of immediate neighbors, but on major occasions such as weddings or funerals the whole community assembles. Inevitably this common activity means that all members of the mahalla are involved in material relations, with a constant flow of gifts and services. Apart from reliance on the personal assistance of neighbors, the family can count on the institutional support of the mahalla as a whole. The mahalla puts a wide range of objects, such as tables, benches and utensils, at the disposal of any member of a community when he or she needs them. If necessary, the tea-house (chaikhona) can be used for various communal gatherings. Many valuable services are available within the mahalla itself. There are certain people, both men and women, who specialize in cooking for public occasions. One always knows whom to invite to pronounce a prayer, to mourn at funerals or to circumcise a boy. In exchange for the support and services which the mahalla provides for individuals and their families, it demands complete loyalty on their part. Participation in all communal activities – which include for example not only festivals, but also cleaning the streets, guarding the territory at night, assistance in building the chaikhona – is obligatory. Every man is expected to provide his service to the mahalla depending on what he can offer. To be excluded from communal life means to lose the support of other people. To find oneself alone in the face of extraordinary circumstances is the greatest threat. The expression ‘in case something happens’ is often used when people explain their loyalty to their kin or to the neighborhood community. As one can see, the mahalla corresponds to the notion of a typical Muslim community of a quarter. On the other hand, the community which we found in the mid-1980s can equally be described as a typical Soviet bureaucratic institution. It had a theoretically elected head of the community, who was in fact appointed by the regional Party committee.

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The head of a mahalla was assisted by the ‘mahalla committee’, which was in fact a Soviet creation, even though it coexisted harmoniously with the traditional form of communal organization. A number of specialized commissions with the usual Soviet labels dealt with such matters as women’s problems, veterans’ problems and the organization of family and civic festivals. The mahalla organized ideological campaigns and lectures on the international situation. The room occupied by the committee was decorated with standard Soviet symbols and portraits of Communist leaders. The committee was required to provide accounts of its activities to a district executive committee which coordinated the activities of all the mahallas throughout the district. It is remarkable that our informants did not distinguish between the official, bureaucratic side of mahalla communal activity and the ‘existential’ side connected with the celebration of important events in the life-cycle. It is we who draw an analytical distinction between these two categories of function; the distinction is not one made by the people themselves. The functioning of the mahalla during Soviet times provides a good illustration of the genuine hybrid of Soviet and traditional local forms and practices that was unintentionally created by the Soviet regime. The Soviet state was content to leave the mahalla to its traditional functions as long as it maintained the ideological appearance of a Soviet institution. As an institution the mahalla was recognized by the Soviet state, incorporated into the system of Soviet institutions and thus legitimized. For this reason the mahalla not only survived during the Soviet era but was even reinforced in many ways. For example, according to the Center of Municipal Statistics in Tashkent, the present-day capital of Uzbekistan, in 1989 about one-third of the entire population lived in mahallas and was involved in communal activities. While in Soviet times the state did not attempt to intervene directly in the day-to-day operations of the mahalla and was solely concerned with the ideological aspect of communal life, the nationalizing Uzbek state is now trying to formalize those aspects of life that had previously escaped state control. The mahalla has always been a cell of society; the Uzbek state is presently attempting to make it a cell of the state as well. This policy started in the autumn of 1992 – one year after independence – when national newspapers published the presidential decree about the creation of the socalled ‘mahalla’-Fund with President Karimov himself as its chairman.1 One of the main tasks of this new state body – which is a national hierarchical organization with branches at every level of administration – was to promote ‘the mahallization of the Republic of Uzbekistan’, as one of the top officials from the republican branch of this Fund put it. ‘Mahallization’ aimed to introduce the mahalla and mahalla-activities in an

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untraditional setting – for instance in areas with multi-storied buildings where mainly non-Asian people tend to live, for whom this form of communal life is not customary. Moreover, the mahallas, which have always been an entirely urban institution, have now been transplanted to the villages as well. The application these policies quickly bore results. Whereas in 1990 there were 299 officially registered mahallas in Tashkent (compared with 278 in 1989), by the spring of 1993 their number had increased to at least 422, with new mahallas appearing nearly every day (statistics available from the Tashkent branch of the ‘mahalla’-Fund). But it is not just the quantitative increase of the mahallas which makes the process of ‘mahallization’ so remarkable. What is more important is the penetration of state activity into daily life, as an aspect of state-building, by an appeal to popular tradition as a legitimizing strategy. During our visit to Uzbekistan in March 1993, the most widespread slogan one could see in the offices and streets of Uzbek cities and villages was ‘The mahalla is our family, the foundation and support of the state.’ This appeal is all the more easy to make because the state is appropriating the real popular form of people’s social existence. Let us give a few examples of the increasing penetration of the Uzbek state in the mahalla’s operations. The mahalla is mobilized whenever the state needs reliable information on inhabitants of the quarter. Since independence the state has increased its demands on the mahalla while at the same time extending the mahalla’s powers and capacities. Already in Soviet times the mahalla maintained intensive contacts with the local militia. In cases of delinquency the district militia officer would contact the mahalla, before starting an official investigation. This practice is reflected in the statistics of the Ministry of Interior Affairs – less crime was registered in the districts where the mahalla predominated. Now the mahalla has a right to approve the candidature of a district militia officer. It is also involved in conscription for military service. It registers all the conscripts living in its area, and its representative is present in the district selection committee. The tax inspector first collects information from the mahalla committee and only then visits individual homes. Each month the aksakals (the elders) are invited to the district taxation inspection to verify the information gathered in their quarter. By endowing the mahalla with these increased powers, the Uzbek state involves the mahalla in the collecting of essential information which it can then utilize for its own purposes. The economic function of the mahalla follows the major directives of state economic policy. During the perestroika years, especially in its last phase, the mahalla committee distributed rationing cards for basic commodities such as sugar, flour and oil. The distribution of goods was implemented through the local shops that serve the neighboring mahallas. Thus mahalla

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authorities had control over commerce and could to some extent correct the tendency for goods to be diverted to the black market. When in the late 1980s the state started to encourage cooperative enterprises, the mahalla was granted the right to set up its own production units and workshops, and to lease land and buildings to small enterprises. But this situation did not continue for long, as privileges given to the mahalla hampered the state in taxing these new economic activities effectively. With the demise of the Soviet Union, the collapse of the local economy, and a dramatic drop in the living standards of the majority of the local population, the state organized large-scale distribution of social benefits through the mahalla. At present it is one of the most important functions of this institution and one which gives rise to numerous conflicts. The mahalla committee is supposed to estimate the exact financial standing of each household and to distribute aid according to need. In practice, however, this turns out to be a very controversial matter. Another illustration of the increased penetration of the state in communal affairs is in the area of Party politics. In Soviet times each mahalla was attached to a Party cell in higher educational institutions, enterprises or research institutes. Special lecturers were appointed for political propaganda or the ‘enlightenment’ of local inhabitants. For a while following independence Party politics almost disappeared. Though the former Communist Party was painlessly transformed into the Popular Democratic Party, the merging of the local Party with former Soviet executive bodies and the creation of a new state executive body (the khakim) made Party institutions irrelevant. Political propaganda at the local level has lost its importance. Only since very recently has the Popular Democratic Party resumed its strategy of grass-roots activity. However, the stress is now put more on so-called ‘spiritual work’ rather than direct political propaganda. The Party cells in the community organize lectures about prominent figures of national history. Quite recently special events were organized in Samarkand to celebrate the national importance of Ulug-bek and Timur. The mahalla provides other opportunities for state politics which so far have been underestimated. The polling district today can easily coincide with the territory of a mahalla or a group of mahallas and the poll box may be placed directly in the chaikhona rather than in a state institution, such as a school or a club. The first experience of organizing elections this way was quite encouraging: the local residents were eager to come to vote in the chaikhona. As the head of the mahalla coordination committee in Samarkand vividly described it, ‘They are used to coming here for information and certificates. They can find their way here even with their eyes closed.’ The new Uzbek state is presently searching for its own identity, stressing primarily its distinction from Russia. This is evident not merely in its

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attempt to appropriate existing traditional institutions such as the mahalla but also in the very invention of new traditions. It is obvious, for instance, that the state has invented new civic festivals which did not previously exist. The major state festival in Uzbekistan at present is Independence Day (1 September). Since a clear scenario still does not exist for holding this festival at the local level, mahallas are encouraged to adopt the familiar forms which were used for Soviet festivals such as sport competitions, nonprofessional music festivals, chess championships and races. The mahallas are expected to organize an exhibition to celebrate their achievements and those of honorable citizens. State sponsorship of popular holidays, especially those that are neutral from a religious point of view, is another example of the large-scale ‘invention of tradition’. Navruz, a celebration of the New Year in the Iranian tradition, has been turned into what almost amounts to the central state festival. The way the festival is organized resembles Soviet campaigns of previous years – with fixed agendas and thorough planning, and subsequent reports of how it was held in each locality. The mahallas are obliged to choose a date for the festival such that a representative of the district authorities can be present. Afterwards the official organizers of the quarters discuss their experiences and make recommendations on how to improve the festival in the future. We can here return to the point made at the beginning of this paper regarding the extent to which state-building in contemporary Uzbekistan also involves nativization. The stress on local cultural roots is very important in assessing the prominence of different forms of self-identification in contemporary Central Asia. For instance, although in the Soviet period Samarkand was officially designated an Uzbek city, the majority of its inhabitants were in fact Tajiks.2 Hence there arose a subtle but significant distinction between ‘ethnic’ Uzbeks and those who were Uzbeks merely by territorial attribution. It is not the differences in high culture – the one deriving from Persian, the other from Turkic tradition – that create the ethnic border which divides the two communities. Both share the same everyday culture in terms of food, clothing, rituals and beliefs. The common religion, Islam, is only a partial explanation for this cultural unity. The Islamic institutions characteristic of urban Uzbeks and Tajiks have been traditionally absent in the countryside and have not been spread among other Muslim peoples of Central Asia. It is in the sphere of social relations that the search for the roots of common culture would probably be the most fruitful. We were interested in how people of Tajik ancestry, who for official purposes registered themselves as Uzbeks, would designate themselves. Telling us their life-stories, our informants spontaneously referred to themselves sometimes as Uzbeks, sometimes as Tajiks, without seeing any contradiction in this. They would not deny that their native

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language was Tajik or that they had grown up in a Tajik environment. One of our informants explained that if he lived in Tajikistan, he would be a Tajik, but here, in Uzbekistan, he is an Uzbek. We find this a good example of the territorial notion of nationhood. Moreover, this notion of nationhood is acceptable both to the Uzbek state-forming nation and the ethnic minorities, which have been invited to share in it. On the other hand, this territorial definition of Uzbek identity has not and cannot be extended to include all ethnic minorities living in Uzbekistan. The case of the Russians is especially evident. Here ethnic identification is strong and the distinction between the Russians and the indigenous peoples is obvious. No attempts have ever been made to integrate the whole population of a multi-ethnic republic into the nation. At present the division into an indigenous and non-indigenous population is even more pronounced. The efforts of the state to assimilate traditional institutions into its own structure may be unacceptable in the eyes of other groups such as Russians who are used to relying on more formal ties. If we now consider the question posed in the title of our paper ‘Nativization or State-Building?’, we will have to conclude that the state-building process in Uzbekistan is simultaneously a process of nativization (indigenization). It entails the promotion of local institutions and practices. And only those who are in a position to accept them can legitimately claim membership in the Uzbek nation. In practice this means that non-indigenous groups such as the Russians and other Europeans are likely to find themselves increasingly excluded. Notes 1 See the newspaper Pravda Vostoka, 13 September 1992. 2 See, for example, R. Rakhimov, ‘K voprosu o sovremennykh tadzhikskouzbekskikh mezhnatsional’nykh otnosheniiakh’ (‘On Contemporary Tajik-Uzbek Interethnic Relations’), Sovetskaya Etnografia 1 (1991). 1234567890

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Language and Culture in Transition in Uzbekistan1 CAY DOLLERUP

Introductory Comments Let me start out by stating emphatically that I have not devoted a lifetime of study to Uzbekistan. However, on the basis of a long career in which I have had to assess societal and cultural features in nations outside Europe within a limited time frame, I have approached the specific Uzbek situation from a holistic point of view.2 I find that the transition Uzbekistan is presently going through is so exceptional in the annals of the world in peacetime that it deserves the attention of the world community. In that context my viewpoint will be just one more contribution to an assessment of the forces at work in Uzbekistan and the implications of what is happening. Some Basic Facts The Uzbekistan under discussion here is the country of 447,400 square kms. carved out of the Soviet Union in 1991 and with a population of 23 million. Approximately 75 percent are Uzbek and there are numerous ethnic minorities. Uzbekistan is potentially a wealthy country with rich deposits of gold, silver, oil, coal and natural gas, although it was mostly a cotton producer in the Soviet period. At a certain political price, it is also a stable country, and the end of the financial decline following independence is in sight. The Corner-stones The transition presently under way in Uzbekistan with regard to language and culture comprises a complicated web involving three factors: 1. De-russification, 2. The creation of Uzbek national identity, and 3. Westernization. I have seen no tangible evidence of Easternization, for which reason I 144

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leave aside that dimension, although I have met with the claim that such a process does exist. I shall approach the three key factors mentioned above first as a language professional, and then discuss them in more general terms. It should be noted, however, that relevant information is often incomplete and sometimes also inaccurate and contradictory. This is due to the fact that during the Soviet period all policy decisions were made in Moscow – possibly even on the basis of incorrect data – and, consequently, there was no local need for knowing facts in the Western sense. The Role of Russian There are many minorities in Uzbekistan, including circa 5 to 10 percent ethnic Russians. The Russians are primarily concentrated in Tashkent, but they have recently begun leaving the country in droves, although I have at no stage seen any indication that they are not more than welcome to stay – that is, under the present-day Uzbek realities. I have also noted that some Uzbeks are disturbed by this brain-drain. I would suggest that the emigration is linked to the fact that since Russian had been the common language for education and inter-ethnic communication, Russians enjoyed a privileged situation in so far as they never met with linguistic barriers that they had to overcome. This meant that ethnic Russians automatically had the edge over other minorities. I have come across no resentment against Russians because of this or any feeling that this was wrong, for it is accepted that Russian provided – and to a large extent still provides – the different ethnic groups in Uzbekistan with a common language. However, as Uzbek is now the official national language, the tables have been turned, and the Russians’ in-built linguistic superiority over competitors has been weakened. This constitutes a major loss in status for individual Russians, and is, in my view, the most obvious reason why Russians want ‘to go home’. One should also add that the new privileged status of the Uzbek language is officially promoted with regard to hiring and firing. At all events, as the new state proceeds to establish its own identity, Russian is diminishing in importance, whereas Uzbek language and culture are being promoted. National Identity The Uzbeks are doing much to define their own nationality. The pride of the nation is ‘Independence Square’ in Tashkent which is lit up at night with orange and green neon lights, and statues of local celebrities, such as

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Timur Lenk, have replaced those of the leaders of the Russian Revolution. Street names have been changed to conform to Uzbek and post-Soviet realities – rumour had it that this was the reason why it was impossible to get a city map for a considerable period of time. True, these are in many ways superficial changes and innovations, but they illustrate symbolically the enormous change in cultural attitude. It is of more tangible significance that at school there are now classes where Russian-speaking students are taught Uzbek, and others where older students from the senior classes give lectures to younger pupils on Uzbek history and culture. The Language Situation Uzbek – and an implicit Western orientation – is promoted in a number of ways. The most momentous change began in the summer of 1995 with the start of the five-year transition period in the course of which Uzbek will adopt the Latin alphabet in place of the Russian one. Acquiring a new alphabet is nothing unusual in the recent history of Uzbek. At the time of the Russian revolution, the elitist Tajik language was in the process of being replaced by a form of standard Uzbek. A simplified version of the Arabic alphabet for writing Uzbek was introduced in 1923. This was then replaced by the Latin alphabet in a first wave of changes (1927–34), until the Latin alphabet was replaced by the Russian alphabet in the early 1940s. Linguistically the present-day switch from the Cyrillic letters will make for a better approximation to pronunciation (since Uzbek uses an approximation of Turkish diacritical letters).3 The first Latin alphabet coincided with the successful Soviet campaign to wipe out illiteracy,4 but this latest change – like the previous changes in the alphabet – will predictably lead to ‘secondary illiteracy’, i.e. some people will only be literate in one – the old and outdated – alphabet. In Parliament, simultaneous Uzbek and Russian interpreting of the assembly proceedings was introduced after the general election in December 1994. As of 1997, every civil servant must have mastered Uzbek, and by that date there will be a change-over to Uzbek as the language of administration. On the other hand, it should be stressed that Russian is by no means on the point of suddenly disappearing. The meteoric rise of Uzbek means that it now has its own faculty at Tashkent State University. This faculty particularly concentrates on language teaching, not on literature: Uzbek has undergone much Russian influence, and is also socially and regionally stratified. In other words, present-day Uzbek, no matter how one defines the language, has been subjected to far-reaching foreign influence for nearly 130 years, and, in

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addition, comprises numerous dialects and sociolects. Unlike some other languages that have been dominated by stronger nations, for instance Hungarian and Slovene in Europe, Uzbek has not been nurtured by a strong and stable intelligentsia. It is thus more fluid and there is an obvious need to define and strengthen ‘genuine Uzbek’. An arbitrating institution to decide on correct Uzbek usage has been set up, but it is impossible at this point to assess its importance. Similarly, Uzbek literature is also being fostered – only more discretely – on the basis of works written in that language in modern times. Furthermore, no one who has visited Samarkand recently can be unaware that part of the restoration work going on there, in particular the restoration of the Timur Lenk Mausoleum, aims at promoting national pride in the history and culture of Uzbekistan. In view of the fact that the process of restoring ‘national monuments’ had already started in the Soviet period, one can, perhaps, cautiously suggest that such regional national identity-building was a contributing factor to the disintegration of the Soviet Union. At the same time the disappearance of the Russian element in cultural life is eminently evident: the finest example of European cultural life, the State Academy Bolshoi Theatre, is nowadays half-empty since much of its former audience has emigrated to Russia. Hence its vital role in local cultural life has been greatly reduced. Education De-russification, the creation of a national identity and the process of Westernization, are indissolubly linked with the Uzbek educational system. All nations use their educational system for transmitting societal values and norms. But in my view, this is not the most important aspect of the situation in the Uzbek context, although as mentioned the school system deliberately used for promoting national identity. The significant point is that everything done in the educational system has an enormous ripple effect because of the demographic breakdown: nearly half the population is of school age, or younger. Apart from the inhabitants of some remote, isolated places, there is no illiteracy in Uzbekistan. Following (I believe) the Russian system, formal schooling starts at the age of six to seven. Primary school lasts four years. Secondary schooling is attended by nearly everyone (98 percent) until the 9th grade when school-leavers can enter vocational training and/or work. Upward of 30 percent go on to the 10 and 11th grade where there is some specialization. After passing exams at this level, students either join the work-force, or go on to other educational institutions, such as university (1 to 1.5 percent).

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Teaching Methods There are admirable and enviable features to the Uzbek teaching system. Once again, it is probably Russian influence that has kept the class size down to 10 to 16 students. It should also be acknowledged that teachers show inventiveness and perform remarkably well within the given framework. I personally witnessed a primary-school English teacher employing an enormous amount of home-made material, posters and boards which she used to teach English to her enthusiastic pupils. On the other hand, – another Russian feature, I imagine – teaching at all levels is strongly teacher-directed, and students are not given any time to think over questions. The teacher is the unquestioned authority and – not least thanks to the use of unwieldy student desks – attention is focused on the teacher’s performance. It may be a special Uzbek feature that some classes last up to ninety minutes – a pedagogically unsound procedure if one wants to promote independence. In this context, it is interesting to note that although the language of instruction is in principle Uzbek, there are many classes, schools and institutions (primary, secondary, and tertiary) where the language of instruction is Russian (statistics are not available). In addition, a few schools use Kazakh, Tajik, and Korean as their languages of instruction. English, French, and German are taught as foreign languages in a minority of primary schools. These languages are normally introduced in the fourth or fifth grade. In specialist schools they are taught from the first grade. In a few primary schools there is more instruction in English than in Russian or Uzbek. Foreign-Language Knowledge Foreign-language knowledge, then, is linked with the general school system, as well as de-russification and orientation towards the West. Most Uzbeks (by some estimates 95 percent) understand Russian, although Russian is in fact an Uzbek minority language. It is difficult to give a long-range assessment of the future standing of Russian in Uzbek society since it will depend on such factors as (a) the presence of Russianspeaking Uzbeks; (b) the existence of Uzbek families speaking Russian at home;5 (c) the fact that Russian was previously hammered home from the beginning of school which means that there will be many elderly people who will still know Russian in thirty to forty years’ time. And then there is the question of (d) international relations, especially those with Russia as well as all CIS-neighbours who must also in the future rely on Russian for communication. Clearly Russia, by virtue of its sheer strength, is the number one power in the area, and Uzbekistan lies within the Russian sphere of

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primary influence. To some extent continued knowledge of Russian will be a dictate for geopolitical reasons. English and the Mass Media In a modern society, and especially in a nation like Uzbekistan with a high percentage of young people, we must include the mass media in an assessment of the overall knowledge of English and other modern European languages. One cannot accurately assess the impact of the deafening and ubiquitous presence of loud Western music from video cassettes with the original soundtracks (English, American, Spanish, French, etc.). But I think this phenomenon merely contributes to the general world-wide background noise. Radios are used extensively, but mostly for music programs, and it is a low status medium. It is therefore not surprising that they do not seem to exert any significant influence on foreign-language acquisition. An estimated 60 to 80 percent of all households have a television set. Television broadcasts programs for 3 to 5 hours a day on two Uzbek channels, an all-Russian channel (‘Ostankino’), and a Kazakh channel. There are few direct English-language programs on television: 45 minutes a week of CNN news. There are English lessons once a week in a thirty-item cycle of an educational series. Otherwise television is not the foreign-language medium one might expect: the fairly few English (or American) serials and films are dubbed or voiced-over (‘simultaneous interpreting’), although other serials (e.g. Indian ones) may be subtitled. I have even seen some American movies with Dutch subtitles and Russian voice-over. The main point is that television does not promote knowledge of foreign languages except Russian. Videos are usually subtitled, more often than not into another foreign language (so that, for instance, English films with English soundtracks may have German subtitles) Foreign Language Standards The fact that Uzbekistan had always been so dependent on Moscow in the Soviet period has left its trace on the mastery of English: oral proficiency and writing skills leave much to be desired, and the emphasis in most teaching is on acquisition of vocabulary items. Consequently, although in principle students have learnt English for many years in school, their level of command of the language is frequently not very high. One Uzbek foreign-language teacher, commenting on the educational background of his students, remarked to me:

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There are exceptions, but for the most part: their English is faulty. Their knowledge of European geography, history, and literature is limited ... Likewise, they often have an imperfect knowledge of Uzbek grammar, limited vocabulary, and are ignorant of specific functional styles. They know little of economics and law ... They are hesitant or unable to undertake independent work and unwilling to express their own views.

Interest in Foreign Languages In Uzbekistan today there is great interest in learning foreign languages for education, tourism, trade, and entertainment, in particular for learning English which is the most sought-after foreign language at present, although there is interest in French, German, Arabic and other languages as well. English and the other modern Western European languages are taught in the universities. However, the term ‘university’ is somewhat misleading compared to its counterpart in the West. In 1994/95 some fifty-odd institutions were converted into universities in Uzbekistan. It is extremely difficult, therefore, to generalize about overall standards. Instead I shall focus on some institutions which I was actually able to visit and have a closer look at in 1995. The English Department of Tashkent State University (200 students and 16 staff members) is in the process of expanding. Its graduates are employed as teachers in universities, seats of higher learning, or in industry (as interpreters and translators), publishing houses and the like. The curriculum consists of a five-year general program, the first two years being taught in ‘complexes’ comprising vocabulary, grammar, phonetics and homereading, with the same teacher as supervisor of the whole ‘complex’. In the third year theory (e.g. phonetics) as well as practice (e.g. reading, speaking, etc.) is introduced; translation is also introduced at this stage and entails written translation, oral translation and translation of scientific texts. In Samarkand (a tourist centre) English proficiency among the regional university staff is by any standards remarkably high. One indication of the extent of the concerted drive to promote the teaching of English, is the fact that the English Department experienced an explosion in the number of teachers from twenty-eight in 1995 to fifty (in face of the need for ninety) in 1996. The University of World Languages in Tashkent has 7,000 students and teaches about fifteen languages. About 60 percent of the students are majoring in English, and there are approximately sixty English staff members. At the same time, most departments and faculties of economics and natural sciences at Tashkent State University have their own language

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sections which teach languages for specialized purposes. The obvious reason for this is that in the Soviet period English was not encouraged in school. Thus students entering university find themselves in a linguistic limbo when they have to use Western, i.e. English and American, textbooks. We particularly examined the Faculty of Economics (which comprises management, economics and international relations). This Faculty is given a high priority in Uzbekistan. It is being supported in an effort to foster openness towards the Western world and market economies in order to achieve stabilization in Uzbekistan’s economic development. Consequently, the Faculty has been rapidly expanding. Since nearly all teaching materials (in economics) are in foreign languages, 30 percent of the students’ time is devoted to learning two of the major European languages (English, German, or French) and students are encouraged to write their essays and theses in one of these foreign languages. Instruction is undertaken by a full-time language staff. Translation is considered a desirable goal in the mastery of foreign languages, as well as in specialist training that focuses on technical terminology. The first translation of an economic textbook into Uzbek was completed in 1995, but the need for textbooks in Uzbek (and, consequently, further translations) is rapidly increasing. There are also private schools for foreign-language learning. We visited one of these, namely the Uzbek Association of Translators, Interpreters and Foreign-Language Teachers. The school has an enrolment of 350 in Tashkent and branches in a number of other cities in Uzbekistan. The students are graduates/specialists in economics, technological fields and the natural sciences, who intend to become translators or revisers after following a two-year program tailored for work involving joint-ventures. Modern Tools Generally speaking, set textbooks are dominant in teaching. This is also true of teaching English language and translation. Some institutions, however, allow for variation. The supply of textbooks seems to be adequate for teaching the core courses with set texts and no variation at the lower levels in the school system. At higher levels the shortage of adequate textbooks is more marked. This is also the case at the tertiary level, for although in principle teachers are free to choose textbooks and texts of their own, this is not possible for purely physical reasons: Western books are hard to come by, photocopying facilities are poor, and the books that are available are mostly old Russian editions in limited quantities (usually enough for one class). Similarly, there are only a few computers which are normally reserved for staff.

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There is a shortage of elementary teaching aids such as blackboards, overhead projectors, tape-recorders, video-recorders, language laboratories, photocopying machines, and any sort of reading material. In sum: in Uzbekistan there is an enormous potential for Westernization, but little in the way of resources for carrying it out. Foreign Support As the situation appeared in 1995, i.e. four years after independence, Uzbekistan had received some help in the process of reorientation towards the West. The American effort has been the most massive. According to my sources, 1,500 Uzbeks in the 15 plus age group are being housed with American families for one year. In addition, about 100 scholarships have been given to Uzbek students to study at American colleges. Likewise, there is a corresponding effort to send US staff to work at seats of higher learning, as well as a few peace corps people. The problem with efforts like these is that they are not properly targeted in terms of social impact: it may be fine for the Uzbek student concerned, and will doubtlessly leave him or her with improved English, but gains of this kind remain essentially individual. The most cost-effective effort is the German one – closely followed by the French – but both of these are relatively small. The most popular and sought-after teaching program is that of the British, best exemplified by the British Council, which along with the new alphabet is introducing a set of English textbooks from primary through secondary and tertiary levels. The Council will clearly become an effective means of promoting English-language knowledge in the country. Changes, Targets and Implications Any attempt to assist the process of Westernization in terms of foreignlanguage teaching must deal with the sharp contrast that exists between the fine ideals set up as goals and everyday reality. Let me point to two examples: by simply arguing that Westernization offers numerous benefits will not suddenly do away with the importance of Russian. Russian is still the main language of communication for the different ethnic groups in Uzbekistan and will remain so for at least twenty years (for demographic reasons). For more or less the same period of time, Russian will remain the primary language in Uzbek relations with Russia and the CIS-nations. Secondly, the decree for all decision-makers to know an additional foreign language by the year 2000 is doomed to failure: the majority of Uzbek decision-makers are most in need of speaking Russian.

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Moreover, they do not have the time, nor are they at the optimal age, to acquire a complete command of English, for example. This is not tantamount to saying that the process of becoming independent is doomed to failure. On the contrary, there is no doubt that Uzbekistan has indeed cut the umbilical cord and distanced itself from the planners in Moscow. But independence on a greater scale will take time, and so will orientation towards the West, which is part and parcel of derussification. The policy of Uzbek foreign-language reorientation is ambitious. Plans have certainly been drawn up in this regard. In my view, however, they not only lack insight into foreign-language acquisition, but they ignore the necessary societal ‘ambience’. Up to a certain point, it is possible to manage on a shoestring, especially if one’s goal is well-defined, as is the case with the well-targeted program to develop the tourist industry (best exemplified by the promotion of Samarkand which is a natural tourist spot), and, possibly, in the area of trade with the surrounding world. But what I feel is missing is the required coordination in this daunting transformation. There are problems with the means, the human resources and the physical possibilities. These I shall discuss in terms of short-term and long-term implications, fixing the dividing line in this regard somewhere between ten and thirty years. One of the most obvious means – whether based on a coincidence or not – is the introduction of a Turkic version of the Latin alphabet. The shortterm implications are that all Russian teaching materials will be phased out over the next five-year period. In five years time the new generation reaching secondary and tertiary school, or graduating, will be largely unfamiliar with Russian lettering and accustomed to reading books in the Latin alphabet. All other materials based on the Russian alphabet, such as typewriters and word-processors will be obsolete. Learning Russian will become a specialist activity, like studying English, or economics, etc. Unless special salvage operations are planned, Uzbekistan will, in this process, also cast away a great part of its cultural and intellectual past beginning from the time of General Kaufmann’s invasion of the area in the 1860s up to Independence in 1991 – in so far as that past is preserved in Russian. And I see no serious concerns being voiced at this prospective loss. One might then believe that what is left will be Uzbek culture, for which there are, according to Birgit Schlyter, special provisions.6 But this I find doubtful: As far as I can see, Uzbekistan, because of its extended family and tribal pattern, is no doubt a country with a strong oral tradition and a rich folklore with its own national characteristics. From a social perspective, the Uzbek custom of exchanging grand speeches, Uzbek hospitality and the Uzbek pattern of life within the extended family will come more to the

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fore. But so far as the societal infrastructure is concerned in other areas, in hospitals, schools, universities, etc., the Russian imprint will remain although it may take on a free market garb. So although doctors will now write up their case histories in the Latin letters of the capitalist West, the hospital they work in was established by the socialist state and for the foreseeable future will perpetuate that socialist cultural heritage. The Potential Increase of Foreign Language Standards A crucial factor in this regard is television whose use of voice-over, however, be it in Russian or Uzbek, does not promote foreign-language awareness. On the other hand, subtitling does. The situation is not much different than that of the smaller European societies in the 1950s when television made its first large-scale appearance: the first subtitlers will have to be autodidacts. Subtitling, it is true, costs more than voice-over. One possible solution would be for Western institutions to donate interesting copyrightcleared material to Uzbek television, on the explicit condition that the donations be subtitled. This might also, at least partially, solve the problem of piracy. As far as foreign languages are concerned, it would make Uzbeks more aware of the surrounding world. Of course, television also has a visual dimension. But in a language context this is not really important: unless one is concerned about an outside cultural power imposing foreign norms. But in this respect I fail to see the difference between Soviet and American films: they both seem to be equally different from the emerging reality in present-day Uzbekistan. It is inevitable that the question of privileges and tribal family structures will loom large. People in key positions either exert influence or are subjected to pressure by others who can order them around. Soviet or Uzbek? Or a combination of the two? I have no idea. But it is evident to me that this is a problem Uzbeks have to live with. On the other hand, outsiders do not have to accept it, and foreign-language teaching programs can make the selection of material and teachers the responsibility of the outsiders. This would not automatically neutralize differences due to superior schooling, nor will it eliminate the possibility of excluding competent candidates, but it would make things more fair. In terms of Uzbek societal norms, such an approach is novel. It is alien to Soviet nomenklatura attitudes and it is alien to Uzbek clan or family loyalty. In other words, in this regard we wish to implement a marked transition in norms which will have an impact in the long-term. Norms of this kind cannot be imposed by language institutions, but will simply result from the competitive spirit of free market mechanisms and the competitiveness of international life where merit, despite all protestations to the contrary, is rewarded.

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So, thanks to outside help or because of the general economic progress of Uzbekistan, or a combination of both, future Uzbek students at all levels and in all fields will gradually have access to more varied teaching materials. They will become familiar with new tools of learning. They will learn to type; they will learn to touch-type. As I see it, through a combination of new materials, new information and new contacts with the outside world, more and more students will learn to work independently of their teachers. This process should be promoted in the educational system by training teachers to accept this trend. One way to influence teachers is to give them instruction, another is simply to demonstrate that it can be done. But other factors, as well, are of paramount importance, though they are consistently overlooked by bureaucrats who ladle out money. Teaching which is not teacher-oriented needs desks that can be moved. Operating computers, photocopiers, overhead projectors and tape-recorders should not be the privilege of one person. Nor should such equipment be donated one piece at a time. That will only confer new privileges on those who are already privileged. Equipment of this kind should be given in such large quantities that it cannot be controlled by single individuals. That way the initiative will necessarily be left to others. This is also part of the transition. It will eventually come of its own accord, but Westerners can give the process a boost. They can show the usefulness of delegating power and thus demonstrate the inefficiency of a hierarchical command structure which is clearly another unfortunate legacy from the Soviet period. But this approach presupposes two other physical changes: one is improved communication. Ideally, this would best be brought about by installing working telephones in all households and offices all throughout the country. The second physical change concerns abolishing the rule of janitors who have the power to keep rooms locked at will. The latter reform touches on a broader issue, the assumption inherent in the previous socialist system that everybody should be allotted a job (although the practice appears to accord with traditional Uzbek ‘tribal’ loyalty as well). Concluding Remarks Generally speaking, the transition in Uzbekistan, in my opinion, can be viewed at an even higher level. We are here dealing with a specific linguistic culture, Uzbek, which for the most part has had an oral development. Over a longish span in history, it has been subjected to domination by a language which embodies a literate culture – Russian. In the transition we are witnessing, Uzbekistan is cutting itself loose from the imposed literate culture and rejecting it. In place of Russian, the country is presently turning towards a new literate culture based on concepts from its own oral tradition

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and from the Western capitalist and literate culture. It will be no easy matter to strike a sensible balance. Yet, to date, the changes involved in the efforts to implement the new language policy have not been overhasty. This is reassuring. My own views regarding this difficult period of transformation in Uzbekistan are perfectly clear, namely that we should actively assist in the transition towards Western values. I have not reached this conclusion because I think Western values are above criticism, but because the present process of change is doubtlessly an inevitable one, that is to say, neither we nor the Uzbeks themselves can stop it. For the inhabitants of Uzbekistan, the process in question actually began, at the very latest, when General Kaufmann entered the area, whereas for us it began, at the latest, with the phenomenon of internationalization from the time of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars onwards. Furthermore, by consciously taking stock of what we ourselves are doing, we may also be able to help the Uzbeks become aware of the full implications of the transformation. Ultimately, however, it is for the Uzbeks to decide what foreign values they will reject, what foreign norms they will embrace and what foreign ideas they will adapt. Westerners can merely assist them in an effort at raising awareness. I hope that this article, in some small measure, may contribute towards that goal. Notes 1 The author was the contractor for a Pre-Tempus-project ‘Improving foreign language instruction and translation studies at Tashkent State University, Uzbekistan’ The present article reports on findings based upon two inspection tours involving attendance of classes at primary, secondary, and tertiary level, as well as interviews with lay people and experts on the Uzbek language (1995). 2 There are many people who have contributed information to this article. My warmest thanks go to Jim Riordan of the University of Surrey, to Abdurakhim Vakhabov, Dean of the Faculty of Economics at Tashkent State University, and to the Association of Translators, Interpreters and Foreign-Language Teachers of Uzbekistan. 3 The information about the history of alphabetization in Uzbekistan is based on B.N. Schylter, ‘Uzbekisk språkpolitik 1989–1994’ [Uzbek Language Policy 1989– 1994], in Centralasien – gamla folk söker ny väg (Skrifter utgivna av Sällskapet för asienstudier 6), Uppsala, 1995, pp. 37–55. 4 Ibid., p. 37. 5 For an example, see ibid., p. 41. 6 B. Schlyter, ‘Uzbekisk språkpolitik 1989–1994’, p. 43.

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Turkmenistan’s Place in Central Asia and the World RAINER FREITAG-WIRMINGHAUS

The region of the Caspian Sea has turned out to be one of the most sensitive areas of the CIS and of an enlarged Middle East. The extensive oil and natural gas resources have given a new relevance to the recently independent states of Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan within the entire region and beyond, as regards energy policy and geopolitics. In order to make use of their natural resources to develop and stabilize their economies, these states must first find a way to enter the world market. But Turkmenistan’s importance is not solely based on its ranking as the country with the fourth largest deposits of natural gas in the world. Equally significant is its geo–strategic location. Russian nationalists consider the Iranian–Turkmen border as a shifted Russian border, despite the fact that Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan are situated between Russia and Turkmenistan. For Russia, as well as for Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan is not only a buffer state against Iran, but lies along Russia’s way to the Persian Gulf. Its communication networks, just as the existing pipeline networks, are linked up with Russia. For Iran and Turkey, as well as for India and Pakistan, Turkmenistan is an important transit country to the other Central Asian republics. When in May 1996 the road and the railway-line between Mashhad and Sarakhs on the Iranian–Turkmen border will be completed, this transit route will link together the old Soviet communication network with that of the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. This will give Turkmenistan a new importance as a gateway to Central Asia. None the less, the only reliable guarantee for Turkmenistan to increase its significance and to build a stable economy consists in a permanent growth of its natural gas industry, enabling it to export gas in large quantities. The present plan for developing the gas and oil industry foresees the extraction of hitherto untapped deposits. This signifies a complete dependence on foreign direct investments. But Turkmenistan is not only in need of massive investment and modern technology, it also needs highly qualified personnel. It is the lack of the infrastructural preconditions, both on the social and the economic level, which raises doubt as to the intended speed of exploitation of the resources. 157

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Traditional Structures and the Autocratic Political System Turkmenistan seems to be the most stable country of the CIS. This is primarily because it largely preserved its traditional structures during Soviet times. Today the tribal structures still dominate the life of the individual and the community. Intertribal loyalty and family control over the younger generation (50 percent of the population is under 16 years of age)1 are the most important factors of social life. There also exists a degree of loyalty to the territorial community and, to a lesser extent, to the Turkmen nation – as a result of Soviet nation-building. Although the latter is becoming increasingly significant, the loyalties to tribe or community are usually stronger. One cannot speak of Turkmenistan as a modern nation. In the process of national state-building in Turkmenistan different group loyalties have to be balanced. Hence, administrative divisions are set up in accordance with tribal groupings. Extreme nationalism is an exception; in contrast to the other republics there exists relative stability in inter-ethnic relations. The population consists of 72 percent Turkmens, 9.5 percent Russians, 9 percent Uzbeks and 2.5 percent Kazakhs.2 Though influential posts in the presidential apparatus are held by Russified officials from the old nomenclatura and even by Russians, Turkmenization is presently being carried out in public life. Ethnicity is becoming more and more the decisive factor in finding employment positions or renting apartments. The Turkmen language, which will be written in the Latin alphabet as of 1997, became the official language in 1990. However, there has been no mass emigration of the Russian population. The government has tried to prevent an exodus by means of an agreement with Russia about double citizenship, and through laws forbidding the export of private wealth. There is, none the less, a small trend in population decline among the Russians. Official statistics, which claim an increase of the Russian population in Turkmenistan, are apparently manipulated on purpose to present an image of a state free of conflicts. In 1991, 25 percent of the urban population were Russians, most of them in qualified positions. Likewise, 32 percent of the skilled workers and specialists were Russians, technical and scientific progress therefore depending to a significant extent on their presence. But it is precisely these specialists who have been leaving.3 The government tries to hinder this by preventing the export of private capital. Despite such measures, there is presently a shortage of qualified workers and specialists in the economy as a result of emigration. Urbanization of the society mainly took place from the 1920s to the 1960s when the urban population grew from 14 to 48 percent, but later on it decreased and the percentage of industrial workers generally diminished. The percentage of industrial workers of ethnic Turkmen origin was only 18

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percent in 1979, and has decreased since then.4 This indicates that there has been as yet no reorientation of the society from a rural to an urban way of life. The result is a conservative society clinging to tribal structures and their values, with very little inclination to understand the necessity for reforms. These conditions are favorable to the consolidation of existing power structures. On the one hand, they may create solid political structures, but they are not conducive to instituting the urgently required reforms which are indispensable for economic development. In view of the general shortage of qualified technical elites, the necessary preconditions for a stable prospering economic system are lacking. The authoritarian regime seems to be consistent with the mentality of the society in its tribal and local orientation. The different elections, held in traditional Communist style and confirming President Niyazov’s reign with 99 percent of the votes, may well provide an exaggerated picture. Nevertheless, it seems to be a fact that Niyazov, former First Secretary of Turkmenistan’s Communist Party, enjoys the support of almost the entire population. Calling himself Turkmenbashi, ‘Leader of the Turkmens’, he has his strongest support in the countryside despite all ethnic and tribal differences. He has managed to create an image of himself as supporter of the traditional values of Turkmen society and its political culture. The overlapping of old tribal and clan structures with Soviet-style political patterns of behavior has found its characteristic expression in the current political system of Turkmenistan – carried to extremes. Identification with Turkmenbashi has become a constituent element of the society. The exaggerations of the personality cult around Turkmenbashi, penetrating all spheres of life, sometimes takes on features of a Stalinist caricature in Western eyes. But for the rural population Niyazov is the khan standing above all particular clan interests and protecting the population from the abuses of bureaucratic tyranny. On the other hand, the Communist elements apparently outweigh the traditional elements, seeing that formerly a khan used to be elected at a meeting of the Council of Elders in a free election and for a limited time. There are real power struggles among the political class in the form of hidden struggles between different clans and tribes, but these have been cleverly exploited to consolidate Turkmenbashi’s position. In order to prevent a threat to his position by competing clans, Niyazov surrounded himself with loyal Russified functionaries, while the representatives of the Turkmen elite with their tribal connections – who could become dangerous – have frequently been replaced. Moreover, the tribe of the Teke, to which Niyazov himself belongs, has more influence in the state apparatus than any other. Turkmenistan was the first country among the Central Asian states to receive a new constitution, which defines the present form of government

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as a presidential republic. Only the president has the right to appoint and remove his local representatives, the hakims. The revival of the Council of Elders for various functions is less a restoration of traditional values than a way to employ officials of the old nomenklatura. There is a parliament (Majles) consisting of 50 members which exercises a legislative function. The People’s Council (Halk Maslahaty), Turkmenistan’s highest representative and legislative body, is no more than a rubber stamp used to legitimate the president’s orders. It consists of the members of parliament, the cabinet, the head of the High Court and the provincial governors. The president wields virtually unlimited power. He alone governs the country by means of his decrees and instructions. He respects the wishes of the roughly 100 tribes, among whom are seven powerful clans, thereby maintaining the myth that he is a coordinating figure. He managed with the help of a plebiscite, in which he received 99.9 percent approval, to make his position confirmed and legalized by the constitution up to the year 2004. According to the constitution, Turkmenistan is a democratic and secular constitutional state. In reality it is a presidential autocracy, which makes use of the constitutional idea of national unity to prevent any oppositional policies. Niyazov also managed to enlist Islam as one of the elements of Turkmen cultural identity, and to obtain the support of the Turkmen clergy, thus developing a curious blend of resurgent Islam and secular dictatorship with its personality cult. For this reason an addition to the prayers runs like this: ‘Almighty Allah, preserve independent Turkmenistan, vouchsafe success to our beloved homeland and honored President Saparmurat Turkmenbashi.’5 Whereas 180 mosques have recently been built, a strict state control of the Islamic hierarchy is being upheld. To underline this, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church in Turkmenistan was appointed as the deputy of the chairman of the Committee for Religious Affairs. Officially Turkmen Islam is portrayed as being unsuited to militancy by its very nature. Both the absence of a strong Islamicist movement and the weakness of the national– democratic opposition are of course the best preconditions for limiting intertribal disputes. Forming political parties has not been allowed in Turkmenistan. Niyazov’s own Democratic Party of Turkmenistan, the successor to the Communist Party, is of no real significance. After he had suspended the nationalistic opposition such as the Popular Front (Agzybirlik) while at the same time adopting views from their nationalistic programs, most of the critics of his regime emigrated to Moscow. Perhaps the most significant oppositional group is Fonds Turkmenistan, a political–cultural organization which was founded in 1993 in Moscow by the former foreign minister Abdy Kuliyev. The weakness of the political democratic opposition is the result not only of oppression by the regime, but it is clear that national sentiments

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have been moved more deeply by Turkmenbashi’s sensitivity to tradition than by the democratic demands of the opposition. But in spite of the widespread propaganda regarding Niyazov’s popularity, there are signs among the population of discontent which could increase under conditions of a further decline of the economic situation. The first public demonstration against the government on 12 July 1995 in Ashkhabad by some hundred people demanding new elections for the presidency and parliament surprised the authorities.6 To justify disapproval of democratic structures, the leadership puts forward an argument based on Turkmenistan’s special historical and social evolution. According to this argument, political parties would only be formed along ethnic lines, resulting in a break-up of society. Turkmenistan therefore is not ready for political pluralism; on the contrary, the unity of the nation has absolute priority. As corroborative examples, the cases of Azerbaijan and Tajikistan are cited to justify this argument. Economic Crisis Making use of the same argument, the government has slowed down economic reforms. Indeed, Turkmenistan does not possess the personnel staff or the experience to run private enterprises effectively. There are still no companies free from state control. When joint ventures with foreign investors are entered into, the state is the Turkmen business partner. Reform has undergone delays; there has only been small progress in the area of privatization. For 1995 and 1996 further postponement of privatization in the agricultural sector was announced. According to Western experts, the current policy will not lead to an economic structure based on autonomy. For purely economic reasons there should be a reform program with a decreasing role allotted to the state-regulated economy, along with the freeing of prices and reduction in state subsidization.7 The leadership’s hesitation seems to make sense for political reasons. However, the government’s policy can only succeed as long as enough export profits can be achieved. But the specialized orientation of the Turkmen economy, which is predominantly agricultural, with cotton accounting for 60 percent of the agricultural production, makes Turkmenistan highly vulnerable to external influences. Most of the country’s food has to be imported. Although more than half of the population lives in the countryside, the agricultural productivity is very low, with a hidden degree of unemployment. In Soviet times Turkmenistan served merely as a supplier of raw materials for the manufacturing industry in Russia. Today, therefore, the infrastructure for a manufacturing industry of its own is completely lacking. Turkmenistan is totally dependent on the industrial production of the other states in the

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CIS. The hitherto functioning central distribution system, however, has to a great extent collapsed. Turkmenistan, with its specialized economy, requires a well-organized foreign trade system. But up to now there have been no contracts with European countries in the gas sector; the natural gas exported to Europe goes across Russia together with gas from other regions of the Russian Federation. There have still not been any opportunities to finance and modernize the infrastructure by increasing export sales. Furthermore, most of the foreign trade still relies on bilateral agreements with other former Soviet republics. As there is an extreme lack of domestic capital, foreign investment is urgently needed to build up an independent economic structure. But foreign investors are often hesitant, because the infrastructural preconditions have not been provided and laws protecting foreign investment are repeatedly violated by presidential decree. Because of these obstacles some foreign enterprises in the natural gas and oil industry have withdrawn. Nevertheless, potentially Turkmenistan belongs to the most important conveyor countries in the energy sector.8 Thus in the beginning of 1993 the government concluded a project to extract resources in undeveloped areas. According to estimates by the World Bank, the project will require an investment of $8 billion up to the year 2000 for the gas industry alone.9 Other estimates by international financial organizations concluded in 1992 that the average per capita income could rise to $2500 through the exploitation and export of oil and especially gas.10 Thereupon the beginning of a new era of prosperity was announced based on a vision of a ‘Central Asian Kuwait’, in a country that had been the poorest and the most backward in the Soviet Union after Tajikistan. Straightway the population was freed from paying fees for heating and electricity. It was not long before partial payment had to be reintroduced and the propagandistic upsurge came to an end in 1993. The slogan ‘ten years of prosperity’ had to be changed to ‘ten years of stability’. Apparently, anticipated profits from gas exports, based on unrealistic predictions both in domestic and in foreign consumption, became the decisive factor in the Turkmen government’s formulation of economic policy. But Turkmenistan had to accept the bitter truth that the biggest oil deposits are of no benefit, when current customers are not able to pay their bills and future customers are too far away to be reached. All the countries that presently consume Turkmen oil and gas are in debt to Turkmenistan.11 In such cases where they pay, they do so by means of bartering goods. Particularly the Ukraine, one of the biggest customers, was not able to pay, with the result that Turkmenistan was forced to deliver only part of the previously stipulated amount and to limit its gas production. Total extraction decreased from 65.2 billion cubic meters in 1993 to 35.6 billion in 1994.12

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Other factors involved in this decrease were Russia’s blockade and Uzbekistan’s closing of the pipeline when Turkmenistan refused to pay higher transit fees. Dubious investments of the government like the construction of a large new airport and some luxury hotels also contributed to the crisis, which resulted in long-term debts and an acute shortage of foreign exchange. The only secure source of foreign exchange had been cotton, but it too was mainly sold on a barter basis. In 1994 Turkmenistan found itself in the midst of a severe economic crisis.13 Considering the extent of the current crisis and the fact that Turkmenistan was the republic with the lowest standard of living in the Soviet Union, there seems to be no reason for optimism. Today Turkmenistan still has the highest child mortality rate and the lowest life expectancy of the former Soviet republics. The hopelessness of the ecological situation accentuates the pessimistic prognosis. The permanently mounting salt content of the agricultural land from irrigation requires an increasing use of artificial fertilizers, resulting in a contamination of drinking water, which the population is freely supplied with. But being a major source of foreign exchange, the cultivation of cotton is going to be imposed. Natural Gas and Russian Dominance Under these circumstances, the extension of the gas-extracting industry seems to be the only viable alternative to alleviate the economic decline. However, this entails not only dependence on foreign capital and technical assistance, but also dependence on foreign and, particularly, Russian specialists. In order to maintain the unique status which it theoretically enjoys because of its rich resources, Turkmenistan is obliged to enter into new relationships of dependence without having rid itself of those of the recent past. The republic’s future development will be largely influenced by Russia, just as before. It is doubtful that Turkmenistan will manage to control its own resources and thus succeed in underpinning its nominal sovereignty by means of economic sovereignty. The biggest part of its gas and oil production is presently exported to Russia. Indeed, its entire oil industry is inextricably interlinked with that of the Russians. An economic reorientation towards the West or towards the countries of the Middle East could entail certain dangers for Russia. Russia might be deprived of essential raw materials and eventually suffer a reduction in its industrial potential, which could have repercussions for the economic complex of the entire CIS. The Turkmen leadership therefore tries to maintain a balance between emphasizing its independence and preserving or even increasing bilateral ties with Moscow. Although Turkmenistan shares no common border with

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Russia, it is noteworthy that most of its bilateral agreements have been concluded with Russia. On the basis of its current foreign policy doctrine regarding the ‘near abroad’, Moscow now attaches greater importance to Russian–Turkmen relations than in the period immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Since 1993 a new phase of cooperation in economic and military matters has been achieved, based on a treaty of friendship and cooperation signed in July 1992. Top priority is given to military cooperation with Russia. The security treaty between the two countries, with an agreement for a joint-defense effort along the southern border, signifies continuous dependence on Moscow with regard to foreign policy and security. There are 2,000 Russian officers in the Turkmen army; most of the officer corps is of Russian origin.14 While Turkmenistan pays the entire cost of maintaining Russian armed forces on its territory, Russia continues to have some strategic military bases. According to Ashkhabad’s official doctrine, its armed forces will not be bound by any military alliances, but in reality one is justified in describing Turkmenistan as a Russian ‘military protectorate’. When in May 1995 twenty-three bilateral agreements were signed consisting of trade and economic accords up to the year 2000, Yeltsin emphasized that Turkmenistan was the first country with which Russia had entered into a strategic partnership. Moscow needs Turkmenistan in order to reach Pakistan and India. Thus, included among the above-mentioned agreements is one which concerns a project to establish a transport route from St. Petersburg through Moscow, Astrakhan and Turkmenbashi (formerly Krasnovodsk) to the Turkmen–Iranian border from where as of 1996 the way will lie open to Iran and the Indian subcontinent.15 In the gas sector, Turkmenistan is definitely regarded as a rival by Moscow. Blockade of the pipeline is a most effective instrument in the competition in the gas sector. Moscow made use of this tactic in 1994, which resulted in a drastic reduction of Turkmen gas exports.16 As the only present export route runs through Russia, Turkmenistan pursues two distinct policies: building up its own infrastructure for independent gas export, while simultaneously seeking to develop cooperation with Russia in this sector. For 1995 Turkmenistan agreed to deliver 6 billion cubic meters of gas to Russia in exchange for military equipment. The policy towards customers within the CIS and the transport of gas to the Ukraine and the Caucasus via Russia was recently renegotiated with the powerful Russian gas concern Gazprom. By signing an agreement for closer cooperation with Gazprom in November 1995 and for forming a new joint Turkmen–Russian gas company called Turkmenrosgaz, new joint projects in the eastern regions of Turkmenistan and on the Caspian shelf have been launched.17 Turkmenrosgaz will have total control of Turkmen gas supplies destined for CIS

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markets. Under this agreement Turkmenistan will sell gas to the CIS countries that border on Uzbekistan, while Russia will ensure its delivery to the Ukraine and the Transcaucasian countries. Similarly a new payment procedure with the Ukraine was agreed on. Accordingly, Turkmenistan accepts to increase the volume of its gas export to the Ukraine by comparison with previous years. But from 1996 on, Ukrainian companies, not the government, will be responsible for payment. This new policy is an indication that the Turkmen government recognizes that for some time to come CIS countries will remain its main consumers. Likewise, new, more flexible methods of cooperation were worked out involving new partners. According to a trilateral agreement for closer economic cooperation signed by Turkmenistan, the Ukraine and Iran in September 1995, investment and trade are to be coordinated between the participating countries on a barter basis. Turkmenistan will supply gas to the Ukraine, while the Ukraine will provide railway materials to Iran for the Iranian railroad network, and Iran, in turn, is committed to building roads in Turkmenistan.18 Some energy experts believe that by continuing to supply oil and gas to debtor-countries, Ashkhabad is not only trying to overtake Russia in terms both of the scale of its gas exports and the extent of the debts owed to it by the importer countries, but also to obtain direct access to eastern and western Europe by means of leased seaports, many of which are linked by oil and gas pipelines to Turkmenistan.19 Consequently, Ashkhabad has agreed to lease from Kiev several moorings at Ukrainian ports and is intending to do the same with Georgia, thereby securing access to the Black Sea. As these countries are trying hard to increase their independence from Russia, Ashkhabad may see itself on the way to dominating the CIS gas market, partly in competition, and partly in cooperation, with Russia which itself has run up debts with Turkmenistan for gas supplies. Through cooperation in the gas sector Russia hopes to get a share in the planned pipeline to the West. Another plan is to take part in the construction of a pipeline via Turkmenistan to Pakistan in order to reach the East Asian markets. Indeed, the agreements are useful for Turkmenistan, while at the same time the concessions will be favorable to Russia. According to the Turkmen deputy prime minister, after two years at the least Turkmenistan will be capable of adopting an independent stance vis-à-vis Russia.20 The strengthening of Turkmenistan’s ties with its sourthern neighbors cannot be prevented by Russia. Consequently, Russia is trying to make use of these ties for its own purposes; through Turkmenistan’s future infrastructural connection with Iran, Russia hopes to gain access itself to the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean.

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The Concept of ‘Neutrality’ Turkmenistan’s contradictory situation is reflected in President Niyazov’s present foreign policy. Whereas the desire is enormous to preserve the independence that was presented to Turkmenistan without any efforts of its own and to make use of its independence for its own benefit, at the same time there is no escaping the recognition that Turkmenistan’s dependence on Russia and, to a lesser degree, on the other CIS countries, has increased. Since Turkmenistan is incapable of supplying its own food needs, when in 1995 it renegotiated its trade agreements with the countries of the Transcaucasus and the Ukraine, an agreement was reached that in the future the Ukraine will pay for its gas imports partly with foodstuffs. The specific economic constraints affecting Turkmenistan have resulted in a Turkmen foreign policy and regional orientation which is clearly in contrast with the policies adopted by the other Central Asian republics. Of all the Central Asian states, Turkmenistan maintains the closest and least strained bilateral relations with Russia and, at the same time, the most distanced relationship with the CIS. From the beginning of its independence, Turkmenistan assumed a reserved attitude towards the newly emerging CIS. It was the only Central Asian country which did not sign the CIS charter at the CIS summit in Minsk in January 1993. While declaring his full commitment to CIS membership, Niyazov made it clear that he was unwilling to subordinate his policies to one supragovernmental structure that might hamper his country’s legitimate interests. At the beginning of 1995 during the signing in Kiev of a contract to deliver gas to the Ukraine, Niyazov once again underlined his reluctance to accept stronger integration into the CIS. In his view the CIS ought only to be a consultative organ, while concrete agreements should be entered into bilaterally. Addressing Russia, he explained, ‘All attempts to create suprastate pacts are clearly in pursuit of selfish aims which result in a loss of independence.’21 Turkmenistan did not sign the Treaty of Collective Security and, together with Azerbaijan, opposed the collective protection of CIS borders, but in contrast to Azerbaijan, it signed a treaty with Russia concerning the protection of its border by Turkmen as well as by Russian border troops. Nor did it participate in most of the CIS agreements in the economic and social spheres. Niyazov considers the creation of the CIS as a Russian attempt to re-establish control over Central Asia, whereas in his view the organization should be a means for splitting up the territories of the former USSR in a civilized way. The principle of Turkmenistan’s foreign policy, therefore, is to prefer bilateral to multilateral relations and to prevent any submission to a transnational political organ or power. This policy found its most appropriate

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expression in Turkmenistan’s joining the Non-Aligned Movement in October 1995.22 Officially Turkmenistan is now recognized as a neutral state. With this status Turkmenistan is not allowed to conclude any form of a military treaty with the CIS. In addition to Turkmenistan’s wish for real independence, an aspiration which it has in common with the other Central Asian republics, there are some specific features which are characteristic of Turkmenistan’s present situation. • As a small, marginal and underdeveloped republic inside the USSR, there was a widespread general feeling of being particularly exploited and held back from fulfilling its own potential. • By its situation as the most sourthern republic directly bordering on Iran, it possesses the best geographic conditions of all the Central Asian republics for a reorientation towards the south. • The anticipated profits from the export of gas strengthened the Turkmen leader’s belief in his foreign-policy orientation. Whether such an envisaged reorientation will be successfully realized, or whether economic and geopolitical realities will demand a stronger integration in CIS structures, depends on the infrastructural linking of Turkmenistan with its sourthern neighbors. In this regard the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) could well play a positive role. This organization, founded in the 1960s by Turkey, Iran and Pakistan, was revitalized when the Central Asian republics joined in 1992, with the aim of coordinating their economic policies and providing the necessary infrastructure. But this seems to be mainly a matter of interest between Turkmenistan and Iran. In reality we see the same trend towards giving priority to bilateral ties as in the CIS. Whereas ECO presents itself in theory as one of the biggest economic unions, if one judges by concrete results it appears to have no other function than announcing ambitious intentions and making high-sounding declarations. Nevertheless, Russia seems to be afraid of the potential of this union. In 1993, no doubt fearing a decrease in CIS industrial potential and a weakening of the CIS transport network, Russia suddenly demanded that the Central Asian states make a clear choice between membership in the CIS or in ECO. As Turkmenistan, in principle, opposes any suprastate structure with a central organ, it appears sceptical regarding an eventual economic and political association of the Central Asian states as well. The concept of the Kazakh president Nazarbayev’s Euroasiatic Union has been rejected. In this context, too, bilateral agreements are preferred, though there have been a number of agreements concluded concerning regional cooperation. Nevertheless, joining the Kazakh–Uzbek–Kyrgyz partnership in establishing the

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Central Asian Union is not in Turkmen interest, neither would Niyazov like to join the Interstate Council of the three Central Asian presidents. Beside this aversion to dominant central structures, there is mistrust of Kazakhstan and especially of Uzbekistan, which is perceived as striving to acquire a certain form of hegemony in Central Asia. A potential point of controversy is the shortage of water resources in the region. By building a branch of the Karakum Canal, Turkmenistan is contributing to the tension that exists around this issue. Similarly, the Turkmen policy of opening up towards Iran was strongly criticized by the Uzbek president Karimov because of his fear of Islamicist infiltration. Nevertheless, cooperation is necessary in the region, if only from the point of view of preventing a common ecological catastrophe. At least with regard to the area of the Aral Sea, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are trying to achieve some degree of cooperation. Generally speaking, however, Niyazov’s pragmatic policy, free from ideological and pan-Turkic, or Turkestani, motives, will result in a further strengthening of the national Turkmen identity. Relations with Turkey and Iran The period of so-called ‘pan-Turkic romanticism’ with regard to Central Asia, and the idea of a union of all Turkic countries under the leadership of Turkey, seems to be over for the time being. After the initial pan-Turkic euphoria unleashed by the dissolution of the USSR, the relations of the Central Asian republics with Turkey have been characterized by a healthy pragmatism. This is partly the result of the disillusionment with Turkey’s economic potential in filling the vacuum left by the Soviet Union. Turkey was simply unable to keep many of its more ambitious promises, while on the other hand administrative obstacles to foreign investment often hindered the possible success of enterprises. Talk about the competition between opposing systems in Central Asia, between the secular, so-called Turkish model and the Iranian theocratic model, have turned out to be just a fiction of the West. But it is obvious that in this context Turkmenistan is nearer to Turkey. By the end of the year 1994 about 2,300 Turkmen students were studying in schools and universities in Turkey.23 Adopting the Latin alphabet will also bring Turkmenistan closer to Turkey. As Turks and Turkmens can understand each other with lesser problems than the other Central Asians, receiving Turkish television will bring some rapprochement of the two languages in the long run. Besides this emotional ethnic tie which is symbolized by the annual meeting of the Turkic presidents at the Turkic Summit, in the end the prospect of economic

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benefit prevails on both sides. For Turkey, Turkmenistan is a country of transit on the way to Uzbekistan, Turkey’s most important partner in Central Asia. More than that, Turkmenistan has been regarded essentially as a seller of natural gas. In a basic accord signed in October 1994, Turkey agreed to purchase natural gas throughout the next 30 years. Turkey is by far Turkmenistan’s biggest and most important supplier of technical and financial support. In 1993 it provided the Turkmen government with credits worth $92 million.24 Numerous Turkish companies have invested, though they are hampered by Turkmenistan’s current lack of foreign exchange.25 By the middle of 1995, a quarter of all registered foreign companies were Turkish, a clear indication that the Turks outnumbered all other foreign investors.26 Turkish investors are given preference and, in contrast to other entrepreneurs, none of them has since withdrawn. The Turkish International Cooperation Agency (TICA), which is responsible for assisting the Central Asian countries, is the biggest bilateral supplier of financial means. It assists the establishment of joint ventures and, preferably, of small and medium-sized Turkish enterprises. With its help, the road and railway network will be constructed and the transition to the Latin alphabet facilitated. The other important partner outside the CIS is Iran. Its significance arises from the 1,500 kms common border that extends between the two countries. Being a bridge that connects the Central Asian states with the world market, Iran is paying serious attention to developing a transport and communications network. Of great importance is the construction of the Tajan–Sarakhs–Mashhad railway, connecting Iran with all the former Soviet Central Asian countries. By means of this railway line, transit to the Persian Gulf and to Turkey will be guaranteed, enabling Turkmenistan to break out of its isolated position. In 1992 Tehran launched a diplomatic and economic offensive by founding the Organization for the Cooperation of the Caspian States, which in the beginning was regarded as an Islamic organization characterized by the slogan,‘The Caspian Sea must be Islamic!’ Today the Caspian Sea lies at the center of several conflicts of interest, basically because of its oil deposits, but also for ecological reasons. These conflicts can only be resolved through cooperation of all the littoral states. Thus Turkmenistan and Iran are bound together and dependent on one another in a new potential area of crisis. Some of the projects Iran has suggested, such as the establishment of a joint economic zone, were rejected by President Niyazov because of a shortage of capital or in order not to provoke Russia. There is no alternative to a particularly close cooperation with Iran. Iran is Turkmenistan’s only connecting link to Europe. The Turkmen government is fully aware of this and relations between the two countries have

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been continually extended. Contrary to Moscow’s wishes, most of the 1994 Turkmen cotton harvest was sold to Iran, thus avoiding one-sided dependence on Russia, hitherto Turkmenistan’s sole cotton purchaser.27 The Problems of Pipeline Politics The Turkmen–Iranian cooperation could give new impulses to the entire region. The agreement with Iran concerning the 4,000-km pipeline project to Europe was followed by the declaration of various other intentions, such as the construction of gas and oil pipelines to Pakistan with Russian participation, or the building of pipelines across China to the Japanese city of Nagasaki via Uzbekistan and Kyrgystan or Kazakhstan.28 Because of Turkmenistan’s geographical situation, which is the main obstacle for the realization of the Turkmen leadership’s visions, the construction of a pipeline system must be the top priority of the country’s political efforts. From the beginning there has been, at the center of these efforts, the idea of constructing a transcontinental pipeline to Europe via Iran and Turkey. An agreement with both countries concerning this project was reached in 1992. According to the agreement with Turkey, as of 1998 the Turkmen side was obliged to deliver 2 billion cbm. a year and 15 billion cbm from the year 2010 to 2028.29 After taking its share, Turkey was to be responsible for the transport of the gas to European customers. In addition to the agreement with Turkey – as a further step toward realizing the pipeline project – a 25–year accord with Iran starting from 1993 regulates the purchase of gas, with the aim of eventually delivering up to 28 billion cbm.30 After 25 years Iran, which is willing to meet a large part of the financing, would assume full rights to the pipeline which runs through 1,450 kms of its territory. Thus new dependencies for Turkmenistan will come. To speed up the process, in September 1995 Iran and Turkmenistan signed an agreement for transferring 8 billion cbm. of natural gas annually, for a period of 25 years, beginning in 1997. For this reason a 200-km pipeline – 140 kms in Turkmenistan and 60 kms in Iran – will immediately be constructed over the next two years. As Turkmenistan has great problems in raising the capital for the main gas pipeline project, this would bring the financial backing for it. Delivering gas to Iran to repay Iran for the construction of the pipeline can start earlier than proposed. Iran is to bear 80 percent of the cost for this first pipeline and will deliver fuel oil in exchange.31 According to the Iranian oil minister Aghazadeh, the agreement was designed to ‘speed up the process’ of constructing the entire gasline to Europe. By exporting oil and gas via the Gulf, the eventual 2,500-km pipeline to Europe will be partly financed, and Turkmenistan can remain independent of US banks.32

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In spite of these accords, the financing of the project is far from certain. The main obstacle is the resistance of the US government to a route running through Iran. This has caused hesitation and new considerations among international financing institutions. However, the project can only be realized through large credits of state export credit agencies and international banks. The international consortium Turkmenistan Transcontinental Pipeline (TTP), which was founded for this purpose, consisting of all the involved partners – among them Russia for political reasons – can supply only part of the necessary capital. Another problem not yet solved is the financing of the link with the existing Turkish–European system. The concept of the TTP has only scheduled a pipeline that ends just behind the Iranian– Turkish border. Considering all the different interests, the situation looks confused and still far from being solved. While relations between Turkmenistan and Iran are getting closer, thus improving the conditions for the construction of a pipeline, the United States is imposing a comprehensive economic embargo on Iran urging its allies to avoid doing business with Iran. On the other hand, Iran hopes to take Turkmen as well as Iranian gas to Europe across Turkey – a short link to be built to Turkey by 1998 for local use, as a first step toward completing the entire pipeline, has already been planned. Despite the numerous impediments, by the beginning of 1995, with the Turkish guarantee of purchase as the most important precondition, everything seemed to be settled. However, the American embargo made the consortium look for other arrangements. In the confusion the Turkish pipeline company Botash proposed the construction of a pipeline without Iran – beneath the Caspian Sea and via the Transcaucasus to Turkey.33 The chief motive behind the proposal was to couple this plan with another projected pipeline to pump Azerbaijani and Kazakh oil across Turkey to the Mediterranean. The confusion was increased even further when in August 1995 Niyazov – in the presence of Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Çiller – made it clear that he will insist on the Iranian route, arguing that the Caucasus would not be a stable area for a long time to come. He proposed a secondary pipeline to Turkey via Georgia, to be realized by extending the existing Russian pipeline to Georgia – on the condition that Turkey would only use this gas for its own energy needs. As Ankara has reached an agreement with Moscow for the delivery of natural gas from Russia and plans to increase the amount in the future, it did not respond to Niyazov’s offers.34 Turkey’s expectations, which started with the dissolution of the USSR, of getting its natural gas mainly from its ‘Turkic brotherland’ still seem to be far from realization. This situation – together with the formation of Turkmenrosgaz – is an indication that Turkmenistan is not able to compete with Russia in selling gas to Europe or to Turkey. Russia’s policy

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of exerting itself to dominate the sale of gas and oil to Europe seems to be more successful in Turkmenistan than in Azerbaijan. Obviously, the US policy towards Iran and its support for the government in Moscow weaken the position of the Central Asian countries as well as Turkey’s position. The fact that Tehran and Moscow are strategic allies in the region – Moscow basically approves the construction of a pipeline through Iran on the condition that Russia is involved –makes it impossible for Ashkhabad to respond to Turkey’s expectations. To all the participants, the planned cooperation with Iran in the oil and gas sector seems to be most logical. The same can be said of the intention to set up a tripartite consortium, composed of the oil companies of Iran, Turkmenistan and Russia.35 As there is no sign of solving the existing dilemma in the near future, Turkmenistan has no choice but to pursue the alternative to a southern pipeline. After Niyazov and the Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto had agreed in March 1995 on a pipeline to carry gas to Pakistan, on 21 October 1995 Niyazov signed an agreement in New York with the American oil company Unocal and the Saudi Arabian company Delta Oil concerning the construction of a 1,300-km gas pipeline to Pakistan via Afghanistan.36 Whether, however, this sourthern outlet for Turkmenistan’s natural gas to the Indian Ocean has a better chance of materializing than the Iranian– Turkish route remains an open question. Although Western banks and financing institutions are interested, the fact that there was no official Afghan representative present at the signing ceremony indicated the immediate problem. Building a sourthern gasline would give Turkmenistan the opportunity to reach the Indian market. Ashkhabad plans to sell oil and gas to India, with whom it also signed cooperation agreements in September 1995.37 But here again the dilemma still remains that there is no viable alternative to the logical and economic route across Iran. Outlook for the Future The Turkmen pipeline projects, sometimes described in the press as ‘Turkmen pipe-dreams’, appear to be part of the international competition for the energy resources in and around the Caspian Sea, a competition which today is once again referred to as the Great Game. In this ‘game’ Russia and the West act as the main players, Iran and Turkey as important additional actors. The Caspian region appears as a new focal point and a unit of its own on the geopolitical map, whereas previously it had primarily been seen as a natural boundary dividing Central Asia from the countries of the Caucasus. Turkmenistan is the link between the Caspian region and the other Central Asian countries. A new American–Russian conflict of interests is beginning to emerge in this region, the main focus of which is control

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over the oil resources and the policy towards Iran. At the same time Turkey and Russia are competing for influence in the Transcaucasus and Central Asia and for an oil pipeline from Baku to the West. On the other hand, Russia and Iran are beginning to outline a new strategic partnership involving far-reaching cooperation in the economic, nuclear and military fields. In these circumstances there is no choice for Turkmenistan but to try to please everybody, but especially Russia and Iran. Although it also needs Turkey’s cooperation, it is dependent on Russia and Iran for delivering its resources to the world market. The friendly strategic relations between Iran and Russia may be useful in this context. But the most serious obstacle is the US policy towards Iran. Turkmenistan’s foreign policy preference for bilateral and trilateral agreements instead of regional alliances appears to be consistent with logic. However, sometimes trilateral agreements, like the trade and cooperation agreement between Turkmenistan, Iran and Armenia, may have dangerous political repercussions, in view of the complicated relationship of Armenia and Iran to Turkey and Azerbaijan. Before Russia, Iran and Turkmenistan can sit down and enter a trilateral agreement concerning the development of oil deposits in the Turkmen section of the Caspian shelf, the question of what the Turkmen section of the Caspian shelf is must first be clarified. Turkmenistan presently finds itself right in the middle of the dispute about the legal status of the Caspian Sea. Clearly, until this dispute is settled, there will not be any large-scale exploitation of these oil resources. If Turkmenistan supports the position upheld by Russia and Iran that there ought only to be joint exploitation of the Caspian as a lake, in so doing it may be acting against its own interests, while annoying Turkey and the West. On the other hand, in face of Russian and Iranian interests Turkmenistan cannot afford to support the position of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, i.e. that the Caspian is a sea and ought to be divided into separate national sectors among the littoral states. Up to now the Turkmen leadership has refrained from adopting a clear position, proclaiming instead the necessity of cooperation among the littoral states. It appears quite obvious that despite every effort on Turkmenistan’s part to pursue an independent foreign policy, a state of dependence on outside forces has not vanished with the acquisition of nominal independence. Indeed, new relationships of dependence have been superimposed on the old ones. Dependence on Russia exists as before; dependence on Iran, Turkey and the West is new. To achieve the economic preconditions necessary for real political sovereignty, Turkmenistan requires the cooperation of all these powers. Realizing that the process of moving towards political and economic independence is seriously endangered by the present economic crisis,

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Ashkhabad took steps in 1995 to reorder its relations with its traditional customers for natural gas inside the CIS and to extend relations with neigboring countries, in particular with Iran – regarding the latter as a bridge to Pakistan, India and the Indian Ocean. Efforts to develop a gas pipeline and transport infrastructure to the South and East, as well as the projected pipeline to the West, are steps intended to diminish Turkmenistan’s dependence on Russia. Turkmenistan’s concern to maintain a balanced policy towards Russia and the other regional powers, but in particular its concern not to neglect its economic relations with Russia, is clearly illustrated by Ashkhabad’s agreement with Moscow to control jointly the supply of Turkmen gas to markets in the CIS. As the confusion about the pipeline routes indicates, there are a number of factors which make the realization of Turkmen ‘pipe-dreams’ extremely uncertain. It will certainly take some years before these matters are sorted out. Moreover, the outcome is almost entirely dependent on factors which Ashkhabad has no influence on, such as developments in Afghanistan and the Caucasus, or the American attitude towards Iran. Whereas the propaganda vision of a ‘Central Asian Kuwait’ had to be toned down, the slogan that Niyazov now stresses is that of an ‘Asian version of Switzerland or Austria’ – referring to Turkmenistan’s newly achieved neutral status and its preference for bilateral or trilateral agreements with neighboring countries. In claiming a special role for Turkmenistan as a neutral country, Niyazov apparently wishes to suggest independence. But neutrality in this case does not mean independence – certainly not from Russia – though the genuine ideal of independence does represent a goal for Turkmenistan to strive after. Whether Turkmenistan will one day achieve the status of a politically sovereign country and become an important regional center, due to its geopolitical situation, depends not only on the successful utilization of its natural resources, but also on its capacity to overcome its low level of social development. The dependence on foreign specialists and the absence of an active intelligentsia are serious handicaps. Under Niyazov, domestic stability appears to be the necessary precondition for carrying out this developmental process. Preserving stability from above by exercising a tight grip on society, without allowing a serious opposition, provides an image of a stable traditional society, but to the outside observer some uncertain factors remain. There is still a pre-eminence of tribal identities over and above any form of Turkmen national identity. When Niyazov’s reign one day comes to an end, power struggles will inevitably arise within the ranks of the numerically small political elite and the present image of stability may give way to an eruption of clan rivalries.

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Notes 1 Vostok 4 (1995), p. 49. 2 Vostok 4 (1995), p. 38. 3 In a poll 54 percent of Russians interviewed said they were willing to leave, 26 percent were undecided (Vostok 4 [1995], p. 51). 4 A.G. Nedvetsky, ‘Turkmenistan,’ in M. Mesbahi, ed., Central Asia and the Caucasus after the Soviet Union. Domestic and International Dynamics, Florida, 1994, pp. 191–206. 5 Central Asia Newsfile 2, no. 10 (October 1994), p. 11. 6 Moskovski novosti, July 23–30, 1995; Inside Central Asia, BBC Monitoring 81 (31 July–6 August 1995), p. 3. 7 See R.T. Hermann, Turkmenistan. Wirtschaftstrends zum Jahreswechsel 1994/ 95, p. 4.; BfAI Länderreport, February 1995. 8 According to recent estimates, Turkmenistan has 15.5 trillion cbm. of gas reserves and 6.3 billion tons of oil reserves (Vostok 4 [1995], p. 52). 9 G. Bahro, ‘Saparmurad Nijasov’, Orient 2 (1995), Opladen, p. 206. 10 In 1995 the average monthly income was about $10 (Vostok 4 [1995], p. 49). 11 In 1994 outstanding debts amounted to $1.6 billion (Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 21 January 1995). 12 In 1991 it had amounted to 85 billion (Die Presse, 21 March 1995; Nachrichten für Aussenhandel, 1 February 1995). 13 The gross domestic product dropped by 20 percent, while consumer prices rose by 1100 percent (Handelsblatt, 7 June 1995). The national currency, the manat, suffered an extreme devaluation and the US dollar has become the country’s real currency. Basic food has had to be rationed. The minimum wage was fixed at 1000 manat in April 1995, which according to A. Kuliyev corresponds to the price of four kilos of meat or potatoes. See A. Kuliyev, ‘Zwischen Diktatur und Sowejetnostalgie,’ Vostok 6 (1995), p. 23. 14 Economic and Scientific Central Asia Survey 1, no. 3 (March 1994), p. 39. 15 R. Götz and U. Halbach, Turkmenistan: Informationen über eine unbekannte Republik, Teil I: Landeskunde and politische Entwicklung. Berichte des Bundesinstituts für ostwissenschaftliche und internationale Studien, no. 42, 1995, p. 23. Cited from Turkmenskaya Iskra, 26 June 1995. 16 Due to Russia’s blockade of the export routes, Turkmenistan was forced to reduce its gas output in 1994 to 35.6 billion cbm., which was half its 1993 output (Die Presse, 21 March 1995). Gas output in 1991 had reached 85 billion cbm. 17 BBC Monitoring. Inside Central Asia 96 (13–19 November 1995), p. 3. Cited from Interfax, 15 November 1995. 18 BBC Monitoring. Summary of World Broadcast (SWB), ME/2407 MED/4, 13 September 1995. Cited from IRNA, 10 September 1995. 19 BBC Monitoring. Inside Central Asia 92 (16–22 October 1995), p. 2. Cited from Rossiskaya Gazeta, 14 October 1995. 20 Vostok 4 (1995), p. 53. 21 Süddeutsche Zeitung, 21 January 1995. 22 Following a resolution submitted by Turkey and other states, the UN General Assembly recognized Turkmenistan’s neutrality on 12 December 1995. See BBC Monitoring. Inside Central Asia 100 (11–17 December 1995), p. 3.

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23 Nachrichten für Aussenhandel, 30 December 1994. 24 Economic and Scientific Central Asia Survey 1, no. 9 (October 1994), p. 39. Cited from Asia, 30 August 1994. 25 By 1994 Turkish investments had reached $650 million. Outstanding debts to Turkish firms were $100 million by the end of 1994. See R.T. Hermann, ‘Turkmenistan,’ Wirtschaftstrends zum Jahreswechsel 1994/95 and BfAI Länderreport, February 1995, p. 3. 26 According to the Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations, out of 221 foreign companies 54 were from Turkey, 27 from Iran, 20 from Afghanistan and Russia, 12 from the USA and 10 from Germany. See Eurasian File, TICA 45 (November 1995), p. 2. 27 In 1995 Turkmenistan exported its cotton to 22 countries. Eurasian File, TICA 40, no.1 (September 1995), p. 1. 28 Middle East Economic Survey (MEES) 38, no. 4 (23 October 1995), p. A7. 29 Nachrichten für Aussenhandel, 22 February 1995. 30 Middle East Times, 4–10 September 1994. 31 Summary of World Broadcast, ME/2401 MED/2, 6 September 1995. Cited from ITAR-TASS, 4 September 1995. And see Middle East Economic Digest, 15 September 1995, p. 18. 32 The Turkmen gas will flow through the existing pipeline running from Sarakhs to Rasht, where it joins the trunkline from the south (Middle East Economic Digest, 15 September 1995, p. 18). Importing gas from Turkmenistan would free gas for export that is currently shipped to northern Iran from the south (Middle East Economic Survey 38, no. 4 [23 October 1995], p. A7). 33 Turkish Daily News, 8 July 1995. 34 Turkish Daily News, 18 October 1995, p. A2. And see R. Olson, ‘Russia, Turkey and the Turkmenistan Gas Pipeline,’ Middle East International, 22 September 1995, pp. 18–19. 35 This was discussed at a meeting of the Turkmen Vice-president Ishanov and the Iranian Minister of Oil Aghazadeh. See Summary of World Broadcast, MEW/ 0415 WME/2, 19 December 1995; cited from IRNA, 10 December 1995. 36 Both companies are also members of the Azerbaijani oil consortium. Turkmenistan has guaranteed to deliver to them 25,000 billion cubic feet. See the Middle East Economic Survey 39, no. 4 (23 October 1995), p. A5; and the Financial Times, 23 October 1995, p. 5. 37 Deutsche Welle Monitor-Dienst Osteuropa, 22 September 1995; cited from PTI.

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The Hazara of Afghanistan: The Thorny Path Towards Political Unity, 1978–19921 KRISTIAN BERG HARPVIKEN

Prior to the Communist coup in 1978, the Hazara had been politically uninfluential outcastes in Afghanistan. Small-scale, localized identities predominated among them, and the state maintained control by dealing directly with local power holders. Ethnic or regional identities were weak. However, by April 1992 when the Communists abdicated, the Hazara had a strong political and military organization, the Hezb-e Wahdat (Unity Party), capable of formulating demands for concessions at the national level. The Hazara territory, Hazarajat, was under Wahdat control, as were large parts of Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul. The intention of the present paper is to explore how the previously unpoliticized Hazara population managed to achieve such a high degree of political organization. The focus here will be on the main political groups that were involved in the process towards unity. Afghanistan was ruled by the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) from April 1978 to 1992, a period of widespread armed conflict. The PDPA ruled with Soviet backing and with a sizeable Soviet military presence from late 1979 to early 1989. During the period of war dramatic political shifts took place in Afghanistan in general, and among the Hazara in particular. Despite the flood of writings on Afghanistan since the Soviet invasion, political change among the Hazara has scarcely been studied. With the single exception of Olivier Roy,2 authors on the war in Afghanistan have only dealt with the Hazara in passing.3 This paper seeks to demonstrate that the Hazara case deserves wider attention, and that any political solution to the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan will have to take account of the dramatic shifts in political organization that have occurred among the Hazara. Whereas the first two sections of this paper are devoted to background, the next four deal with distinct phases of Hazara politics in the period from 1978 to 1992. Section one introduces the Hazara by focusing on their relations with other ethnic groups in Afghanistan. The second section reviews the forms of leadership that had existed in pre-war Hazara society. Section three describes the early uprisings that took place after the 177

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Communist coup; section four the first attempt at regional coordination; section five the emergence of Islamicist groups and the resulting internal conflict; section six the formation of an organization for political unity. A final section draws some general conclusions based on the information presented here. The Hazara in the Context of Afghanistan Since Afghan and Pashtun virtually have the same meaning, the name Afghanistan literally means the land of the Pashtuns, despite the fact that the country is actually multi-ethnic in composition. The most numerous groups are the Pashtuns, Tajiks, Uzbeks, and the Hazara. For more than two centuries the rulers of Afghanistan have been almost exclusively recruited from within the Pashtun ethnic population. In what follows below I will attempt to situate the Hazara within Afghanistan by outlining their ethnic markers, economic activities, and their pre-war political participation. Their strongly Mongoloid appearance make the Hazara clearly distinguishable from other people of Afghanistan.4 Most Hazara have broad faces with flat noses and narrow eyes, scant facial hair, and are short in stature. Their origin is disputed, but the most likely theories suggest they are of Eastern Turkic or Mongol descent. Hazarajat, the land of the Hazara, comprises the mountainous central areas of Afghanistan. It is unique in the context of Afghanistan – both because its permanent population is uniethnic, and because it does not overlap with other states. A traveler knows when he has entered Hazara territory; the geographical boundary coincides with a political boundary between distinct populations. Although a few Hazara are Ismaili Shiites or Sunnis, the overwhelming majority are adherents of Imami Shiism. Indeed, the ethnic boundary is defined by membership in the religious sect and ethnic Hazara who are not Imami Shiites are usually not considered to be Hazara.5 This applies to the so-called Aymaq Hazara, who are Sunni Muslims. Though they are ethnically Hazara, they are not defined as such – either by themselves or by others. Interesting in this connection is the Shiite institution of taqiyya, dissimulation of one’s religious beliefs to avoid persecution.6 While other Shiites in Afghanistan have practised taqiyya widely, the Hazara have been hindered in this by their distinct phenotype. Being a religious minority in Afghanistan, the Shiites have been oriented towards Iran. Religion and politics are closely intertwined in Afghanistan, and differences between religious communities have far-reaching implications. Disputes frequently revolve around questions of legal practice. Islam, in its several varieties, is a legal code. The law of Afghanistan refers to Islamic law, of the Hanafi Sunni rite. The Shiites, however, find anything but their own Jacfari rite

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unacceptable. Any court decision has the potential for actualizing sectarian domination. Therefore, the practical application of the law is a major area of conflict between the different religious sects, and consequently between Hazara and non-Hazara as well. The Hazara have long been looked down upon by members of all other ethnic groups. Their status has been so low that it can be argued that the social boundary in itself functions as an ethnic marker: ...there was the thoroughly effective subjugation of one ethnic group by another, and of one religious sect by another – a situation which, I suggest, progressively appears more like the social distinction between groups in a caste hierarchy.7

Marriage preferences provide another indication of the low social standing of the Hazara. Arranged marriages are of major significance because they stand at the center of most economic and political activities, and are a principal means of expressing social status.8 The Hazara intermarry with most groups – but almost exclusively as wife-givers, not as wife-takers. A Pashtun never gives a wife to a Hazara; and when a Pashtun marries a Hazara woman, it is hardly ever his first wife. The basis of economic life in Hazarajat is subsistence farming involving mixed agriculture. The climate is harsh, the summer season short, and cultivation is difficult in the rugged terrain. Additionally, there have been continuous disputes over land after the state opened up the area as summer pastures for Pashtun nomads towards the end of the last century. Since that time, the nomads have also increasingly gained control over the markets in Hazarajat, and have managed to appropriate land by establishing debt relations.9 Due to the scarcity of internal resources, labor migration has become a major factor in the economy of Hazarajat. It has been estimated that 30 to 50 percent of the population in the poorest villages practised labor migration in the late 1960s.10 Permanent Hazara settlements exist in Quetta in Pakistan and Mashhad in Iran. The Hazara largely form a new proletariat in Afghanistan’s major cities. Networks based on family or common place of origin have played a major role in mediating information and job opportunities. Communication between new settlements and localities in Hazarajat has been extensive. The political influence of the Hazara has been limited, particularly since the 1890s when King Abdurrahman secured administrative control over Hazarajat. Hazara influence was limited at both the local and the national level. At the local level, state penetration meant that state agents imposed formal regulations or duties where local mechanisms of decision-making and conflict-resolution had previously functioned.11 Administrators appointed by the state belonged to the same ethnic group as the nomads, and tended to side with them in disputes. In court cases, law referring to Sunni

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doctrines was applied, adding to the perceived discrimination. At the national level, Hazara political participation was restricted. Administrative divisions were gerrymandered to make the Hazara a minority in each district, or to make Hazara districts numerically large without granting them a proportionate number of representatives.12 As we shall see, improved access to political participation is today a major issue in Hazara politics. Political Organization and Leadership The dynamics underlying the recent political shifts among the Hazara can best be understood by examining the role of four potential leadership figures within the community, each entailing a different form of social organization. These leaders are the mir, the sayyed, the shaykh, and the radical secular activist. In what follows I will describe these four leadership categories in terms of their identities, resources, interests, and political ambitions. The mir is the traditional leader in rural Hazara society.13 His power derives from two distinct sources: economic resources and social connections. A person who commands one of these sources, however, is likely to possess the other as well, since political and economic power tend to go hand in hand. Before the state expanded into Hazarajat at the end of the nineteenth century, the Hazara had been organized in independent and conflicting tribes led by mirs.14 When the state subjugated Hazarajat, tribal power was crushed. Nevertheless, the traditional families managed to retain an important role for themselves, but now the mir became a broker between the state and the local population. Since that time, the mir reflected a smallscale, local identity which functioned as the primary basis for solidarity within the rural population. Different social segments in a village or a valley formed a unit for all practical purposes. At the local level, the mir was the sole functioning channel for political influence. On the one hand, the mir acted as a patron for his local clients; on the other hand, he was himself effectively a client of the state. The social institution of the mir had little potential for larger-scale organization. Traditionally, the sayyed was the functioning religious leader in rural Hazara communities. The sayyed derives his authority from the central Shiite doctrine concerning the future return of the Twelfth Imam. The Twelfth Imam will establish divine order on earth15 and it is believed that he will appear from among the descendants of the Prophet’s family, i.e. from among the sayyeds. Sayyeds possess miraculous powers, karamat. They are considered to be Arabs, and are detached from the Hazara kinship system. In principle they do not intermarry with the Hazara, although in practice they often take Hazara wives. The sayyed network extends over the

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whole of Hazarajat, and functions at both a local and a regional level. The role of the sayyed in integrating Hazara society has been crucial, particularly in times of crisis: ...it is not the Hazara who integrate the Sayyed population, but the Sayyed who manage to unite the continually contending and divisive groups and tribes of the Hazara, as well as other Imami groups, into a political unit.16

Most sayyeds have not received a formal religious education, but those few who have enjoy a significantly enhanced prestige as religious leaders. The sayyeds represent a religious identity, with the Shiite community as the ultimate boundary. They are self-contained as a group, and relate to their Hazara followers as patrons to clients. The sayyeds as a group can activate a regional, horizontal identity, whereas the Hazara client can mobilize only a vertical tie to the local sayyed. Hence there tends to be an inherent limitation on the sayyed’s ability to represent the wider Hazara population. A relatively new phenomenon is the influence of the trained cleric, the shaykh.17 The Hazara variant of Shiism has emphasized tradition more than formal theology. In other Shiite communities the clergy has played a central role, as in Iran where the clergy has been openly engaged in politics from the early 1960s. In Afghanistan’s cities the sayyed became increasingly challenged by the shaykh as a religious leader. The major Shiite educational centers, situated in Qum (Iran) and in Najaf (Iraq), were also attended by students from Afghanistan. From the early 1950s those who returned from abroad with a religious training started small political circles, and throughout the 1960s numerous religious schools were established. The Shiite clergy is a hierarchical institution. Every believer has to follow a mujtahed, a person well-versed in Islam. For the shaykh, the ultimate basis of identity is the ummat, the Islamic community. As the basis of Islamic internationalism, the ummat has received increasing attention from several contemporary Islamic thinkers, the foremost among them being Ayatollah Khomeini. In Afghanistan, the major Islamicist group was the Javanan-i Musalman (Muslim Youth), ideologically in line with the international Muslim Brotherhood. This movement was originally cross-sectarian, as was the Madrasa-ye Qur’an (School of the Koran), another Islamicist intellectual group. Cross-sectarianism among the Islamicists lasted well into the 1970s.18 Somewhat confusingly, a sayyed may also be a shaykh, causing the two groups to overlap in part. Among the educated youth, radical secular groups have also been influential. Within the Hazara community such groups began to appear from the mid-1960s.19 Those who received an education came mainly from wealthy families, often being the sons of a mir. Many of them became radicalized during their student days, joining leftist or nationalist

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movements. Some joined the Islamicists. Family ties between radicalized youth and the mirs were reflected in practical politics, as the two often acted as allies. Several Hazara nationalist organizations emerged, whose aim was to advance the rights of the Hazara.20 The most prominent of these were the Javanan-e Mughul (Mongol Youth) and the Tanzim-e Nasl-e Nau-e Hazara (Organization of the New Generation of Hazara). The nationalist groups were the only ones that adopted Hazara identity as the basis for their organizations. Within the spectrum of leftist organizations, young Hazara tended to prefer those with a Maoist rather than a Soviet orientation. The Soviet-oriented PDPA, that eventually became the ruling party, was established in 1965. In 1967 there was a split within its ranks, due as much to fear of Pashtun hegemony as to ideological differences, and the Maoistoriented Shucla-ye Javid (Eternal Flame) was established. Shucla was largely dominated by intellectual Hazara, with considerable support from other ethnic minorities.21 The party criticized minority rather than class discrimination in its propaganda, but on a multi-ethnic, not on a nationalistic basis. For the most part, the existence of political parties was a new phenomenon with little support outside the major cities. In rural Hazarajat, the mirs had dominant influence, effectively operating as a client of the government, and relying on the religious legitimization provided by the sayyeds. The overwhelming majority of the Hazara population attached little significance to their ethnic identity; local ties were of primary importance. The Communist Coup and Early Resistance The PDPA was a small elitist organization which seized power by means of a coup in April 1978. The party inherited a state bureaucracy that was capable of functioning under the status quo, but ill-suited for implementing political reforms. As radical forces of the PDPA gained prominence by the summer of 1978, dramatic reforms were initiated regarding rural debt, bride-price, land tenure, and efforts to promote literacy. Military and administrative leaders were replaced with young and inexperienced party members.22 While the content of the proposed reforms was not necessarily unpopular, implementation was carried out with a degree of brutality that led to massive revolt throughout the country. A fragile political balance formed the basis of the government’s control in Hazarajat, with the mirs functioning as middlemen.23 Although it could not offer any alternative organization, the PDPA challenged the mirs, who had no choice but to resist. First, there was no room for the mirs in the new administrative set-up; they were deprived of their major resource, their special relationship with the state. Second, they were under personal threat,

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as the government engaged in a campaign to eliminte the ‘feudal authorities’. Any threat to the patrons of a village, however, was also a threat to the rest of its inhabitants, as long as no alternative organization existed with a capability of performing the function that the patrons had always performed. There first uprisings were largely spontaneous and uncoordinated. Political elites, whether traditional or modern, religious or secular, were all targets of an extermination campaign launched by the government. Hence, all members of the elite were forced to resist, and internal differences were set aside. Besides targeting the ‘feudal authorities’, a top government priority was the elimination of religious elites.24 In Hazarajat the sayyeds also played an important role in the early uprisings – occasionally as leaders, but primarily by legitimizing the mir-centered resistance, building on the traditional alliance between sayyed and mir. Formal political parties played a limited role in the early uprisings, although the Islamicist groups provided people with the ability to act as resistance leaders at a lower level. In the cities, secular radical organizations protested against the new government by means of protest marches and small-scale actions of armed resistance. There was no internal competition for an organized following in Hazarajat in this period; local resistance fronts included people whose political orientation would normally be irreconcilable. With the challenging group in control of the state, one might have expected the formation of unity on a larger scale, but the initial resistance was local in scope. Internal preconditions for regional unity were not in place. Throughout Hazarajat, local identities were by far the most relevant, and the current form of political leadership was counter-productive to lagerscale mobilization. To the extent that any actions were coordinated, they were no more than a series of short-lived, ad hoc coalitions. Cooperation between Hazara and non-Hazara was not rare in the first uprisings. As early resistance was led by the local and secular mirs, neither ethnic nor religious boundaries were activated, and continued reliance on inter-ethnic ties was relatively easy. The relative success of the first uprisings against the government had important effects: ...in the Hazarajat the oppositional groups were able to remove the administrative authorities and to establish an autonomy; at the same time the ideological elements of a pariah people took shape during the beginning process of re-interpretation of political and religious ideas.25

Although it is tempting to link events in Hazarajat to the Iranian Revolution, such a view is extremely difficult to substantiate. The first uprisings in Hazarajat occurred in autumn 1978, at the same time as the intensity of protests in Iran increased. The numerous local uprisings in Hazarajat came in spring 1979. By then Iran had experienced a successful Islamic revolution.

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Events in Hazarajat make it clear that there was little direct contact with Iran. None the less, the success of a religiously grounded revolution among co-religionists in Iran served as an inspiration among the Shiites in Hazarajat. The religious spirit was contagious and Iran had demonstrated a new range of possibilities for political action. However, material support from abroad to resisting groups in Hazarajat was negligible in these early years of conflict. Early Regional Cooperation: The Shura The government soon found itself entrenched, with new revolts occurring across the country. Hazarajat was left to itself, as the government was forced to concentrate on other areas. However, a sense of grave external threat prevailed among the Hazara, and the initiative was taken to establish regional coordination. The Shura-ye Enqelab-e Ettefaq-e Eslami (Council of the Islamic Revolutionary Alliance) was set up in September 1979. The Shura was seen as an umbrella organization with the purpose of facilitating mutual understanding about resistance and local governing. The mirs were heavily represented in the initial meetings, but the sayyeds came to dominate the Shura’s top positions. Indeed, it was traditional for the sayyeds to play a prominent role in times of crisis. Moreover, the Iranian Revolution gave a boost to the credibility of a religious leadership in politics; it was expected that a struggle in Afghanistan led by religious leaders would receive largescale financial and military backing from Iran. As in the past, the mirs preferred to rule from behind the scenes, and there was no reason to expect the old alliance with the sayyeds to break down.26 The sayyeds were alone in commanding a support network on a regional scale. Prior to the war, this network had primarily dealt with religious matters. After the mir-state relationship broke down, the network proved its ability to function as a force for integration and to provide political leadership. In principle the Shura was not restricted to the Hazara ethnic group. However, the sayyeds, who dominated the organization, had few inter-ethnic contacts, and no status outside the Shiite community. The scope of their network was largely confined to Hazarajat. It is a paradox that the mirs, who lacked a regional network, had far better inter-ethnic ties than the sayyeds. While the Shura attempted to distance itself from secessionist ambitions, the political demands it put forward regarding a post-war Afghanistan centered on two issues: administrative independence for Hazarajat, and the application of law based on the Ja1fari rite for Shiites in Afghanistan.27 The Shura appears to have had extensive popular support in these first years of its existence. With the Soviet invasion at the end of 1979, the conflict in Afghanistan

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was transformed into a large-scale war. The Soviet presence also affected politics in Hazarajat, as the Soviets were perceived to be a massive external threat. None the less, negotiations that were under way to reduce armed operations in Hazarajat continued and led to a cessation of hostilities by 1981. Gradually the perception of threat faded. Meanwhile, in the course of 1980–81, seven resistance parties were formally established, all with an explicit Sunni Islamic orientation and based in Pakistan.28 This had serious consequences for the Hazara, as it created a sectarian boundary for joint resistance, leaving the Shiites out. Most importantly, the Shiites were denied any share in the aid that came from the international community – humanitarian and military aid alike. Soon after its establishment, the Shura started to build up a state-like administrative apparatus which became operative throughout 1980 and 1981.29 The Shura effectively demobilized the population and went as far as to disarm people. Taxation and conscription became a heavy burden on the population. The major benefit that the Shura had to offer was security. This was important as long as the threat from the government and its Soviet allies was seen to be immediate. However, as the perceived threat from outside failed to materialize, the Shura’s demands on its citizens appeared to exceed what it could offer in return. The situation was exacerbated by the imposition of formal control mechanisms, a major element of the administrative expansion. The dominating sayyeds formed an endogamous group, with the result that the Shura did not possess a popular representative character as political leadership positions were effectively closed to the public. With external threat fading, internal splits emerged. A campaign to oust secular leaders, in particular the mirs, was initiated by the sayyeds in alliance with the shaykhs. The local dominance of the mirs had been undermined by the PDPA government, which weakened their political power base. The mirs also suffered grave losses in economic and social resources, such as loss of herds and emigration of dependents. In fact, the changing role of the mir (malek or khan among other ethnic populations) was a ubiquitous phenomenon throughout rural Afghanistan during the initial years of resistance. Although the war initiated a dramatic decline in the power of the mirs, their position had already been in danger before the war, as more people became increasingly independent through education or migratory work. Faced with war, the mirs were not only losing in terms of resources, but they also lacked the ability to satisfy the organizational requirements of a long-term regional resistance. In particular, the mirs did not command a network with a trans-local scope, whereas the sayyeds did. By mid-1981, the sayyeds, supported by the shaykhs and the Islamicists, challenged the mirs over political control. There is considerable overlap between the identity of

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sayyeds and shaykhs. The latter, inspired by the successful Iranian Revolution, aimed at intensifying the political struggle, and had considerable influence among the sayyeds. The two religious elites formed an alliance aimed at ousting the secular power holders, the mirs, from Hazarajat. This initiative received considerable political, and some material, backing from Iran. However, from September 1980 Iran’s major foreign policy issue was the war with Iraq. Iran was hampered from becoming heavily involved with the Afghan resistance, since it was crucial not to provoke the Soviet Union, the major supplier of arms to Iraq.30 In early 1980 the radical secular groups largely faded away.31 They were heavily targeted by the Soviets, had difficulty in mustering popular support, and they failed to obtain the expected Chinese backing. On the fringes of Hazarajat, Harakat-e Eslami (Islamic Movement) operated, a group frequently described as moderate Islamicists. Militarily they were relatively strong, recruiting mainly from among educated youth in the cities. Harakat voiced opposition both to Khomeini’s political Islamicism, and to Hazara ethnicist tendencies. As to the Shura and its broad support, only the massive political and military threat posed by the Soviets and the PDPA government was capable of promoting mobilization based on larger-scale identities. In Hazarajat the sayyeds alone possessed some degree of large-scale organization, even though they primarily fulfilled religious functions. With increasing insecurity, their regional scope gained prominence, and their network took on political functions. Being religious leaders, however, the sayyeds had no potential for mobilizing followers beyond the sectarian boundary. The exclusion of all Shiite groups by the Pakistan-based resistance also contributed to delineating a boundary of an ethnic-regional character. What appeared as unity in Hazarajat proved to be short-lived; as soon as the Soviet-led military machine turned its attention away from Hazarajat, internal splits appeared. The resources mobilized to face external threat were diverted into internal competition. The case of the Shura aptly illustrates how the erosion of external threat could bring about a shift from unified group mobilization to internal competition for followers. None the less, the emergence of the Shura had fundamentally altered the stage of internal conflict: the struggle for dominance would now to be played out on an ethnic–regional basis. The Islamicist Challenge Hazarajat continued to be left to itself, while the Soviets and the government concentrated their efforts on other parts of the country. Popular support for the Shura was decreasing as the external threat faded. In Iran the radical Islamicists gained full political control in 1983, which led to further support

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for the radical Shiite resistance in Afghanistan. Two parties, the Sazman-e Nasr (Organization of Victory) and the Pasdaran-e Jehad-e Eslami (Guards of the Islamic Holy War), were the major instruments in this respect. Nasr had been cooperating closely with Iran’s Foreign Ministry at least since 1980. Pasdaran was established after an Iranian mission to Hazarajat in the summer of 1982 found that Nasr was inadequate for fulfilling Iran’s aims. The party was under the authority of the Iranian Pasdaran based in Qum.32 Iran provided training for Islamic militants. From 1982 to 1986, the Iranian transfer of arms reached its peak, although it was still limited in comparison with the supplies received by the Pakistan-based resistance. Iran’s ambition was primarily to alter the balance between the parties in Hazarajat, rather than to fight the Soviet forces.33 The sayyeds did not manage to obtain either Iranian or any other foreign backing. The rule of the sayyeds was doomed to be short-lived, not least because the Shura’s practices alienated the population: Unlike the remainder of the resistance movement this administration is far removed from the people and has developed into a petty bureaucracy, complete with red tape, inefficiency and often corruption, specific office opening hours, official stamps and so on.34

The Shura demanded hefty contributions from the population in the form of conscription and taxation, but failed to develop any form of representation. In Hazarajat under the mirs, it had been at least conceivable that any individual could gain political position, whereas the sayyeds constituted a self-contained caste, which reduced direct representation to zero. It became increasingly difficult for the Shura to maintain popular support. In 1982 the Islamicists within the Shura allied themselves with Nasr and tried to launch a coup. Hazarajat became the scene of civil war. In 1984 the Shura was driven out of its headquarters and the Islamicists emerged as the dominant force. Still, the Shura as well as other political groups continued its opposition, and Hazarajat remained in effect an arena of internal warfare up to 1989. The Islamicists insisted that their goal was control of Hazarajat, which meant subduing the remnants of other parties, as well as taking the necessary steps against local opposition. In Hazarajat the civil war cost more lives than the war against the government.35 The importance of the internal war was certainly no less than that of the war against the Soviets: In an interview which I had in October 1984 in Quetta with representatives of the Nasr-Party, they admitted point-blank that there were two wars raging in Afghanistan – one against the Soviet invaders and one between the various resistance movements themselves; the latter is almost more important as it must now be decided how the future Afghanistan is to look politically and socially.36

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The Islamic clergy, the shaykhs, were dominant within the Islamicist organizations that challenged the Shura. As indicated above, being a shaykh is not incompatible with being a sayyed, and many of those who have received an Islamic religious training come from a sayyed family background. This ‘dual identity’ became a central aspect of the internal conflicts in the Shura. Many of the higher officials, who were sayyeds, turned against the Shura in the 1982 attempted coup, thus activating their identity as shaykhs. With the sayyeds holding both political and religious power through the Shura, an unacceptable situation was created for the shaykhs. The latter had become politicized through their studies, organizational activities and the radicalizing impact of the Iranian Revolution, and they now expected to play a role in politics. Many of the shaykhs might have found it acceptable to assume a strictly religious function but the power of the sayyeds effectively precluded the development of a mujtahed-system of religious practice, as this would have undermined their own political position. In the end, an acceptable role for the shaykhs, whether in religion or in politics, came to depend on the success of the Islamicist parties. Though the existence of an international Shiite clergy is not a result of the Iranian Revolution, Iran was quick to exploit the clergy in an effort ‘to export the Revolution’.37 The Shiite clergy of Afghanistan had an educational background in common with the Iranian clergy; many had even studied under Ayatollah Khomeini in Najaf in Iraq. Within the Hazara student environment in Najaf and Qum several political groups had existed. Contacts established here were to serve as the foundation for the radical resistance organizations that later emerged in Afghanistan. The Islamicist groups gained control according to two distinct patterns. In the first pattern, the Islamicists were seen as the natural defenders of civil society against Shura excesses. This pattern dominated where the movement’s leaders were locally established, often running a madrasa, a form of Islamic religious school.38 The other pattern operated when the Islamicists had no position in the local community. This was the case in Lal-wa Sarjangal and Daykundi, where the locals were hostile, and regarded the Islamicists as an occupation force. This situation entailed serious problems for the establishment of a working local administration – problems that were solved by resorting to repressive measures. With the definite disappearance of an external threat, the religious alliance that had briefly dominated Hazarajat broke down. Many who had the double identity of sayyed and shaykh now chose to activate the latter at the expense of the former as the Islamicist parties intensified their efforts to gain power in Hazarajat. Such was the case of the defectors from the leadership of the Shura. Whereas both the mirs and the sayyeds had operated on the basis of a patron–client relationship, the change to Islamicist rule

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implied a change in organizational mode. The Islamicists operated on the basis of a modern type hierarchical organization, where individual achievement replaces ascribed status. This change can thus be seen as a transition from a non-representative system to a more representative one. One aspect of modern organization, in contrast to a patron–client based relationship, is the greater potential to generate large-scale solidarity. While the latter builds on individual, vertical relations, the former emphasizes non-personal, horizontal relations. Both the sayyeds and the shaykhs aimed at regional political dominance – but the shaykhs enjoyed a comparative advantage through their mode of organization. Towards Ethno–Religious Unity: Hezb-e Wahdat In February 1989 the Pakistan-based Sunni parties set up an interim government in Rawalpindi. The aim was to be ready to replace the Communist government in Kabul, whose fall was seen as imminent in view of the Soviet withdrawal which was soon to be completed. A preliminary agreement regarding the Rawalpindi Shura had granted participation to the Shiite parties. But at the February 1989 meeting, the Sunni parties could not agree on this issue; in the end they would not give the Shiites a role in the interim government. Although the Shiite parties had been excluded by the resistance ever since the coup in 1978, the exclusion at the Rawalpindi meeting marked a crucial turning point. At stake was the future political ordering of Afghanistan, and the message was that political participation at the national level would not come without a struggle. There was no reason for the Hazara to expect a new government would not want to exert influence in Hazarajat. Since the region had effectively been autonomous since 1981, most Hazara saw this latest exclusion as a direct provocation. The only option that remained was to build a strong organization among the Shiites. There were long drawn-out negotiations involving Iranian officials and the leaders of the resistance parties; the top leadership in Nasr and Pasdaran was crucial in managing the process. An alliance of seven Shiite parties, the Shura-ye Ettelaf, had already been established in 1987. This alliance barely affected the conflicts on the ground, but it signified a difference on the international level in that it represented the majority of Afghanistan’s Shiites and offered them international exposure. Consisting of the seven parties with the best Iranian connections, the alliance was widely seen by outside observers as an Iranian puppet. Building popular support for closer coordination among the Hazara had proved difficult to achieve until after the 1989 Rawalpindi meeting. The final decision to form a party of unity was taken in July 1989 in Bamiyan, although the official proclamation of Hezb-e Wahdat-e Eslami-ye

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Afghanestan (The Islamic Unity Party of Afghanistan) did not take place until 16 June 1990 in Tehran. The new party was made up of existing resistance organizations; but rather than being the result of a change of leadership, it was based on a strategic decision taken by established leaders in a changed situation. Hezb-e Wahdat was dominated by the Pasdaran and Nasr, and the shaykhs became as dominant in Wahdat as they had been within these parties. The new party re-integrated people who had been forced out of Hazara politics during the period of internal struggle. The return of the mirs was facilitated, and their confiscated land was given back to them, although their political influence was restrained. Members of radical secular groups were also rehabilitated, as their qualifications were in demand. Indeed, by incorporating their international political network, Wahdat acquired working offices in many countries throughout the world.39 It can be argued that the establishment of Wahdat was the final victory of the Islamicists. The formation of Wahdat has commonly been seen as Iran’s response to the Soviet Union’s announcement to withdraw from Afghanistan. However, material support from Iran has been minimal since 1986, and while Iran’s political involvement was still substantial, Wahdat should primarily be viewed as an indigenous response in anticipation of a new and hostile government. Iran’s role was limited to facilitating the party’s formation. Whereas the formation of the Shura in 1979 had been a coalition, Wahdat from the outset was defined as a unity, and signboards of the individual parties were exchanged for those of Wahdat. The party’s program presents a balance between Islamicism and ethnicism, although in terms of practical politics there is a noticeable tilt towards ethnicism. Generally speaking, Wahdat has been promoting the ideological stance of Nasr, perhaps with an additional ethnicist twist: The ambiguity of the Hezb-e Wahdat is that in its official discourse, the religious aspect is at the forefront, while in its practice it is essentially a Hazara movement, with strong undertones of nationalism.40 The strongest opposition to Wahdat’s new line was articulated by dedicated Islamicists, mainly persons who originally had an attachment to the Pasdaran but then became members of Wahdat. Also in strong ideological opposition were those groups that preferred Hazara nationalism to be promoted within a secular framework. These latter groups were organizationally weak, and were soon absorbed by Wahdat. By early 1992, Afghanistan’s Communist government was being undermined by cuts in Soviet supplies, and faced increasing problems, not least from within the ranks of its own armed forces. Indeed, from this time a non-Pashtun alliance of resistance organizations and army units, named the Northern Alliance, made the situation increasingly difficult for the Communist government. These developments eventually caused the

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Communists to abdicate in April of that year. Wahdat was a member of the Northern Alliance. With the government on its way out, the Hazara in Kabul mobilized within existing organizations and networks. The imminent arrival of the resistance forces aroused great fear, and it was the prevailing view that ethnic affiliation would be decisive. Extensive looting was anticipated on the basis of what had happened earlier when cities had fallen to the resistance. Key figures in the administration worked to arm and organize their followers; Hazara ‘tribal regiments’, self-defense groups and economic organizations all engaged in preparing for the change. The Hazara in Kabul managed to gain control over large parts of the city: they were numerous, and had started their preparations early. Ultimately, the mobilization was in favor of Hezb-e Wahdat, but in its early phase neither Wahdat nor anyone else was coordinating these activities. The massive commitment to collective action by a wide variety of organizations underlines the common perception of grave threat.41 Members of the Hazara elite who had worked for the Soviet occupation regime faced a difficult situation, expecting to be personally at risk for having collaborated with the enemy. It was felt that ethnic and sectarian discrimination could prove a direct threat to the Hazara, and to prominent Hazara in particular. However, most of the Hazara in Kabul maintained informal contact with members of the resistance, on the basis of family ties or a common place of origin. Wahdat was quick to emphasize its openness to former government officials, and the latter played a key role in securing for Wahdat the position it came to have in Kabul in April 1992. Wahdat served as the ultimate guarantor, and indeed, the party did live up to its obligations by establishing an overarching administration which provided for people’s security and welfare, and by voicing political demands at the state level. The first months after April 1992 represented a peak in popular support for Hezb-e Wahdat. The Hazara had proven able to assert control over a major part of Kabul, and had succeeded in unifying themselves across sharp political divisions. Furthermore, in comparison to other groups based in Kabul, Hezb-e Wahdat appeared to be an efficient organization, not focusing exclusively on military affairs, but functioning as a civilian organization as well. Wahdat’s administrative efficiency was instrumental in its winning popular support, and also contributed to its positive image among international organizations such as the UN. Another major difference between Wahdat and other parties within Kabul was that Wahdat gave priority to the security of its population – as reflected by the fact that very few Hazara fled the capital, though generally there was a massive exodus of refugees. When Pakistan brokered the so-called Peshawar Agreement in late April, once again Wahdat and the Shiites found themselves left out. It proved difficult to win permanent concessions, even though Wahdat had emerged

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as a major player in the politics of Afghanistan.42 Wahdat’s demands focused on three issues: political participation at the national level, the reorganization of administrative boundaries, and application of the Jacfari rite to all Shiites. The first demand was accommodated in June 1992, when the party was given seats in Sibgatullah Mujaddedi’s interim government. Similarly, government participation was reaffirmed in later agreements. On the second issue, the reorganization of administrative boundaries, little has been done to meet Wahdat’s demands. In some places, districts have indeed been reorganized, but in such a way as to favor those who support the government. And on the issue of the Jacfari rite, Wahdat’s demands have been consistently rejected. With the formation of Wahdat in 1989, there was a shift from an internal to an external focus of mobilization. Somewhat surprisingly, this organization which was formed around the Shiite clergy who still formed the bulk of the leaders, did not pursue an Islamicist line. Wahdat became a party that was first of all ethnically defined. Those Shiites who were not Hazara tended to support Harakat-e Eslami. Harakat had been involved in the initial meetings that led to the formation of Wahdat, but it withdrew at an early stage. Many of Harakat’s Hazara members left that party to join Wahdat, while some even maintained dual membership. The non-Hazara Shiites were integrated in multi-ethnic networks, particularly in the economic domain, and thus had little in common with the Hazara apart from religion. On the other hand, they had much to lose by alienating the Pashtuns. The extent to which ethnicity gained prominence is underlined by the fact that within a few weeks of the collapse of the Communist government, former government officials were representing Hezb-e Wahdat in the new, resistance-based government. The conflict between the resistance and the Communist government had been the major dividing line in the country for fourteen years; but as soon as the need arose to find qualified Hazara representatives for the new government, the former conflict was no longer seen as a major issue. Conclusion Prior to the war, the Kabul government had pursued a divide-and-rule policy in Hazarajat. Local administrators related directly to the mirs who assisted in securing the loyalty of the citizens to the state. In return, the mirs obtained benefits by acting as a channel for goods distributed by the government. There was minimal horizontal loyalty among the mirs themselves, who were often in competition with one another. Soon after the coup in 1978, this fragile administrative balance was disrupted by the PDPA regime, which resulted in simultaneous revolts from all local groupings,

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with the mirs serving as resistance organizers. The PDPA targeted both the mirs and other leaders within the Shiite community, but provided no alternative organization to enable locals to relate to the government and give it their support, even if they had wanted to. It was inevitable that the PDPA strategy would lead to revolt. The sayyeds had played a role in providing the early resistance with religious legitimization. With the formation of a regional coordinating body, the sayyeds soon took on a more active role. As the only existing regionallevel category of leaders, they formed an organization capable of assuming a political function. Initially, the establishment of the Shura implied a change of roles: the formerly dominant mirs became subordinate to the sayyeds, who had previously been the mirs’ strongest support. When the external threat posed by the Communist war machine withdrew from Hazarajat, internal differences came to the surface. The sayyeds then turned against the mirs and took full control of the organization. The latter had in effect already lost much of the basis of their leadership, since they had been deprived of their special relationship with the government, and were unable to mobilize support other than at the local level. The sayyeds were soon challenged by the Islamicists, with the shaykhs forming most of the leadership. The Islamicists could draw on Iranian support through their integration in the larger Shiite Islamicist network. Though limited by comparison to the extensive resources channeled to the Sunni resistance through Pakistan, none the less Iranian resources were to play an important role in the internal power game. A major meeting was arranged in Rawalpindi in February 1989, with the intent of establishing a viable government alternative after the Soviet withdrawal. The Shiites were again excluded. This prompted an internal consolidation; all groups united in Wahdat, a regional/ethnic party, under the leadership of the shaykhs. Initially Wahdat had been defined as a Shiite group, but with the departure of the non-Hazara Shiites it became essentially an ethnic organization that aimed at securing a larger role for the Hazara in the future power-sharing in Afghanistan. When the Communists abdicated, the urban population gave their backing to Wahdat. With the mobilization of the Kabuli Hazara in favor of Wahdat, the scope of the organization became more clearly ethnic. For the Hazara population, this was a historic achievement. Never before had the Hazara formed a political entity capable of voicing demands at the national political level. In the early summer of 1992, Hezb-e Wahdat was very popular among the Hazara, even among those who would have declared themselves against both an Islamicist and a Hazara ethnicist program.

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Epilogue Soon after the fall of the Communist government in 1992, armed conflict erupted between Wahdat and Ettehad-e Eslami (Islamic Union), a small but well-armed grouping that enjoyed substantial Saudi Arabian support. Ettehad was dominantly Pashtun. Terrible atrocities were committed by both parties under the banner of ethnicity. Wahdat gained representation in the government, but was soon targeted by government forces who aimed at full control over the capital. In February 1993 there was a major assault on the Wahdat-controlled areas, later famous among the Hazara as the ‘Afsharmassacre’. The war in Kabul escalated further in early 1994, when Wahdat allied itself with Hezb-e Eslami (Islamic Party) and the former militia commander Dostum against the government. Much of the city’s infrastructure was destroyed, and a large part of the population fled. A faction with an Islamicist orientation, led by Akbari, split off from Wahdat and supported the government. Iran, which had now established close relations with the government, tried to make Wahdat join the government, but without success. A new actor entered the political scene in late 1994. The Taleban (Students of Islam) emerged within Sunni–Islamic clergy networks in the southwest, largely as a protest movement against the political chaos in the country.43 The Taleban managed to establish security, and became very popular among the local populations. Commanders and soldiers laid down their arms and joined the group without fighting. Within a few months, the Taleban controlled most of the Pashtun areas in the south; they chased Hezb-e Eslami out of its strongholds south of Kabul, and by early March 1995 stood before the gates of the capital. Wahdat found itself caught in the crossfire between the government and the Taleban, and had to choose sides. Eventually Wahdat surrendered to the Taleban, who immediately set about disarming their combatants. Government forces took advantage of the situation and attacked, and within a few days they had gained full control over the city. The leader of Wahdat, Abdul Ali Mazari, was captured by the Taleban and died in unclear circumstances. This meant that Wahdat had lost a unifying leader, as well as the crucially important territory in Kabul. Fighting soon broke out in Bamiyan as well, which for brief periods came under government control. Towards the end of 1995, Wahdat decided to join the government. The implications of this decision are as yet unclear, but it is likely that the Wahdat leadership is becoming increasingly worried about how the Pashtun-dominated, Sunni traditionalist Taleban would treat the Hazara Shiite minority population. From the present perspective at the end of 1995, it appears that the political position enjoyed by the Hezb-e Wahdat in mid-1992 was unique,

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and that the golden opportunity they then had has largely been lost. Nevertheless, it is clear that the emergence of a strong political organization among the Hazara represents one of the major changes brought about by the war in Afghanistan. For most Hazara there exists no political alternative to Wahdat; and the population in Hazarajat has relative independence, territorially and economically. Unlike the Sunni parties that faded away after the fall of Communism, Wahdat still has the potential to recover. Indeed, it is most likely that Wahdat will remain a spokesman for one of the chief interest groups that will have to be accommodated if any future peace agreement is to be viable in Afghanistan. d in a nationalizing project. That is, it is attempting to build a state which derives its legitimacy from a particular ethnocultural nation. Measures undertaken to consolidate the link between the culture of a titular nation and the state are similar throughout the whole post-Soviet space. They include the ascription of official status to one language, promotion of national cadres, large-scale invention of ‘national’ festivals, and the rewriting of histories. The process of building the nation-state is tightly intertwined with the process of building state institutions which would allow the ruling elites to exercise close control over society. The Uzbek leader Islam Karimov has always been explicit about the limits of spontaneous political development in the Central Asian region and has always favored state intervention to maintain ‘law and order’ in the local society. We would like to analyze how successful his policy is at the lowest level of state administration where state and traditional popular institutions tend to coincide. In Uzbekistan, as in Tajikistan, there had already existed structures to underpin the state-building process. However, while Tajikistan has demonstrated a failure of state-building, coupled with a failure of nation-building, Uzbekistan has turned out to be more successful on both counts. This has much to do with the overall continuity of policy in the post-independence and Soviet periods, despite the ideological efforts of the Uzbek leadership to make it seem otherwise. The term ‘indigenization’ is not used in official vocabulary; the state prefers to put the stress on the ‘restoration of national tradition’. Nevertheless, we will try to show that the state’s efforts at promoting nation- and state-building are based on appropriating specific indigenous local institutions. In so doing, the state alienates other, nonindigenous groups and sets limits as to who can be included in the Uzbek nation. In the course of our fieldwork in Uzbekistan, which started ten years ago, we have observed how the attitude of the Uzbek state towards the most indigenous local institution, the neighborhood community, has been changing. This change reflects the stages of the assertion of nationhood in Uzbekistan immediately prior to independence and in its aftermath. We

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will use the example of the mahalla to illustrate how traditional Uzbek institutions have merged with Soviet structures and how this heritage is mobilized by the modern Uzbek state. The neighborhood community in Uzbekistan is variously called mahalla (mostly among Uzbeks) or guzar (among Tajiks). We will use the Arabic term mahalla as more widespread and more familiar to any specialist on Islamic institutions. Being a neighborhood community of a quarter, the mahalla determines the whole range of social relations of an individual in daily life. It is not a vanishing institution, a simple remnant of the distant past, as is the case in many Muslim countries. It is a living unit, which had even flourished during the Soviet era. The mahalla appears to be a real social group which bestows certain obligations on its members and thus involves them in a web of mutual responsibilities. Every event in the family attracts the attention of immediate neighbors, but on major occasions such as weddings or funerals the whole community assembles. Inevitably this common activity means that all members of the mahalla are involved in material relations, with a constant flow of gifts and services. Apart from reliance on the personal assistance of neighbors, the family can count on the institutional support of the mahalla as a whole. The mahalla puts a wide range of objects, such as tables, benches and utensils, at the disposal of any member of a community when he or she needs them. If necessary, the tea-house (chaikhona) can be used for various communal gatherings. Many valuable services are available within the mahalla itself. There are certain people, both men and women, who specialize in cooking for public occasions. One always knows whom to invite to pronounce a prayer, to mourn at funerals or to circumcise a boy. In exchange for the support and services which the mahalla provides for individuals and their families, it demands complete loyalty on their part. Participation in all communal activities – which include for example not only festivals, but also cleaning the streets, guarding the territory at night, assistance in building the chaikhona – is obligatory. Every man is expected to provide his service to the mahalla depending on what he can offer. To be excluded from communal life means to lose the support of other people. To find oneself alone in the face of extraordinary circumstances is the greatest threat. The expression ‘in case something happens’ is often used when people explain their loyalty to their kin or to the neighborhood community. As one can see, the mahalla corresponds to the notion of a typical Muslim community of a quarter. On the other hand, the community which we found in the mid-1980s can equally be described as a typical Soviet bureaucratic institution. It had a theoretically elected head of the community, who was in fact appointed by the regional Party committee. The head of a mahalla was assisted by the ‘mahalla committee’, which was in fact a Soviet

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creation, even though it coexisted harmoniously with the traditional form of communal organization. A number of specialized commissions with the usual Soviet labels dealt with such matters as women’s problems, veterans’ problems and the organization of family and civic festivals. The mahalla organized ideological campaigns and lectures on the international situation. The room occupied by the committee was decorated with standard Soviet symbols and portraits of Communist leaders. The committee was required to provide accounts of its activities to a district executive committee which coordinated the activities of all the mahallas throughout the district. It is remarkable that our informants did not distinguish between the official, bureaucratic side of mahalla communal activity and the ‘existential’ side connected with the celebration of important events in the life-cycle. It is we who draw an analytical distinction between these two categories of function; the distinction is not one made by the people themselves. The functioning of the mahalla during Soviet times provides a good illustration of the genuine hybrid of Soviet and traditional local forms and practices that was unintentionally created by the Soviet regime. The Soviet state was content to leave the mahalla to its traditional functions as long as it maintained the ideological appearance of a Soviet institution. As an institution the mahalla was recognized by the Soviet state, incorporated into the system of Soviet institutions and thus legitimized. For this reason the mahalla not only survived during the Soviet era but was even reinforced in many ways. For example, according to the Center of Municipal Statistics in Tashkent, the present-day capital of Uzbekistan, in 1989 about one-third of the entire population lived in mahallas and was involved in communal activities. While in Soviet times the state did not attempt to intervene directly in the day-to-day operations of the mahalla and was solely concerned with the ideological aspect of communal life, the nationalizing Uzbek state is now trying to formalize those aspects of life that had previously escaped state control. The mahalla has always been a cell of society; the Uzbek state is presently attempting to make it a cell of the state as well. This policy started in the autumn of 1992 – one year after independence – when national newspapers published the presidential decree about the creation of the socalled ‘mahalla’–Fund with President Karimov himself as its chairman.44 One of the main tasks of this new state body – which is a national hierarchical organization with branches at every level of administration – was to promote ‘the mahallization of the Republic of Uzbekistan’, as one of the top officials from the republican branch of this Fund put it. ‘Mahallization’ aimed to introduce the mahalla and mahalla-activities in an untraditional setting – for instance in areas with multi-storied buildings where mainly non-Asian people tend to live, for whom this form of

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communal life is not customary. Moreover, the mahallas, which have always been an entirely urban institution, have now been transplanted to the villages as well. The application these policies quickly bore results. Whereas in 1990 there were 299 officially registered mahallas in Tashkent (compared with 278 in 1989), by the spring of 1993 their number had increased to at least 422, with new mahallas appearing nearly every day (statistics available from the Tashkent branch of the ‘mahalla’-Fund). But it is not just the quantitative increase of the mahallas which makes the process of ‘mahallization’ so remarkable. What is more important is the penetration of state activity into daily life, as an aspect of state-building, by an appeal to popular tradition as a legitimizing strategy. During our visit to Uzbekistan in March 1993, the most widespread slogan one could see in the offices and streets of Uzbek cities and villages was ‘The mahalla is our family, the foundation and support of the state.’ This appeal is all the more easy to make because the state is appropriating the real popular form of people’s social existence. Let us give a few examples of the increasing penetration of the Uzbek state in the mahalla’s operations. The mahalla is mobilized whenever the state needs reliable information on inhabitants of the quarter. Since independence the state has increased its demands on the mahalla while at the same time extending the mahalla’s powers and capacities. Already in Soviet times the mahalla maintained intensive contacts with the local militia. In cases of delinquency the district militia officer would contact the mahalla, before starting an official investigation. This practice is reflected in the statistics of the Ministry of Interior Affairs – less crime was registered in the districts where the mahalla predominated. Now the mahalla has a right to approve the candidature of a district militia officer. It is also involved in conscription for military service. It registers all the conscripts living in its area, and its representative is present in the district selection committee. The tax inspector first collects information from the mahalla committee and only then visits individual homes. Each month the aksakals (the elders) are invited to the district taxation inspection to verify the information gathered in their quarter. By endowing the mahalla with these increased powers, the Uzbek state involves the mahalla in the collecting of essential information which it can then utilize for its own purposes. The economic function of the mahalla follows the major directives of state economic policy. During the perestroika years, especially in its last phase, the mahalla committee distributed rationing cards for basic commodities such as sugar, flour and oil. The distribution of goods was implemented through the local shops that serve the neighboring mahallas. Thus mahalla authorities had control over commerce and could to some extent correct the tendency for goods to be diverted to the black market.

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When in the late 1980s the state started to encourage cooperative enterprises, the mahalla was granted the right to set up its own production units and workshops, and to lease land and buildings to small enterprises. But this situation did not continue for long, as privileges given to the mahalla hampered the state in taxing these new economic activities effectively. With the demise of the Soviet Union, the collapse of the local economy, and a dramatic drop in the living standards of the majority of the local population, the state organized large-scale distribution of social benefits through the mahalla. At present it is one of the most important functions of this institution and one which gives rise to numerous conflicts. The mahalla committee is supposed to estimate the exact financial standing of each household and to distribute aid according to need. In practice, however, this turns out to be a very controversial matter. Another illustration of the increased penetration of the state in communal affairs is in the area of Party politics. In Soviet times each mahalla was attached to a Party cell in higher educational institutions, enterprises or research institutes. Special lecturers were appointed for political propaganda or the ‘enlightenment’ of local inhabitants. For a while following independence Party politics almost disappeared. Though the former Communist Party was painlessly transformed into the Popular Democratic Party, the merging of the local Party with former Soviet executive bodies and the creation of a new state executive body (the khakim) made Party institutions irrelevant. Political propaganda at the local level has lost its importance. Only since very recently has the Popular Democratic Party resumed its strategy of grass-roots activity. However, the stress is now put more on so-called ‘spiritual work’ rather than direct political propaganda. The Party cells in the community organize lectures about prominent figures of national history. Quite recently special events were organized in Samarkand to celebrate the national importance of Ulug-bek and Timur. The mahalla provides other opportunities for state politics which so far have been underestimated. The polling district today can easily coincide with the territory of a mahalla or a group of mahallas and the poll box may be placed directly in the chaikhona rather than in a state institution, such as a school or a club. The first experience of organizing elections this way was quite encouraging: the local residents were eager to come to vote in the chaikhona. As the head of the mahalla coordination committee in Samarkand vividly described it, ‘They are used to coming here for information and certificates. They can find their way here even with their eyes closed.’ The new Uzbek state is presently searching for its own identity, stressing primarily its distinction from Russia. This is evident not merely in its attempt to appropriate existing traditional institutions such as the mahalla but also in the very invention of new traditions. It is obvious, for instance,

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that the state has invented new civic festivals which did not previously exist. The major state festival in Uzbekistan at present is Independence Day (1 September). Since a clear scenario still does not exist for holding this festival at the local level, mahallas are encouraged to adopt the familiar forms which were used for Soviet festivals such as sport competitions, nonprofessional music festivals, chess championships and races. The mahallas are expected to organize an exhibition to celebrate their achievements and those of honorable citizens. State sponsorship of popular holidays, especially those that are neutral from a religious point of view, is another example of the large-scale ‘invention of tradition’. Navruz, a celebration of the New Year in the Iranian tradition, has been turned into what almost amounts to the central state festival. The way the festival is organized resembles Soviet campaigns of previous years – with fixed agendas and thorough planning, and subsequent reports of how it was held in each locality. The mahallas are obliged to choose a date for the festival such that a representative of the district authorities can be present. Afterwards the official organizers of the quarters discuss their experiences and make recommendations on how to improve the festival in the future. We can here return to the point made at the beginning of this paper regarding the extent to which state-building in contemporary Uzbekistan also involves nativization. The stress on local cultural roots is very important in assessing the prominence of different forms of self-identification in contemporary Central Asia. For instance, although in the Soviet period Samarkand was officially designated an Uzbek city, the majority of its inhabitants were in fact Tajiks.45 Hence there arose a subtle but significant distinction between ‘ethnic’ Uzbeks and those who were Uzbeks merely by territorial attribution. It is not the differences in high culture – the one deriving from Persian, the other from Turkic tradition – that create the ethnic border which divides the two communities. Both share the same everyday culture in terms of food, clothing, rituals and beliefs. The common religion, Islam, is only a partial explanation for this cultural unity. The Islamic institutions characteristic of urban Uzbeks and Tajiks have been traditionally absent in the countryside and have not been spread among other Muslim peoples of Central Asia. It is in the sphere of social relations that the search for the roots of common culture would probably be the most fruitful. We were interested in how people of Tajik ancestry, who for official purposes registered themselves as Uzbeks, would designate themselves. Telling us their life-stories, our informants spontaneously referred to themselves sometimes as Uzbeks, sometimes as Tajiks, without seeing any contradiction in this. They would not deny that their native language was Tajik or that they had grown up in a Tajik environment. One of our informants explained that if he lived in Tajikistan, he would be a

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Tajik, but here, in Uzbekistan, he is an Uzbek. We find this a good example of the territorial notion of nationhood. Moreover, this notion of nationhood is acceptable both to the Uzbek state-forming nation and the ethnic minorities, which have been invited to share in it. On the other hand, this territorial definition of Uzbek identity has not and cannot be extended to include all ethnic minorities living in Uzbekistan. The case of the Russians is especially evident. Here ethnic identification is strong and the distinction between the Russians and the indigenous peoples is obvious. No attempts have ever been made to integrate the whole population of a multi-ethnic republic into the nation. At present the division into an indigenous and non-indigenous population is even more pronounced. The efforts of the state to assimilate traditional institutions into its own structure may be unacceptable in the eyes of other groups such as Russians who are used to relying on more formal ties. If we now consider the question posed in the title of our paper ‘Nativization or State-Building?’, we will have to conclude that the state-building process in Uzbekistan is simultaneously a process of nativization (indigenization). It entails the promotion of local institutions and practices. And only those who are in a position to accept them can legitimately claim membership in the Uzbek nation. In practice this means that non-indigenous groups such as the Russians and other Europeans are likely to find themselves increasingly excluded. Notes 1 The present paper has been made possible by the financial support of The Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS), Copenhagen; the Department of Sociology at the University of Oslo; Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund; and student scholarships from the University of Oslo. I wish to thank the following individuals for their early comments and encouragement: Bayo Adekanye, Nancy Hatch Dupree, Tormod Lunde, Syed Sibtain, Dan Smith, Arne Strand and Odd Arne Westad. Besides consulting secondary sources in writing this paper, I have also made use of personal interviews which I carried out in Afghanistan and Pakistan in the autumn of 1994. This paper builds on my Ph.D. thesis Political mobilization among the Hazara of Afghanistan: 1978–1992, Report no. 9, submitted in 1996 to the Department of Sociology at the University of Oslo. 2 O. Roy, Islam and Resistance in Afghanistan, Cambridge, 1986. 3 A. Hyman, Afghanistan under Soviet Domination, 1964–91, London, 1992 (third edition); and B. Rubin, The Fragmentation of Afghanistan: State Formation and Collapse in the International System, New Haven, 1995. 4 Cf. H. Poladi, The Hazaras, Stockton (California), 1989, pp. 24–9; and H.F. Schurmann, The Mongols of Afghanistan. An Ethnography of the Mongols and Related Peoples of Afghanistan, The Hague, 1962. 5 R.L. Canfield, ‘Hazaras,’ in R.V. Weekes, ed., Muslim Peoples: A World Ethnographic Survey, Westport (Connecticut), 1984, p. 328; and R. Tapper, ‘Ethnicity

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and Class: Dimensions of Intergroup Conflict in North-Central Afghanistan,’ in M.N. Shahrani and R.L. Canfield, eds., Revolutions and Rebellions in Afghanistan, Berkeley, 1984, p. 240. 6 L. Dupree, ‘Further Notes on Taqiyya: Afghanistan,’ Journal of the American Oriental Society 99, no. 4 (1979), pp. 680–2; C. Glassé, The Concise Encyclopaedia of Islam, London, 1989, p. 397. 7 R. Canfield, Hazara Integration into the Afghan Nation. Some Changing Relations between Hazara and Afghan Officials, Occasional Paper no. 3, The Afghanistan Council of the Asia Society, New York, 1972, p. 6. 8 Tapper, ‘Ethnicity and Class: Dimensions of Intergroup Conflict’, p. 297. 9 K. Ferdinand, ‘Nomad Expansion and Commerce in Afghanistan,’ Folk 4 (1962), pp. 123–59. 10 C.L. Jung Some Observations of the Patterns and Processes of Rural–Urban Migration to Kabul, Occasional Paper no. 2, The Afghanistan Council of the Asia Society, New York, 1972, p. 9. 11 Canfield, Hazara Integration into the Afghan Nation. 12 See L. Dupree, Comparative Profiles of Recent Parliaments in Afghanistan. Emphasis on the Twelfth and Thirteenth, American Universities Field Staff Reports, South Asia Series 15, no. 4 (1971), p. 2; and J.-H. Grevemeyer, Ethnizität und Nationalismus: Die afghanischen Hazaras zwischen Emanzipation, Widerstand gegen die sovjetischen Besatzer und Bürgerkrieg, Berlin, 1985, p. 12. 13 R. Bindemann, Religion und Politik bei den schiitischen Hazara in Afghanistan, Iran und Pakistan, Berlin, 1987, pp. 23–4; and Canfield, ‘Hazaras’, p. 330. 14 H.W. Bellew, The Races of Afghanistan. A Brief Account of the Principal Nations Inhabiting that Country [originally published 1880], Lahore, 1979, pp. 113– 17. 15 R.L. Canfield, ‘Islamic Coalitions in Bamiyan: A Problem in Translating Afghan Political Culture,’ in M.N. Shahrani and R.L. Canfield, eds., Revolutions and Rebellions in Afghanistan, Berkeley, 1984, pp. 211–29; and L.-M. Kopecky, ‘The Imami Sayyed of the Hazarajat: The Maintenance of Their Elite Position,’ Folk 24 (1982), pp. 89–110. 16 Kopecky, ‘The Imami Sayyed of the Hazarajat’, p. 89. 17 Y. Richard, Shi’ite Islam. Polity, Ideology and Creed, Oxford, 1995, pp. 78–86; and Roy, Islam and Resistance in Afghanistan, pp. 50–3. 18 D.B. Edwards, ‘The Evolution of Shi’i Political Dissent in Afghanistan,’ in J.R.I. Cole and N.R. Keddie, eds., Shi’ism and Social Protest, New Haven, 1986, p. 218. 19 Bindemann, Religion und Politik bei den schiitischen Hazara, pp. 42–3; and Roy, Islam and Resistance in Afghanistan, pp. 140–1. 20 Edwards, ‘The Evolution of Shi’i Political Dissent in Afghanistan’, p. 219. 21 Bindemann, Religion und Politik bei den schiitischen Hazara, p. 43; and R. Anwar, The Tragedy of Afghanistan. A First Hand Account, London, 1988, p. 58. 22 L. Dupree, ‘Afghanistan under the Khalq,’ Problems of Communism, July– August 1979, pp. 34–50; and M.N. Shahrani, ‘Introduction: Marxist “Revolution” and Islamic Resistance in Afghanistan,’ in M.N. Shahrani and R.L. Canfield, eds., Revolutions and Rebellions in Afghanistan, Berkeley, 1984, p. 24. 23 J.-H. Grevemeyer, Afghanistan nach über zehn Jahren Krieg. Perspektive gesellschaftlichen Wandels, Berlin, 1989, p. 15.

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24 Roy, Islam and Resistance in Afghanistan, p. 97. 25 J.-H. Grevemeyer, ‘Ethnicity and National Liberation: the Afghan Hazara between Resistance and Civil War,’ in J.-P. Digard, ed., Le fait ethnique en Iran et en Afghanistan, Paris, 1988, p. 213. 26 G.M. Farr, ‘The Rise and Fall of an Indigenous Resistance Group: the Shura of Hazarajat,’ Afghanistan Studies Journal 1, no. 1 (Spring 1988), p. 56. 27 O. Roy, ‘La situation au Hazaradjat: al-Choura,’ Les Nouvelles d’Afghanistan 16 (1983), pp. 10–12. 28 R.M. Khan, Untying the Afghan Knot: Negotiating Soviet Withdrawal, Durham, 1991, pp. 76–9; and Rubin, The Fragmentation of Afghanistan, p. 198. 29 Grevemeyer, Ethnizität und Nationalismus: Die Afghanischen Hazaras, p. 17; and Roy, Islam and Resistance in Afghanistan, pp. 143–5. 30 S.T. Hunter, ‘The Soviet Union and the Islamic Republic of Iran,’ in H. Malik, ed., Soviet–American Relations with Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan, Basingstoke, 1987, pp. 258–9. 31 Roy, Islam and Resistance in Afghanistan, p. 138. 32 Grevemeyer, Ethnizität und Nationalismus: Die Afghanischen Hazaras, p. 25; and Roy, Islam and Resistance in Afghanistan, pp. 143–5. 33 J.-J. Puig ‘Transferts d’armements. “Le cas de la guérilla afghane”,’ Études polémologiques 40 (1986), p. 58. 34 Roy, Islam and Resistance in Afghanistan, pp. 142–3. 35 R. Bindemann, ‘Der politische Wideraufbau Afghanistans. Die Hazara – hundert Jahre nach Abdurrahman Khan am Ziel ihrer Wünsche?’, Afghanistan Info 25 (1989), p. 13. 36 Grevemeyer, ‘Ethnicity and National Liberation: the Afghan Hazara’, pp. 216– 17. 37 O. Roy, ‘Le facteur chiite dans la politique extérieure de l’Iran,’ Central Asian Survey 9, no. 3 (1990), pp. 65–7. 38 G. Dorronsoro, ‘La situation politique en Hazaradjat,’ Les Nouvelles d’Afghanistan 53 (1991), p. 6. 39 K.B. Harpviken, Political mobilization among the Hazara of Afghanistan 1978– 1992, Cand. polit. thesis, Department of Sociology, University of Oslo, 1995, p. 100. 40 Dorronsoro, ‘La situation politique en Hazaradjat’, p. 6, present author’s translation. 41 Harpviken, Political mobilization among the Hazara of Afghanistan, pp. 116– 18. 42 B. Rubin, ‘Afghanistan in 1993. Abandoned but Surviving,’ Asian Review 34, no. 2 (1994), p. 190. 43 A. Christensen, Aiding Afghanistan. The Background and Prospects for Reconstruction in a Fragmented Society, NIAS Reports 26, Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, Copenhagen, 1995, pp. 68–70. 44 See the newspaper Pravda Vostoka, 13 September 1992. 45 See, for example, R. Rakhimov, ‘K voprosu o sovremennykh tadzhiksko– uzbekskikh mezhnatsional’nykh otnosheniiakh’ (‘On Contemporary Tajik–Uzbek Interethnic Relations’), Sovetskaya Etnografia 1 (1991).

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Ethnic Identity versus Nationalism: The Uzbeks of North-Eastern Afghanistan and the Afghan State1 GABRIELE RASULY-PALECZEK

As in many other multi-ethnic societies, ethnic conflicts determine the current socio-political relations in Afghanistan and threaten to disrupt the fragile basis of the Afghan state. Since the defeat of the communist regime in April 1992, ethnicity and nationalism have gained new momentum. The present political situation in Afghanistan is not only characterized by a fierce power struggle among the various Mujahedin factions but likewise by a violently conducted dispute about the political influence and standing of the various ethnic groups, one result of which are the permanently shifting coalitions among the major political contractors Rabbani, Hekmatyar/ Taleban and Dostum.2 In what follows I will consider some of the reasons that may be responsible for the failure of the Afghan state to create a common national identity and to mould one uniform nation out of its heterogeneous population. Using the Uzbeks of Northeastern Afghanistan as a case study, I will examine how ethnic identity, in the context of central state versus local society, is constantly shifting according to political, social and economic conditions and thus, as Barth, Tapper and Orywal have suggested, is highly situational and contextual.3 Likewise, specific historical circumstances may act as a catalyst in redefining ethnic identity or reinforcing ethnic consciousness and eventually lead to a demand for equal rights and full political participation of the various ethnic groups living within ‘the nation-state’. This holds true especially for so-called ‘minority groups’ (e.g. the Uzbeks in Afghanistan) that are underprivileged in terms of access to political positions, and have been denied equal socio-economic status and acknowledgement of their specific culture, language, and religion in the state. In this regard, two sets of questions will receive attention here: 1) Why was the Afghan state unsuccessful in its attempt to create a single uniform Afghan nation? Why was it unable to promote a common national identity and to arouse universally accepted patriotic feelings among its citizens? 204

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2) How does a particular ethnic group that forms part of Afghanistan’s population, in this case the Uzbeks of Northeastern Afghanistan, define its identity? How far does state policy, e.g. nation-building, affect the self-esteem, the self-image, the construction of identities and the interaction of ethnic groups? To what extent has Afghan state policy contributed to the reinforcement of ethnic distinctions and the creation of ethnic boundaries? And conversely, in what way does it promote the integration and mingling of ethnic groups, thus encouraging the creation of one comprehensive Afghan identity and nation? Afghanistan’s Society Although nation-building had been one of the primary goals of the Afghan rulers in the 20th century, they were incapable of transforming the country’s sociocultural, linguistic and religious heterogeneity into one uniform structure under the complete control of the state. The multiplicity characteristic of Afghan society is reflected in the existence of around fifty-seven different ethnic groups, and forty to fifty languages and dialects belonging to several distinct language families.4 Some of these ethnic groups are quite large totalling several millions as in the case of the Pashtuns, Tajiks, Uzbeks and Hazara, whereas others are quite small entities such as the Ormur, who at present number less than one hundred people.5 The regional distribution of the various groups is again rather disproportionate. Particular regions such as Northern and Western Afghanistan show a fairly multi-ethnic composition of their population, partly due to resettlement policies of the Afghan rulers (involving Pashtun tribes in several waves since 1880) and emigration movements (primarily refugees from Central Asia) over the last hundred years, whereas other areas, such as the Central Highlands or the eastern and southern parts of the country, are ethnically more or less homogeneous.6 The multi-ethnic character of Afghanistan is also evident in the fact that contrary to many other multi-lingual states Afghanistan has two official languages, Pashtu and Farsi-Dari, as the Persian language spoken in Afghanistan is called. Farsi is not only the mother tongue of numerous groups such as the Tajiks, Hazara, Aimaq, etc, but likewise has a high reputation as a traditional language of culture and as a court language. Farsi is also the most important lingua franca, especially for members of those ethnic groups whose mother tongues have no official status (e.g. Turkic languages), and are therefore not allowed to be used in schools or in publications.7 Contrary to the wide use of Farsi as a means of communication, Pashtu is by many perceived as the language of the colonist oppressors and is therefore only acquired, if at all, under compulsion.8 In a few

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exceptional cases (e.g. by Brahuis, Baluchis, and some Dard and Gujar groups), Pashtu is used as an inter-ethnic language. Although the majority of Afghanistan’s population are Muslims and Islam is therefore one of the essential unifying forces evoked to promote national unity, the country’s religious structure is not at all homogeneous.9 On the contrary, Hanafite Sunni Islam which is the official rite of the country stands in sharp contrast to the various existing Shiite branches (Imami and Ismaili) whose adherents are often discriminated against.10 However, the peoples of Afghanistan are not only distinguishable in terms of their ethnicity, language or religion, but also in terms of their social structures. In the case of several groups such as the Pashtuns and Turkmens, tribal structures still play an important role, whereas in the case of others, e.g. the Tajiks and some of the Uzbeks, larger kinship-based forms of social organization have lost their significance and formerly genealogically defined relations have been replaced by new patterns of social organization, as for example patron-client relationships or alignments of people from different ethno-linguistic backgrounds under the tutelage of religious authorities, e.g. saints, etc.11 Frequently, this briefly described ethnic, cultural, linguistic, and religious diversity, as well as the geographical conditions, primarily Afghanistan’s mountainous terrain, along with the lack of modern infrastructure – highways, telecommunications, etc. – have been held responsible for the country’s deficiencies in nation-building.12 Although I do not completely reject the significance of these factors, I agree with M. N. Shahrani in his criticism of this line of argumentation. Geographic characteristics and ethnic, religious, and linguistic diversity cannot be considered the sole reasons for the non-existence of a uniform centralized nation-state in which the state comprehensively permeates the society as a whole and sets in motion a major unifying process. Following Shahrani, we ought also to examine, ‘(1) the nature of the state and its historical manifestations in the country – i.e. its political ideology, its political economy and the basis of its support structure; and (2) the particular attitudes, policies and practices of the state-building agents, the governments of Afghanistan, the peoples of Afghanistan or Afghan society’.13 The Interaction Between the Afghan State and its Citizens Notwithstanding the several earlier empires that were founded on the territory of Afghanistan, the year 1747 is considered to be the founding date of the Afghan central state when Ahmad Shah Sadozai, in a jirga (council meeting) of the tribal chiefs of the Abdali and Ghilzai Pashtuns, was proclaimed Afghan king.14 Through numerous conquests Ahmad Shah

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created an empire that in principle included the territory of present-day Afghanistan. However, he and his successors were not able to create a uniform nation-state. Due to dynastic controversies and conflicts within the Pashtun reigning family and the Pashtun tribes, as well as within the other subjugated ethnic groups, the authority of the state, particularly in the North, once again deteriorated. Until the centralization efforts of Amir Abdurrahman Khan (1880–1901), the Afghan state was characterized by a permanent struggle to balance the claims to power of the ruling dynasty and those of the various segments constituting Afghan society. Political relations were furthermore overshadowed by an enduring conflict between Pashtuns and non-Pashtuns. With a few exceptions, the power of the ruling dynasty was restricted to certain urban centers and was based on a fragile cooperation of the ruler and the local political élite. The Afghan state lacked the necessary financial and personal means to accomplish its claim to supremacy. In order to secure the loyalty of the various segments of society those in power had to rely heavily on the distribution of resources acquired mainly through extensive looting and military expeditions into the Indian subcontinent (until the British established their rule there), as a comprehensive imposition of taxes within Afghanistan proved to be impossible. A further means at the disposal of the Afghan state for winning at least nominal support was the conferring of privileges, along with assurances of non-interference in the socio-political and economic conditions of local society.15 It was not until the end of the 19th century that Amir Abdurrahman Khan, encouraged by British subsidies and British and Russian pressure (both governments were now interested in fostering stable political conditions in the region), attempted to build an organized central state which had in fact never existed at any time in earlier Afghan history.16 Special emphasis was given to the formation of an efficient and loyal army under the direct control of the amir and to the creation of an extensive administrative and taxation system. Simultaneously, Amir Abdurrahman Khan tried to deprive the leaders of the different ethnic groups and tribes of their power or at least to weaken their political influence.17 In pursuing this objective, he followed an uneven strategy. In contrast to the Pashtun tribes, who constituted the most powerful group and were thus accorded privileges by Abdurrahman Khan since he depended on their support or at least their non-belligerence, he undertook extremely cruel measures against the non-Pashtun groups. He carried out several military expeditions against the Uzbeks, Hazara and Kafirs (later called Nuristanis), and initiated widescale resettlement and deportation measures which led to profound changes in the make-up of the population of various regions within Afghanistan, e.g. in the northern and central parts.18 Certain groups, in particular the

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Pashtun tribes, were granted numerous special privileges and resettled primarily in Northern Afghanistan.19 By means of this policy which was variously dubbed ‘internal imperialism’, ‘interior colonization’, or ‘the Pashtunization of Afghanistan’ and which was continued by his successors (especially during the 1930s when a second wave of Pashtun colonists were resettled by the Afghan state), Amir Abdurrahman Khan intended to achieve two goals at the same time:20 on the one hand to neutralize rebellious groups and on the other to strengthen Afghan state authority in recently annexed regions. In contrast to non-Pashtun groups, the Pashtun tribes, despite all their opposition to the central state, proved to be representatives of state interests.21 As a result of the amir’s activities, the influence and power of the state was extended and the state’s resource base was enlarged. However, Amir Abdurrahman Khan’s attempt to integrate the different segmentary collectives into the Afghan state and to create a spirit of national adherence failed. Even the emphasis on Islam as a unifying ideology proved to be ineffective.22 On the contrary, the suppression of various segments of Afghan society and the patronage of the Pashtuns by the Afghan rulers produced what Shahrani describes as, ‘alienation and resignation among large segments of the tribal and ethnic populations, giving rise to the development of smaller, community-based, parallel power structures, which enabled them to avoid costly contacts with state authorities... Tribal stratification among Pushtuns, as well as ethnic inequalities favouring the Pushtuns over nonPushtuns, was formally instituted.’23 It was only during the reign of Amir Abdurrahman Khan’s grandson, Amir Amanullah Khan (1919–1928), that a modification in the relations between state and society was attempted. Amir Amanullah Khan, who was highly influenced by the Islamic modernists, intended to turn Afghanistan into a modern state in the European sense and to abolish all forms of discrimination. For example, he supported the emancipation of Afghan women and the equal treatment of all ethnic and religious groups as was stipulated in his constitution of 1923, which was Afghanistan’s first written constitution.24 However, Amir Amanullah Khan failed in his attempt to create a society based on equality, brotherhood and justice and to enforce the loyalty of all peoples living within the Afghan state.25 His endeavor to form a modern Afghan society through direct interference of the state into the sociocultural life of the peoples provoked widespread revolts and eventually led to a short-lived transfer of power from the Pashtuns, who had ruled since 1747, to a non-Pashtun ruler. For a period of nine months Habibullah Kalakani (1928–1929), a Tajik from Kohistan, acted as king of Afghanistan until a coalition of Pashtun tribes seized power in Kabul and appointed Nadir Khan, a member of the former ruling family, as the new Afghan king.

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With the establishment of the Musahiban dynasty (Nadir Khan 1929–1933, Zahir Shah 1933–1973 and Daud Khan 1973–1978), the Pashtuns, who despite all their opposition to the state, considered themselves to be the staatstragende ethnic group, the only ones entitled to rule the country, returned to power.26 Influenced by former experiences, the Afghan state under the Musahiban contented itself with a minimal realization of its sovereign demands (taxation, a rudimentary administration and judiciary, recruitment of soldiers for the national army, etc.) and selective modernization, mainly by extending the infrastructure of the country while avoiding direct political interference at the local levels. Instead of depriving the local élite of all their power, the ruling establishment tried to create a consensus with them, especially with the Pashtun tribal chiefs, ulema and leaders of the various non-tribal groups, and to integrate them into state power without allowing them direct influence on state politics. The members of the local political élite, who since the centralization efforts of Amir Abdurrahman Khan (1880–1901) had for the most part been politically and militarily stripped of their power, were enlisted to act as middlemen between local society and the central state.27 At the same time the Musahiban dynasty propagated the idea of a uniform Afghan nation and a common national identity. But this national identity was essentially built on the values and the culture of Pashtun society. Pashtu was promoted by the state to play the role of a national language. In the national historiography, the foundation of the Afghan central state and its subsequent developments were depicted as the sole product of the efforts of the Pashtuns. Furthermore, a permanent continuity of the state built by Ahmad Shah up to the 20th century was postulated. The contribution of other ethnic groups to the history of the country was ignored or played down. It was mainly during the periods when Mohammad Daud ruled the country (1953–1963 as prime minister and 1973–1978 as president) that Pashtun nationalism was especially promoted and the ‘Pashtunization question’ became a major concern of the Afghan state.28 In view of the close correspondence of Pashtunism with the characteristics which defined the Afghan nation, it is not astonishing that this concept of identity was rejected by the majority of the other peoples of Afghanistan. Moreover, the non-Pashtun groups were not only disadvantaged by the government’s economic, educational and social policies, but they were also excluded from leading positions in the state bureaucracy. These were reserved for the Pashtuns, particularly for members of the Mohammadzai, the tribal segment to which the royal family also belonged.29 It is therefore not surprising that the peoples of Afghanistan did not associate the term Afghan with Afghan citizenship, as was the common official usage, but rather considered Afghan as synonymous with Pashtuns.30

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For the majority of the country’s population the term Afghan primarily implies: Das historische Faktum der afghanisch-paptunischen Binnenkolonisation im späten 19. Jh.... Das Land gilt als der Staat der Paptun, und die Paptun gelten als die ‘echten’ Afghanen. Noch in den 50er und 60er Jahren hatten nicht paptunische Bevölkerungsgruppen unter einer massiven politischen Bevorzugung der Paptun seitens der Zentralregierung zu leiden.31

In contrast to the Musahiban dynasty that relied heavily on Pashtunism, the Communist Party (PDPA) that came to power in a coup d’état in 1978 tried to copy the Soviet nationality policies. By acknowledging an official status to various ‘minority languages’ (e.g. Uzbek, Turkmen, Kirghiz, Baluch, Nuristani and Pashai) and by propagating education in these newly defined national languages, the diffusion of radio programs and the printing of publications in these languages, the new rulers tried to win the support and sympathy of the non-Pashtun ethnic groups. However, despite all their attempts which were extensively supported by the Soviet Union, they had only limited success. The various Mujahedin factions, although drawing their supporters from specific ethnic, linguistic, religious and regional groups, remained for the most part reluctant to stress ethnicity. Rather they have emphasized the unity of the Islamic community (umma) and are only gradually beginning to use languages other than the official Pashtu and Dari as means of written and oral communication.32 To sum up, two elements have determined the relationship between the central state and Afghan society. On the one hand, the state, in order to succeed in realizing at least a minimum claim of sovereign authority, depends on the consensus of the local political collectives. On the other hand, the state, due to its emphasis on Pashtunism and the dominance of the Pashtuns who consider themselves as ‘die staatstragende Ethnie’, lacks an ideology that can integrate all the different ethnic groups. On the contrary, the nationbuilding attempt and the endeavor to further centralization led to an increased grading of ethnic groups (‘ethnisches Gefälle’) and thus enforced the already existing differences between the various ethnic groups in terms of access to power. Because of the reasons mentioned – insignificant penetration of society by the state, as well as discrimination against specific groups – a uniform national sentiment could not really develop, despite the fact that nationbuilding was posited as one of the main goals of modernization. Identity Construction of the Afghan Peoples This leads to our second set of questions. If it is not the Afghan state that provides the framework of identity and allegiance of the individual and the

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various social groups in the country, what else is there that constitutes communal togetherness and shapes the identities of the citizens of Afghanistan? And are these points of reference stable or do they fluctuate according to changing political circumstances? For the majority of the peoples of Afghanistan common descent, collective residence and adherence to one of the Islamic sects are the main points of reference for social organization and identity formation. As Tapper puts it, ‘Afghan popular discourse uses three main terms for bases of identity: qaum, watan, and mazhab. All three are ambiguous, or rather polysemic, but to varying degrees.’33 The term ‘mazhab (sect group) suggests the relationship among members of one of the Islamic sects in Afghanistan of which there are three, Sunnis, Twelver Shi’ites, and Ismaili Shi’ites.’34 Whereas the term mazhab is rather definite, the term watan (homeland), sometimes simply called ja (place), is highly ambiguous, ‘as to both scope (village, valley, district, province, region, nation) and time (place of origin, or place of residence). Identity based on watan is very strong for most people in Afghanistan. Even nomads identify themselves with their watan (usually winter quarters) and the varied population there, as against fellowtribespeople or nomads from other regions.’35 However, it is the term qaum that is most used among Afghans (and researchers) for the definition of social groups and identity. Within the Afghan context the term qaum has a large variety of meanings and is used to denominate various social groups. ‘Among its connotations are “ethnic group” and “tribe”, but it can be both broader and narrower than these: not merely “nation” but also descent groups and their subdivisions down to the family, and linguistic, regional and occupational, groups, sects, castes. Perhaps most often it implies linguistic and/or tribal identity.’36 Canfield defines qaum as follows: The word qawm may be used to include, not only those persons reckoning themselves agnates through a common ancestor, but also the persons who mutually assist each other and share goods with each other, not all of whom are always close kinsmen. It may apply to affinal as well as agnatic kinsmen, and even to unrelated persons who become assimilated into a group by marriage. And it may refer to friendly families who may eventually form kinship ties through reciprocal marriages. Conversely, the word can be contracted so as to exclude certain actual kinsmen who no longer cooperate with the rest of one’s in-group.37

The term qaum refers essentially to ‘a solidarity unit’. Those who make up the qaum should live in the same territory and are known to each other as qaumi, in-group members; non-qaumi are in diverse senses out-group persons. They should cooperate in work when needed; they should be politically united, operating as wholes for political purposes; and they should be religiously united,

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celebrating the Muslim holidays together and gathering at appointed times to pray and listen to sermons or the reading of religious literature.38

In addition to a common ancestor that binds individuals together and a commonly shared territory, it is primarily behaving as one solidarity unit that constitutes membership in the qaum. As Roy aptly notes in his definition of the qaum: Qawm is the term used to designate any segment of society bound by solidarity ties. It could be an extended family, a clan, an occupational group, a village, etc. Qawm is based on kinship and client/patron relationships; before being an ethnic group, it is a solidarity group which protects its members from encroachments from the state and other qawm, but which also is the scene of inside competition between contenders for local supremacy.39

The above-mentioned rather broad conceptualization of the qaum makes it possible in a concrete situation to include individuals of diverse ethnic and linguistic origin as members of the same group so as to allow inhabitants of multi-ethnic villages to consider themselves as one qaum, i.e one solidarity unit. According to context and situation qaum may therefore involve a varying number of individuals, close kinsmen, a village, an ethnic group, a religious sect or a linguistic group. Qaum is thus, ‘… a highly ambiguous and flexible concept allowing scope for strategic manipulations of identity’.40 Or as Canfield states: ‘Actually, the word “qawm”, rather than describing an empirical social pattern, is a term for a locally conceived structural category... It may be invoked, when appropriate, for various ranges and degrees of kinship reality, and denied when not appropriate.’41 Despite the centralization and nation-building efforts of Afghan rulers, groups defining themselves as qaum still represent the most essential constituents of socio-political organization in Afghanistan. The relevance of the qaum as a unit of solidarity and as a socio-political framework that structures the interaction between individuals, groups and the state, emerges particularly in situations of political crisis. As the recent political history of Afghanistan illustrates, newly established political ideologies and entities will tend to be of minor significance in the formation of alliances.42 This became especially clear after the coup d’état of 1978. The Communist Party of Afghanistan (PDPA), as well as the various Mujahedin factions, recruited their adherents primarily from their own qaums.43 However, since the 1970s when national politics began to have a stronger impact at the local level and the socio-political and economic situation was increasingly interpreted in terms of ethnic affiliation, i.e. the Pashtuns were generally perceived as privilege holders in the Afghan state whereas nonPashtuns, especially the Turkic peoples and Hazara, felt themselves to be oppressed and excluded, the qaum concept also underwent some

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modifications, primarily towards enlarged entities, transcending the local level and thus stressing ethnic and/or religious affiliations. As Roy points out with regard to qaum and ethnicity, ‘Qawm affiliations, at the very local level, play a bigger role than ethnic ones. But participation in a nationwide political game induces the local qawm to express themselves in terms of broader ethnic affiliations.’44 Specific events and situations (e.g. the decisive participation of General Dostum and his Uzbek militiamen in the defeat of the communist regime in April 1992) may act as a catalyst in raising ethnic consciousness and even lead to the development of nationalist movements. Having briefly described the importance of the qaum concept as the basic framework of socio-political organization and as one of the major points of reference for identity formation, I would like to emphasize that not only one ‘relationship framework’ exists, but rather a large variety of them is at work simultaneously. Canfield makes this point clearly: In this society, as in any other, several such relationship frames exist at the same time: an individual always belongs to more than one. It is for this reason that multiple layers of meaning pervade most social situations so that the particular relationship framework invoked as the idiom of social alignment and cooperation at a particular time is only one of several that might have been invoked; it is merely the one believed most fitting to the occasion. What Centlivres (1980) has said about ethnonyms may be said about all the relationship frames we have mentioned here: they are used situationally and strategically as terms of popular discourse. That is why any analysis of identity must consider alternative ‘schemes of identity construction’...45

Furthermore, these relationship frames may change over time and they may vary considerably in terms of idealized concepts and their actual application. Thus, although people may have a rather narrow concept of who ideally belongs to their qaum (e.g. only those who are linked together through common ancestors), the concept may be altered in actual social situations. Depending on internal and external circumstances, other determinants may be applied to transcend the narrow conceptualization of qaum membership, such as reference to collective and mutual actions as defining criteria of qaum membership. With regard to the concept of qaum as applied in Afghanistan, we may thus agree with Canfield’s reflections on social categories: Social categories and the other signs for social identity are cultural resources for interpreting the diverse circumstances of human life. Their use reflects the attempts of people to lay a normative framework on the discursive events of actual social affairs. But because they are idealized concepts, they only more or less fit actual circumstances. Any use of a sign of identity entails a confrontation between the ideal and the real and affects both the construct and the situation within which it is used. The construct shapes the situation by defining it in terms

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of familiar, established concepts, whereas the actual situation, on the other hand, places a strain on the ideal construct so as to ‘wear’ the construct into its own image. Over time the construct is shaped to fit, more or less, the kinds of situations that regularly arise in human relationships so that the meanings of social categories received from one generation are often infused with fresh nuances (and stripped of some others) by the time they are passed on to the next; social categories, like all cultural phenomena, are developed in the experience of social groups.46

And in relation to the ‘wearing’ of social concepts Canfield adds: The ‘wearing’ of social concepts takes place in respect to the rate of change in actual social relations; under radically changing circumstances the categories take on new meanings, and likewise shake off old ones, more rapidly.47

On the basis of a case study of the Chechka-Uzbeks of Northeastern Afghanistan, in what follows I will examine how a people defines its identity and how and to what extent the ‘wearing of specific social concepts’ is influenced by state policies. Furthermore, I will analyze how and under what circumstances social frames of reference change and categories such as the qaum take on new meaning. The Chechka-Uzbeks The Chechka-Uzbeks are part of the so-called Qataghan-Uzbek tribes, who in the early 16th century immigrated into the region east of Balkh and west of Badakhshan, an area at the time mainly inhabited by nomadic pre-Uzbek Turkic tribes such as the Qarluq.48 Originally pastoral nomads using the steppe plains on both sides of the Amu-Darya as grazing lands for their flocks, they became settled farmers, especially since the 1930s when new irrigation schemes were implemented and former swamps and pastures were converted into agricultural lands. Today the Chechka-Uzbeks mainly earn their living from cotton production on irrigated plots, and animal husbandry.49 Their main settlement area in Afghanistan is located south of the AmuDarya and on the left bank of the Kokcha-Darya in the districts of Khwojaghar (Province of Takhar), Dasht-e Archi and Imam Saheb (Province of Kunduz). There are also some Chechka villages on the right bank of the Kokcha-Darya, mainly in the district of Dasht-e Qala (Province of Takhar).50 North of the Amu-Darya the Chechka-Uzbeks settled primarily in Saray Kamar and Alifberdi, areas originally belonging to the Emirate of Bukhara and which after the October Revolution became part of the newly established Tajik SSR.51 The Chechka-Uzbeks share their habitat with several other ethnic groups, mainly of Iranian or Turkic origins, such as the Qarluq, Qongrad, Moghuls, Mamai, Timaz, Tajik, Hazara and Pashtuns. Some of these, like the Qarluq

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and the Tajiks, have long been established in the region, whereas others arrived quite recently, for example the Pashtun settlers, the Central Asian refugees, and labor migrants from Badakhshan and Northwestern Afghanistan. In general the villages are ethnically homogeneous. When, as occasionally happens, several ethnic groups live in the same community, one of the ethnic groups usually outnumbers the others.52 In contrast to most Uzbek groups living in Afghanistan (especially in the northwest), the Chechka-Uzbeks like the other Uzbek and pre-Uzbek Turkic groups in their region have retained some of their tribal characteristics.53 The Chechka-Uzbeks, who form one of the subtribes of the QataghanUzbeks but consider themselves as a distinct group (qaum), are themselves further subdivided into the following nine or ten subgroups, locally referred to urughs, or sometimes also called tayfas:54 Zorbrun, Jelimkhor, Jaukadu, Laklakan or Dosat, Khoshkeldi, Wurazbacha, Tilajat, Chagatay-Moghul, Tomalaq and Palwan.55 Several of these urughs are further subdivided into subgroups, such as the Zorbrun Chechka who are divided into the Katta Zorbrun and Maida Zorbrun. Usually those belonging to one of the suburughs live together in the same settlement, which may be named after the group living there, e.g. Khoshkeldi Qeshlaq, Wurazbach Qeshlaq. Before going into details about the ways in which the Chechka-Uzbeks define their identity, I would like to return to the above-mentioned general observations about ethnic identity and relation frameworks being highly situational and contextual elements that influence the construction of identity. In this respect several socio-political conditions have to be taken into account, such as the political domination by the Afghan state, shifts in the composition of the population due to the appearance of the Pashtun settlers in the region and the arrival of refugee groups and labor migrants, as well as the economic integration into the national and world economy. Until the final annexation of Northeastern Afghanistan by the Afghan central state under Amir Abdurrahman Khan, the Qataghan-Uzbeks had been the politically dominant group governing vast areas of the present provinces of Kunduz and Takhar, at times (especially during the reign of Sultan Murad Beg) even annexing part of Badakhshan and often raiding territories further to the south of their own legacy, the Emirate of Kunduz.56 Amir Abdurrahman Khan’s successful suppression of the revolt of Ishaq Khan and his local supporters in 1888 led to a dramatic change in the local socio-political framework.57 The formerly powerful tribal élite (begs, moysafids) of the Qataghanis lost much of their political independence and influence, and came increasingly under the control and dominance of governors, army personnel and other officials, mainly Pashtuns, who were sent from Kabul to administer the region. What political influence the Uzbek élite still possessed was more or less restricted to local affairs (village level),

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and they were forced to adopt the role of middlemen between their qaum and the Afghan state.58 Even more crucial than the political deprivation were the effects of the colonization and settlement policy, another major strategy to increase state control in the region. Thus, contrary to the period before 1888 when Pashtuns, with the exception of a few civil servants and soldiers, had seldom settled down permanently in the region, large numbers of Pashtuns were now transferred north of the Hindukush, primarily in two waves (after 1888 and in the 1930s). Given numerous privileges and forms of support (e.g. allotment of irrigation plots and pastures that had been taken away from the Uzbek indigenous population, and preferential treatment in all land distribution programs and infrastructural improvements) these Pashtuns, mainly tribal groups from Southern and Southeastern Afghanistan, such as the Shinwar, Hotak, Kakar, Suleymankhel, Akakhel and Kharutis, were now settled in Northeastern Afghanistan.59 This settlement policy not only led to far-reaching changes in the composition of the population (a numerical domination of the Pashtuns in certain areas, e.g. in the Dasht-e Archi), but also to changes in the inter-ethnic relations and local politics, as well as to severe economic pressures on the population as the economically most profitable land was allotted to the Pashtuns.60 Eventually the competition for resources, which was further aggravated by demographic pressures due to a sharp increase of the population since the early 1970s, increased tensions between the various groups and brought about the creation of new alliances at the local level, primarily between groups threatened by the new Pashtun settlers.61 Thus the formerly dominant Uzbeks entered into an alliance with groups they had previously subjugated, such as the Qarluq, Tajiks, etc.62 However, these alliances though primarily restricted to non-Pashtun groups, also included earlier Pashtun settlers, who willingly affiliated themselves with the non-Pashtuns against more recently arrived groups of Pashtuns.63 Less crucial were the effects on the local population of the arrival of the Central Asian refugees and the labor migrants. In the 1920s and 1930s, tens of thousands of Turkic and Tajik refugees and migrants entered Northeastern Afghanistan, chiefly due to the repressive Soviet policy in Central Asia.64 Among them were also some Qataghan-Uzbeks and Tajiks who had fled Afghanistan in the 1880s and now returned to Afghanistan where they were reintegrated without major problems.65 However, the other refugees, mainly originating from Ferghana and of urban background, faced severe difficulties. Despite their linguistic affinity and, in some cases, close ethnic relationships, they remained outsiders and were only partially integrated.66 Most of them settled in the urban areas of Northern Afghanistan, e.g. in Kunduz, where they formed their own neighborhood

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quarters (mahallas).67 These Uzbeks and Tajik refugees consider themselves as a distinct group and are so considered by the other local Uzbeks and Tajiks.68 Usually the term mohajerin (refugees) or narg-e bet (from the other side) is used to distinguish them from the locals who refer to themselves as watani (local people) or asli (original).69 The internal Uzbek discourse on identity is thus shaped by a distinction between watani/asli Uzbeks and mohajerin/narg-e bet Uzbeks, a differentiation not applied by non-Uzbeks, who consider all Uzbeks living in the region as one uniform group.70 With regard to the term mohajerin, it should also to be added that the mohajerin, contrary to the watani Uzbeks who view all refugees as one homogeneous group, consider the label mohajerin as only appropriate for those who fled Central Asia in the late 20s and early 30s due to Soviet suppression of their religion.71 This debate about who is a mohajer is again irrelevant for the watani/asli Uzbeks. Despite several decades of residence in Northeastern Afghanistan, the mohajerin still constitute separate groups with their own customs, patterns of self-awareness and identity. There are very few close social contacts, as the low number of inter-group marriages demonstrates, between the watani and the mohajerin groups. In general the mohajerin try to preserve their distinction and prefer to affiliate themselves solely with other mohajerin groups, thereby even transgressing ‘ethno-linguistic’ boundaries, as for example in cases where the mohajerin Uzbeks prefer marriage ties with mohajerin Tajiks rather than with watani Uzbeks.72 Whereas the relations with the Pashtun settlers and the mohajerin are primarily structured according to political and ethno-linguistic criteria, the relations with the labor migrants are mainly determined by economic and regional criteria. As a consequence of the increased market orientation of agricultural production (mainly cotton growing) that started after World War II and created a demand for labor, large numbers of migrant workers, primarily Tajiks from the mountainous farming areas of Badakhshan, immigrated to the region.73 These migrants, originally employed as seasonal harvest hands (e.g. in cotton picking), gradually settled in the fertile plains of Northeastern Afghanistan. They are usually attached to a specific household for which they work either as sharecroppers (dehqani) or as farm laborers (yetim). As long as they are employed by a local household, they are viewed as dependents of the latter. In defining their ethnicity, regional criteria are applied, a labor migrant from Badakhshan or Rustak being referred to simply as a Rustaki or Badakhshani. Similarly to the mohajerin, they are not included in the local Tajik groups but are considered as separate, distinct groups. Having briefly sketched the socio-political context in which the ChechkaUzbeks find themselves, I will now describe the manner in which they formulate definitions of themselves and represent their identity. In the

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process of self-definition the Chechka-Uzbeks have recourse to a more or less congruent pool of features which they consider essential for their identity and self-representation. Which particular elements they may choose to emphasize, however, depends very much on the persons involved and the situation and context in which such a formulation takes place. The Chechka distinguish two major reference frameworks: discourse within their own group and relations with other groups, Uzbek as well as non-Uzbek. Thus, according to particular contexts and situations, as well as self-estimations of individuals, specific elements are accentuated and brought forward in the process of defining identity and self-representation. The elements selected naturally have significance for the concrete social situation in which they are invoked or employed. Specific categories, such as reference to subgroups of the Chechka-Uzbeks (urughs), are irrelevant in dealings with nonChechkas, e.g. members of the Pashtun tribes, whereas reference to the category Uzbek is unnecessary in social discourse with other Chechkas.74 The following features are considered by the Chechka-Uzbeks as essential constituents of their identity and thus form the most important reference framework for self-representation and self-estimation as one specific qaum:75 genealogical ties (membership in a Chechka urugh). common territory (watan) language/dialect (labs) costumes, especially women’s dress customary practices (e.g. rites of passage) All the above-mentioned characteristics represent inclusions versus exclusions in relation to other groups, which are employed in a variable manner depending on the specific context in which one has to delineate oneself.76 The most important of all these identity-defining criteria is still reference to the genealogical ties that relate the various individuals and groups to a supposed common ancestor. Although the concrete tracing of genealogical relations is vague and knowledge about the ancestors, as well as the links between the various subgroups (urughs) constituting the Chechka-Uzbeks, is sometimes obscure (e.g. whether the Palwan are part of the ChechkaUzbeks or not), the Chechka consider themselves as one qaum.77 Equally limited is their knowledge about the links between the Chechka-Uzbeks and the other Qataghan-Uzbeks. Even more obscure are the relations with other Uzbek tribes or the Uzbeks in general. Besides the concrete genealogical ties, the notion that an individual must display specific qualities to be considered ‘a real Chechka’is also of great importance. The Chechka-Uzbeks view themselves as som tayfa, a selfwilled tribe that never allowed others to establish their rule or command

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over them. This self-estimation is confirmed for instance by reference to their history and their ethnonym. According to their oral traditions, the Chechka-Uzbeks have always been brave, never tolerated oppression or encroachment, and have continuously offered resistance to others.78 This is also stressed by the ethnonym Chechka itself, for which three possible derivations have been offered by my informants. Chechka may come from chechme (spring), the root chich (to detach, separate, disunite – ke being a diminutive ending), or chech chech, an exclamation used when the sheep are set loose after milking.79 Furthermore, despite their scarce knowledge concerning genealogical relations with other Uzbeks, the Chechka view themselves as rather special within the totality of the Uzbeks. This claim of prominent status is manifested in the remark, ‘Chechka Uzbekte sauresu’ (the Cehchka are the thigh80 of the Uzbeks). However, although the Chechka-Uzbeks consider themselves as part of the Uzbeks among whom they claim a specific status expressed by reference to bravery, self-rule, etc., no comprehensive resentment of relations with the Uzbeks has evolved yet.81 It is thus the supposed common descent, as well as displaying the above-mentioned qualities, that are crucial for the self-estimation of the Chechkas. The importance of these qualities as constituents of the Chechka’s selfrepresentation and identity are reflected in the debate over whether the Palwans are part of the Chechka-Uzbeks or not. Whereas some of my informants mention the Palwan as one of the Chechka-Uzbek urughs, others reject them on the ground that they do not possess the Chechka qualities because they used to give their sons to serve as ghulam bachas (pages) to the Pashtun kings in Kabul and were thus a subordinate people. From all this, it follows that the Chechka-Uzbeks have a clear concept of who belongs to them and who is excluded. Other identity-determining factors that distinguish them from different groups, Uzbeks as well as Tajiks, Pashtuns, etc., are their language (labs) and their customs.82 The Chechka dialect is considered a decisive feature which sets them apart both from other speakers of Uzbek dialects such as the Qonghrad, and from other Turkic-speaking groups such as the Qarluqs. Likewise, their customs, especially those surrounding marriage, provide them with a characteristic distinction from other Uzbek groups.83 Chechka ethnic affiliation is symbolized and clearly visible in their traditional costumes, especially those of the women which have undergone less change than men’s costumes. Summing up, we can state that the Chechka-Uzbeks possess a clear concept with which to define their identity and self-estimation. Their concrete notion of who is a Chechka has allowed them to develop a strong sense of relationship and at the same time to construct a distinctiveness

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from other groups, Uzbeks as well as non-Uzbeks. This distinctiveness from other groups is especially obvious in their selection of spouses. With the exception of those restrictions determined by Islamic law, the ChechkaUzbeks have no specific compulsory marriage rules. Marriage with relatives, however, especially with those belonging to one’s patrilateral kinship group, or to one of the subgroups of the Chechka, is preferable as this is, for one thing, considered the best guarantee for preserving Chechka identity.84 The Chechka will take wives from other ethnic groups, but are very reluctant to give women to outside groups.85 Maintenance of their dialect (labs) is given as one of the main reasons for reluctance to establish marital relationships with non-Chechkas. Marriages with non-Chechkas are as a rule with the neighboring Qarluqs, Tajiks and other groups who are either of indigenous origin or have a common mohajer background. Marriages with Pashtun women are rather rare: on the other hand, because the Pashtuns are considered as foreign intruders from whom the Chechka-Uzbeks wish to separate themselves, and on the other hand, because the Pashtuns for their part do not usually give their women to non-Pashtuns.86 Changes in Identity Construction and Self-Representation The more than seventeen years of resistance fighting and civil war have led to fundamental changes in Afghan society. In contrast to the period before the coup d’état of 1978 when social transformation was dictated by the state and thus only a small segment of Afghan society, the resistance fighting for the first time in Afghan history has led to mobilization of the total society from below and initiated a general emancipation of the formerly suppressed and disadvantaged ethnic groups of Afghanistan.87 The fight against the invading Soviet army and the communist regime, as well as the experiences in the refugee camps, have contributed to the emergence of a kind of ‘national consciousness’ that includes all groups of Afghan society. Simultaneously, however, it has also led to the accentuation of identities based either on ethnicity or religious affiliation. This hold true especially for the so-called ‘minority groups’. Legitimized by their participation in the resistance fighting, these formerly suppressed groups (e.g. the Uzbeks and the Hazara) now demand equality within Afghan society and a proper share in the field of politics.88 Likewise, both the self-representation and self-estimation of these minority groups have changed. Contrary to former times when ethnic minorities such as the Uzbeks denied their origin and concealed their ethnic affiliation and language, especially when outside their own territory, they are now openly declaring their ethnic adherence and stressing their origin, language and culture. In the interaction with other groups outside their home region (e.g. Kabul) they no longer refer to

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themselves as ‘people from the north’ but represent themselves rather as Uzbeks. Likewise, a new interest in the Uzbek language is developing among the Uzbeks who are in most cases bilingual.89 Until quite recently many Uzbeks in Northeastern Afghanistan, especially those living in cities, considered their mother tongue, despite its importance for identity construction, as inferior to Dari. This may be attributed in part to the fact that until 1978 only Dari and Pashtu had been granted an official status in Afghanistan and were the only languages used in education and in the media, thus forcing educated Uzbeks to rely on Dari or Pashtu for their written communication.90 This perceived low status of the Uzbek language led many Uzbek parents, especially those living in urban areas, to talk exclusively in Dari with their children and to avoid giving them Uzbek names. Likewise, in mixed Uzbek-Tajik families the Tajik language also dominated. Due to the present emphasis on Uzbekness, however, the use of the Uzbek language is increasing, especially in public discourse. To talk in Uzbeki instead of Dari/Tajik is meant to convey a political message, namely to assert that the Uzbeks also participated in the resistance fighting and thus have a claim to a fair share in the country’s newly evolving power structure.91 A focal point of crystallization for the ethnic consciousness of the Uzbeks in Afghanistan is currently the Uzbek General Rashid Dostum, without whose support the Mujahedin would not have been able to capture Kabul in April 1992.92 This decisive contribution to the Mujahedin’s victory over the communist regime has not only led to increasing demands by the Uzbeks for equal rights within Afghan society, but has likewise caused different Uzbek groups to develop a new identity, which as in the case of the Chechka-Uzbeks, oversteps their narrowly defined group and increasingly includes other Uzbek groups as well. Consequently, in the nationwide political context and in the discourse with other ethnic groups the term qaum, which, as noted above, allows for strategic manipulation, is acquiring a more encompassing significance. The term qaum, besides meaning a person’s kin group, subtribe or tribe, is coming more and more to connote all Uzbeks of Afghanistan. This enlarged concept of membership in the qaum is also visible in responses of the Qataghan-Uzbeks to questions about membership in specific tribal groups or subtribal groups. Many of my informants were of the opinion that membership in a particular tribe or subtribe is irrelevant as ‘we are all one’ (hamamiz bir). Whereas the recognition of other Uzbeks as members of the qaum is increasing, the inclusion of non-Uzbeks in the local qaum seems, in view of the recent clashes between Uzbek and Tajik militia groups, to be declining. The rivalry between Rabbani/Massoud and Dostum over equal access to political positions in the state is thus reflected at the local level and leads to

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enforced delineations between formerly allied groups, such as the QataghanUzbeks and the Tajiks. These two different ethnic groups had earlier on formed a coalition against the once dominant Pashtun settlers who since 1978 have for the most part left the region, and had considered themselves as one qaum in this political game. The break-up of the communist regime in Afghanistan and the ensuing civil war led to further polarizations within Afghan society and to the fragmentation of the country into a number of more or less independent warlord dominions that do not acknowledge the government in Kabul. Likewise, the relationship framework for identity construction and selfestimation has been increasingly shaped in terms of ethnicity and enforced ethnic consciousness. Presently, political alignments and coalitions are primarily based on ethnic criteria. Irrespective of former ideological controversies, those Mujahedin and communists who belong to the same ethnic group form alliances to defend the political and economic rights of their respective ethnic groups which they either perceive to be in danger of suffering a loss of status, as with the Pashtuns, or which they consider not to have received due recognition, as in the case of the Uzbeks in relation to the present position of the Tajiks in the Kabuli government.93 By emphasizing ethnicity in their political rhetoric, however, the political leaders of the various groups are endangering the very existence of Afghanistan and setting in motion a process that may lead to ethnic cleansing and the establishment of ethnically defined dominions. In the case of the Turkic peoples and the Tajiks of Northern Afghanistan, this newly developing emphasis on ethnicity may lead to a rapprochement with the respective republics of former Soviet Central Asia. Finally, as the case study of the Chechka-Uzbeks illustrates, it becomes clear that ethnic identity is no static phenomenon, but rather changes according to the prevailing circumstances in any given situation. The way social and ethnic groups define their identity and represent themselves depends on individual factors as well as on concrete socio-political frameworks. Similarly, it is obvious that as long as a powerful central state capable of controlling the society as a whole and shaping it into one more or less uniform entity does not emerge, nation-building can hardly be achieved, especially in states like Afghanistan where the state apparatus has been dominated by one ethnic group, the Pashtuns. Unless all the various groups are equally represented in the state and similar sociocultural and economic status is conferred on them, it is then almost inevitable that political discourse will acquire an ethnic connotation. It follows axiomatically that the resulting enforced ethnicity will hinder the development of a common national identity.

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Notes 1 This article is based on field research (winter/spring 1991 and 1992 in Pakistan, and September 1991 in Turkey) and on archival study undertaken in the India Office Library (spring 1992) in London. Due to the ongoing war in Afghanistan which made research inside the country impossible, I had to rely on infomation gathered among Uzbek and other refugees originating from Northeastern Afghanistan but now living in Pakistani and Turkish refugee settlements. I am indebted to the Austrian Ministry of Science and Research and the Austrian Fund for the Advancement of Sciences for granting me a scholarship to undertake this research. In what follows the term ‘Afghan’ refers to a citizen of the former state of Afghanistan. 2 A. Fänge, ‘Afghanistan after April 1992: A Struggle for State and Ethnicity,’ Central Asian Survey 14, no. 1 (1995), pp. 17–24. 3 F. Barth, Introduction, in Idem, ed., Ethnic Groups and Boundaries. The Social Organisation of Cultural Difference, Bergen, Oslo and London, 1969, pp. 9–39; Idem, ‘Enduring and Emerging Issues in the Analysis of Ethnicity,’ in H. Vermeulen and C. Govers, eds, The Anthropology of Ethnicity. Beyond ‘Ethnic Groups and Boundaries’, Amsterdam, 1994, pp. 11–33; R. Tapper, ‘Ethnicity, Order and Meaning in the Anthropology of Iran and Afghanistan,’ in J.-P. Digard, ed., Le fait ethnique en Iran et en Afghanistan, Paris, 1988, pp. 21–35; E. Orywal, ‘Ethnische Identität-Konzept und Methode,’ in Idem, ed., Die ethnischen Gruppen Afghanistans. Fallstudien zur Gruppenidentität und Intergruppenbeziehungen, Wiesbaden, 1986, pp. 73–86. 4 See E. Orywal, ‘Erläuterungen zur Verbreitungskarte,’ in Idem, ed., Die ethnischen Gruppen Afghanistans, p. 12; and J. Pstrusinska, ‘Afghanistan 1989 in Sociolinguistic Perspective,’ Central Asian Survey, Incidental Papers Series, no. 7 (1990), p. 3–17. 5 See E. Orywal, ‘Die ethnischen Gruppen: Kurzcharakterisierung und ausgewählte Literatur zur Verbreitung,’ in Idem, ed., Die ethnischen Gruppen Afghanistans, pp. 18–73; and Pstrusinska, ‘Afghanistan 1989’, pp. 3–17. With regard to demographic figures and ethnic, religious or linguistic adherence of the peoples of Afghanistan, it should be pointed out that as yet no comprehensive census has been undertaken. Therefore all published figures are merely based on more or less reasonable estimates and may vary considerably. For political reasons the figures for certain ethnic groups have been underestimated, e.g. for the Uzbeks and Hazaras, whereas those of others have been overrated. The figures for the Pashtuns for example vary from 4.8 to 8 million. Cf. Orywal, ‘Die ethnischen Gruppen’, pp. 19 and 70 f.; Pstrusinska, ‘Afghanistan 1989’, p. 4; and E. Grötzbach, Afghanistan. Eine geographische Landeskunde, Darmstadt, 1990. 6 E. Orywal, Verbreitungskarte der ethnischen Gruppen Afghanistans TAVO-Blatt A VIII/6, Wiesbaden, 1983; Idem, ‘Erläuterungen’, p. 13; and Pstrusinska, ‘Afghanistan 1989,’ pp. 3–17. Both these authors refer to the situation before 1978. The war, however, has altered the ethnic distribution in various regions, e.g. Northeastern and Central Afghanistan, where most of the Pashtuns are reported to have fled. Cf. M. Sliwinski, ‘War, Demography and Society,’ Central Asian Survey, Incidental Papers Series, no. 6 (1988). 7 Except for a short period in the 1970s when radio programs were permitted in some Turkic languages (Uzbek and Turkmen), other languages spoken in Afghanistan

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were only recognized in 1978 when the communist regime, following the Soviet nationalities policy, bestowed offical status on a number of languages such as Uzbek and Pashai. 8 Cf. Orywal, ‘Ethnische Identität-Konzept,’ p. 82; M.A. Miran, ‘The Function of National Languages in Afghanistan,’ in Occasional Paper No. 11 of the Afghanistan Council of the Asia Society, New York, 1977. 9 W. Steul, ‘Afghanistan – mit dem Islam zur Nation,’ in A. Buchholz and M. Geiling, eds, Im Namen Allahs. Der Islam – eine Religion im Aufbruch?, Frankfurt/ Main, Berlin and Vienna, 1980, pp. 114–29; R.L. Canfield, ‘Afghanistan’s Social Identities in Crisis,’ in J.-P. Digard, ed., Le fait ethnique en Iran et en Afghanistan, Paris, 1988, pp. 185–201; A. Olesen, Islam and Politics in Afghanistan, Richmond, 1995. 10 Cf. Grötzbach, Afghanistan, p. 66; S. Rasuly, Politischer Strukturwandel in Afghanistan, Frankfurt am Main, 1990; O. Roy, Islam and Resistance in Afghanistan, Cambridge, 1986; and Canfield, ‘Afghanistan’s Social Identities in Crisis,’ p. 187. 11 J.-H. Grevemeyer, Afghanistan. Sozialer Wandel und Staat im 20. Jahrhundert, Berlin, 1987, pp. 59–65; and R.L. Canfield, ‘Ethnic, Regional, and Sectarian Alignment in Afghanistan,’ in A. Banuazizi and M. Weiner, eds, The State, Religion, and Ethnic Politics: Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan, Karachi, 1987, pp. 77 ff. Canfield differentiates between three types of socio-political cooperation: tribal societies, peasant societies, and those that unite people from different ethno-linguistic groups. 12 Until the construction of the Salang tunnels in the 1960s Northern Afghanistan remained inaccessible during the winter months. 13 M.N. Shahrani, ‘Afghanistan: State and Society in Retrospect,’ in E.W. Anderson and N. Hatch Dupree, eds, The Cultural Basis of Afghan Nationalism, London and New York, 1990, p. 42. 14 Rasuly, Politischer Strukturwandel, p. 35. 15 Shahrani, ‘Afghanistan,’ p. 44; Grevemeyer, Afghanistan, pp. 20–39; Rasuly, Politischer Strukturwandel, pp. 29–42. 16 Shahrani, ‘Afghanistan,’ pp. 42, 44; and Roy, Islam and Resistance, p. 17. 17 Cf. Shahrani, ‘Afghanistan,’, p. 44 f.; Grevemeyer, Afghanistan, pp. 39–53; Rasuly, Politischer Strukturwandel, p. 44 ff.; and H.K. Kakar, Afghanistan: A Study in Internal Political Developments 1880–1896, Kabul, 1971. 18 Mir Munshi Sultan Mohamed Khan, ed., The Life of Abdur Rahman Amir of Afghanistan, Karachi, etc., 1980, I, pp. 249, 260–84. 19 N. Tapper, ‘Abd-al-Rahman’s North-West Frontier: The Pashtun Colonisation of Afghan Turkestan,’ in R. Tapper, ed., The Conflict of Tribe and State in Iran and Afghanistan, London, etc., 1983, pp. 233–62; E. Grötzbach, Kulturgeographischer Wandel in Nordost-Afghanistan seit dem 19. Jahrhundert, Meisenheim am Glan, 1972, pp. 65, 94 f. 20 Grevemeyer, Afghanistan, p. 39; and Grötzbach, Kulturgeographischer Wandel, pp. 65, 94 f. 21 O. Roy, ‘Ethnic Identity and Political Expression in Northern Afghanistan,’ in J.-A. Gross, ed., Muslims in Central Asia. Expressions of Identity and Change, Durham and London, 1992, p. 74. 22 Cf. Shahrani, ‘Afghanistan,’ p. 44 ff.; and Olesen, Islam and Politics, p. 62 ff. 23 Shahrani, ‘Afghanistan,’ p. 44 f. 24 On the stipulations of the constitution of 1923 see Rasuly, Politischer

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Strukturwandel, p. 165 ff.; and G. Vercellin, ‘Le fait ethnique dans les politiques des États iranien et afghan,’ in J.-P. Digard, ed., Le fait ethnique en Iran et en Afghanistan, Paris, 1988, p. 223. 25 Rasuly, Politischer Strukturwandel, p. 70 ff. 26 The claim of Pashtun supremacy is evident in Afghan historiography where Habibullah Kalakani is not referred to by his proper name but as Bacha-e Saqao (‘son of the water-carrier’). Cf. Rasuly, Politischer Strukturwandel, pp. 76–86; and M.N. Shahrani, ‘State Building and Social Fragmentation in Afghanistan: A Historical Perspective,’ in A. Banuazizi and M. Weiner, eds, The State, Religion, and Ethnic Politics: Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan, Karachi, 1987, p. 51. 27 Grevemeyer, Afghanistan, pp. 59–65, especially pp. 60 and 64; and G. RasulyPaleczek, ‘Beg, Moyzafid und Arbab: Das politische System der Chechka-Uzbeken und der afghanische Zentralstaat,’ in A. Gingrich et al, eds, Culture, History and Power. Studies in Oriental Society, Frankfurt am Main, etc., 1993. 28 Tapper, ‘Ethnicity, Order and Meaning,’ p. 25 f.; and Shahrani, ‘State Building,’ pp. 58 f., 63 ff. 29 Shahrani, ‘Afghanistan,’ p. 45; and L.W. Adamec, ed., Historical and Political Who’s Who of Afghanistan, Graz, 1975; Idem, A Biographical Dictionary of Contemporary Afghanistan, Graz, 1987. 30 For Pashtun and Afghan as synonymous terms see: R. Tapper, ‘Ethnicity and Class: Dimensions of Intergroup Conflict in North-Central Afghanistan,’ in M.N. Shahrani and R.L. Canfield, eds, Revolutions and Rebellions in Afghanistan: Anthropological Perspectives, Berkeley, 1984, p. 239; Vercellin, ‘Le fait ethnique,’ pp. 222, 224; and Pstrusinska, ‘Afghanistan 1989,’ p. 27. Cf. also D.C. Montgomery, ‘The Uzbeks in Two States: Soviet and Afghan Policies Towards an Ethnic Minority,’ in W.O. McCagg Jr. and B.D. Silver, eds, Soviet Asian Ethnic Frontiers, New York, etc., 1979, pp. 147–74. On the official meaning of the term Afghan, Montgomery notes, ‘The 1964 constitution places no ethnic qualification on citizenship, stating “that the Afghan nation is composed of all those individuals who possess the citizenship of the state in accordance with the provisions of the law and that the word Afghan shall apply to each such individual”’(p. 161). 31 Orywal, ‘Ethnische Identität-Konzept,’ p. 81. 32 Cf. O. Roy, ‘Ethnies et appartenances politiques en Afghanistan,’ in J.-P. Digard, ed., Le fait ethnique en Iran et en Afghanistan, Paris, 1988, p. 206 f.; Idem, ‘Ethnic Identity,’ p. 83 f. See also E. Naby, ‘The Ethnic Factor in Soviet–Afghan Relations,’ Asian Survey 20, no. 3 (March 1980), pp. 237–57. With regard to the use of Turkic languages, Naby mentions (p. 246) that since the summer of 1979 groups of Mujahedin have started broadcasting radio programs in Turkic languages. Some Mujahedin publications by the Jamiat-e Eslami and the Hezb-e Eslami, which mainly publish in Dari, carry articles in Uzbek written in the Arabic script, as I myself observed during my field trips in Pakistan in 1991 and 1992. 33 Tapper, ‘Ethnicity,’ p. 26. 34 Canfield, ‘Afghanistan’s Social Identities,’ p. 187. 35 Tapper, ‘Ethnicity,’ p. 27. 36 Ibid. For further discussion of qaum see Roy, ‘Ethnies,’ p. 201 f; R.L. Canfield, Faction and Conversion in a Plural Society. Religious Alignment in the Hindu Kush, Ann Arbor, 1973, p. 34 f.; Idem, ‘Afghanistan’s Social Identities,’ p. 185 ff.; P. Centlivres and M. Centlivres-Demont, ‘Pratiques quotidiennes et usages politiques

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des termes ethniques dans l’Afghanistan du nord-est,’ in J.-P. Digard, ed., Le fait ethnique en Iran et en Afghanistan, Paris, 1988, pp. 233–47. 37 Canfield, Faction and Conversion, p. 34 f. 38 Ibid. 39 Roy, ‘Ethnic Identity,’ p. 75 f. 40 Tapper, ‘Ethnicity,’ p. 27. 41 Canfield, Faction and Conversion, p. 34. 42 See Roy, ‘Ethnies’ and ‘Ethnic Identity’. 43 Roy, ‘Ethnic Identity’. 44 Ibid., p. 76. 45 ‘Afganistan’s Social Identities’, p. 194. 46 Ibid., p. 185 47 Ibid. 48 Cf. P. Centlivres, ‘Les Uzbeks du Qataghan,’ Afghanistan Journal 2, no. 1 (1975), pp. 28–37; G. Jarring, ‘On the Distribution of Turkic Tribes in Afghanistan. An Attempt at a Preliminary Classification,’ Lunds Universitets Årsskrift, N.F. Avd. 1, Band 35, Nr. 4, Lund–Leipzig, 1939, pp. 13–34, 57, 63 ff.; J. Wood, A Journey to the Source of the River Oxus, London, 1872, p. 191; M.B. Koshkaki, Qataghan et Badakhshân. Description du pays d’après l’inspection d’un ministre afghan en 1922, trans. by M. Reut, Paris, 1979; L.W. Adamec, ed., Historical and Political Gazetteer of Afghanistan, I, Badakhshan Province and Northeastern Afghanistan, Graz, 1972, p. 95. According to the oral history of the Chechka-Uzbeks their original homeland is located in the area of Samarkand. 49 Cf. Centlivres, ‘Les Uzbeks,’ p. 35; Idem, ‘L’histoire récente de l’Afghanistan et la configuration ethnique des provinces du nord-est,’ Studia Iranica 5, no. 2 (1976), pp. 255–67 (esp. pp. 263 f. and 259); M. Centlivres-Demont, ‘Types d’occupation et relations interethniques dans le nord-est de l’Afghanistan,’ Studia Iranica 5, no. 2 (1976), pp. 269–77 (esp. p. 273); Grötzbach, Kulturgeographischer Wandel, pp. 126– 37. 50 See the map of the provinces of Takhar and Kunduz in the appendix of Adamec, Historical and Political Gazetteer, as well as p. 95; Koshkaki, ‘Qataghan’, p. 67; Centlivres, ‘Les Uzbeks’, pp. 29, 35. 51 Until the recent break-up of the USSR there were no contacts between the Chechkas on both sides of the Amu-Darya. 52 With the exception of Centlivres, ‘L’histoire récente de l’Afghanistan’ and Centlivres-Demont, ‘Types d’occupations et relations’, who describe inter-ethnic relations in Rustaq, Dasht-e Qala, Darqat and Yang-e Qala (Takhar Province), no other detailed study has to my knowledge been carried out on ethnic distribution in this region. 53 According to Tapper, ‘Ethnicity’, p. 233, the Uzbeks of Northwestern Afghanistan have lost their tribal affiliations. 54 The terms urugh and tayfa are as ambiguous as qaum and are used to designate any level of the tribal structure without proper distinction of levels of segmentation within the tribe. Thus urugh can mean the totality of all Uzbek tribes, as well as the Qataghan-Uzbeks, the totality of the Chechkas, i.e. their nine or ten subgroups, and even subgroups of the latter. On the tribal structure of the Qataghan-Uzbeks see P.B. Lord, ‘A Memoir on the Uzbek State of Kundooz, and the Power of Its Present Ruler Mahomed Murad Beg,’ in Sir A. Burnes et alii, eds, Reports and Papers,

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Political, Geographical and Commercial, Submitted to Government, Employed on Missions in the Years 1835–36–37, to Scinde, Afghanistan and Adjacent Countries, Calcutta, 1839, pp. 96–124 (esp. p. 108 f.) 55 Whether there exist nine or ten sub-urughs of the Chechka is not clear. Some informants include the Palwan, whereas others deny that they belong to the ChechkaUzbeks. See below. 56 Adamec, Historical and Political Gazetteer, I, pp. 9 f., 94 f.; Idem, Historical and Political Gazetteer of Afghanistan, IV, Mazar-i Sharif and North-Central Afghanistan, Graz, 1979, pp. 18–36; Wood, A Journey, pp. 138 ff., 155; Koshkaki, Qataghan et Badakhshân, IV f. and pp. 8–15; J.-H. Grevemeyer, Herrschaft, Raub und Gegenseitigkeit: Die politische Geschichte Badakhshans 1500–1883, Wiesbaden, 1982, pp. 41–56; Idem, Afghanistan, pp. 39–53, 89; Grötzbach, Kulturgeographischer Wandel, pp. 52 ff., 54 f.; Lord, ‘A Memoir’. 57 From 1880 when Abdurrahman Khan became Afghan amir, Ishaq Khan, a relative of the amir, acted as his governor in Northeastern Afghanistan. Ishaq Khan, having allied himself with the former Amir of Kunduz and other Uzbek notables, instigated a revolt against the Kabuli king. After he and his supporters were defeated by the amir, Ishaq Khan, along with the Amir of Kunduz and the notables as well as a large number of other Uzbeks, fearing the revenge of Amir Abdurrahman Khan, fled across the Amu-Darya into what was then the Emirate of Bukhara. Cf. J.-H. Grevemeyer, ‘The Revolt of Eschaq Khan in Afghan–Turkestan 1888: Peasant Mobilisation and Re-Formation of Patron-Client Relationships,’ in J.M. Bak and G. Benecke, eds, Religion and Rural Revolt, Manchester, 1984, pp. 270–80. 58 Grevemeyer, Afghanistan, pp. 59–65; and Gabriele Rasuly-Paleczek, ‘Language and Ethnicity in Northeastern Afghanistan (Farsi, Pashtu, Uzbeki),’ in B.G. Fragner, ed., Papers of the Symposium ‘Bilingualism in Iranian Cultures’, held in Bamberg 17– 21 July 1992, forthcoming. 59 Cf. Centlivres, ‘L’histoire récente de l’Afghanistan’, pp. 257 f., 261 f., 263 ff.; Centlivres-Demont, ‘Types d’occupation et relations’, p. 272 f.; Grötzbach, Kulturgeographischer Wandel, pp. 56, 67 f., 82, 94 f.; Adamec, Historical and Political Gazetteer, I, pp. 7, 96; N. Tapper, ‘Abd-al-Rahman’s North-West Frontier’; and Roy, ‘Ethnic Identity’, p. 74. On the special support given to Pashtun settlers see Grötzbach, Kulturgeographischer Wandel, pp. 65, 97 f; and Centlivres-Demont, ‘Types d’occupation et relations’, p. 273. 60 E. Naby, ‘The Uzbeks in Afghanistan,’ Central Asian Survey 3, no. 1 (1984), pp. 1–23 (see p. 8); Montgomery, ‘The Uzbeks in Two States,’ p. 160; Grötzbach, Afghanistan, p. 399, Table 28; Roy, ‘Ethnic Identity,’ p. 74 f. 61 Montgomery, ‘The Uzbeks in Two States,’ p. 164; and Roy, ‘Ethnic Identity,’ p. 75. 62 Roy, ‘Ethnic Identity,’ p. 74. 63 Centlivres-Demont, ‘Types d’occupation et relations,’ p. 237; A.C. Shalinsky, ‘Uzbek Ethnicity in Northern Afghanistan,’ in E. Orywal, ed., Die ethnischen Gruppen Afghanistans. Fallstudien zur Gruppenidentität und Intergruppenbeziehungen, Wiesbaden, 1986, pp. 290–303 (see p. 300); Grötzbach, Kulturgeographischer Wandel, pp. 65, 96 f.; and Rasuly-Palaczek, ‘Language and Ethnicity,’ p. 201, ftn. 41. 64 Centlivres, ‘Les Uzbeks,’ p. 32; Grötzbach, Kulturgeographischer Wandel, pp. 67, 82; and Shalinsky, ‘Uzbek Ethnicity,’ pp. 290–303. 65 It is necessary to draw attention to this population movement and to the fact

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that Northeastern Afghanistan has for many centuries been populated by Turkic peoples since several Pashtun nationalists have claimed that the Turkic peoples of Afghanistan are all refugees who only recently, i.e. within the last hundred years, immigrated to Afghanistan. 66 Cf. A.C. Shalinsky, ‘History as Self-Image. The Case of Central Asian Émigrés in Afghanistan,’ Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies 3, no. 2 (1979), pp. 7–19; Idem, ‘Central Asian Émigrés in Afghanistan: Problems of Religious and Ethnic Unity,’ in Occasional Paper No. 19 of the Afghanistan Council of the Asia Society, New York, 1979, pp. 1–15; Idem, ‘Group Prestige in Northern Afghanistan: The Case of an Interethnic Wedding,’ Ethnic Groups 2 (1980), pp. 269–82; Idem, ‘Uzbek Ethnicity’. 67 Cf. D. Balland, ‘La diaspora des Turcs de Basse-Asie centrale soviétique au XXe siècle,’ Bulletin de la Section de Géographie 82 (1975–1977), pp. 23–38; and Shalinsky, ‘History as Self-Image,’ pp. 1, 9, 16 f. 68 Regarding identity construction and ethnic frames of reference among Uzbeks in Northeastern Afghanistan, see Shalinsky, ‘Uzbek Ethnicity’. 69 Roy, ‘Ethnic Identity’, gives the following definition for asli and mohajerin: ‘...”asli” (lit. original, referring to those who came in the sixteenth century) and “muhajirs” (lit. immigrants, referring to those who came in the late twenties).’ Cf. also Shalinsky, ‘History as Self-Image,’ pp. 9, 14; Idem, ‘Central Asian Émigrés,’ p. 3; Idem, ‘Group Prestige,’ p. 270; and Balland, ‘La diaspora des Turcs,’ p. 24. 70 The same holds true for the Tajiks. 71 Shalinsky, ‘History as Self-Image,’ p. 13 f.; Idem, ‘Group Prestige,’ p. 270 ff.; and Idem, ‘Islam and Ethnicity. The Northern Afghanistan Perspective,’ Central Asian Survey 1, no. 2/3 (1982/83), pp. 71–83. 72 Shalinsky, ‘Central Asian Émigrés,’ pp. 8, 12; Idem, ‘Group Prestige’. 73 Grötzbach, Kulturgeographischer Wandel, pp. 64–9, 88. 74 See in general Orywal,‘Ethnische Identität-Konzept’. 75 Islam and its religious practices, which according to Shalinsky play a major role in defining group identity, were not mentioned by my informants. Cf. Shalinsky, ‘History as Self-Image’, ‘Central Asian Émigrés’, and ‘Islam and Ethnicity’. 76 Cf. Orywal, ‘Ethnische Identität-Konzept’. 77 With the exception of a few individuals who when asked about their forefathers mentioned two or three legends, like the stories of Hunka and Chunka, or Baymaht Bi and Dosat Bi, which explain the appearance of the Chechkas in Afghanistan and describe the Chechka’s specific qualities, the majority of the Chechka-Uzbeks have only a rather superficial knowledge of their ancestors and genealogical links. Most of them can only recall their fathers and grandfathers. Thus the origin of the Qataghan-Uzbeks and their subgroups, as presented in Lord, ‘A Memoir’ (p. 108 f.) and Adamec, Historical and Political Gazetteer (I., p. 95) is only known to some Chechkas. This limited genealogical knowledge may be the result of the collapse of the traditional tribal system that occurred after the final annexation of Northeastern Afghanistan by the Afghan state. Or it may be explained by the notion elaborated in Barfield, ‘Tribe and State Relations. The Inner Asian Perspective,’ in P.S. Khoury and J. Kostiner, eds, Tribes and State Formation in the Middle East, New York, 1991, pp. 153–85, that genealogical ties were never as important in the formation of social entities and securing access to the means of production (pastures or agricultural lands) as among the Arab tribes.

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78 Cf. the stories of Hunka and Chunka and Maymaht Bi and Dosat Bi. According to oral history, the Chechka left their former settlement area in Samarkand to escape unjust rule. 79 Personal communication by Wakil Mohammad Tahir. 80 This idiomatic expression is based on the notion that a horse’s ‘thigh’, i.e. its hind leg, is its biggest muscle and the most importatnt part of its body. 81 R. Tapper, ‘Ethnicity and Class’; and Roy, ‘Ethnic Identity’. 82 Similar critieria are also mentioned with regard to the Tajiks in I. Sawez, ‘Anpassung und Abgrenzung. Die Ta©ik,’ in E. Orywal, ed., Die ethnischen Gruppen Afghanistans. Fallstudien zur Gruppenidentität und Intergruppenbeziehungen, Wiesbaden, 1986, pp. 284–90. 83 Statements by refugee Chechka-Uzbeks living in Turkey, noted during a wedding ceremony at Ceylanpinar (Turkey) in the summer of 1991. 84 Only the Beg families and other families of some importance enter into extensive marriage alliances with various families of their own urugh, as well as with other ethnic groups. For details see Rasuly-Paleczek, ‘Language and Ethnicity’. 85 In marriages with foreign groups multiple marriages often occur between two households. 86 Cf. in general R. Tapper, ‘Ethnicity and Class,’ p. 240; N. Tapper and R. Tapper, ‘Marriage Preferences and Ethnic Relations among Durrani Pashtuns of Afghan Turkestan,’ Folk 24 (1982), pp. 157–77; N. Lindisfarne, Bartered Brides. Politics, Gender and Marriage in an Afghan Tribal Society, Cambridge, 1991; and Shalinsky, ‘Group Prestige’. 87 J.-H. Grevemeyer, Afghanistan nach über zehn Jahren Krieg. Perspektiven gesellschaftlichen Wandels, Berlin, 1989. 88 K. Berg Harpviken, Political Mobilisation among the Hazara of Afghanistan: 1978–1992, cand. polt. thesis, Department of Sociology, University of Oslo, 1995; and J.-H. Grevemeyer, ‘Ethnicity and National Liberation: the Afghan Hazara between Resistance and Civil War,’ in J.-P. Digard, ed., Le fait ethnique en Iran et en Afghanistan, Paris, 1988, pp. 211–19. 89 With regard to the bilingualism of the Uzbeks of Northeastern Afghanistan, it should be noted that the degree of proficiency in the second language varies considerably. Generally, Uzbek males are more fluent in Dari than women. The command of Dari is closely related to such factors as education, ethno-linguistic composition of the settlement area, profession, etc. For details see Rasuly-Paleczek, ‘Language and Ethnicity’. 90 The Uzbeki literary tradition was only taught in some of the private madrasas of Northeastern Afghanistan. (Personal communication of Khalifa Sayyed Abdul Aziz.) 91 Cf. video film made by the Jamicat-e Eslami about the conquest of Khwojaghar (in Northeastern Afghanistan) in the summer of 1991 where Qari Amir, one of the Uzbek resistance commanders, speaks Uzbek (although he is bilingual). In the film his speech is subtitled in Dari. 92 Until now General Rashid Dostum has not been supporting Uzbek nationalism but has voted for a confederated political system in which all the different groups would have an equal share in political power. See for instance the statement General Dostum made in 1992, published in Asnad wa feysalaha-ye nokhostin majma1-e mo1assesan-e jonbesh-e melli-eslami-e Afghanestan (Documents and Decisions of the First

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General Assembly of the founders of the National-Islamic Movement of Afghanistan), Jonbesh-e melli-eslami-ye Afghanestan, Mazar-e Sharif, 1992, p. 2. 93 For example, Gulbuddin Hikmatyar, the Pashtun leader of the former Mujahedin party Hezb-e Eslami, entered into an alliance with the Khalq fraction of Afghanistan’s Communist Party, in which the Pashtun nationalists are dominant. Likewise, the Taleban, who emerged in the fall of 1994 as a new military and political force, are Pashtun-dominated, having Islamicists as well as communists within their ranks.

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Nawruz in Tajikistan: Ritual or Politics? ALI ATTAR

Blessed be God’s Messenger Muhammad and his Companions. The New Year’s feast has been celebrated traditionally by our fathers and ancestors since olden times. Our children still learn its customs and traditions and perpetuate them. When Nawruz draws near, we clean our houses. The children bring flowers (for the pleasure of our hearts). We celebrate at home. We prepare sumanak. The children bring different presents, for example flowers, and say: ‘Father it is now Nawruz.’ Thus, Nawruz is an ancient custom and as long as we shall live, this tradition will be passed on to our descendants. A Tajik peasant, Mulla Ali

As you heard in the final sequence of the film, this is how Mulla Ali, the Tajik peasant from Colchose Khatlon (near Kulob), explained to me the continuity of the Nawruz feast1 within Tajik society and culture. He refers to his ancestors, from whom he and his generation have inherited this custom. He sees the feast as a bridge that joins together the different generations of his society. Nawruz is a feast which mediates a sense of collectivity to all members of the ethnic nation in Tajikistan and in Iran, as well as among the Kurds. To the best of my knowledge the Nawruz feast has been assigned a national character in the other Central Asian Republics too. In my opinion this feast has become, as I will explain below, not a multicultural, but a multinational feast. The present geographical area in which it is a recognized custom is much bigger than its well-known territory of origin. Before proceeding further with the discussion, I would like to consider a definition for the celebration of Nawruz, so that the phenomenon can be classified within a scientific/theoretical framework. In my opinion, in view of recent anthropological debate it is both possible and useful to classify Nawruz technically as a ritual. I would stress the word recent in this connection because older anthropological definitions have considered ritual to be an inseparable part of religion, which is clearly not the case as far as the present-day form of celebrating Nawruz is concerned. In her book Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice, Catherine Bell2 presents a discussion of the ritual-complex from a universal 231

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perspective. She undertakes to review and evaluate all the relevant theories of earlier and contemporary anthropologists. For example: • Emile Durkheim, who initiated a wholly new trend in ritual theory; • Clifford Geertz, who discusses religion and notions of ritual in universal terms; • Victor Turner and his followers, who stress the performance theories that have been propounded up until now; • David Kertzer, who focuses primarily on political ritual, or ritualized policy, i.e. the relations between ritual, policy and power. Earlier social theorists have defined ritual as ‘a belief-action dichotomy’ within a community, whereas later theorists in the field have defined it as ‘a thought-action dichotomy’, i.e. as social explanation of a belief or an idea. An important and unanswered question is whether belief or religion protogenize ritual, or the other way around. Bell writes: ‘Fustel de Coulanges and Robertson Smith explored other nuances of ritual as a category of human experience, coming to see it as more basic than beliefs and integral to the social dimension of the religion.’3 Bell adds: ‘[Durkheim in] The Elementary Forms reintroduces ritual as the means by which collective beliefs and ideals are simultaneously generated, experienced, and affirmed as real by the community. Hence ritual is the means by which individual perception and behavior are socially appropriated or conditioned.’4 Finally, with regard to different ritual theories she concludes that ritual is: ‘… the very mechanism or medium through which thought and action are integrated’.5 If one is justified in considering ritual to be a medium, then ritual conveys immanent social or political ideas and probably psychological experiences which are symbolically expressed during the performance. Since rituals are performed within the context of a specific culture, it is reasonable to assume that they express that culture’s collective interests as perceived from within the borders of a community. The performance of a ritual may serve to communicate within a community or outside it. The communication may be directed to a human, a superhuman (supernatural), or what Victor Turner has referred to as a preternatural being (see below). But the immanent thought and the action of a ritual change with the passage of time as any other cultural component, and affect one another reciprocally. Due to limits of space, it is not possible to discuss all theories around ‘the belief-thought dichotomy’. I will confine myself to the social dimensions and social actions of ritual which are relevant to the topic of the present paper. With regard to the Nawruz feast I will compare its modern dimensions with its more ancient ones. I will also consider possible reasons why certain of its older features have survived.

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Clifford Geertz observes: ‘In ritual, the world as lived and the world as imagined, fused under the agency of a single set of symbolic forms, turns out to be the same world …’6 And he adds: ‘… any religious ritual no matter how apparently automatic or conventional … involves this symbolic fusion of ethos and worldview.’7 Turner, addressing ritual performance in general terms, describes ritual as: ‘… a stereotyped sequence of activities involving gestures, words, and objects, performed in a sequestered place, and designed to influence preternatural entities or forces on behalf of the actors’ goals and interests.’8 And David Kertzer, emphasizing the social dimensions of ritual, notes: ‘What is important about rituals, then is not that they deal with supernatural beings, but rather that they provide a powerful way in which people’s social dependence can be expressed.’9 Focusing on the political dimensions of this notion, he adds: ‘Ritual is especially valuable to hierarchical organizations in communicating power relationships.’10 After I have presented a description of the performance of the Nawruz feast, I will consider to what extent the feast is in fact a ritual which fulfills some of the functions just referred to above. If one accepts that Nawruz is a ritual which functions in a largely symbolic manner as a medium and as ‘a model for belief ’,11 then we must consider what particular methodological approach is appropriate for interpreting it. Before I enter into the details of the feast’s history, how it is performed, and its symbols and functions, I would first like to review briefly a few methods for analyzing ritual. Some performance-theorists such as Turner consider a ritual to be a kind of ‘social drama’. He points out that: ‘The ritual symbol is the smallest unit of ritual which still retains the specific properties of ritual behavior.’12 He goes on to add: ‘Each symbol is a store of information, both for actors and investigators …’13 ‘The cultural weave is made up of symbolic warp and thematic weft.’14 Turner especially accentuates the multiple meaning of symbols that appear in the ritual context.15 Other proponents of this thesis, such as Kapferer and Schieffelin stress the effect of performance itself, and not the significance of symbols: ‘Performance does not construct a symbolic reality in the manner of presenting an argument, description, or commentary. Rather it does so by socially constructing a situation in which the participants experience symbolic meaning as part of the process of what they are already doing.’16 The semiotic–linguistic theory of Max Bloch confines itself to the exploration of the liturgical language of ritual. Bloch considers a ritual to be something of a metaphorical text consisting of words and sentences which conform to their own particular grammar.17 This view has little relevance for Nawruz because the Nawruz celebration is hardly ever based

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on extensive language components. In any case, the few elements of language involved are not drawn from one particular religion. They are orchestrated elements which link different religions with one another. The view of Kertzer cited above advocates that one should view ritual in close connection with political power. In his analysis, ritual-performance not only fosters social cohesion in general, but specifically produces and influences solidarity in situations of conflict.18 In this short paper it will not be possible to consider Nawruz with reference to all these analytical approaches. Nor will it be possible to deal extensively with the performance of Nawruz in regions other than Tajikistan,19 or to analyze all the symbols which occur in the feast. I intend to describe the modern Tajik celebrations and their functions, and, in a section dealing with the historical dimension, to present some limited comparisons with occasional other regions. From the perspective of Nawruz, I will address the question of cultural identity, as well as some aspects of cultural change and continuity, and the interaction between these latter processes. A Short Historical Survey of the Nawruz feast The ancient origins of the Nawruz feast can be traced back to Indo–Iranian mythology. As Leo Widengren has demonstrated, the Indian variation of Nawruz has ‘the dragon-killing feast’ in common with its Iranian counterpart.20 Further proof for this common ancestry is found in ancient Indian legends which exhibit evidence of numerous correspondences with Zoroastrian beliefs. In preserved Zoroastrian texts, the New Year feast is mentioned in connection with the sixth Gahanbar, but without any special significance. For the Zoroastrians the occurrence of Nawruz is also directly connected with the creation of the universe and the genesis of mankind. On the days associated with the feast, the spirits return to their homes and families. The ancient Iranian legends present many variations of the Nawruz feast. Most legends, however, associate the institution of Nawruz with the king Jam (Yima). In one legend, recorded by al-Biruni,21 Nawruz is the day Jam became king and brought about the renewal of religion. Firdawsi (11th cent.) tells the same story, mentioning the coronation of Jam but without any reference to religious renewal.22 In this regard, Widengren offers different possible interpretations for the origin of the feast. He draws comparisons between the Iranian first human being, Yima, and his Indian counterpart, Yama. As king, Yima possesses divine attributes, being a solar deity, the giver of rain and a symbol of fertility. On the basis of certain similarities between the Iranian New Year’s

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feast and the Indian ‘dragon-killing feast’, Widengren argues in favor of the two feasts having originally been identical.23 An important variant of the legend relates that it was king Faridun who killed the dragon (azhdaha) in question and freed the land from drought.24 In a Kurdish legend probably based on the Book of Kings (Shah-namah), it is the hero Kawi(a) who organizes and leads the fight against the dragon. How the Feast is Celebrated in Tajikistan As described in the works of Sadr ad-Din Ayni and A. Negmati,25 recent traditional Nawruz celebrations in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan (as for example in the cities of Samarkand and Bukhara) were held in a special place such as an idgoh or a tamoshotepa, or on the banks of a river (in Samarkand on the banks of the Obi Rahmat). Moreover, the feast was always associated with a visit to the countryside. Along with different forms of entertainment, sabza (a dish of sprouted wheat) and sumanak (another type of wheat dish) were especially prepared. Purification and renovation of the house, a kind of ritual ploughing of the field (juftbaroron), a separate fire-feast (aluparak) and a visit to the cemetery were also standard customary practices associated with the feast.26 However, in the 1930s any official celebrations of Nawruz were prohibited, as was the case with many other religious or ‘ethnic’ customs. In the 1950s, some people attempted to revive the Nawruz feast by adjusting the celebrations to Soviet ideology. Of central importance for the feast’s restoration was Leonid Brezhnev’s mention, during an official speech in the 1970s, of Nawruz as a religious celebration of the people of Central Asia. This incident aroused greater interest in the celebration. By 1980, the Tajiks succeeded in holding official Nawruz celebrations for the first time since 1929. Mirrahimov, one of the organizers of the event, describes the proceedings in these terms: The organizational preparations began in January. The plans had already been approved by the Department of Scientific Atheism of the Philosophical Faculty of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. In view of the fact that Nawruz is associated with the youth, the komsomol held this meeting in accordance with our suggestions … On this occasion an executive committee was formed and for the first time members of the Party and government representatives participated.

The feast was celebrated in three phases: the first part consisted in choosing the most beautiful and worthy girl as a symbol of spring. The ceremony of juftbaroron, which typically marks the first yearly ritual ploughing, was the second phase. This custom was reorganized with a new form and content consisting of a procession (korvoni bahor), the participants of which offered congratulations to the peasants. The third phase was

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represented by the Nawruz festival of the youth (the feast of springtime friendship) which was performed with a march of traditionally dressed pupils, poetry recitals, music concerts, marriages performed alongside Lenin’s statue, etc. That same evening ceremonies proceeded with a literary meeting held in the Youth-Culture Palace, and in the restaurant of the premises a discothèque was set up.27 In 1988, permission to celebrate Nawruz was legally guaranteed, although the Sunday on which it fell was still considered a normal work-day. Finally, in 1990 before the completion of Tajikistan’s independence Nawruz was declared to be an officially recognized holiday. The present-day official performance of Nawruz enjoys great popularity. In 1992 in Dushanbe, a procession dubbed korvoni shodi, supported by the native artists, musicians and actors, made its way to Maidon Ozodi, the main square of the city. Available on all sides of the square were numerous native foods and Nawruz specialities. The gathering was inaugurated by a government minister, and subsequently several other political and cultural personalities gave speeches. The feast reached its high point with music and dancing. Once the official gathering was over, the participants all left. In general, the official sponsoring of Nawruz in Dushanbe did not engage large numbers of people. By contrast, popular participation was manifestly very high in the town of Kulob. Indeed, even though Nawruz coincided with the month of Ramadan, in Kulob purification and renovation of the house, preparation of sabza, and the collective preparation of the dish sumanak were observed. Likewise, the official performance of the feast on the 5th of April, 1992, was attended by numerous people from the surrounding villages. An important element of the celebration which I will discuss later is the flower-feast, known as golgardoni. It may well be a survival of the ceremonial ritual which was still celebrated up until the middle of this century. Nowadays it is performed by the children and forms part of the first phase of the Nawruz feast.28 Another important element is the presence of the brides who accompany the feast. This is nowadays considered an integral component of the Nawruz feast in Tajikistan. The 1994 celebrations were like those held in 1992. That year a bride displayed herself draped in the national flag. The other novelty was the participation of the recently constituted national army whose heroic efforts in the civil war were praised. The contemporary Nawruz ceremonies amongst the Tajiks, Afghans, Kurds and Iranians all present their own local variations. At the same time they also have several basic elements in common. But in my opinion one of the most significant universal functions of Nawruz is to confer ‘a sense of identity’ within the community. The feast plays an important role in

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strengthening group solidarity for both the participants and the spectators. Because of limits of space I cannot enter into the many other important aspects of the feast such as its mythological roots, religious symbols, etc. I will focus exclusively on the social aspects of the performance of Nawruz among the Tajiks. Nawruz as a Mirror of Cultural Change and Identity In accordance with the anthropological definitions given at the outset of this paper, the feast of Nawruz may rightly be categorized as a ritual. Specifically, Nawruz may be defined as a historically stereotyped ritual which has, none the less, preserved several levels of influence throughout successive epochs of cultural change. Embedded in the ritual are elements associated with mythological kings, minor nature deities and spirits, high-ranking gods, saints and other religious figures. But the diverse aspects of social change reflected in the Nawruz feast do not contradict Turner’s characterization of ritual as ‘a stereotyped sequence of activities’.29 The distinguishing peculiarity of the Nawruz feast is the extent to which it has been able to adapt by continually assimilating new supernatural forces. Similarly, Nawruz can be characterized as a multifunctional ritual because it has successfully adapted its function throughout the changing circumstances of the long history of the Iranian peoples. By playing a new role within the context of new social needs, the Nawruz feast simultaneously reflects both change and continuity in the several phases of cultural transformation which the Iranian peoples have undergone. Identity and solidarity are two important functions that are unambiguously reflected in this feast. The notion of ‘social solidarity’ as a key function of ritual which Durkheim propounded and which Kertzer has more recently refined upon, can appropriately be applied to the case of Nawruz. Kertzer notes: The rites of social communion not only express innate strivings for social solidarity, but also do much to build and renew them. Through participation in such rituals, people’s dependence on their social group is continually brought to their mind. Just as importantly, it is through these rites that the boundaries of the social group, the group of people to whom the individual feels allegiance, are defined.30

A sense of solidarity is particularly important among members of a society who feel that their cultural and social existence, or their livelihood, are in immediate jeopardy. And such an attitude is characteristic of the inhabitants of the Iranian plateau, as well as the Tajiks. For millenia these peoples have been in peaceful or violent contact with a wide range of alien cultures. In

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consequence of these contacts, they have likewise be constantly subjected to varying degrees of social and cultural change. The process of radical cultural change in the Iranian plateau already began in early medieval times. A transformational era was initiated with the coming of Islam which introduced many new cultural elements involving a host of new rites, customs, and a new phase of the Iranian language. None the less, older ethnic elements were preserved on diverse levels. Similarly, Soviet cultural policy and different forms of ethnic conflict in Central Asia have also left strong cultural traces in Tajik society.31 The accumulated features of the Nawruz feast prove that it has undergone adaptation parallel to the social and cultural changes of the Tajik people. Widengren maintains that the earliest social focus of the feast was an archaic band of warriors whose chief hero was Faridun. These warrior bands under the leadership of the deity Mihr (Mitra) were responsible for slaying a mythical dragon in order to guarantee the land’s fertility. Widengren points out that the ritual feast was not only characterized by a heroic warlike spirit but included a holy marriage (hieros gamos), phallic processions, cheerful boisterousness, masquerade and sexual excesses.32 Slaying the dragon was an act which reinforced the solidarity of the group, whose existence was permanently threatened by the monster. With the development of the Zoroastrian religion, the feast was modified, despite the importance for the Zoroastrian community of slaying the dragon and thus guaranteeing the harvest and protecting the land against drought. At this stage the feast was considered to be part of the gahanbar (frawashi) ceremony (see above). Consequently, the Nawruz feast had already undergone serious adaptation well before the advent of Islam. Most of our information about Nawruz in the medieval period comes from Islamic sources. Obviously the Islamic explanations are not always completely reliable as evidence. Al-Biruni, one of our most important informants, is no exception to this rule. He assigns the origin of the Nawruz feast to Solomon, the famous ancient king and prophet referred to in the Koran. Further legendary aspects of Nawruz are mentioned, for instance, by Balcami33 and by Ibn Athir.34 During the Safavid period in Iran, religious life was officially reorganized under the dominance of Shiite Islam. Along with other ideological innovations, the Nawruz feast was accepted by the Shiites as a legitimate Muslim holiday. Majlisi, one of the great religious scholars of the 17th century, compiled a large hadith collection in Arabic entitled Bihar al-anwar, in which one whole chapter is devoted to Nawruz.35 He reports on the authority of the 6th Imam that: Nawruz is one of the (holy) days among our followers; a day which has been preserved by the Ajamis (Iranians) though you (the Arabs) have lost it … (Nawruz

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is) the day when Jibra’il (the angel Gabriel) appeared to the Prophet and the day when the Prophet’s followers, at his request, pay homage to the Imam Ali.36

In more recent times under Soviet rule, there have been examples in Tajikistan of using the advent of Nawruz as an opportune occasion for announcing policy innovations in the political and social sphere. Specifically, the 1980s witnessed an attempt at reconciliation between the Soviet system and the Nawruz feast, as noted above by Mirrahimov with regard to the new ‘socialist content’ introduced into the celebrations. For example, the ancient bride-feast held in Ghonchi37 was celebrated on the 8th of March in order to coincide with International Women’s Day in the East Bloc countries, and the selection of the malak-i bahor or malak-i Nawruz, i.e. ‘Miss Spring’: the most beautiful and worthy girl in the community, was integrated into the ceremonies. Negmati’s argument that Nawruz should be the feast of the peasants was part of this same trend.38 The geographical variations of the Nawruz feast, as well as the historical fusion of different religious and official ideologies in the celebrations, testify to the ongoing patterns of change and continuity experienced by the different ethnic groups involved. Old and new native beliefs are assimilated such as the songs of the gulgardoni ceremony (see footnote 28), the Arabic blessings recited in Iran during the feast, and the custom in Afghanistan of visiting holy places.39 However, in spite of these practices of heterogeneous origin it must be stressed that the people of Tajikistan commonly consider Nawruz to be a feast which has been handed down by their ancestors. Nawruz has weathered innumerable social transformations and survived into the present. The Nawruz performances of the 1980s in Tajikistan are the clear proof of this. Indeed, since the first Soviet declaration granting religious freedom and allowing the practice of ‘ethnic’ cultural activities, many Tajiks have devoted their time and effort to make the Nawruz performance more magnificent than any other similar feasts presently celebrated in the country. Of the several different rites practised within the Iranian Islamic culture, Nawruz possesses a unique significance because it is the only surviving ritual from the region’s pre-Islamic period. The only possible explanation for this phenomenon seems to be that, as a component of the old Iranian culture, the ritual conveys a sense of communal solidarity to all the contemporary residents of the Iranian plateau. Participation in the ritual implies, consciously or unconsciously, maintenance of a direct connection with the culture of one’s ancestors. By extension, the sense of identity which results reinforces the perceived social ties with the ancestors but also with all the living members of the broader cultural unit. The Nawruz feast illustrates the performance-theory put forward by anthropologists; Nawruz presents ‘a set of symbols and actions’ which affects participants and spectators normatively (ideologically) on the

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one hand, and emotionally (sensorially) on the other hand.40 In this respect, it is possible to compare the ritual to a theatrical performance, as the performance-theorists have suggested. Explicit reference to the feast’s ancient dimensions is common in the contemporary press in Tajikistan. Expressions such as ‘jashn-i niyagon’ (the feast of the ancestors) and ‘oin-i niyagon’ (the customs of the ancestors) occur quite regularly, suggesting the wish of the present-day Tajiks to establish a bond with the older generations. The fact that Nawruz was accepted in an adapted form by both the Zoroastrians and the Muslims in the region where it is still celebrated, makes it possible for the feast to symbolize an underlying unity among all the descendants of the old culture. Thus, the Nawruz feast acts as an integrating force among the different religious sects and has the power to transcend differences between separate ethnic groups. Nawruz as a Political Ritual As mentioned above, Kertzer attributes a predominantly political role to ritual. He observes: ‘… people can increase their power through the manipulation of ritual, just as they can lose power through ritual neglect or incompetence.’41 This perspective can be useful for understanding Nawruz both in the present and in the past. The earliest evidence concerning the feast indicates its use as a political instrument. ‘The military band of warriors’, referred to by Wikander and Widengren,42 were in charge of performing the feast. They slept in a communal house and fought not only against the mythical dragon but represented the community’s defense organization. Thus, the feast was socially located within the sphere of defense. The slaying of the dragon by Faridun, which the poet Khayyam43 alludes to as a renewal of Nawruz, is likewise a martial accomplishment. Firdawsi reports that Nawruz was originally the day the Jam ascended the throne.44 Al-Biruni, on the other hand, is of the opinion that the reflected light from Jam’s golden throne so dazzled the people that they called his coronation day Nawruz (the new day).45 Other sources propose other events as the origin of the Nawruz feast. For example, the invention of weapons by king Jam; or the creation of the four social classes: lashgariyan (soldiers), dabiran (government secretaries), kishavarzan (peasant farmers), and pishvaran (artisans).46 Finally, in several sources Nawruz is distinguished as a day of instituting justice.47 Similarly, the Achaemenian sculptures at ancient Persepolis, the ceremonial declaration of political justice on Nawruz under the Sassanian dynasty, and the adaptation of Nawruz during the Islamic era, all attest to the importance of the feast in terms of the affirmation of political power.

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Under each of these political dispensations, Nawruz was the feast through which the king’s power, as well as the loyalty of his immediate collaborators, was ceremonially renewed. In fact, the custom still exists today and is known as the salam-i id (salutation of the feast). And the figure Mir-i Nawruzi, who first appears in connection with the feast during the Islamic era, has political sides to him, though there is not sufficient space to go into details here.48 With regard to Nawruz being an occasion to display political allegiance, Della Valle mentions that in 1618 the ruler of Khurasan delivered ten prisoners and 300 severed heads of Uzbek rebels as a Nawruz present to the Shah of Iran.49 During the 20th century, the Nawruz feast in Tajikistan became a new instrument for expressing political discontent against the Soviet regime. Attempts to revive the Nawruz celebrations at the beginning of the 1950s were accompanied by further demands for cultural and political independence. By the 1980s, substantial concessions in this area were made by the Soviet authorities. Finally, it was no coincidence that the political tensions of the spring of 1992, which eventually led to a full-scale civil war, first broke out during Nawruz. The demand voiced on Nawruz day 1992 to replace the Lenin monument with a monument to Firdawsi was an explicitly political act of defiance. Conversely, the pro-government politicians as well exploited the Nawruz feast as an occasion to congratulate themselves publicly and to address the nation with regard to the political and economic problems facing the country. During the ceremonies it was stressed as a symbol of Tajikistan’s independence that the 1992 Nawruz celebrations were the first to be held for 1,000 years, i.e. since the glorious Samanid dynasty held power in the region. The press referred to the feast that year as ‘the Nawruz feast of independence’ (Jumhuriyat, 24 March 1992).50 In the immediately preceding years, the press had sharply criticized the government for suppressing Nawruz. They reproached the government for neglecting the customs and the spirit of the people, in particular for neglecting a custom which specifically reinforced a Tajik sense of identity. Since 1992 all contending political parties, in contrast to the Soviet policy, subscribe to the celebration of Nawruz as a means of fostering national solidarity – which would appear to bear out Kertzer’s thesis regarding the political manipulation of rituals. The surviving ancient customs such as the flower-feast (golgardoni), the ploughing ceremony (joftbaroron), the fire-feast (aluparak) and the practice of taking special omens, all relate directly to agriculture. Whereas the success of the harvest in pre-Zoroastrian times depended on slaying the mythical dragon, presently this same task is assigned to more recent deities. The original customary belief in supernatural powers has been preserved, only the reigning deities have changed. Of course, in other respects radical forms

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of adaptation have occurred, which calls to mind the thesis regarding ‘the invention of tradition’ put forward by Hobsbawm.51 For example, after the October Revolution Nawruz was exploited as a means for promoting Soviet ideology by injecting into it obvious socialistic elements. Mirrahimov observes that: After the October Revolution the Nawruz feast became acceptable. Under the new living conditions during the first years of Soviet rule, Party members and komsomols showed respect for its celebration. This was done as a form of agitation on behalf of socialistic ideas and as a means of encouraging the people to engage in socio–political work.52

And he notes the appropriation of the woman’s role for official purposes: ‘… selecting the most beautiful and the most worthy woman [in this year’s Nawruz celebrations] was something special which in this form had previously belonged to the Nawruz traditions.’53 As for the traditional role of the woman, the following Nawruz rites assign special importance to women: 1) The muljardaroyan practiced in Bukhara functions as an initiation of young girls into their social roles.54 2) In the jashn-i aruson (the bride-feast) held in Ghonchi, an explicit analogy is expressed between the fertility of nature and the fertility of woman. The rite is based on the legend of chihil dokhtaron which tells about the battle put up by forty Amazon-like girls against the enemies of the community.55 3) A popular Nawruz tradition in the Parmir region consists of presenting the oldest woman of a family with a twig of musk-willow (bid-i mushk) on the occasion of Nawruz-i Khurda.56 4) Until just recently, it was a widespread custom that men were excluded from the preparation of sumanak (a wheat dish traditionally eaten on Nawruz).57 These and other forms of women’s participation in the traditional Nawruz customs remind one of different aspects of female deities (Amshaspandan) in ancient Iranian mythology. For instance, the symbol of Sipandarmadh, the female guardian angel of the earth, was also the muskwillow. Other analogies can be found with the female deities Khurdad, Amartat and Anahita who are the old Iranian guardians of water and plants. The fact that elements such as earth and water, as well as plants, which are the very foundation of an agricultural society, are presided over by female deities reflects the extremely important role assigned to woman and the female principle in the ancient Iranian world. Woman’s prominence in mythology no doubt reflects her central role in cultivating the fields. The archaeological evidence for the existence of a matrilineal community in the

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west of Iran58 and Bachofen’s views59 on the political power of women in Central Asia (in the region of Bactriana) should stimulate further research into the roots of customs centered on women’s role in society. Conclusions Despite frequent religious, cultural and political upheaval, Nawruz has been preserved in a somewhat modified form in the social and cultural life of Tajikistan today. In the present-day celebrations there are still some ancient customs and practices that go back thousands of years, though their original religious function has been lost. These include customs to do with agriculture and the ancestors (frawashi), veneration of the magic powers of fire and water, the blessing of wheat, marriage customs, and in particular specific customs involving the participation of women. The fact noted by anthropologists that until the 19th century extraordinary sexual behavior was still manifested during the flower-feasts (i.e. the demonstration of gender related wishes had still been possible), and the present-day belief that a marriage will be a happy one if it takes place during Nawruz, can be traced back to ancient beliefs associated with the concept of hieros gamos (the sacred marriage), phallic processions, masquerades, and communal sexual excesses.60 It may be noted that the number seven plays a role in various ways in Nawruz rites, which demonstrates a clear link with Zoroastrian deities (Amshaspandan) who guard over human life. But there is not sufficient space to go into this topic here.61 The use of Nawruz for political purposes, beginning with king Jam, has led to the feast being repeatedly modified. The practice of the ancient kings to make this feast into a day of pleasure for the community and into a celebration of renewal has been copied by rulers throughout history up until the present day. While manipulating the feast in this manner, they have taken the opportunity to interject and promote their own political and economic claims on the community. Even foreign rulers have at times practiced this form of political manipulation. On the other hand, the community, almost paradoxically, has managed to affirm its own autonomy by rallying around the Nawruz feast. This capacity for creating bonds of solidarity has the potential to extend beyond political borders on the basis of a more diffuse sense of identity that unites people not only in Tajikistan but in Iran and Afghanistan as well. Indeed, today all communities which are religiously or ethnically descended from ancient Iranian stock celebrate the Nawruz feast in similar ways. As for the differences that exist today between how Nawruz is celebrated in the Islamic Republic of Iran and in Tajikistan, some of these go back to

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very early cultural differences between the two geographical regions. Widengren has pointed out, for instance, that the Soghdians in Central Asia had no one dominant orthodox form of Zoroastrianism (in contrast to the Iranians).62 Similarly, Sarkisyanz argues that the influence of Buddhism in Central Asia is responsible for the fact that certain ancient feasts such as the flower-feast (which died out in Iran in the 17th century), as well as some important aspects of women’s participation, survived into modern times in Tajikistan.63 Moreover, it may be observed that Nawruz is also a popular feast among non-Iranian peoples such as the Uzbeks, Kirghiz, Turkmens, and the peoples of southern Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. Immigrants from Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Kurdistan, by way of affirming their own cultural identity abroad, spread the custom beyond their original homelands. One striking example of an early Iranian immigrant group is the Parsee Zoroastrian community that immigrated to India in the 9th century and still celebrates its own version of the Nawruz feast. The Baha’is are an Iranian religious community which formed in the 19th century and presently counts many members living outside Iran. They celebrate a form of Nawruz based on their own special calendar. According to the Turkish Radio and Television Organization (11 March 1995), the Republic of Turkey now officially recognizes the celebration of Nawruz. And finally, as an example of the tenacity of the feast it is interesting to note that Nawruz is also celebrated today in East Africa by black Africans who lay claim to an Iranian origin. Notes 1 The Iranian pronunciation is Nowruz, whereas the Tajiks say Nawruz and the Kurds Newruz. This feast occurs every year on the 21st of March, at the beginning of spring. It has been celebrated for several thousand years primarily among the Iranian-speaking peoples. 2 C. Bell, Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice, London, 1992. 3 Ibid., p. 15. 4 Ibid., p. 20. 5 Ibid., p. 23. 6 C. Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures, New York, 1975, p. 112. 7 Ibid. p. 113. 8 V.W. Turner, ‘Symbols in African Ritual,’ in Symbolic Anthropology, eds., J.L. Dolgin et al., New York, 1977, p. 183. 9 D.I. Kertzer, Ritual, Politics and Power, New Haven, 1988, p. 9. 10 Ibid. p. 29. 11 Geertz, Interpretation of Cultures, p. 93. 12 Turner, ‘Symbols in African Ritual,’ p. 189. 13 Ibid. p. 190. 14 Ibid., p. 189.

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15 Ibid., p. 184. 16 E.L. Schieffelin, ‘Performance and the Cultural Construction of Reality,’ American Ethnologist 12 (1985), p. 709 f. 17 M. Bloch, ‘Symbols, Song, Dance and Features of Articulation: Is Religion an Extreme Form of Traditional Authority?’, in Idem, ed., Ritual, History and Power, London, 1989, pp. 19–45. 18 Kertzer, Ritual, Politics and Power, p. 66 f. 19 Variations of the Nawruz performance are found from India to western Iraq, from the Persian Gulf to Kazakhstan and the Caucasus, as well as among the Kurds in the different geographical areas they inhabit. The various performances display many differences in structure and symbology. 20 L. Widengren, Die Religionen Irans, Stuttgart, 1965, p. 41 ff. 21 Abu Rayhan al-Biruni, al-Athar al-baqiya, trans. into Persian by A. Danaseresht, Tehran, 1363/1985, p. 327. 22 Abu’l-Qasim Firdawsi, Shah-namah, ed., M. Nuri Udmanuf, Moscow, 1991, I, p. 22. 23 Widengren, Die Religionen Irans, p. 41 ff. 24 Widengren, Die Religionen Irans, p. 47; al-Biruni, al-Athar al-baqiya, p. 330. 25 Sadr ad-Din Ayni, Yaddashtha (Notes), ed. by S. Sirjani, Tehran, 1984; A. Negmati, Zemledel’cheskie kalendarnye prazdniki drevnikh tadshikov i ikh predkov (The Feasts of the Ancient Tajiks and Their Ancestors According to the Peasant Calendars), Dushanbe, 1989. 26 Ayni, Yaddashtha, p. 698 f.; Negmati, Zemledel’cheskie kalendarnye, p. 70 ff. 27 M. Mirrahimov, Prazdnik Nawruz (The Nawruz feast), Dushanbe, 1989, p. 20. 28 The songs sung by the children are interesting because of their religious orientation and their references to the Islamic saints: You are my guest; I bring you flowers. If you know the value of flowers, You will be a Muslim; If not, you are a pagan. Blessed be the new spring! The siyahgush flower with its seven colors Is eaten by the partridge. The whole city use it in their wooing. Blessed be the new spring! The yellow flower (zardak) Gives praise to the Kibria (saints). It says “God” to all the four directions. Blessed be the new spring! 29 Turner, ‘Symbols in African Ritual,’ p. 184. 30 Kertzer, Ritual, Politics and Power, p. 62. 31 R. Eisener, Auf den Spuren des tadschikischen Nationalismus. Die Reihe Ethnizität und Gesellschaft (Occasional Papers 30), Berlin, 1991, p. 18 ff. 32 Widengren, Die Religionen Irans, p. 49. 33 Abu 1Ali Muhammad Balcami, Tari’kh-i Balcami, ed. by M.P. Gunabadi,

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Tehran, 1353/1974, pp. 111, 113, 130. 34 Ibn Athir, Akhbar-i Iran, ed. by M.I. Bastani-Parizi, Tehran, 1365/1987, p. 15 ff. 35 Muhammad Baqir Majlisi, Bihar al-anwar, Tehran, undated, vol. 59, Chapter Yawm al-Nawruz, pp. 91–142. 36 Ibid. p. 92. 37 A village in northern Tajikistan. 38 Negmati, Zemledel’cheskie kalendarnye, p. 64. 39 H. Einzmann, Religiöses Volksbrauchtum in Afghanistan: Islamische Heiligenverehrung und Wallfahrtswesen im Raum Kabul, Wiesbaden, 1977, p. 90 ff. 40 Turner, ‘Symbols in African Rituals,’ p. 184. 41 Kertzer, Ritual, Politics and Power, p. 29. 42 See S. Wikander, Der arische Männerbund, Lund, 1938; Idem Feuerpriester in Kleinasien und Iran, Lund, 1946; and Widengren, Die Religionen Irans. 43 1Umar Khayyam Nayshaburi, Nawruz-namah, ed. by 1A. Khusuri, Tehran, 1343/1965, p. 16. 44 Firdawsi, Shah-namah, Moscow, I, p. 22. 45 Al-Biruni, al-Athar al-baqiya, p. 327. 46 Ibn Athir designates the four classes as: jangjuyan (soldiers), ruhaniyan (priests), dabiran-karvaran (manager–secretaries), and kishavarzan (peasant farmers). See Ibn Athir, Akhbar-i Iran, p. 14. 47 For example, see Balcami, Tar’ikh-i Balcami, p. 130, and Ibn Athir, Akhbar-i Iran, p. 15. 48 For more on this subject see H. Radi, Gahshumari va jashnha-i Iran-i bastan (Chronology and the Feasts of Ancient Iran), Tehran, 1358/1980, p. 245. 49 Pietro Della Valle, Reise-Beschreibung in Persien und Indien (nach der ersten deutschen Ausgabe von 1674), Hamburg, 1981. 50 Indeed, Nawruz literally means the new day and throughout history has been associated with renewal and revival. 51 E. Hobsbawm, The Invention of Tradition, Cambridge, 1983, p. 5 and passim. 52 Mirrahimov, Prazdnik Nawruz (The Nawruz feast), p. 17. 53 Ibid., p. 21. 54 See the periodical Javonon-e Tojikiston, 19 March 1992. 55 According to the legend, in order to defend the village forty young girls were turned to stone to bar the path of the enemy. The girls’ last request was that their sacrifice be remembered every spring in celebrations held by women. On certain hills outside the village, there are groups of standing rocks honored as the original girls by the local people. 56 See the newspaper Jumhuriyat, 24 March 1992. 57 See the newspaper Payam-i Dushanbe, 21 March 1992. 58 See I. Iskandari, Dar tariki-i hizariha (In the Darkness of Millenia), France, 1984, p. 87 ff. (based on Girshman’s views). 59 J.J. Bachofen, Das Mutterrecht, Frankfurt am Main, 1975, p. 288. 60 Widengren, Die Religionen Irans, p. 49. 61 For further information on this subject see Radi, Gahshumari wa jashnha-i Iran-i bastan, p. 237; and M. Bahar, Pazhuhishi dar asatir-i Iran (An Investigation of Iranian Legends), Tehran, 1362/1984, p. 39. 62 Widengren, Die Religionen Irans, p. 320.

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63 For the relevant details see E. Sarkisyanz, Geschichte der orientalischen Völker Russlands bis 1917, München, 1961, p. 162 ff.

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The Early Twentieth-Century Kazakh Intelligentsia: In Search of National Identity GULNAR KENDIRBAEVA

By the beginning of the twentieth century, economic and social problems caused by the Russian colonization of Kazakhstan had reached a critical point. One major aspect of Russian colonization had involved the mass migration of Russian muzhiks (peasants) to Kazakhstan and the government redistribution of the best Kazakh grazing lands. The bureaucratic system of Russian rule aimed at total elimination of the traditional social structure of Kazakh nomadic society, as well as Russification of the Kazakhs and their eventual conversion to Christianity. These external factors contributed in a great measure to the general crisis affecting the Kazakh nomadic way of life, leading to a dramatic decline in the Kazakhs’ standard of living. At the same time, the political crisis in Russia itself after the revolution of 1905 and, later on, the upheavals caused by the First World War resulted in an intensification of political activity both in Russia and its outlying provinces. In the forefront of the Kazakh national-liberation movement were a number of eminent intellectuals who were active in debating social and cultural issues pertinent to the future development of Kazakh national identity. These include A. Bokeikhanov (1866–1937), A. Baitursynov (1873– 1937), M. Dulatov (1885–1937), M. Shoqaev (1890–1941), M. Tynyshpaev (1879–1937), B. Qarataev (1860–1934), Zh. and Kh. Dosmukhamedov (1883–1939), Zh. Aqbaev (1876–1934), A. Ermekov (1891–1970), M. Auezov (1897–1961), S. Toraigyrov (1893–1920), M. Zhumabaev (1893–1938) and others. Meanwhile, during the first two decades of the twentieth century, Russian colonization also led to a closer acquaintance on the part of the Kazakh people with Russian culture and the West in general. Baitursynov, one of the most important Kazakh intellectuals, wrote about the ‘two fires’ which determined the cultural atmosphere amd character of Kazakh society at that time: a) the influence of Muslim culture and b) Russian and Western influence.1 Situated between these ‘two fires’, Kazakh intellectuals and men of letters found themselves face to face with the task of ensuring the national and cultural survival of the Kazakh people, i.e. the task of preserving qazaqtyq ‘Kazakhness’. Against the backdrop of growing economic and social 248

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crisis in Kazakh nomadic society, and due to pressures generated by Russian assimilation policies on the one hand and Islamic Tatar influence on the other, this problem took on dimensions of vital significance. The beginning of the twentieth century represents a turning point in the history of the Kazakh people because for the first time larger segments of Kazakh society came to realize that it was necessary to change the traditional nomadic way of life. Under the influence of the two ‘cultural fires’ mentioned above, two distinct camps of Kazakh intellectuals emerged. In the early years of this century the spokesmen for these two camps were the Islamic-oriented editors of the magazine Aiqap and the Russian/Westernoriented leaders of the national movement Alash, gathered around the newspaper Qazaq. The representatives of both these groups had received a Russian education and harbored no doubts about the backwardness of Kazakh nomadic society and the necessity to learn from European culture. They discussed in detail the problem of choosing between a nomadic and a sedentary way of life, as well as what possible means might be adopted to accomplish the desired transition to sedentarization. Among other important issues, Kazakh intellectuals discussed the role of Islam in Kazakh nomadic society, the preservation of the Kazakh language, and the development of Kazakh culture and literature. An analysis of these discussions is of great interest because it provides us with an idea of the general cultural atmosphere of Kazakh society during this important transitional period in its history. Nomadic or Sedentary? The issue of choosing between the nomadic and the sedentary way of life was ardently debated in the two leading Kazakh periodicals of the time, the above-mentioned magazine Aiqap and the newspaper Qazaq. The magazine Aiqap was published from 1911 to 1916 in the city of Troitsk (Northern Kazakhstan) and carried articles by such prominent intellectuals as M. Seralin (1871–1929; editor-in-chief), B. Qarataev and Zh. Seidalin. The newspaper Qazaq was published from 1913 to 1918 in Orynbor (Northern Kazakhstan) and in particular featured the articles of Baitursynov (editorin-chief), Bokeikhanov and Dulatov. These authors especially discussed whether the Kazakhs should accept landownership according to the norms of a so-called settled life and take up farming, or whether they should accept ownership of land in accordance with the nomadic norm and continue their life of wandering. For the Kazakhs the so-called nomadic norms of obtaining land were fixed by the Shcherbina Expedition conducted between 1896 and 1902 in twelve districts of the northern and eastern Kazakh provinces. The lands that had remained undistributed (izlishki ‘surpluses’)

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were declared state property. At a later date, the lands set aside for nomadic use were several times reduced in size so that, in the end, the Kazakhs with livestock did not have sufficient territory for pasturing their herds. Following the Tsar’s decree of June 9th 1909, the Kazakhs were to accept land according to the sedentary norm the same as Russian muzhiks.2 The sedentary norm allotted 15 dessiiatinas3 of land to each man, whereas the nomadic norm had allowed 15 dessiiatinas to each person.4 The tsarist policy of confiscating the best Kazakh lands was accompanied by propaganda that stressed the advantages of sedentarization – the way of life identified with ‘culture’, progress, European civilization, etc. By the same token the nomadic life was associated with backwardness, regression, wildness and barbarism. Thus, for example, G. Agarevsky in his discussion with the well-known Kazakh revolutionary T. Ryskulov argued as follows: As is well-known from economic history all so-called nomadic peoples have been poor and careless. But they could not be different because, during their frequent migrations, it was difficult to take many things with them. If the saying ‘two moves are equal to one (devastating) fire’ is true, then a nomad lives through many such moves, when numerous things get spoiled, broken and lost. The nomad is unable, therefore, to accumulate material wealth. It is also well-known that people without economic power do not have spiritual values and are incapable of engaging in the arts and sciences. A nomadic people will never be able to compete with settled peoples and – one can say with certainty – will remain subdued by the latter and economically dependent on them. Economic dependence in turn leads to political dependence.5

However, Bokeikhanov, another important Alash leader, stressed that the tsarist government had not forced the Kazakhs to adopt sedentarization out of a desire to raise the cultural level of the Kazakhs, but simply to make available more free land for Russian muzhiks. The government appeared to be unconcerned that, by the beginning of this century, the best farming lands had all been occupied by the Russians, nor could the Kazakhs farm profitably on the remaining lands since they lacked the necessary agricultural experience.6 Bokeikhanov also made the point that if Kazakhs were to take land according to the sedentary norm, it should be a voluntary choice; they should not be forced to do so. He cited the speech of Glinka, a chief of the Migration Office of the Fourth Russian Duma: We only give the Russian muzhiks lands that are useless to the Kazakhs. If we were to give the Kazakhs land in accordance with the nomadic norm, no lands would remain for the Russian muzhiks … In general, it is unnecessary to give the Kazakhs land for use in perpetuity.

Glinka also maintained that the Kazakhs had applied for land according to the sedentary norm on their own initiative. Bokeikhanov noted that this statement was a complete lie.7

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Baitursynov stressed the necessity to distinguish between the political and cultural aspects of this problem. Whereas the tsarist government emphasized the cultural aspects of its settlement policies, its activities were mainly aimed at solving Russia’s own agrarian problems. Baitursynov observed that the editors of the magazine Aiqap, as well as some Tatar leaders, did not distinguish between cultural and political aspects of the migration policies of the Russian government which was putting pressure on the Kazakhs to settle down as quickly as possible. He believed that the Russian policy was the result of a lack of concrete information about the situation in the Kazakh steppe.8 Intellectuals grouped around Aiqap believed that the sooner the Kazakhs began to lead a sedentary life, the quicker they would come to participate in the higher level of European culture. Seralin stressed that the transition to sedentarization was an important precondition for the preservation of the Kazakh people as a nation: We are convinced that the building of settlements and cities, accompanied by a transition to agriculture based on the acceptance of lands by Kazakhs according to the norms of Russian muzhiks will be more useful than the opposite solution [i.e. the nomadic norm]. The consolidation of the Kazakh people in one unified territory will help bring about their preservation as a nation. Otherwise, the nomadic auyls9 will be scattered and before long lose their fertile land. Then it will be too late for a transition to the sedentary way of life because by this time all arable lands will have been distributed and occupied.10

Seralin also pointed out that the advantages of sedentarization over the nomadic way of life had been proven by modern science. He claimed that the time of nomadism had long since passed away, but the Kazakhs continued wandering and regarded the nomadic lifestyle as their only path to happiness. Seralin and Qarataev organized farming settlements with the help of their own relatives in the native Qostanai province (North Kazakhstan) in order to demonstrate by personal example the advantages of sedentarization. None the less, on the whole, sedentarization did not become popular. The ideas of Seralin and Qarataev were supported mainly by the poorest Kazakhs. Seralin himself explained this fact by the cultural backwardness of Kazakhs, who ‘were unable to distinguish between useful and useless things’.11 Seralin and Qarataev believed that only as a settled people could the Kazakhs acquire an education and come to participate in European culture. Baitursynov, Bokeikhanov and Dulatov, the editors of the newspaper Qazaq, considered themselves to be Westeners: We are Westeners. We do not look to the East or the Mongols in our striving to bring our people closer to culture. We know there is no culture there. Our eyes

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are turned to the West. We can acquire culture from the West through Russia, through the mediation of Russians.12

In their political, literary and publicist activities, Bokeikhanov, Baitursynov and Dulatov criticized the negative characteristics of Kazakh nomadic society. They propounded the need to learn from European culture and science as well as the necessity to begin a new life. However, these writers supported the idea of a gradual and cautious transition to sedentarization with due regard for climatic conditions and necessary agricultural knowledge and skills. The truth of their warnings was proven by the terrible famine of the 1930s in Kazakhstan, which destroyed more than 40 percent of the native population. This famine was a consequence of the Soviet policy of mass collectivization accompanied by the forced settlement of the nomadic Kazakhs. The author of the series of articles ‘Sharualyq özgerisi’ (‘Changing the Economic System’) in the newspaper Qazaq emphasized that the Kazakh nomadic economy had originally developed because of the climatic conditions of the Kazakh steppe, where (except for some regions of the northern provinces) nomadic livestock breeding alone was possible: To ask what kind of economy is more suitable for Kazakhs, a nomadic or a sedentary one, is to pose the question incorrectly. A more correct form of the question would be: What kind of economy can one practice in the climatic conditions of the Kazakh steppe? These conditions vary from area to area but for the most part are not suitable for agriculture. Only in some northern provinces do the climatic conditions make it possible to sow and reap. The Kazakhs continue to wander not because they do not want to settle down and farm, or because they prefer nomadism as an easy form of economy. Had the climatic conditions allowed them, they would have settled down a long time ago.

The author concluded that the nomadic economy was the kind of economy best adapted to the climatic conditions of the Kazakh steppe.13 In the author’s opinion, an appropriate climate is one of the necessary preconditions for sedentarization, along with the quality of the soil, the weather patterns, possibilities for irrigation, etc. Moreover, the author of these articles was unconvinced by the idea that the Kazakhs must lead a sedentary life if they were to become a civilized people. Whereas the proponents of sedentarization maintained that all civilized peoples were settled peoples and, therefore, sedentarization must be regarded as an indispensable precondition of civilization, the author observed that these propagandists had said nothing at all about the conditions of transition to sedentarization for the Kazakhs.14 The author of the article ‘Zher zhumysyna din zhumysyn qystyrmalau’ (‘Don’t Mix Problems of Land and Religion’) considered agricultural knowledge and experience another necessary precondition of transition to

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sedentarization. The author believed that, without sufficient agricultural, scientific or handicraft experience, the Kazakhs, after selling off their animals, would simply be condemned to die out or to do work for wages. Wage earners would soon become impoverished and would easily be converted to Christianity. Therefore, first of all, it was necessary to teach the Kazakhs handicrafts, sciences and arts, so that they could live on small allotments of land and farm non-fertile soils. Only after preparation of this kind should one encourage them to adapt a sedentary way of life. But the bureaucrats from the Russian Migration Office had completely ignored these all-important matters. They were only concerned to pressure the Kazakhs to build cities and to allot them 15 dessiiatinas: One may compare this with dressing a Kazakh in European clothes and sending him to London, where he would either die or, in the absence of any knowledge and relevant experience, work like a slave. If the government is ashamed of our nomadic way of life, it should give us good lands instead of bad ones, as well as teach us sciences. Only then should the government ask Kazakhs to live in cities. If the government is not ashamed at its lack of implementing all the abovementioned measures, then the Kazakhs, for their part, need not be ashamed of their nomadic way of life. The Kazakhs do not wander for fun, but in order to graze their animals.15

The newspaper Qazaq reported on an attempt by sixty-four Kazakh families from the Qapal district (Northern Kazakhstan) to settle down in a town which was especially built for the purpose. These Kazakhs decided to farm and ‘live in houses like muzhiks’. They even chose a starosta (village elder) in imitation of Russian peasant communities. But after three years their town collapsed. The author of the article noted that, apart from endless disputes, there was not even one completely built house or any other ‘signs of culture’. In the absence of the necessary knowledge and skills the Kazakhs of this town farmed in a primitive manner. They were very sad when they were not allowed to wander in summer. The author drew the following conclusion: ‘It is not easy to adapt an alien way of life all at once.’ He also wrote about the plans to divide these Kazakhs into groups of ten families in order to attach each group to a Russian village or to teach them how to live in a city.16 The discussion between the leading Kazakh periodicals concerning the nomadic/sedentary dilemma led the authors to address wider issues such as the meaning of culture in general and its relationship to Kazakh nomadic society in particular. The author of the article ‘Zher zhumysyna …’ believed that nomadism was a classical form of cattle-breeding, and that cattlebreeding itself is not incompatible with culture and life in cities. He cited as an example such a highly developed country as Switzerland which successfully combined urban life with cattle-breeding. It is important here

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to stress that by the term ‘culture’ the Kazakh intellectuals often meant the level of technological (industrial) development. The author of ‘Sharualyq özgerisi’ maintained that underdeveloped countries depended on nature, while, conversely, technologically developed countries were masters over nature.17 The developed societies were those which built machines and used water and steam to produce electricity. Dulatov in his famous book Oiian, Qazaq! (Awaken, Kazakhs!) listed the following products of culture (technological progress): the steam-engine, telegraph, car, telephone, steamship, balloon, machinery, bomb, mine, machine-gun, pistol, revolver, Browning, electrical machine, gramophone, telescope, factories and plants, printingpress, newspapers and magazines.18 Various factors influence the development of culture (types of economy): climate, religion, population density, handicrafts, laws, customs, etc. The author of ‘Sharualyq özgerisi’ believed that it was necessary for the Kazakhs to become familiar with various forms of economy since they were presently facing the all-important problem of changing their traditional economy. Favorable climatic conditions made it easier for a society to adopt culture. Under unfavorable climatic conditions the adoption of culture occurs with the help of science and technology.19 The author related the origin of sedentarization and nomadism to the dynamics of changes in population density. The more numerous a people were, the more food and territory they required. If a population increase is accompanied by a corresponding extension of territory, the people concerned will not need to change their traditional economy. If, for example, the extension of a nomadic group’s territory matches the growth of their flocks and herds, the nomads can continue to wander. If such is not the case, lack of sufficient pastures will cause a reduction in both livestock and the vital provisions for the population. The people will then be forced to seek other means of sustenance by settling down and practicing agriculture. However, the author did not believe that population density alone accounted for a people’s level of culture. Thus, he claimed that China, for example, had both a high population density and a low cultural level.20 Conversely, some people, due to a lack of territory, may develop their skills and sciences in order to live effectively on small territories. Bokeikhanov believed that peoples such as the Swiss in Europe, as well as the settled peoples of Turkestan and the Altai province in Central Asia, had been forced to combine agriculture with a limited form of wandering, because of the small territory at their disposal and unfavorable climatic conditions. As a result, the peoples in question have come to live in cities, while continuing to pasture their animals on the nearby foothills.21 None of the above-mentioned intellectuals who shaped Kazakh opinion considered the nomadic way of life as essential for the preservation of

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national identity, or thought that sedentarization would automatically entail change or loss of qazaqtyq. Moreover, they did not regard Kazakh nomadic society as a specific mode of production, but only as a particular form of cattle-breeding fostered by specific climatic conditions, population density and size of territory. Consequently, they did not see any fundamental differences between cattle-breeding in Switzerland and Holland, and the nomadic livestock breeding in the Kazakh steppe. Islam and Kazakh Customary Law Tsarist policy towards Islam in the Kazakh steppe was somewhat contradictory. In the late eighteenth century Catherine II strove to strengthen Islamic influence among the nomadic Kazakhs, using Tatar religious missionaries for this purpose. She was convinced that as devout believers the nomads would become more obedient and governable. By the end of the nineteenth century, however, tsarist religious policy had changed fundamentally. The official aim had become to reduce Islamic influence and the Tatar language in favor of Christianity and Russian education. It was now believed that Islamic influence, which was on the increase, was causing the Kazakhs to feel solidarity with other Muslims and weakened their loyalty to the Russian empire. The tsarist Steppe Regulations of 1891 allowed only one mullah for each Kazakh province and prohibited the existence of pious foundations (waqf)22 in the Oral, Torgai, Aqmola, Semei and Zhetisu provinces. The appointment and dismissal of mullahs, as well as the foundation of mosques and madrasas, was subjected to the superversion of the Russian governor.23 According to the findings of the Shcherbina Expedition, there were 1,659 mullahs in ten Kazakh districts; but these constituted only one-tenth of the 100 districts into which the Russian administration had divided Kazakhstan. If in 1885 there were 7,688 students at the Islamic institutions of the Aqmola, Semei and Oral provinces, by 1917 the number of mullahs must have risen to between fifty and one hundred thousand.24 Similarly, scientific and publicist reports at the beginning of the century acknowledged a certain advance of Islam, mainly among the Kazakh aristocracy. The majority of the Kazakh population, however, had no more than an elementary knowledge of Islamic dogma and only observed some Islamic rites in their everyday life. A relatively low level of Islamization among the Kazakh nomads gave an advantage to other settled Muslim peoples of Russia, especially to the Tatars and the Uzbeks, whose life was traditionally more influenced by Islam. This fact may also explain why Russian missionaries considered the Kazakhs to be amenable to future conversion. A certain isolation of the Kazakhs from other Russian Muslims had been

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revealed in the activities of the Muslim Fraction of the Russian Duma. As is generally known, after the Second Russian Duma (1907) the Kazakhs were not permitted to send their own deputies to Russian Dumas. Their interests were represented by the deputies of the Muslim Fraction of the Third (1907–12) and the Fourth (1912–17) Russian Dumas. Bokeikhanov in his reports on the work of the Dumas claimed that the Tatar deputies of the Muslim Fraction had no understanding of the lives and problems of the Kazakhs and looked down upon them as uncivilized nomads. He invited them to visit the Kazakh lands in order to become acquainted with the life of the Kazakhs. He also emphasized that the Kazakhs must have their own deputies in the Muslim Fraction.25 The Islamic-oriented editors of Aiqap blamed the editors of Qazaq for intending to leave the Kazakhs without religion. They believed that Islam was a significant characteristic of the Kazakh way of life and mentality (qazaqtyq) and argued in favor of speedy sedentarization, as this would lead to an increasing role for Islam among the Kazakhs. Bokeikhanov supported the idea of separating religion from the state. This fact among others caused him to leave the Russian Constitutional Democratic Party in July 1918.26 The contradictions between Islamic- and Western-oriented Kazakh intellectuals who shaped Kazakh opinion came to light at the All-Muslim Congress held in St. Petersburg in 1914, which was concerned with the problem of the Kazakh lawcourts. The introduction of the Russian court system had particularly negative effects on the regulation of Kazakh legal relations. The lack of Kazakh judges with a knowledge of the Russian language gave an advantage to the interpreters attached to the Russian courts. The latter often abused their position, accepting bribes and increasing the arbitrariness of the Russian judges. The Kazakh deputies to the All-Muslim Congress, Seidalin and Qarataev (Aiqap), believed that the introduction of the Sharia (Islamic law) would reduce abuses and violence in the Kazakh courts. Other Kazakh deputies decided to support them because as delegates to an Islamic congress they felt it was appropriate to speak in favor of Islamic law. However, Bokeikhanov was positively against the introduction of the Sharia into Kazakh life, emphasizing that among the Kazakhs the Sharia had never regulated such important legal matters as cattle suits or disputes about dowries and inheritance. The latter were primarily regulated by Adat, i.e. Kazakh customary law: Our Kazakhs (hopefully no outsider is listening to this) do not follow the Sharia, they merely call themselves Muslims … There are not even any mullahs who know the Sharia … The Sharia is a fixed, written law common to all countries and peoples. It is incapable of change and inflexible.27

He ironically responded to his opponents:

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What is the value of the Sharia if people do not make use of it? The Sharia may demand that a thief ’s hand be cut off. What Kazakh would ever do such a thing in practice? Who will cut off the thief ’s hand? If the person’s hand is cut off, will any Kazakh be the happier for it?28.

Bokeikhanov was convinced that the introduction of Russian law (orys zakony) would destroy the institution of Kazakh customary law and would only encourage bribery, violence and disorder in Kazakh legal affairs: Since the Kazakhs have joined Russia, they have lost their traditional biis [people’s judges], whose improvisational oratory was reminiscent of a swift runner or a natural-born trotter. Those who adulate the Russians also lash out at their own people. The few eloquent, just and unpretentious former biis who still survive today no longer enjoy any respect. Today through bribes white appears to be black, and vice versa.29

On the other hand, the newspaper Qazaq blamed Islamic law for recent disorders in the Kazakh lawcourts: We are now living in a time when our Kazakh biis have set out on the road of injustice. It is no wonder, therefore, that the people as well have lost their ability to distinguish between true and false ways. Other nations observing this situation may come to the conclusion that the Kazakhs do not have any court system at all. But that is not true. The Kazakhs have lost their customary court system because of the interference of the Sharia.30

The newspaper Qazaq claimed that Kazakh youths, whether they graduated from Russian or Muslim institutions, had no idea of Kazakh customary law. There was, therefore, an urgent need to collect and revise all remaining Kazakh laws, customs and regulations (zhol, zhoba, erezhe). It was also imperative to collect and analyze all information about the lives and works of the most famous judges (biis) of the Kazakh people. On the basis of this information the state institutions should work out common regulations for all Kazakhs.31 The leading role of the Tatar intelligentsia at the beginning of this century has been principally attributed to the popularity of the usul jadid (‘the new methods’) promulgated by I. Gasprinsky, the well-known Tatar scientist and educator. His method advocated the phonetic teaching of Arabic and reforms to the curriculum affecting such subjects as mathematics, history and geography. The Jadidists regarded educational reform as the most important precondition for competition with European civilization. A relatively low level of Islamization among the Kazakhs as well as the Western orientation of the leading segment of the Kazakh intelligentsia led to wide support for the usul jadid movement on the part of Kazakh intellectuals.32 Baitursynov developed the usul jadid as a phonetic method of teaching in the Kazakh language. Kazakh students became acquainted with this method

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at Tatar madrasas, in particular at the Galiyeh Madrasa located in the city of Ufa. The emergence of the Jadidist movement led to a split among Central Asian Muslims into progressive and conservative camps, which on the eve of the October Revolution of 1917 manifested itself in the foundation of two organizations (both with their headquarters in Tashkent). The organization Shurai-i Islam, headed by the well-known Uzbek leader M. Qari, united the progressive element of the Central Asian intelligentsia and gave its support to the ideas of Jadidism. This organization was also popular with the progressive Kazakh leaders. About thirty Kazakh delegates took part in the All-Muslim Congress of Shurai-i Islam held in Moscow in May 1917. They were also committed to draft a program for the future national party Alash. Zh. Tileulin in his report on the Shurai-i Islam Congress wrote that the approximately 800 delegates were divided into federalists and unitarists. The federalists supported the idea of a democratic, federative and decentralized state, allowing self-government to each people of the Russian Empire, with the central government only regulating matters of concern to the state as a whole. The unitarists came out in favor of a democratic parliamentary state, all of whose citizens would be considered part of a single people. They maintained that if power were given to the individual peoples in the Russian Empire, due to lack of education, the absence of a national intelligentsia and general backwardness only the rich from among each people would achieve power. Such a situation might favor the restoration of Nicholas II. In addition, the oppressed position of women among all these Muslim peoples would not change. In view of Russia’s missionary activities, the Congress declared that it was essential to strengthen Islam among the Kazakhs and thereby to promote closer ties with other Muslims throughout the empire on the basis of a common Islamic culture. The delegates spoke out in favor of a rapprochement between Islamic and Western cultures, as well as stronger solidarity among both Turks and Muslims. This last issue was especially important because of the absence of a strong stable government in Russia.33 The second organization to emerge from the above-mentioned split was called Ulama. It was founded by the conservative and clerical element from among the Central Asian Muslims under the leadership of S. Lapin. They also organized an assembly known as Mahkoma-i Sharia which consisted of certain members of the Ulama organization and was attached to the Turkestan Committee of the Russian Provisional Government. One of the main duties of the Assembly was the final ratification of laws issued for Turkestan by the All-Russian Constituent Assembly. The Assembly of Ulama had the right to examine these laws and to change them in accordance

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with the Sharia before final ratification. Ulama spoke out in favor of autonomy for Turkestan within the framework of a Russian federative state. M. Shoqaev, one of the Alash leaders, remembered how these two powerful organizations, Shurai-i Islam and Ulama, were strong antagonists and argued against one other.34 The leaders of Ulama, S. Lapin and S. Khozha, criticized Bokeikhanov for his alleged divergence from Islam and his publications in support of the Russian way of life.35 Since Kazakh nomadic society could not function without its customary law, the preservation of that law was regarded as a precondition for the preservation of Kazakh society itself (Qazaq). On the other hand, the introduction of Sharia law was at variance with traditional Kazakh legal relations (Aiqap). Emphasis on traditional Kazakh regulations was equally incompatible with the attempt to bring Kazakh culture closer to European culture, and indicates the diversity of opinion current among intellectuals at the beginning of this century. Language, Literature and National Identity As has been demonstrated above, the editors of Qazaq did not consider it necessary to retain the Kazakh nomadic way of life in order to preserve ‘Kazakhness’. Neither was the Islamic factor regarded as an indispensable ingredient of Kazakh national identity. In any case, certain spheres of Kazakh everyday life were regulated by rules which had no connection to the Sharia. According to the editors of Qazaq, the preservation of the Kazakh language and the development of Kazakh literature and culture were to form the basis of national identity: The essential factor for the preservation or the disappearance of a people is its language. If we want the Kazakh people to survive as a nationality, we must think of the preservation of our language as much as of our daily bread. If the presentday state of our language is not changed, it will disappear. It is quite clear: if we want to have relationships with other peoples and do not wish to be left behind, we must acquire education.36

The editors of Aiqap also emphasized the importance of education and the Kazakh language. However, they stressed that only the immediate transition to a sedentary way of life would make it possible to preserve the Kazakh language, promote education and participate in European culture. The decline in the Kazakh educational sphere at the beginning of this century and the critical condition of the Kazakh language may explain the great attention Kazakh intellectuals paid to the problems of language and education. Moreover, eloquence, and particularly poetical skill, had always been highly esteemed in the Kazakh system of traditional cultural values. It

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was no coincidence that Baitursynov, Bokeikhanov, Dulatov, Tynyshpaev and other leading men in Alash, though lacking a formal literary or philological training, became self-educated writers, poets, linguists, historians of culture and progressive thinkers of some repute. In the absence of political life in the European sense of the word (parties, political negotiation, etc.), Kazakh intellectual leaders used the traditional poetic form of appeal in order to politicize Kazakh society. Masa (Gnat), the collected poems of Baitursynov, published in 1911 and Dulatov’s Oiian, Qazaq! (Awaken, Kazakhs!), which appeared in 1919, were in fact political manifestos addressed to the Kazakh people in poetic form. Along with the improvement of the Kazakh language, Baitursynov emphasized the reform of Kazakh primary schools and the preparation of the necessary teaching materials (spelling primers and textbooks). He was deeply concerned about the low level of the Kazakh language and education in Kazakh primary schools. Generally speaking, he regarded primary schools as the most important area within the educational domain. According to Qazaq there were two main sorts of primary schools in Kazakh auyls (villages): the Kazakh mekteps or village schools and the Russian or Altynsarin schools. Teaching at the Kazakh mekteps was carried out in Kazakh written in the Arabic script. Writing was based on the socalled eski zhol (‘the old way’), i.e. according to older Islamic educational traditions. The so-called Russian schools were first organized by the wellknown Kazakh progressivist I. Altynsarin (1841–89), who introduced the Cyrillic alphabet adapted to the Kazakh language. This alphabet was compiled by the Russian orientalist and missionary N. Il’minsky who was convinced that the Cyrillic alphabet would serve as the first step to the Russification of the Kazakhs and their subsequent conversion to Christianity. Qazaq also referred to a third type of Kazakh primary school which used the so-called zhana zhol (‘the new way’) of teaching, which closely resembled the well-known usul jadid methods, but they were still in the process of becoming established and not yet widespread. The Kazakh mekteps required the payment of school fees since they were not financially supported by the state. These schools had poorly qualified teachers and did not use progressive methods of teaching. The Russian schools were free of charge, as they received state financial support based on levying special school taxes. They, therefore, had well-trained teachers and were provided with learning materials. None the less, the Kazakhs preferred to send their children to the Kazakh mekteps because they were afraid that in the Russian schools their children would forget their mother tongue and become Russified.37 In the Russian schools Kazakh children learned to write Kazakh in the Cyrillic script, and the majority were not able either to read or write in the Arabic script:

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Children after two to three years of study at Russian schools become useless for society. On the one hand, they cannot read Russian books, newspapers and magazines because they do not know the Russian language, but only the Cyrillic alphabet. On the other hand, despite knowing the Kazakh language they are unable to read Kazakh literature because they are ignorant of the Kazakh alphabet.38

Baitursynov noted: The state strives to standardize the languages, religions and alphabets of the subject peoples …, but each people wishes to preserve its own language, religion and alphabet. Therefore, the Kazakh primary schools should, first of all, be separated from the missionary activities and politics of the government. Their first task must be the preservation of the Kazakh religion, language and alphabet.39

After graduating from primary school, Kazakh children who wished to continue their education could only do so at Tatar or Uzbek madrasas since no Kazakh madrasas existed. But the Tatar and Uzbek madrasas were often overcrowded, so that Kazakhs were not accepted in them. Students at madrasas had to pay for their tuition and did not receive study grants, whereas students at Russian institutions were accorded grants of 20 to 25 roubles a month. Qazaq was especially concerned about the financial situation of Kazakh students and organized funds on their behalf. The newspaper collected more than 10,000 roubles for students at both the Muslim and Russian institutions. Among Kazakh students the most popular madrasas were the Galiyeh Madrasa in the city of Ufa, the Khasaniyeh Madrasa in Orynbor, and the Rasuliyeh Madrasa in Troitsk. In 1913 Qazaq reported that more than 10,000 Kazakh students were studying at the madrasas of Troitsk, Semei, Qarqaraly, Orsk and Qyzylzhar.40 The Kazakhs did not trust the graduates of Russian institutions because the latter imitated the people of another religion, wearing their clothes, smoking, etc. As a rule these students did not remain among the Kazakhs nor did they attempt to understand their social and economic needs. Qazaq wrote that the students who graduated from Muslim institutions and those who graduated from Russian ones were like members of two separate peoples. Indeed, they spoke two different languages. The Kazakhs studying at the madrasas learned the so-called literary language, a mixture of Tatar, Arabic, Persian and Uzbek. The more strange the words and phrases were, i.e. the more incomprehensible they were to ordinary people, the more literate and cultivated the language was considered to be. The Kazakhs who graduated from madrasas were ashamed of the Kazakh language and wrote either in the literary language or in the Cyrillic alphabet. Later they became men of religion (mullahs) and teachers at Kazakh primary schools. First, writing in Kazakh is considered shameful. Next, even speaking Kazakh might be regarded as shameful. One could well imagine such a development …

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The name of our newspaper is Qazaq which means that it aims at the preservation of Kazakhness. But that aim is only achievable if the Kazakh name and language remain a part of our lives.41

At the 1914 All-Muslim Congress held in St. Petersburg, Kazakh intellectuals opposed an attempt by the Tatar clergy to subordinate Kazakh to the Tatar language. The bill introduced at the congress stipulated that use of the Tatar language would be compulsory in the religious affairs of all Russian Muslims. One of the Kazakh delegates, Qarataev (Aiqap), supported this proposal and even maintained that the Kazakhs did not have a language of their own. Bokeikhanov commented on the issue: Among all the Turkic peoples in Russia, the Kazakhs live in the most compact groups. Since our Muslim brothers have no idea about our language and country, they do not know that we have been publishing magazines, newspapers and books for three to four years already. The Kazakhs clearly have a distinct language of their own.

Furthermore, Bokeikhanov expressed the hope that the Kazakh language would continue to progress and occupy an honorable cultural position in the future. After a long discussion on this question the Congress arrived at a settlement based on compromise. A so-called ‘Tatar-Turkic language’ would be adopted as the common official language of all Russian Muslims.42 Baitursynov believed that Kazakh primary schools should be supported by the government and that all Kazakh children of the appropriate age should attend them. In his proposed reform of primary schools he proceeded on the assumption that knowledge of the Russian language was necessary for a people living in Russia and subject to the Russians.43 According to his reform project, primary school attendance would last five years. During the first three years children would be taught in the Kazakh language written in the Arabic alphabet: ‘This alphabet reached the Kazakhs with the advent of Islam and both are ineradicable.’44 During the next two years children would then be taught in Russian and would master the Cyrillic alphabet. The primary schools would be of two types, namely city schools and steppe schools. The latter were to be divided into auyl and ulus mekteps (village and district schools). Teaching in the village schools would be in the Kazakh language, while Russian would be used in the district schools. The following subjects were to be included in the primary school curriculum: reading, writing, religion, the mother tongue, national history, arithmetic, geography, orthography and biology. These subjects would be taught in Kazakh. Teaching at the next stage would be in Russian and was meant to correspond to the primary classes of Russian secondary or technical high schools. After finishing this kind of primary school, Kazakhs would be able to continue their studies either at the Muslim or Russian institutions.45

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The Arabic script used at the beginning of this century was poorly adapted to the Kazakh language. In his reform of the Kazakh alphabet Baitursynov introduced some new signs to indicate the vowels which had not been written in the former script. He also dropped some letters of the Arabic alphabet which did not reflect the phonetics of the Kazakh language and used a special sign before each word to designate its ‘soft’ vowels (the so-called däiekshi). Baitursynov’s book Oqu qural (Means of Teaching), published in 1912 in Orynbor, represented the Kazakh spelling primer based on the newly adapted Arabic alphabet. In subsequent editions of the book Baitursynov introduced further improvements to this alphabet. Indeed, between 1912 and 1915 the book was reprinted seven times and proved to be of great assistance in Kazakh primary schools. In fact, Baitursynov’s work reforming the Kazakh language involved research on the main theoretical and practical aspects of the Kazakh language and has come to form the basis of modern Kazakh linguistics. In his autobiography he describes his work in the following terms: Since 1901, during school vacations I had been involved with self-education and literature. After coming to Orynbor, I first began to investigate the phonetic and grammatical system of the Kazakh language. Next I worked on the systematization and rationalization of the Kazakh alphabet. Thirdly, I tried to free the written Kazakh language from unnecessary and foreign words as well as the syntactic influence of other languages. Fourthly, I began to formulate a scientific terminology in order to liberate Kazakh prose from its artificial characteristics and to bring it closer to people’s usage in speech. I also worked on models which might help to improve the style of the Kazakh language.46

In 1915 Baitursynov published the first textbook of the Kazakh language Til qural (Means of Language), consisting of three parts. The first part was devoted to the phonetics of the Kazakh language and was reprinted seven times between 1915 and 1917. The second (1914) and the third (1916) parts of the book analyzed the morphology and syntax of the Kazakh language. Both these parts of the textbook were reprinted a total of six times. In 1928 Baitursynov published a guide to the practical use of the Kazakh language – Til zhumsar (Language Usage). He also wrote the first manual of Kazakh literature and literary criticism – Ädebiet tanytqysh (Guide to Literature). Qazaq was the only newspaper to employ the pure, unadulterated Kazakh language, written in the newly adapted Arabic alphabet. Moreover, Qazaq actually reached a sizeable number of readers, eventually attaining a monthly circulation of 8,000. In Bokeikhanov’s view, developing Kazakh literature and acquiring knowledge of Kazakh culture and history were among the most important characteristics comprising qazaqtyq. If a people does not know its own history or has lost contact with its past, that people may ultimately disappear.

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‘History is a guide to life, pointing towards the right way’.47 Dulatov considered historical literature to be ‘the soul’ of every individual people and a guarantee of the future preservation of their national identity. A people without its own history and culture can easily become assimilated by other peoples.48 The famous Kazakh poet, M. Zhumabaev, believed that: ‘From the European viewpoint the Kazakhs are a poor people because they do not have their own cultural and literary heritage.’49 In the early Soviet period Zhumabaev founded the first Kazakh literary society, Alqa (Necklace), which was responsible for the formation of a new generation of Soviet Kazakh writers. In 1913 Kazakh literature was characterized by S. Toraigyrov in the following words: It is well-known that ten or fifteen years ago the most popular books among the Kazakhs were: Zarqym, Sal-sal, Alpamys, etc. These books represented nothing but fantastical, invented and improbable legends full of all sorts of dragons, fairies, witches, giants, etc.50

In these circumstances acquaintance with the European and especially the Russian literary traditions had a powerful impact on the development of Kazakh written literature. The prominent poet Abai Qunanbaev (1845– 1904) was the first Kazakh writer to undergo a deep influence from Russian literature. The Kazakh intellectuals Bokeikhanov, Baitursynov, Dulatov, Zhumabaev and Auezov all appreciated his work and commented on it in detail. According to Bokeikhanov, Abai was the first Kazakh poet of a new type. While his predecessors were traditional poets who enlivened holidays and festivals, Abai attached great social meaning to poetry.51 Bokeikhanov acquainted the broad Russian public with the name and works of Abai. In 1909 he brought out the first edition of the collected poems of Abai in St. Petersburg. According to Bokeikhanov, Abai was particularly well acquainted with the works of the following Russian writers: Pushkin, Lermontov, Nekrasov, Tolstoi, Turgenev, Saltykov-Shchedrin, Dostoevsky, Belinsky, Dobroliubov, Pisarev and Tschernyshevsky. Western-oriented Kazakh intellectuals considered it necessary to learn from European literature, culture and history. N. Külzhanova, one of the first educated Kazakh women, maintained: But before our national literature can reach world level we must first learn about and know our own life. We need to collect and systematize examples of traditional Kazakh oral literature in order to become well acquainted with all aspects of the life of our own people.52

These aims determined the main activities of the leaders of Alash. Apart from investigating Kazakh language and literature, Baitursynov concerned himself with the collection and publication of Kazakh folklore, the history

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of world culture, and undertook numerous translations. In 1925 Baitursynov and Bokeikhanov edited and published 23 zhoqtau (23 Mourning Songs), which included songs from Kazakh folklore, some of them as much as 400 years old. Baitursynov translated the works of the following authors into Kazakh: Krylov, Voltaire, Lermontov, Nadson and Zhadovskaia. In 1923 Baitursynov published Mädeniet tarikhy (History of Culture), a monograph devoted to the history of world culture. Unfortunately, this book has been lost, possibly due to confiscation by the KGB. Indeed, Baitursynov’s house was frequently searched, and the author himself was arrested. Bokeikhanov, also an important Alash leader, regularly acquainted the readers of Qazaq with Russian and European culture, history and literature.53 In his article ‘Roman degen ne?’ (‘What is a Novel?’) Bokeikhanov characterized this literary genre in the following way: The inner essence of the novel involves the truthful depiction of the bright and dark sides of life. The novel pitilessly exposes the life of humanity and its particular day and age. The noble goal of the novel is the improvement of mankind’s character, delivering the latter from its shortcomings and ignorance. The novel attempts to set up educational and didactic examples.

On Bokeikhanov’s initiative the newspaper Qazaq announced a competition which was to produce the first Kazakh novel and appealed to rich Kazakhs for financial assistance.54 The literary activities of Bokeikhanov included the collection, analysis and publication of Kazakh folklore, literary criticism and the translation of Russian and European scientific and popular–scientific works as well as fiction into the Kazakh language. He published a series of articles devoted to Kazakh epics: ‘Zhenshchina po kirgizskoi byline Koblandy’ (‘Woman in the Kirgiz Epic Koblandy’) (1899), ‘Batyr Beket’ (‘The Hero Beket’) (1923), ‘Qalqaman-Mamyr’ (1915), ‘Myrza Edige’ (1923) and ‘Qara Qypshaq Qoblandy’ (1915). He also discussed the structure of Kazakh folk songs in ‘Än, ölen khäm onyn quramy’ (‘The Structure of Melody and Song’) (1914). Bokeikhanov pointed out the unequal position of women in traditional Kazakh society in Bespravnost’ kirgizskikh molodykh (The Deprivation of Kazakh Young Women of Civil Rights) (1902), Qyzdy malgy satu (Selling of Girls Like Cattle) (1925). Likewise, he translated works by the following authors: Tolstoi, Tschekhov, Korolenko, Mamin-Sibiriak, Aesop, Guy de Maupassant and Flammarion. Dulatov became famous after the publication of his work Oiian, Qazaq! (Awaken, Kazakhs!). He was also the author of the first Kazakh novel Baqytsyz Zhamal (The Unhappy Zhamal) published in Kazan in 1910. The novel portrayed a love-tragedy, involving a young educated Kazakh girl, Zhamal, unable to withstand the traditional customs of society. In 1913 Dulatov published his collected poems Azamat and in 1915 the poetic

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anthology Terme. He also wrote manuals of mathematics: Esep qural (Means of Counting) (1922) and literature: Qiraqat kitaby (1911), Oqu kitaby (A Reading Book) (1922) for Kazakh primary schools. Among his translations into Kazakh figure the works of Pushkin, Lermontov, Krylov, Abu Firas, Schiller and Tukai. In 1922 Dulatov wrote a four-act play entitled Balqiia which dramatized the oppressed position of Kazakh women. On the basis of the debates documented in the newspapers and periodicals of the early twentieth century, we may conclude that Kazakh intellectuals primarily addressed the cultural, rather than the economic or social, aspects of the nomadic/sedentary dilemma. The Kazakh cultural dilemma involved a collision between the oral and the written literary traditions. At the beginning of this century Kazakh intellectuals experienced the dramatic aggravation of this tension. The older cultural patterns that had kept alive the Kazakh oral tradition were incapable of withstanding the powerful influence of the ‘two cultural fires’, namely the Islamic and especially the Russian literate traditions. Pressure from both literary traditions resulted in a serious neglect of the Kazakh language and a general decline in the educational system. Faced with this crisis, intellectual leaders associated with Alash directed the main thrust of their cultural activity to the creation of a Kazakh written literary tradition. This they felt was the only way to preserve the Kazakh language and traditional oral heritage in view of the large-scale changes that were transforming society as they had known it. A developed written tradition was considered indispensable for the survival of the Kazakh people as a distinct cultural and national entity. Once their identity was firmly based on a standardized written form of their own language, Kazakhs would be in a position to raise their level of ‘culture’ and attain a status in the world equal to that of the Europeans. Notes 1 A. Baitursynov, Ädebiet tanytqysh, in A. Shäripov and S. Däuitov, eds., Akhmet Baitursynov (1872–1937), shygarmalary: ölender, audarmalar, zertteuler (Collected Works: Poems, Translations and Studies), Alma-Ata, 1989, p. 262. 2 A. Bokeikhanov, ‘Zhauap khat’ (‘The Letter of Response’), Qazaq 24 (1913). 3 A measure of land equal to 2.7 acres. 4 A. Baitursynov, ‘Qazaq khäm zher mäselesi’ (‘The Kazakhs and the Land Problem’), Qazaq 54 (1914). 5 G. Agarevsky, ‘Kirgizskoi intelligentsii’ (‘To the Kirgiz Intelligentsia’), Nasha Gazeta 265 (1918). 6 A. Bokeikhanov, ‘Ashyq khat’ (‘The Open Letter’), Qazaq 49 (1914). 7 A. Bokeikhanov, ‘Törtinshi Duma khäm Qazaq’ (‘The Fourth Duma and the Kazakhs’), Qazaq 19 (1913). 8 Baitursynov, ‘Qazaq khäm zher mäselesi’ (‘The Kazakhs and the Land Problem’).

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9 The auyl is a traditional village of the Turkic nomad and semi-nomadic population in Central Asia; a group of yurts, a nomadic camp. 10 S.Z. Zimanov and K.Z. Idrisov, Obshestvenno–politicheskie vzglyady Mukhamedzhana Seralina (The Socio–Political Views of Mukhamedzhan Seralin), Alma-Ata, 1989, p. 118. 11 Ibid. p. 120. 12 N. Martynenko, Alash Orda. Sbornik dokumentov (Alash Orda. Collected Documents). Alma-Ata, 1992, p. 139. 13 ‘Sharualyq özgerisi’, Qazaq 167 (1916). 14 ‘Sharualyq özgerisi’, Qazaq 163 (1915). 15 ‘Zher zhumysyna din zhumysyn qystyrmalau’, Qazaq 46 (1914). 16 ‘Qala bolgan Qazaqtar zhaiyunda’(‘About the Kazakhs Who Became Citizens’), Qazaq 27 (1913). 17 ‘Sharualyq özgerisi’, Qazaq 146 (1915). 18 M. Dulatov (Dulatuly), Oiian, Qazaq!, ed. by M. Absemetov, Alma-Ata, 1991, pp. 23–5. 19 ‘Sharualyq özgerisi’, Qazaq 146 (1915). 20 ‘Sharualyq özgerisi’, Qazaq 147 (1915). 21 A. Bokeikhanov, ‘Zhauap khat’, Qazaq 28 (1913). 22 Consecrated, tax-free land, the income from which supported Muslim religious institutions. 23 A. Bokeikhanov, ‘Musylman s’ezi’ (‘The Muslim Congress’), Qazaq 70 (1914). 24 M. Brill Olcott, The Kazakhs, Stanford, 1987, p. 103. 25 A. Bokeikhanov, ‘Petrograd khaty’ (‘The Letter from Petrograd’), Qazaq 191 (1916); and ‘Musylman biuroga Qazaqtardan kisi zhiberu’ (‘Sending a Kazakh Delegate to the Muslim Bureau’), Qazaq 201 (1916). 26 A. Bokeikhanov, ‘Men kadet partiiasynan nege shyqtym?’ (‘Why Did I Leave the Constitutional Democrats’ Party?’), Sary-Arqa 29 (1918). 27 A. Bokeikhanov, ‘Tagy da bi khäm bilik’ (‘More About Judges and Judging’), Qazaq 50 (1914). 28 A. Bokeikhanov, ‘Musul2man s2ezi’ (‘The Muslim Congress’), Qazaq 89 (1914). 29 A. Bokeikhanov, ‘Bi khäm bilik’ (‘Judge and Judgement’), Qazaq 48 (1914). 30 ‘Bilik’ (‘Judgement’), Qazaq 52 (1914). 31 Ibid. 32 ‘Ismailbek Gasprinsky’, Qazaq 82 (1917). 33 Zh. Tileulin, ‘Zhalpy musylman s’ezi (‘The All-Muslim Congress’), Qazaq 232 (1917). 34 M. Shoqai, Türkistannyn qily tagdyry (The Harsh Fate of Turkestan), ed. by B. Serikbaiuly Qoshym-Nogai, Alma-Ata, 1992, pp. 129–30. 35 See Kelden, ‘Türkestan ölkesi’ (‘The Province of Turkestan’), Sary-Arqa 15 (1917). 36 A. Baitursynov, ‘Orynbor, 10 Fevral’ (‘Orynbor, February 10th’), Qazaq 2 (1913). 37 A. Baitursynov, ‘Bastauysh mektep’ (‘Primary School’), Qazaq 61 (1914). 38 ‘Mektep qarzhysy turaly’ (‘About Financing Schools’), Qazaq 156 (1915). 39 Baitursynov, ‘Bastauysh mektep’. 40 A. Zhantalin, ‘Medreseden oqyp shyqqan shäkertterimiz ne bolashaq?’ (‘What is the Future of Our Students Who Graduate from the Madrasah?’), Qazaq 2 (1913).

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41 A. Baitursynov, ‘Qazaqsha oqu zhaiynan’ (‘About Studying Qazaq’), Qazaq 14 (1913). 42 A. Bokeikhanov, ‘Musylman s’ezi’ (‘The Muslim Congress’), Qazaq 88 (1914). 43 Baitursynov, ‘Qazaqsha oqu zhaiynan’. 44 Baitursynov, ‘Bastauysh mektep’. 45 Ibid. 46 R. Syzdykova, ‘Akhmet Baitursynov, ömiri men tagdyry turaly’ (‘The Life and Fate of Akhmet Baitursynov’) in A. Baitursynov. Til taglymy. Qazaq tili men oquagartuga qatysty enbekteri (A. Baitursynov. Works Concerning the Kazakh Language and Education), Alma-Ata, 1992. 47 A. Bokeikhanov, ‘Qazaqtyn tarikhy. Söz basy’ (‘Kazakh History: An Introduction’), Qazaq 2 and 3 (1913). 48 M. Dulatov, ‘Abai’, in Shygarmalary: ölender, qara sözder, kösemsöz (Collected Works: Poems, Prose, Appeals), ed. by M. Äbsemetov and G. Dulatova, Alma-Ata, 1991, p. 250. 49 M. Zhumabaev, ‘Alqa’ (‘Necklace’), Aqiqat 7 (1992), p. 73. 50 S. Toraigyrov, Eki tomdyq shygarmalar zhinagy (Collected Works in Two Volumes), Alma-Ata, 1993, II, p. 138. 51 A. Bokeikhanov, ‘Abai (Ibrahim) Qunanbaev’, Abai 2 (1992). 52 N. Külzhanova, ‘Ädebietimizge köz salu’ (‘A Survey of Our Literature’), Qazaq 164 and 166 (1916). 53 A. Bokeikhanov, ‘Roman degen ne?’ (‘What is a Novel?’), Qazaq 48 (1915); Idem, ‘Trubetskoi leksiiasy’ (‘Reading Trubetskoi’), Qazaq 96 (1915); and Idem, ‘Nemis mädenieti’ (‘German Culture’), Qazaq 106 (1915). 54 A. Bokeikhanov, ‘Roman bäigesi’ (‘The Novel Competition’), Qazaq 120 (1915).

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Ethnic Religious Resurgence in Xinjiang KULBHUSHAN WARIKOO

The Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region of China occupies a pivotal position in Asia with its borders touching Mongolia, the newly independent Central Asian states of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, war-torn Afghanistan, and the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir, the latter of which is partially under the illegal occupation of Pakistan. Holding the distinction of being the largest province of China, Xinjiang is still the only autonomous region where Muslims are in the majority.1 Xinjiang presents a unique case of geographical and ethno–cultural diversity. The Tien-Shan range of mountains cuts the region into two distinct and unequal halves, the northern region being traditionally dominated by pastoral nomads and the southern region possessing numerous fertile oasis settlements with wellestablished agricultural and trading traditions. The people of the northern region, generally known as Dzungaria, have had close commercial and nomadic ties with the Mongols living across the border in the east and with the Kazakhs in the west. Similarly, the Muslims of the southern region of Xinjiang, also known as the Tarim basin, have, throughout the centuries, maintained intimate relations with the adjoining areas of the Central Asian Khanates of Kokand and Bukhara, and with Afghanistan and northern India – due to their religious and kinship ties and active trade contacts.2 This unique interplay of geography, along with the region’s historical role as the crossroads of Central and South Asia, has resulted in Xinjiang’s present ethno–cultural diversity and cross-border movements. Whereas Muslim Uighurs are predominant in the southern part of Xinjiang, particularly in the Kashgar and Khotan Autonomous Prefectures, the Muslim Kazakh nomads are concentrated in Yili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture (adjoining Kazakhstan), Mori Kazakh Autonomous County/ Town of the Changji Hui Autonomous Prefecture, and Barkol Kazakh Autonomous County/Town of the Hami Prefecture.3 Similarly, the Muslim Kyrgyz nomads inhabit the Kizilsu Kyrgyz Autonomous Prefecture (adjoining Kyrgyzstan), and the Muslim Tajiks have been provided with the Autonomous County of Tashkurghan (adjoining Tajikistan) within the Kashgar Prefecture.4 Mongols reside mainly in the Bayangol and Bortala Mongol Autonomous Prefectures. The regional concentration of various 269

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ethno–religious groups has been reinforced by the Chinese policy of creating separate administrative divisions – autonomous prefectures and autonomous counties and towns within prefectures –where particular ethnic or religious groups are in the majority. In fact, these divisions were created in 1954, i.e. more than one year before Xinjiang was officially renamed the Uighur Autonomous Region.5 Notwithstanding their intra-ethnic differences, most of the non-Han population of Xinjiang are of Turkic stock and are Muslims by faith, thus sharing a common culture, religion, and related Turkic languages with their counterparts in the neighboring Central Asian countries. Given China’s tenuous historical position in this region, any crossborder fraternization on ethno–religious grounds between the Muslims of Xinjiang with their Central Asian, Afghan and Pakistani neighbors is a potential source of instability along China’s strategic frontier. Though Xinjiang’s connection with China dates back more than 2,000 years, the area has only been under effective Chinese control intermittently for about five centuries.6 Even during Ching rule (1755–1911), Chinese authority was subverted for brief periods by successful rebellions led by Khoja Muslim leaders such as Jahangir, Yusof Katta Tora and Walli Khan Tora (in the early 19th century), and Yakub Beg (1865–77),7 all of whom originated from Kokand. During their short-lived successes, these Khoja leaders set in motion a wave of religious frenzy, as a result of which a number of Chinese soldiers, civilians, artisans and traders were killed. It was only in 1884 that Xinjiang was brought within the regular administrative structure of the Chinese Empire and made a full-fledged province. After the Chinese revolution of 1911 and the consequent end to Ching rule, Xinjiang entered upon an era of warlordism which lasted until the mid1940s. All the successive provincial leaders were Han Chinese – Yang Tsenghsin (1911–28), Chin Shu-jen (1928–33), and Sheng Shih-tsai (1933–44) – whose authoritarian and exploitative policies acted as a catalyst precipitating a series of Muslim uprisings that rocked Xinjiang from 1931 to 1949. By 1932, Chinese government authority in Xinjiang was successfully subverted by the Muslim rebellions of Tungans and Uighurs. The Tungans besieged Urumchi, the headquarters of the provincial administration. Khoja Niyaz and Sabit Damulla set up a Muslim administration in Kashgar under the name of the Turkish–Islamic Republic of Eastern Turkestan. Three Khotanlik brothers, Abdullah Boghra, Nur Ahmadjan Boghra, and Mohammad Amin Boghra, calling themselves amirs, held power from Yangi Hissar to Khotan in southern Xinjiang in the name of the Committee for National Revolution, later renamed the Khotan Islamic Government. In the wake of this serious political disorder in Xinjiang, Chinese and other nonMuslims, in particular a number of Hindu traders,8 were massacred by the Muslim separatists. It was only in late 1934 that the Chinese provincial

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administration was able to crush these Muslim rebellions with Soviet military support. However, shortly thereafter new centers of Muslim resistance emerged. In 1937, General Mahmud leading the pan-Turkic Islamic forces and General Ma Hu-shan, leader of the Tungans, realigned themselves in a combined endeavor to oust the ‘infidel’ Chinese from the Xinjiang region. But they suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of the Chinese troops who received active military and aerial support from the Soviets. The setting up of the Turkic Islamic Republic of Eastern Turkestan in 1933–34, which was based on the principles of the Sharia, proved to be an abortive attempt to establish an independent Islamic government in Xinjiang.9 Efforts to set up the independent Republic of Eastern Turkestan in 1933 and again in 1944 ended in failure, and Xinjiang was finally brought under the complete control of the Chinese Communist forces in 1949. In ancient times, Chinese interest in Xinjiang had originated out of their need to safeguard Inner China against foreign incursions. As such this westernmost border region, then known as Hsi Yu, was regarded as a buffer zone against eventual attacks from beyond the Great Wall. However, the imperial government never lost sight of the importance of fostering trade relations with the outlying Central Asian states, as it enabled China to ‘civilize’ the turbulent nomadic tribes and also to extend its political influence over them. Central Asian chiefs and trading delegations were encouraged to visit China and were given costly presents and even subsidies in return for their ‘gifts’ to the Chinese emperor. This was a deliberate move aimed at drawing the outlying border states into a ‘tributary relationship’ with imperial China. Ming rulers consistently followed this policy and set up a separate Board of Rites to supervise the official contacts with the Central Asian states. The Ching dynasty perfected this system by establishing a full-fledged court of Colonial Affairs (Li-fan Yuan) to look after relations with the Central Asian dependencies of Xinjiang, Mongolia and Tibet. Ching rulers considered the possession of Xinjiang as a prerequisite for safeguarding their position in Central Asia. They successfully used both military and diplomatic means to ensure the occupation of Xinjiang. The social isolation of numerous oasis-settlements and their respective populations hindered the formation of a united resistance movement against the Ching authorities.10 Furthermore, the Ching policy of permanent settlement of Manchus, Han Chinese civil and military personnel, traders, artisans and Chinese Muslims (Hui) along with their families in Xinjiang, altered the ethnographic and demographic composition of Xinjiang and diluted local Muslim resistance to Chinese rule. Communist China views Xinjiang as a continental bridge which ‘extends China’s reach to Central Asia and simultaneously serves as a security buffer to China proper’.11 Besides being used as a site for nuclear testing, Xinjiang

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is a region of vast unexploited petroleum and mineral reserves, as well as immense agricultural potential. Following the disintegration of the USSR, China’s position in Central Asia and the Middle East has been enhanced by its possession of Xinjiang. China has been following the time-tested policy of large-scale Han settlement in Xinjiang and the adjoining Central Asian states ‘as a means to work towards regional stability and bring the new Central Asian republics and peoples of Xinjiang closer to China’s world view’.12 However, the main obstacle to China’s achieving its economic, political, and strategic objectives in this region is an ethno–religious resurgence which could fuel the nascent pan-Turkic/Islamic secessionist movement in Xinjiang. Notwithstanding the massive Han settlement in the Xinjiang region of China which has increased their ratio of the population from 5 percent in 1949 to approximately 38 percent in 1990, ethno–religious sentiments in Xinjiang still remain deep-rooted. The problem is accentuated by the large concentration of Muslim Uighurs in the southern part of Xinjiang and Muslim Kazakhs in the Yili region (as high as 90 percent), whereas they constitute only about 55 percent of the total population in the entire province. Population Figures for the Main Ethnic Groups in Xinjiang (July 1990 census) Ethnic group

percentage

population

Uighurs Han Chinese Kazakhs Hui Mongols Kyrgyz Tajiks

47.47 37.58 7.30 4.49 0.91 0.92 0.22

7,194,675 5,695,626 1,106,989 681,527 137,740 139,781 33,512

Total population in Xinjiang

15,155,778

Race relations between the Han Chinese and the Turkic people in Xinjiang have been marked by mutual distrust and hostility. This is clearly reflected in the self-imposed segregation among the Han Chinese, the Uighurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and Tajiks, who all live in separate settlements in their respective areas of concentration. There exist separate hostels for Han and Muslim students in universities and institutes as well. Similarly, there are exclusive restaurants for Muslims and Han Chinese. Few Uighurs can speak Chinese and very few Chinese know the local language. Dru Gladney found during his visit to Kashgar Teachers College that ‘young Uighurs would rather learn Urdu than Chinese’, as it would facilitate their trading with

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Pakistan.13 Han Chinese feel uneasy when passing through the localities dominated by the Turkic peoples.14 Moreover, the Kazakhs in the Yili region of northern Xinjiang still retain bitter memories of the 1960s when upwards of 100,000 Muslim Kazakhs and Uighurs migrated to the neighboring region of Kazakhstan, then part of the USSR. There are presently more than one million Kazakhs in Xinjiang, whereas there are about 200,000 Uighurs in Kazakhstan who maintain family and ethnic ties across the border. Besides, several hundred Uighurs have settled in Pakistani-occupied Kashmir, where they make use of the Karakoram Highway to keep up family ties and trading connections with Xinjiang. Even after 1978 when the Chinese liberalized their policy towards religion and minority cultures, incidents of violent demonstrations against the Chinese authorities and the local Han population have been reported intermittently. Riots occurred in Aksu in April 1980 when Han settlers were beaten up, their homes looted and a factory that they ran was damaged.15 Aksu riots in which several hundred civilians and soldiers were reported to be killed or wounded16 terrified the local Chinese settlers causing thousands of them to demonstrate and demand permission to return to their homes. By early 1981 more than 30,000 Han Chinese were reported to have left Xinjiang for Shanghai.17 In October 1980, an accident in which a Uighur pedestrian was killed by a Chinese truck driver provoked local unrest, particularly after the Chinese police refused to execute the driver even though the local court had sentenced him to death. Further trouble was only averted when the sentence was commuted. In June 1981, Uighur demonstrators attacked the Han settlers and even a PLA army base in Kashgar. The inter-ethnic discord between Uighurs and Han Chinese did not leave the Provincial Communist Party indifferent. When the situation worsened in August 1981 and members of the Uighur Provincial Committee virtually revolted against the Chinese ruling majority, the then vicechairman, Deng Xioping, was forced to visit Xinjiang for nine days to resolve the political crisis. Deng ordered a reorganization of the Provincial Committee, and Wang Feng, Xinjiang’s First Party Secretary (1978–81), was replaced by Wang Enmao who had worked in Xinjiang from 1949 to 1969.18 Wang Enmao was given the task of re-establishing political stability and strengthening security. In 1985 and 1986, Uighur students organized public demonstrations in Urumchi demanding a halt to nuclear testing in Lop Nor and to the settlement of Han Chinese in Xinjiang.19 Likewise, in May 1989 Muslim students in Xinjiang University at Urumchi protested against the application of the Chinese birth-control policy to non-Han peoples. Slogans like ‘Han people leave Xinjiang!’ were also chanted at that time.20 Despite occasional incidents of this kind, however, Xinjiang remained quiet and peaceful on the whole, and China continued its liberalized policy

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of allowing freedom of religion, including the restoration of old mosques and the construction of new ones. The number of new mosques being built with the help of voluntary donations in various settlements has increased many times over. In 1988, their number was reported to have reached 24,000.21 Uighur and Arabic editions of the Holy Koran as well as other Islamic scriptures have been circulated in hundreds of thousands since 1980 when the Regional Islamic Association resumed its activity. The pilgrimage to Mecca is also allowed, and thousands of Xinjiang Muslims have fulfilled their prescribed religious duty by performing the Hajj. Uighur academics, intellectuals and literary figures have now been voicing their dissenting views on historical, cultural and socio–economic aspects of Xinjiang. Three books written and published between 1986 and 1989 by Turghun Almass, a Uighur expert on local history and culture, have sent ripples throughout Xinjiang: namely The Uighurs, A Short History of the Xiongnu (Turks), and The Literature of the Uighurs. Almass describes the Uighurs as ‘an indigenous nation’ which was ‘independent of China’ in the past. Referring to the Great Wall as being the real national boundary of China, he described the area it runs through, highlighting the ethnic and racial conflict between Turkic peoples and the Han Chinese. Almass espouses the cause for an ‘independent state’ for all ‘Turkic people’. By eulogizing the conversion of the Uighurs from Buddhism to Islam, which in his opinion turned them into a ‘powerful and unified nation’, Almass has sought to link Pan-Islamism to Pan-Turkism. As expected, Almass’ books evoked a sharp reaction from the Chinese Party and government circles, as well as from Han academics. He was accused of fabricating and twisting Xinjiang’s history, and threatening national unity. Almass’ works were criticized as ‘a vain attempt to incite racial conflict and fan the flames of Xinjiang’s independence’ and a manipulation of history for the purpose of inciting ‘Xinjiang’s secession from China’.22 To meet this ideological threat, the Xinjiang Academy of Sciences published the Educational Textbook of Atheism for use by the young masses in Xinjiang. The book, which highlights the negative role of religion in the long history of Xinjiang, nevertheless foresees ‘a long struggle to eliminate religion’.23 However, Chinese books on history, culture and the traditions of Xinjiang, have provoked a strong reaction from the Muslims in Xinjiang. In April 1987, several Kazakh students in Yili went on strike to protest the publication of the Chinese novel White House in the Distance, describing it as a distortion of Kazakh customs and an insult to the national pride of Turkic people. Similarly, in December 1988 Uighur students staged a protest march in Beijing against the exhibition of two historical films which they found ‘disrespectful to their race’. The publication of Sex Habits by the Shanghai Cultural House caused resentment among the Muslims throughout

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China and protest marches were organized in Beijing, Lanzhou, and several cities in Xinjiang.24 As a result of the official tolerance of religion and culture after 1978, there has been a rise in ethnic–nationalist tendencies in Xinjiang with Islam often being enlisted as a basis for common identity and a rallying point to forge unity among diverse Muslim ethnic groups. Increased trans-border trade and traffic between Xinjiang and the adjoining region of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan (via the Karakoram Highway passing though Pakistani-occupied Kashmir) has resulted in greater interaction between the Turkic peoples of Xinjiang and their ethnic counterparts and co-religionists in Central Asia, Pakistan, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Uighur and Kazakh exiles from Xinjiang residing in Turkey have also kept in close touch with their counterparts in Xinjiang. These exiles have established at least seven organizations in Turkey which are dedicated to the goal of Xinjiang’s separation from China. Prominent among them are the Eastern Turkestan National Revolutionary Front, the Eastern Turkestan Charity Fund and the Islamic Party of Eastern Turkestan.25 A periodical entitled Voice of Eastern Turkestan is regularly published in Istanbul, the headquarters of the East Turkestan Liberation Front which until recently led by the elderly Uighur politician in exile, Isa Yusof Alptekin. Undaunted by his old age and bad health, Isa Alptekin mobilized diplomatic support in Turkey for the independence of Eastern Turkestan. Alptekin met the leaders of the Organization of the Islamic Conference during the Islamic Foreign Ministers meeting in Istanbul in August 1991, and asked to be given the official status of an OIC observer for Eastern Turkestan. Subsequently, he met Turkish government leaders and sought their support, including the former president, Turgut Özal, and the prime minister, S. Demirel. Uighurs settled in Turkey, the Middle East, Western countries and the Central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, have revitalized their activities. The International Uighur Union of the CIS was set up in early 1992 in Alma-Ata with the objective of protecting human rights and seeking self-determination for Uighurs in Xinjiang. The Nevada Semipalatinsk Movement in Kazakhstan has a separate department for mobilizing opinion against the Lop Nor nuclear tests. In Kyrgyzstan a new Uighur party, the Party for a Free Uighuristan, was founded in June 1992 for the creation of Eastern Turkestan as an independent state. Likewise, several newspapers in the Uighur language such as Uighur Awazi (The Voice of the Uighurs) are being published in Alma-Ata. A number of Uighurs are reported to be migrating from Xinjiang to Turkey, the Middle East and Central Asian states. This is in addition to the defection of more than 100 prominent Xinjiang Muslims to Turkey during the decade of the 1980s.26 Following the dismantling of the USSR, China’s borderlands have attracted renewed Western interest. In Munich, Germany, the Eastern Turkestan

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Cultural and Social Association was established in January 1991 by Erkin Alptekin, the son of Isa Alptekin. It publishes the periodical Eastern Turkestan Information. Earlier in February 1990, Erkin Alptekin became the founding vice-chairman of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) which seeks self-determination for several countries, including Eastern Turkestan and Tibet. Piqued at the ethno–religious resurgence in Xinjiang and taking an alarmist view of ethnic conflict and Islamic activism in the newly independent Central Asian states across the border, the Chinese authorities, Party functionaries and the officially controlled educational and media establishment in Xinjiang have openly denounced the ‘infiltration, subversion and sabotage by hostile foreign Islamic elements who are encouraging the separatist movement in Xinjiang’. The local newspaper Xinjiang Ribao, in its editorial dated 9 February 1990, called for an end to religious interference in matters pertaining to education, the judiciary and administration and stressed the need to prevent all ‘unfriendly foreign organizations and individuals and their local supporters from using religion for their dangerous designs’. The local Chinese commentator, Shi Jian, writing in the same paper on 18 March 1990, ascribed the rise of ethno– religious separatism in Xinjiang to lax control over the religious activities of mosques and madrasas. The Deputy Secretary of the Xinjiang Region CPC Committee, A. Niyaz, who led a fact-finding visit to various areas in Xinjiang, also emphasized the need to follow strictly ‘a policy of freedom of religious beliefs’. Clarifying the policy, he warned that religion should not be allowed to interfere in state affairs, the administration of justice, education and culture, marriage, public health and family welfare, and the system of privileges or discrimination. Niyaz also held foreign hostile Islamic groups responsible for infiltration and internal subversion.27 The 7th Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Regional People’s Congress, held in March 1990 at Urumchi, identified the ethno–religious separatist movement as the greatest danger facing Xinjiang.28 Earlier in August 1989, the Chinese Minister of Public Security, Wang Feng, had held ‘conspiratorial separatist elements’ responsible for instability in Xinjiang.29 Gorbachev’s policy of perestroika and glasnost were also seen as a contributory factor in the ethno– religious resurgence in Central Asia. Tomur Dawamat, the head of the Xinjiang government, cited ‘global changes in the pursuit of bourgeois liberalization’, alluding to Gorbachev’s reforms in the ex-USSR, as one of the causes underlying the unrest in Xinjiang. Speaking at a news conference in Beijing on 24 March 1990, Dawanat confirmed the arrest of some separatist activists belonging to the Eastern Turkestan Liberation Front for ‘distributing reactionary leaflets and formulating slogans’.30 However, it was after the violent riots that rocked the Baren township in

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the Kashgar district of South Xinjiang in early April 1990 that the Chinese authorities made a thorough reappraisal of the situation. The anti-Chinese riots which were reportedly sparked off after the local authorities banned the construction of a mosque near Kashgar airport, coincided with Ramadan, the month of prescribed fasting for Muslims.31 The riots which soon spread to other towns were described by local television broadcasts as ‘armed counter-revolutionary rebellion’. Activists and supporters of the Islamic Party of Eastern Turkestan, which has the declared aim of establishing an independent Islamic Republic in Xinjiang, proclaimed ‘jehad to eliminate heathens’ from Xinjiang.32 The activities of stockpiling weapons and arming young recruits had increased in March 1990 after the holy month of Ramadan.33 General Wang Enmao, who headed the region for three decades, later confirmed that seven separatist groups, some having foreign links, had been uncovered. Banners declaring ‘Revive Islam!’ and ‘Independent Islamic Republic of Eastern Turkestan’ were raised during these disturbances. It was believed that the arms for the uprising came from the Afghan Mujahedin, routed through Pakistan via the Karakoram Highway. In fact, two Pakistani nationals, alleged to be operatives of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, are reported to have been arrested for fomenting unrest in Xinjiang.34 The issue of ethno–religious separatism in Xinjiang dominated the 15th session of the Regional Party Central Committee on 19 July 1990. In their speeches, both Tomur Dawamat, the head of the Xinjiang government, and Janabil, the Deputy Secretary of the Xinjiang Regional Communist Party, exhorted the delegates ‘to take a clear-cut stand against separatism and defend the country’s integrity’.35 While referring to the misuse of religious slogans in anti-Chinese and secessionist activities, Dawamat condemned the Islamists’ opposition to tapping Xinjiang’s resources for the region’s development and also to family planning practices. Janabil was more forthright in admitting that the separatist campaign inside and outside Xinjiang was ‘rampant’. He affirmed that subversive agents were being sent into Xinjiang by certain foreign organizations on the pretext of visiting relatives or conducting business, while their real purpose was to incite local people against the Han Chinese. Likewise, he stated that some local scholars, educationists, artists and men of letters have been using their lectures, articles, discussions and works of art and literature ‘to distort history’ and to propagate the political independence of Xinjiang.36 Janabil was particularly distressed about the increasing influence wielded by Pan-Islamic and Pan-Turkic elements over the younger generations. He condemned the slogans ‘Keep out the Han Chinese!’, ‘Eradicate infidels!’, and ‘The Islamic Republic of Eastern Turkestan’ that were witnessed during the April riots. Common features of the May 1989 and April 1990 disturbances in Xinjiang

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were the unfurling of Islamic banners, the cry for jehad (Holy War), demands to expel the Han Chinese, and the overt call to establish an independent Islamic Republic of Eastern Turkestan. Conclusion The demise of the former USSR and the establishment of independent Central Asian states which share a common history, religion, culture and above all the ancient Silk Route connection with Xinjiang, has created a new awakening among the indigenous Muslims of Xinjiang (Uighurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, etc.) with regard to their Islamic, as well as their PanTurkic identity. Being conscious of the strategic position of Xinjiang as the hub of trans-Asian trade and traffic, and also of its huge economic resources, the Muslims of Xinjiang are poised to assert their socio–economic and political position. Liberalized Chinese policy towards religion, new initiatives for modernization and economic development, better communication links with Pakistan, Turkey and the Central Asian states, and the development of Xinjiang’s cross-border trade with its neighboring Muslim countries, have resulted in a greater mobilization and self-assertion by the Muslims of Xinjiang along ethno–religious lines. That the Uighurs in Xinjiang, particularly in Kashgar, Yarkand, Khotan, Bachu, Kucha, Turfan and even Urumchi, give the credit for Chinese liberalized policy towards Islam to Pakistan’s former president, Zia-ul Haqq, was explained to this author during his visit to these areas in June 1994. Local Muslim perception is based on the fact that Zia-ul Haqq who timed his visit to Kashgar in July 1984 to coincide with a Friday, persuaded the local Chinese authorities to unlock the large Congregational Mosque in Kashgar to enable him to perform prayers. The lock was duly opened and he offered up prayers along with local Muslims in the Kashgar mosque, which had previously remained closed for many years. Furthermore, Pakistani traders, travellers and Islamic activists, who have been thronging to the towns of Xinjiang, have had a role to play by financing the construction of mosques and distributing Islamic literature. In fact, this author witnessed something of a correlation between the extent of Pakistani influence, particularly in Kashgar, Yarkand, Khotan, Turfan, etc., and the degree of Islamic resurgence in these areas. The emergence of Central Asian states, ethno–religious resurgence, particularly in Tajikistan and the Ferghana valley of Uzbekistan, and the mobilization of Uighurs in these states, have been the cause of much concern in China. The fear of the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and PanTurkic consciousness in Xinjiang is compounded by the recurrent clashes between Han Chinese and local Uighur/Kazakh/Kyrgyz Muslims in

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Xinjiang since the 1980s. Many settlers feel they are being bullied and coerced in southern Xinjiang where Uighurs are in the majority. The new Chinese policy of giving preferential treatment to local Muslims in employment, admissions, etc., is yet another source of anxiety for the Han settlers. Finding themselves in an uneasy situation, the Han Chinese are keen to leave the area and go back to their original homes or migrate to those areas where Muslims are not dominant. At the same time, Han Chinese have consolidated their position in northern Xinjiang and Han traders and businessmen are making most of the profits in that region due to the Chinese ‘open-door policy’ and the encouragement of cross-border trade with the CIS countries. Though a general aura of peace and stability prevails in the region, the Chinese are concerned over the issues of Islamic fundamentalism, PanTurkic revivalism, cross-border infiltration of drugs, arms and subversives, and external initiatives to resurrect the movement for an independent Eastern Turkestan, which contests China’s sovereignty over Xinjiang. The use of arms and ammunition and the involvement of foreign subversives from Turkey, Afghanistan (Mujahedin), Pakistan, and Uighur groups in Central Asian states, whose activists have been working in Xinjiang to propagate Pan-Turkic and Pan-Islamic views, has lent an extraneous dimension to the renascent domestic Muslim resentment against the Han Chinese. That China was incensed over the initiatives of the Pakistani Islamic parties in Xinjiang and expressed its concern to Pakistan describing these activities as interference in its internal affairs, has been revealed by the Pakistani press itself.37 Many Uighurs are counting on the negative impact of the Soviet breakup on the domestic politics of China, Western Turkic and Islamic support for their independence movement, growing indiscipline in the PLA, peoples’ emerging disaffection with the Communist system, particularly among the younger generation of China, and the desire of the Han settlers in Xinjiang to go back to their original places of birth – as key factors which could assist the process of secession of Xinjiang from China. China for its part is quite conscious of the new threat to its territorial integrity as a result of the changed geopolitical situation in Central Asia. China has been following an elaborate set of policies in Xinjiang to ensure the region’s political stability. In closing I will give a brief overview of the main elements of these policies: a) A policy envisaging intensive economic exploitation of Xinjiang is being pursued, keeping in view its huge oil resources (18 billion tons) and the region’s potential for economic growth. Agreements have been concluded with Britain, Japan and other countries to undertake joint

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exploration for oil and to set up ethylene and other petro–chemical projects. Funds from countries in the Middle East are also being solicited for investment in Xinjiang, and for this purpose local progovernment Muslim specialists are encouraged to develop contacts abroad. b) Special economic zones have been created to facilitate Xinjiang’s crossborder trade with adjoining Central Asian states and the CIS, in such a manner that most of the business and trade remain in the hands of Chinese. This has also provided economic incentive to sustain the growing influx of Han Chinese into Xinjiang. Moreover, an effort is being made to use Xinjiang as a springboard to penetrate and influence Central Asia with regard to its economy, politics and social development. In fact, China’s ‘open-door policy’ to promote Xinjiang’s foreign trade is especially designed to establish a definite Chinese influence in the Central Asian states. Chinese consumer and other goods have flooded into Central Asia. About 300,000 Han Chinese are reported to have migrated to the Central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan for trade and business purposes. They are reported to have married local women, purchased properties, shops and businesses and mixed with the local population. Chinese migration on this scale has made the newly independent Central Asian states apprehensive of an even greater Chinese influx, which they see as a repetition of ‘Russian colonialism’ in the past and an extension of Chinese ‘colonialism’ in Xinjiang at present. c) China is trying to influence Muslim countries such as Iran, Pakistan and states in the Middle East by the sale of arms and other incentives in return for their dollars and also to secure their political support for China’s presence in Xinjiang. Several Muslim leaders and high-ranking delegations from Iran and the Central Asian states have visited Xinjiang over the past few years. During the visit of the Iranian president Rafsanjani to Xinjiang, it was decided to build a direct trans-Asian railway between Beijing and Iran through Central Asia. d) China seeks to neutralize the threat to political stability in Xinjiang by consolidating its military presence and by encouraging more Han Chinese to settle in the region. The government’s plan to move about 500,000 Chinese who will be displaced by a massive dam project in Central China, to the Kashgar region (Southern Xinjiang) is obviously meant to meet the growing secessionist challenge in the region with a permanent solution.38 This particular massive resettlement program is in addition to the average annual influx of 250,000 to 300,000 Han immigrants to Xinjiang in search of better economic prospects.39

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Notes 1 Y. Qing Li, ‘Population Change in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region (1949– 1989),’ Central Asian Survey 9, no. 1 (1990), p. 49. 2 K. Warikoo, ‘China and Central Asia: A Review of Ching Policy in Xinjiang, 1755–1884,’ Strategic Analysis 13, no. 3 (June 1990), p. 309. 3 Qing Li, ‘Population Change,’ p. 59. 4 Xinjiang Government, Xinjiang: A General Survey, Beijing, 1989, pp. 28–43. 5 Ibid. 6 O. Lattimore, ‘Chinese Turkestan,’ in his Studies in Frontier History: Collected Papers, 1928–58, London, 1962, p. 184. 7 K. Warikoo, ‘Chinese Turkestan during the Nineteenth Century: A Socio– economic Study,’ Central Asian Survey 4, no. 3 (1985), pp. 74–5. 8 K. Warikoo, ‘Muslim Migrations from Xinjiang to Kashmir,’ Strategic Analysis 14, no. 1 (April 1991), p. 18. 9 Ibid., p. 29. 10 Warikoo, ‘China and Central Asia: A Review of Ching Policy in Xinjiang, 1755– 1884’. 11 L. Craig Harris, ‘Xinjiang. Central Asia and the Implications for China’s Policy in the Islamic World,’ China Quarterly, March 1993, p. 115. 12 Ibid., p. 116. 13 D. Gladney, ‘The Muslim Face of China,’ Current History, September 1993, p. 280. 14 ‘The Other China,’ Newsweek, 23 April 1990. The reporter found that Han cab drivers were reluctant to drive through Uighur dominated areas. 15 The Washington Post, 12 September 1981. 16 D.H. McMillen, ‘Xinjiang and Wang Enmao,’ China Quarterly, September 1984, pp. 575–6, 581. 17 Los Angeles Times, 4 November 1981. 18 The Washington Post, 12 September 1981. 19 Y. Dig, ‘Nuclear Pollution and Violation of Human Rights in Xinjiang,’ Minzhu Zhongguo (in Chinese), Paris, February 1992, pp. 19–21. 20 Far Eastern Economic Review, 25 August 1988. 21 Ibid. 22 JPRS-CZR-91-009, 25 February 1991. 23 Eastern Turkestan Information (Munich), January 1992, p. 5. 24 These events are reported in Eastern Turkestan Information, October 1992, p. 1. 25 ‘The Other China,’ Newsweek, 23 April 1990. 26 Ibid. 27 The above information and quotations in this paragraph all come from JPRSCAR-90-035, dated 7 May 1990. 28 Xinjiang Ribao, 18 March 1990. 29 Far Eastern Economic Review, 3 May 1990. 30 Ibid. 31 FBIS-CHI-90-070, dated 11 April 1990. 32 Far Eastern Economic Review, 3 May 1990. 33 Ibid.

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34 FBIS-CHI-90-070, dated 11 April 1990. 35 Xinjiang Ribao, 20 July 1990. 36 Xinjiang Ribao, 2 August 1990. See also JPRS-CAR-90-073, dated 28 September 1990. 37 Dawn (Karachi), cited in the Times of India (New Delhi), 7 March 1992. 38 Hindustan Times, 7 December 1992. 39 L. Benson, D. Rudelson and S.W. Toops, Xinjiang in the Twentieth Century, Woodrow Wilson Center, Occasional Paper 65, p. 17.

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A Central Asian–Chinese Ethnic Melting Pot: The Case of the Gansu Corridor SABIRA STÅLBERG

1 The Setting The Gansu Corridor is one of the most forgotten corners of Central Asia. It is also one of the most forgotten corners of China. It lies too far east to be considered as a ‘real’ part of Central Asia, and too far west to be considered an Inner, ‘true’ Chinese province. The Corridor has no clear geographical boundary with Inner China to the south, and no visible boundary with Central Asia in the north. To the east is desert, to the west the Corridor borders on the Qilian mountains. As it is, the boundaries of the Corridor are determined more by history and politics than by geography. The entire Corridor, however, has been and still is a frontier region, situated between what we call China and Central Asia. It belongs simultaneously to both areas – and to neither of them – being the frontier area where the concepts ‘China’ and ‘Central Asia’ overlap with each other. The Gansu Corridor is famous as the terminal or the point of departure of the mythical Silk Route depending on whether one takes Central Asia or China as one’s starting point. This famous Silk Route never actually existed as such. There were merely a number of local roads between the cities in the Corridor that had been intermittently in use, depending on weather conditions and the political situation at any given time. The term, as coined by Baron Von Richthofen in a lecture in 1877, was originally in the plural, and he used it to designate the trade routes of varying length that traversed different parts of the Eurasian continent. There was in fact a vast network of travel routes through the geographical complex today called Central Asia, with its peripheries Europe and East Asia (including Inner China) – a network across which there traveled in all directions not only goods but ideas, religions, languages, and cultural and political influence as well.1 But the Gansu Corridor is not only the place where Chinese criminals and Central Asian left-overs dwelled for a period of time, or the area through which tribute missions proceeded to the Chinese court or where nomads raided and Buddhists carved out their grottoes; it is rather a cultural as well as a linguistic laboratory, in which man interacted with man, man with 283

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nature and nature with man, and where different peoples, political entities and lifestyles intermingled to produce new manifestations of humanity. Being a frontier region between two huge, internally non-uniform cultural, socio–political, economic and linguistic complexes has given Gansu a special flavour of mixture. But it would be wrong to suppose that this is the only characteristic attributable to Gansu – this frontier area has, over the centuries, developed a frontier identity of its own: I call it the Gansu blend. 1.1 The Stage What then is ‘Gansu’ exactly? And what is the above-mentioned ‘Corridor’? In the 3rd century the name Ganzhou is first mentioned, and in the 7th century the name Suzhou appears as a designation for the former garrisoncities of Zhangye and Jiuquan, including their surroundings.2 Much later, during the [Chinese] Ming dynasty (1368–1644), the notion of ‘Gan-Su’ began to take shape. It expanded with time and today has come to include a vast territory south of the Yellow River. It was only in 1666, during the [Manchu] Qing dynasty (1636–1911), that the province of Gansu was formed.3 The original area of Gan and Su, situated on a narrow stretch between desert and mountains and plagued by an arid climate, was renamed by adding the military term ‘Corridor’. For the sake of convenience, I will use the term ‘Gansu’ in what follows as a synonym for ‘the Corridor’, more or less in its original meaning, instead of the much longer and problematic Chinese Hexi Zoulang. Hexi has, in the course of history, been used to designate a variety of regions ‘west of the Yellow River’.4 Consequently, Hexi as such cannot be taken to mean the Gansu Corridor until modern times. ‘Gansu province’ designates the modern province of Gansu, which forms part of the People’s Republic of China. Gansu is not merely limited to the walled cities that gave their name to the area. Gansu, even Ganzhou or Suzhou, also meant the vast region in which the cities were located. These are, of course, names given by the Chinese – for the most part we do not know what the nomads in the region called the area. Nor is it clear how the territory was defined by the nomads, or even by the city dwellers. Was it defined according to zones of influence or control? Or settlements? Economy? Today we use the terms provided by the Chinese government which are close to our conceptual definitions of space, but once again we disregard, among other things, the nomads. The precise geographical definition of the term ‘Gansu’ must, therefore, be left open: the area meant a certain territory including the two cities of Gan and Su as its magnetic poles, but its outer and inner borders have fluctuated throughout the course of history. Chinese attempts to create a Central Asian–Chinese limes (in the Roman sense of the word) in the Corridor have failed miserably. The famous Great

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Wall, mostly visited at its starting point near Beijing, ends in the Corridor.5 The Great Wall, though, is not present. There is no physical Great Wall extending the whole way from the east to the Corridor. There is only a myth about the one Great Wall.6 For the Chinese since the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) the borderline, manifested by the walls and fortresses that the previous dynasties and especially the Ming repaired or built at its northern frontier, represents the boundary against the non-Chinese peoples, in Western sources popularly called the ‘barbarians’. According to the Chinese traditional view, inside this borderline, later called ‘the Great Wall line’ or just ‘the Great Wall’, there lived settled, sophisticated, cultivated Chinese. Outside there lived the savage, uncivilized, illiterate, ever-roaming nomads.7 The Wall was, according to the myth, built to keep these barbarians out of China.8 During Ming times, however, there were quite a few complaints about barbarians breaking through the limes – a line that the barbarians did not see as a border, not even as a frontier.9 No wonder, as there were no unpassable walls; only mud fortresses and walls stood there, sometimes in the middle of a desert, in order to control what the Ming had decided was the border. The mania that the Chinese have today for seeing remnants of ‘the Wall’ in every dried mud heap is of recent date. The westernmost end of the mythical Wall, the fortress of Jiayuguan, situated north of the modern city of Jiuquan, was built in 1372 and regularly rebuilt thereafter.10 It belongs to the Ming-dynasty northern defence line, but it was not the first wall in the Corridor: already the Han dynasty (in the Corridor from 121 BC until c. 220 AD) had built walls against the nomads.11 But there was never any Chinese–barbarian or nomad-farmer boundary in the Corridor; just cities with adjoining settlements surrounded and partly overlapped by non-settled peoples. In fact, ‘barbarians’ always lived inside the Wall line, practising nomadism and sometimes even agriculture, and, equally, ‘Chinese’ also lived outside the Wall, practising agriculture as well as animal husbandry, the ‘traditional nomad’ economy. There were ‘barbarian–Chinese’ and ‘Chinese–barbarians’– and the border between them fluctuated, or one might say they themselves were the border. 1.2 The Playwrights The development of Gansu is mostly seen – by non-Chinese scholars as well – from an exclusively Chinese point of view. This is perfectly understandable, as most sources on Gansu are in Chinese. But there is also a limited number of other, non-Chinese sources. A few Greek, Persian, Tibetan, Mongol and Manchu sources and even Western travel reports can be found.12 But they give only scarce information on the situation and the history of Gansu, and the accuracy of the information is often questionable. As Albert Hermann has noted, it is not even clear whether some of the cities mentioned in the

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Greek sources can be defined as cities of Gansu. The problems of accuracy and the character of the sources (‘travelogues’) are mostly overlooked both by the Central Asia and China scholars, who tend only to compare the nonChinese sources with the Chinese ones in order to find out the ‘real’ identification of the peoples, cities or historical incidents – a method that is basically unconcerned with criticism of the sources themselves. Even though many Central Asian states elsewhere have left written evidence of their existence, the Central Asians who lived in Gansu have no written history of their own. Their point of view, however, is as important as anybody else’s, if not of utmost importance as it might create a thoroughgoing revolution in the research of ancient and modern Gansu history. What if the chronology of Gansu turns out to be completely different after we consider the point of view of the Central Asians, or the powerful local families, or the petty states in Gansu? The reconstruction of this inner history still remains to be done, but it is handicapped by two great difficulties: the lack of written sources, and a lack of researchers capable of appreciating the complexity of Gansu’s situation. Gansu, moreover, has only been of marginal interest to Chinese historiography. It is mentioned when the area is attacked, when natural catastrophes occur, or in connection with administration, with many errors regarding dates and facts. There seem to have been quite a few problems in communication between the border and the centre, as well as misunderstandings about information based on hearsay, which especially in the early times was the basis for the annals. In the course of producing numerous re-editions, later comments were interpolated and the text was corrupted, so that in many cases it is impossible to know when or in what form a piece of information became incorporated into the text.13 Likewise, the correctness of the ethnonyms and description of the peoples in Gansu is often in doubt, since for official Chinese historiography only government and military matters were of interest, and only to some extent were certain picturesque or grotesque features of ‘the barbarians’ noted. The archaeological finds in Gansu do not provide much additional information either. They could be of far greater help – but in the People’s Republic they are labelled as Chinese finds, or they never become published. Today the Chinese historiographic tradition is proudly traced back over 5000 years. The dynastic annals were written by officials trained in the Inner Chinese historiographic traditions, even when they worked for states of non-Chinese origin. The literate classes were often Chinese or Sinicized non-Chinese, because literacy primarily meant literacy in Chinese only, which of course was accompanied by an Inner Chinese education. It is also known today that most of the Chinese ‘sources’, previously considered authentic and of great antiquity, date from a much later period than the one they deal

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with. They bear signs of having been censored on many levels during a process of re-editing, and reflect various forms of political colouring – all of which was accepted uncritically by subsequent dynasties. The texts as we have them are not necessarily the ‘sources’ they present themselves as being.14 With a few exceptions, other versions than the official texts were systematically destroyed. Our picture of historical developments in Gansu is therefore extremely limited and dangerously one-sided. Only a very few works, if any, can be used as sources in the true sense of the word. The rest must be classified as literature. The chaos created in research by this literature has been immense. Sinology still has before it the gigantic task of subjecting the Chinese source materials to rigorous modern methods of historical criticism. 2 The Games There are at least two kinds of games. One could be called finite, the other infinite. A finite game is played for the purpose of winning, an infinite game for the purpose of continuing the play. J.P. Carse, Finite and Infinite Games15

In the introduction I have already referred to the distinctive ethnic and cultural Gansu blend. What then is the Gansu blend? What were the mechanisms and factors that created this mixture? Before attempting to define the ethnic or other elements that mixed in Gansu, it will be useful to consider the processes of interaction that occurred between the general ‘types’ of factors. We must also take account of the patterns of interaction from different points of view, otherwise we will continue to swim in the Chinese (and Western) sea of ‘identifications’ and ‘definitions’, which will lead us nowhere. I have chosen to explain the processes of interaction and interactors in terms of game playing (an idea I have borrowed from James Carse). The rough typology of games and teams of players I wish to present here should only be viewed as a tool for understanding the ethnic, political and cultural processes, the developments and contacts between peoples, which have already taken place and which are still going on in Gansu today. Not all the games I consider were played at all times, but many games were and are played simultaneously – not to the exclusion of one another but often interfering – because they were either played by the same persons or by the same interest groups.16 2.1 The Imperial Game Gansu is, through the spectacles of the Chinese tradition, a Chinese colony in a constant state of being conquered by China or lost to non-Chinese

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invaders. The Chinese today claim that Gansu has been Chinese territory since 121 BC.17 This, as well as much else in Chinese historical research, must, as we have noted above, be viewed with great cautiousness. Reports in Chinese historiographical sources show unintentionally that Gansu, ever since its conquest and first colonisation during the [Chinese] Han dynasty (until c. 220 AD), was always on the brink of being lost, or was in reality already lost to the central, Inner Chinese power. Moreover, Chinese power was for a long time confined to just a few strongholds: the garrison-cities in the Corridor. It took centuries before the Chinese ventured out from behind their city walls to assert their power in the desert, grasslands or in the mountains, or even on the Corridor roads. Thus, if there was Chinese domination, it was only partial in character. The first kind of game played in this region is the game between the central power and what it considered its border area. This is a game with political origins, but its consequences can be seen in all walks of life in Gansu. This game, which (as noted above) is mostly seen from the viewpoint of Inner China, is not only determinant in the Gansu–China relationship, but the same game is also played out between Gansu and the [multi-ethnic] Central Asian states of, for instance, Xiongnu (‘Hun’, before the conquest by the Han dynasty), Tujue (Turk empire, 6th–7th centuries), Tufan (Tibetan empire, 7th–9th centuries), Huihu (Uighur empire, 9th–11th centuries), Xia (Tangut empire, 1028–1227), Liao (Qidan empire, 10th– 11th centuries) and many others (the dates in brackets refer to innerCorridor time). Unfortunately, until now research into these relationships has been scanty or wholly non-existent. For Gansu this is a crucial factor and during certain periods was even more important than relations with Inner China. 2.2 The Local Game The entire Gansu area was never really ‘pacified’ by any one state or ruler for a long period of time before the [Manchu] Qing dynasty. It was a patchwork, a playground for different local powers originating in the area or coming from outside, who established petty states or fiefs and fought one another when there was no other enemy around to fight with. It did not matter much whether the rulers were Central Asian or local Chinese lords: both kinds of rulers challenged the power of the Inner Chinese and Central Asian states in the region to the same extent, and similarly they challenged each other. They often submitted nominally to Inner Chinese or Central Asian states and acknowledged their sovereignty. They even accepted governors and officials who were sent out to maintain the power or prestige of those bigger states in this wretched border region (from the chinese point of view), but highly important strategical area (from the Central Asian

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point of view). The local rulers and their families, however, played among themselves, using the Inner Chinese and Central Asian states for their own interests and to promote their own prestige and power. Occasionally the game being played in Inner China or Central Asia determined the outcome of the games in Gansu – then the local rulers as well participated in the game played between the center and the periphery. The second kind of game is that played between the local powers, also a kind of politically determined game that has implications on many levels. The Inner Chinese or Central Asian powers here mostly represent a background factor, influencing the game, but not always participating directly or over a longer period of time. 2.3 The ‘Ethnic’ Game The local rulers in Gansu were mostly of Central Asian origin, at least in part. But: already from the start of the Chinese presence in Gansu the boundary between being Chinese or Central Asian seems to be unclear. The concept of ‘ethnicity’ and ‘ethnic’ origin in Gansu still has to be investigated, and perhaps revised. I use ‘ethnic’ here as a synonym for a people [Völkerschaft] in the most complex sense of the word, without digging deeper into the problem. The classical idea of the Chinese–Central Asian division seems, however, to have long remained in the minds of the scholars and historiographers of the Inner Chinese courts, who divided the population of Gansu according to their supposed descent. In the frontier area of Gansu these ideas do not seem to have counted for much. The important thing was to which clan or family one belonged, and whose suzerainty or sovereignty one acknowledged. Most families in and around Gansu had such mixed origins that a clear distinction between the components is no longer possible. They felt at home with the Chinese as well as with the Central Asians, and considered themselves to belong to both. But they were also prepared to enter an alliance with one side or the other, depending on which political winds were blowing at the time. The development of the early Tang dynasty (618–907, until c. 850 in Gansu) is a good example of this – the ruling Li family originated in the Gansu region, but lived in Shanxi at the time of its rise to power. Being of mixed origin, but accepting [Chinese] Sui (581–618) sovereignty, it was counted as a Chinese family. Li Shimin, who later became the Tang emperor Taizong, also did all he could to be as Chinese as possible towards his Chinese subjects, but his politics towards the Turkic peoples showed that he was equally at home with them. He was therefore respected as a ruler by Chinese and Turkic tribes alike.18 The third game is one played between individuals or groups of different ‘ethnic’ origins. The traditional and most commonly pursued game is

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between Chinese and non-Chinese. But the reality is much more complex: in history we find teams of so-called Xiongnu playing with so-called Chinese; Huihu [Uighur] playing with Tufan [Tibetans] playing with Dangxiang [Tangut] playing with Qidan playing with different Chinese [Inner Chinese, Qidan–Chinese, Xia–Chinese, etc.]. In modern times we find Mongols playing with Tibetans playing with Chinese playing with Yugurs playing with Hui playing with Manchu playing with x-times yethnic groups (see also 3.2 below). 2.4 Other Games There are not only these three types of games in Gansu. They are only mentioned here to give an indication of the main outlines of the interaction and development of what we call Gansu today. There are many more games going on, with different goals, different rules, different interests, different players and different outcomes. These games create a complex and complicated matrix, which, properly speaking, should be investigated on a much deeper level than limits of space and our present knowledge permit me to do here. There is, for example, the Game of Economy that animal-breeding nomads play with settled farmers and city dwellers. One possible outcome of this game is the settled animal breeder (for instance, the modern Turkicspeaking Yugurs).19 There is the Game of Religions that Buddhists play with Lamaists who play with ‘Shamanists’ who play with Confucianists who play with Muslims, etc. – a game that leads to religious hybrids and syncretism.20 There is the Game of Languages, where different Chinese and non-Chinese languages create new, mixed languages.21 There is the Game of Society, played by different social groups. And so it continues. These and many more relationships all create games of their own, and are part of the one game we could call, on the basis of some of its aspects, the historical discourse which reaches into modern times. Whether we are therefore justified in speaking of many games, or whether there is just the one infinite game,22 is a question that has to be dealt with elsewhere. 3 The Ethnic Players Minusta tuntuu kuin olisi kysymyksen asettely [olivatko hunnit mongoleja vai turkkilaisia]samanlainen, kuin jos joku tahtoisi ratkaista kysymysta, olivatko roomalaiset portugalilaisia vai rumanialaisia; – kysymys on väärinpäin käsitetty. (I feel as if the question [whether the Huns were Mongols or Turks] is put in the same way as if someone were to ask whether the Romans were Portuguese or Rumanians – this is to ask the question the wrong way round). G.J. Ramstedt23

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What then did the unique Gansu blend consist of ? Due to the limits of this paper, I will only concentrate here on some of the ethnic components. My aim is to present some examples of ethnic elements that have blended in Gansu in historical as well as modern times, and not to undertake a complete ethnography of the area, which remains to be done in another context. I will only deal with the ethnographic information briefly and concentrate on the problems of ethnic identification and a few other aspects related to the mixture of ethnic groups in Gansu. 3.1 The Impossible Identifications Long before anyone from any Inner Chinese state set his foot in Gansu, the region seems to have been inhabited by peoples with a rich culture, already within the mainstream of various cultural influences. Pottery findings show that the Gansu area was connected to Central Asia as well as to Inner China in prehistory.24 At the time of the Han invasion, Gansu had already had a history of both sedentary and nomadic cultures. For instance, just before the Chinese invasion there had existed in Gansu a nomadic (?) people called Yuezhi. They were forced by the invading, nomadic Xiongnu to migrate to Central Asia. Only the mysterious Small Yuezhi group remained in the mountains and was protected by the (nomadic?) Qiang, with whom they mingled. The ever-victorious, nomadic Xiongnu terrified and robbed neighbouring Chinese, who after the conquest in 121 B.C. poured into Gansu. After the Han dynasty and until the Tang dynasty, Gansu lived a patchwork life of its own between the internal powers who claimed Toba, Xiongnu, Qiang or some other descent that would legitimate their claim to the local thrones. After the outside powers once again grew in strength, the petty states of Gansu were subjected to Tang rule (since 618), being defended by the Tang against the raiding Tufan and Tujue. As one part of the Huihu established a state (9th–11th centuries) in Gansu,25 the Corridor entered an era of Central Asian world politics. On the one hand, the Tufan and Tujue empires lost power, and on the other the Liao and Xia empires grew. Gansu was soon incorporated into the [multi-ethnic] Xia empire (c. 1028–1227), where the Huihu played an important role in trade and culture. This is the picture we get from the Chinese literature (from Shiji and Hanshu through Tangshu until Liaoshi) on the early part of history in Gansu. Not much more information is to be found. But here the researchers on both the Central Asian and Chinese sides have read more into the texts than is there. After collating Greek and Persian sources with the Chinese texts, different scholars suddenly identified the ‘ethnonym’ and the ‘ethnic group’ of Yuezhi as Indo–Europeans, Xiongnu as proto-Turks or sometimes proto-Mongols – and sometimes even as ancestors or distant relatives of the European Huns! The Qiang are proto-Tibetans, all Tufan are without doubt

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Tibetans, and the Tujue are all Turks, etc.26 It seems to be easy to identify all these peoples according to race, language or European concepts – there is ‘evidence’ enough but no proof. Another basic idea is that a modern people can be directly derived from a historical entity – this idea disregards the above-mentioned problems about the sources, as well as the entire historical development and discourse between Central Asia and its peripheral regions, among them China. The main question for science is not one of defining the race or relatives of the early people, but concerns the methods of identification of the ‘ethnic’ groups in history: are they really ethnic? What do these ‘ethnonyms’ really designate? We can no longer use any of the old methods – race, language or even our concepts about ethnicity. The concept of ‘race’ has been out of date for quite some time. Similarly, it is impossible, on the basis of the meager data available, to try to identify a people as belonging to any particular modern ethno–linguistical group. Firstly, we do not have adequate information about the language or any other aspect of the ethnic elements of any group, or about the specific identification of the people(s) from their own point of view. Nor can we define an ‘ethnic group’, on the basis of Chinese or other historical sources, as being the ancestors or relatives of any particular people, though the Chinese regularly indulge in this practice in order to create continuity. We do not really know why various groups are called as they are in the relevant written sources. We must remember that these works were written by Chinese and other outsiders who hardly ever visited the regions in question, and who had no idea of the inner relationships and structure of the groups they described. Likewise, they had virtually no interest beyond a political one – the only exception being a taste for the exotic. Consequently, we have no reliable information on these peoples. Secondly, it is a falsification when dealing with the world of 2,000 years ago, to impose upon it our modern concepts and theories of this or that ethnic or linguistic definition, as scholars have done in the field of Indo– European studies. The Asian languages, including the Turkic, Mongol, Tibetan, Chinese and Tungusic groups, have been much too little investigated for us to be able to establish relationships so far back in time. Nor can we say for sure whether the Xiongnu or Tufan or Huihe held the concept of ethnic identity, or what their identification criteria were. We do not even know whether these ‘peoples’ considered themselves to be one group, or if the definition is a Chinese misunderstanding! However, on the basis of later information (post-Mongol times) about other Central Asian nomad states (that were by no means purely nomadic) and the notes in the Chinese literature, we can assume that at least a part, if not the majority, of the above-mentioned peoples were nomads. We could very cautiously

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propose the theory that, starting with the huge Xiongnu state, all later ‘peoples’ or steppe states were multi-ethnic, multi-national, multi-lingual and multi-cultural. An open and pragmatic attitude towards the subjects of the state could have contributed increasingly to the already pretty wellblended Gansu ethnic mixture. None the less, the question remains as to how the people of the Corridor reacted to new or overlapping identities. Did they have one ethnic identity, or a local identity, or a state identity? Or multiple identity levels? How did they refer to themselves? What were the criteria and the mechanisms for their self-definitions and definition of others? These questions still remain to be answered. Having a multiple identity, speaking a few languages, or having a territorially fixed identity would not necessarily have been a matter for discussion, but a pragmatic solution to the challenges of an ethnically, linguistically and culturally colourful and mixed area. The terms ‘Xiongnu’, ‘Xia’ or ‘Tujue’, for instance, were perhaps not viewed so much as ethnic concepts, but rather as definitions covering a socio–political entity or a ruling group that included other peoples with other names and ethnic backgrounds. 3.2. The Making of Nationalities After the conquest by the Mongol army (1227) Gansu was devastated, and survivors were few. Garrisons of the Mongol army – also a mixed lot, as we can suppose on the basis of the above observations – moved in, and the inhabitants who had fled slowly returned along with other people, and a few Chinese-speaking groups from Inner China also immigrated to the area. Only during the Ming dynasty did Chinese from central and northern China arrive in Gansu in larger numbers. The Qing dynasty, with its unique ‘nationality’ policy, gave the peoples in Gansu a new outlook. With its more concrete ideas on identification of groups, new criteria were established that are still partially applied in modern Chinese policy on minorities.27 The latest complex of criteria (since 1949 on the mainland) is based on Western and Japanese ideas, as well as communist thought – a mixture that has created new ethnic groups, based on the most diverse applications of the criteria throughout the People’s Republic of China. Groups that only fifty years ago did not view themselves as belonging to a particular ethnic group do so today. These groups create historically flimsy pasts, tracing themselves back for centuries, and inventing traditions that have never existed, to prove their long-term ethnic existence and their identity.28 They also reject all efforts to work out their ‘real’ past, as well as any theories that do not fit into their preferred picture. This is very much the case in Gansu. The ethnic group of Han is the most widespread myth. The concept of a ‘Han people’ was only created around the beginning of this century. The

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concept was introduced to unite the different Chinese-speaking peoples in China. It can be seen as a concept that corresponds to what is basically a very simple classification: the mostly sedentary Chinese speakers become ‘Han’; the rest, on the basis of various criteria (language, religion, etc.), become ‘minorities’; everybody belongs to a minzu – a concept borrowed from Japanese meaning ‘ethnic group’, ‘people’, ‘nation’, ‘nationality’, etc. – with various ethnonyms applied.29 But there had never before been one Chinese (‘Han’) people – there had always been a variety of regions that were claimed by a central power. According to Chinese tradition, there could only be one state that held legitimate power, even among a multitude of states. This search for the one legitimate China has led to much rewriting of history and has created the picture of a ‘uniform China’ and a manifold ‘non-China’. In traditional historiography the later dynasties used the previous dynasties to legitimate their power, but there was never a concept of ‘one continuous China’ in the Western sense of the word. The later dynasties saw the previous dynasties as the carriers of the legitimate power, but they acknowledged that every dynasty was a state in its own right. It is only in modern propaganda – probably under the influence of Western misunderstandings – that China is conceived of as having been one country for the last 5,000 years.30 The modern Chinese tradition cannot acknowledge ethnic, cultural or linguistic variations inside China, as this would disturb its ‘world order’. But there have always been Chinese of varying kinds; the only problem is that we lack the terminology to define the different Chinese peoples. What we have in the case of Gansu is a mixed complex of different Chinese and different non-Chinese peoples. Gansu is today a ‘multi-ethnic’ province of China. More than forty out of the official fifty-six official nationalities in the People’s Republic live in the modern province of Gansu, but three-quarters of these nationalities are not ‘indigenous’ to the province. The Corridor today has a majority of Han population, with Hui (Muslim), Manchu and others as well in the settled areas, and non-settled or partly settled Tibetans, Mongols and Yugur. In the westernmost part there are also Kazakhs.31 Most of the Corridor today belongs either to the cities of Zhangye, Jiuquan and Jiayuguan, or to the Sunan Yugur Autonomous Area. I will not here delve deeper into the ethnography, but concentrate on one special problem, the Yugur, as they provide the best illustration of the Gansu blend. 3.3. A Modern Minority The Yugur are a small population of 12,297 persons,32 called Sarigh or Shara Yoghur in their own languages. Today the Yugur are officially divided into three or four official language groups, a Turkic, a Mongol, a Chinese

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and a Tibetan one – the latter supposedly non-existent at the moment, if it ever did exist.33 Why these different groups are all defined as one Yugur people is not at all clear. The usual, Stalinist criteria for identifying a nationality (common language, territory, economy and ‘culture’) do not apply here.34 Firstly, this nationality has no common language. Their languages belong to completely different groups. Secondly, they also have no common territory: the Yugur live in different areas, and only through the creation in 1954 of the Sunan Yugur Autonomous Area,35 which is cut in four parts by other regions, have they come to share a common territory. The third criterion, a common economy, is also lacking: animal husbandry is practised by both the settled Turkic and the non-settled Mongol groups, but separately.36 Their Tibetan and Mongol neighbours practise the same kind of economy – thus the Mongol or (if they exist) Tibetan Yugur, on the basis of language and economy, and partly on the basis of territory as well, could be defined as a Mongol or Tibetan nationality. The Turkic Yugur would then be left as the only Yugur. As for the fourth criterion, ‘culture’, the case is the same as with the other criteria. The Yugur groups have very little in common. The Chinese-speaking group is Chinese in all respects and there is no justification for including them in this classification. During the identification work carried out in the People’s Republic in the 1950s, some other criteria were added,37 for instance common ancestry. As for the Yugur having a common ancestry or even a common history, it is difficult to establish anything definite. The Turkic Yugur – along with Turcologists and Chinese scientists – see the Yugur as ‘the missing link’ of the Turkic peoples and view themselves as the ‘original Yugur’, descending directly from the Ganzhou Huihu in the 9th–11th centuries and later from the Ming dynasty Sali Weiwuer, who lived far to the west of Gansu.38 Thus, according to tradition, the Mongol Yugur have merely adopted the name ‘Yugur’, and are not of the ‘original’ stock.39 The existence of a common origin is not there – and a common history shared by the Mongol Yugur and the Turkic Yugur is very dubious. That this theory of common descent simply illustrates the rewriting and falsification of history referred to above, goes without saying. The power of pseudo-historical arguments can be seen in the Chinese group: one Chinese-speaking community in Gansu invented a Yugur ancestry for itself. It became recognized as an official ‘minority community’, receiving state subsidies and support. No more than the last hundred years or so can be reconstructed on the basis of data collected by travellers and Qing officials, and then only some of the travellers mention that there are two groups with the same name.40 The Qing sources do not mention this at all. But under the Qing, the Turkic Yugur were in the same administrative unit as the Mongol and the Chinese Yugur.41 This could be an explanation for classifying these groups together in the 1950s.

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And finally the ethnonym. The Turkic Yugur have also been called Yellow Uighurs, ever since the Turkic-speaking group was investigated by the Russian Turcologist Sergei Malov at the beginning of this century. 42 But they have very little to do with the Uighurs in neighbouring Xinjiang (who are not the same Uighurs as in the 9th–13th centuries),43 or with their alleged ancestors – so why call them Uighur at all? Their own name ‘Yoghur’ is no justification for this. It seems that Malov created the concept ‘Uighur’ and it has stuck ever since – earlier travellers do not mention this name, and the Chinese called them Huang or Hei Fan, i.e. Yellow or Black Fan.44 The form of the ethnonym itself supports this hypothesis of Malov’s error. In Uighur, the name ‘Uighur’ could also be Yughur, but the form ‘Yoghur’ is a very strange form for a Turkic tongue. It seems plausible to assume that it is a Tibetan form of the ethnonym ‘Uighur’.45 But why would the Tibetan-speakers in the area call anybody ‘Uighur’? This may be an old form, or it may also be that the Tibetan-speaking population simply followed the same practice as the Chinese: applying old names to new neighbours, without asking whether the latter had anything to do with the old groups. The identification of the Yugur is, as seen above, very dubious and based on pseudo-historical and specious common features. The facts show that there is no reason to classify the present Yugur groups together if one follows the normal criteria used for classification. Whether we can define them as a single group on the basis of some other criteria, will only be established through fieldwork, as at present we lack any facts and information other than contemporary Chinese ethnographic research. As a drastic conclusion, one might postulate that the modern ethnonym ‘Yugur’ was created in 1953 – and that the nationality it presently designates was created at the same time! At least one common feature can be observed with certainty among the Yugurs: their mixture. The ethnic composition of the Yugur is mixed, the languages and lifestyles are mixed, as are their cultures. It is impossible to identify one group as ‘purely Mongol’ and another as ‘purely Turkic’ – on the basis of linguistic research this is possible to a certain degree, but since the languages are mixed, linguists must take language contact into account in their definitions. The Turkic Yugur in particular are deeply influenced by their Chinese neighbours, in lifestyle as well as in religion and language. ‘Local Tibetan’ as well as ‘local Chinese’, ‘Turkic’ and ‘Mongol’ elements are all present in the Mongol and Turkic Yugur languages and cultures. In all aspects this ‘nationality’ is mixed and the product of the huge melting pot of Gansu. Only in the past forty years have they started to identify themselves as Yugur in distinction to other groups in the region. This is the official term for these people of the Gansu area, who cannot be defined as Tibetans on the basis of language, nor as Mongols, because the other groups

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of Mongol peoples are late-comers to the area. The people now called Yugur must be considered a mixed group of known and unknown peoples and cultures, having adopted features from all the peoples in question, and thus representing an ethnic group on the border of all these peoples. 4. Conclusion There is an indefinite number of worlds. J.P. Carse, Finite and Infinite Games.46

As shown above, not only the historical but also the modern identifications of ethnic groups in Gansu are problematic whether we follow the Chinese or the Western criteria of classification. In order to be able to make more sound definitions, we must distance ourselves from the black-and-white picture of ‘Chinese’ and ‘barbarians’ or ‘Central Asians’, as well as from the Western concepts of ‘ethnic groups’ and fixed ‘borders’. On closer inspection the picture of Gansu presented here reveals such a multitude of peoples, as well as cultures, languages, etc., on both sides of the so-called China–Central Asia borderline, that we are obliged to conclude that the traditional Chinese view simply cannot be used to define such a complex frontier area as Gansu. The Western view is of no use either – it is too fixed in its categories of ‘ethnic’, ‘state’, ‘border’ and so on – and consequently it too must be replaced by an approach and a scientific methodology which allow for the multiple reality of the frontier world of Gansu. Unfortunately, the manifold process of development of ethnic groups and identifications has been overlooked by many scholars, who have not delved deeply enough into regional history to find the specific character of the situation in Central Asia or China. It is of course easier to use our modern criteria for ethnic identity to define peoples in the past and in modern times, but such a method will not even begin to approximate reality. Only some two hundred years ago Europeans, too, did not identify themselves as they do now, a reality that we accept without questioning. Seeing our present identification criteria in the light of their Western origin, and the impact and development of the identification criteria imported into Asia, it is not surprising to find that the mechanisms that make us identify ourselves as we do, are the same or very nearly the same as those used for identifying the minorities of China. That is why we can understand presentday one-sided identifications so much more easily than we can accept a concept of loyalty to power or a citizenship based on loyalty, or a complex of identities. A mixture is a paradox in itself. Mixture implies that elements that had developed separately – in ‘China’ or in ‘Central Asia’ in this case – blend

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together, but in the case of Gansu it becomes clear that the mixture is a mixture of other mixtures, because no element has produced itself in isolation; it has grown out of other mixtures. In Gansu this mixture and melting process has been long and complicated, but it is at least partly visible. The ‘Gansu mixture’ is, in other words, the cumulative result of all the games that have taken place in this huge, sprawling geographical area, where no game stays the same, but all games changes all the time. Gansu is the place where the mixtures – of whatever origin – mix. Every game goes on in time and space and the outcome of one game becomes the cause and basis for the next game. The ‘Gansu blend’ is the outcome, and it must be fixed in time and space if it is to be observed. But its character and position in the game is seen differently by every observer. In addition, the Gansu blend that we witness here and now is only part of the game. It never stays the same, but changes within all those dimensions or worlds that are constantly created in Gansu. The ‘Gansu blend’ therefore must be viewed as a dynamic process, a daily occurrence in this manifold region, and not as a label affixed to a static phenomenon. Notes 1 P. Suter, Die Seidenstraßen: Handelsverbindungen zwischen China und dem Westen von der Frühgeschichte bis zur Mongolenzeit, Stäfa, 1987, p. 11. 2 H. Wei, ed., Gansu dixian gaikuang 1–2, Gansu renmin, 1988, pp. 86–146. 3 K. Grobe-Hagel, Hinter der Großen Mauer. Religionen und Nationalitäten in China, Frankfurt am Main, 1991, p. 220. 4 See E. Breitschneider, Mediaeval Researches from East Asian Sources, London, 1910, I, p. 185; O. Franke, Geschichte des chinesischen Reiches, Berlin, 1952, I, p. 169; R.A. Stein, ‘Miñag et Si-Hia,’ Bulletin de l’École Française d’Extrême Orient 44 (1947– 50), Fasc. 1., Paris/Hanoi, p. 231; J.A. Boyle, The Successors of Genghis Khan, trans. from Rashid al-Din, New York, 1971, p. 22; K. Wittfogel and J. Feng, History of a Chinese Society. Liao (907–1125), Transactions of the American Phil. Society, New Series 36, Philadelphia/New York, 1949, p. 91. 5 Z. Luo and L. Zhao, Chinas Große Mauer, Verlag für fremdsprachige Literatur, Beijing, 1986, pp. 10–11. 6 A. Waldron, The Great Wall of China. From History to Myth, Cambridge, 1992, pp. 6–7. 7 Waldron, The Great Wall of China, pp. 30–3; O. Lattimore, Studies in Frontier History, London, 1962, p. 58, etc. 8 Luo and Zhao, Chinas Große Mauer, p. 1. 9 H. Serruys, The Tribute System and Diplomatic Missions. Sino–Mongol Relations during Ming, Brussels, 1967, pp. 342–3. 10 Luo and Zhao, Chinas Große Mauer, pp. 10–11. 11 See for instance Luo and Zhao, Chinas Große Mauer, p. 78. 12 E.g. A. Herrmann, Das Land der Seide und Tibet im Lichte der Antike, Amsterdam, 1968; Boyle, The Successors of Genghis Khan; C.I. Beckwith, The Tibetan

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Empire in Central Asia, Princeton (New Jersey), 1987; Marco Polo, The Travels of Marco Polo, Everyman’s Library, London, Melbourne and Toronto, 1983; C.G.E. Mannerheim, Till häst genom Asien, Helsingfors, 1942; J. Myrdal, Sidenvägen, Norstedts Faktapocket, 1986. 13 See A.F.P. Hulsewé, China and Central Asia, Leiden, 1979, pp. 3–39. 14 Franke, Geschichte des chinesischen Reiches, I, p. 72. 15 J.P. Carse, Finite and Infinite Games, New York, 1986, p. 3. 16 For a summary of Gansu’s history, see for instance Grobe-Hagel, Hinter der Großen Mauer, pp. 211–21. 17 Or 127 B.C. See for instance Grobe-Hagel, Hinter der Großen Mauer, p. 211. 18 See Franke, Geschichte der chinesischen Reiches, II, p. 345; and Grobe-Hagel, Hinter der Großen Mauer, p. 213. 19 See for instance C.G.E. Mannerheim, ‘A Visit to the Sarö and Shera Yögurs,’ Journal de la Société Finno-Ougrienne 27 (1911), Helsinki. 20 See M. Hermanns, ‘Uighuren und ihre neuentdeckten Nachkommen,’ Anthropos 35–6 (1940/41), pp. 78–99; and P.W. Schmidt, ‘Die Yugur,’ in Der Ursprung der Gottesidee, Band X: Die asiatischen Hirtenvölker, Münster, 1952. 21 The modern Yugur languages and local forms of Chinese, for example. On the former see E.R. Tenishev and B.H. Todaeva, Yazyk zheltykh uigurov, Moscow, 1966, p. 6. 22 Carse, Finite and Infinite Games, p. 177. 23 Cited from H. Halén, Biliktu bakpi – Tietorikas opettaja, unpublished manuscript, Helsinki, 1995, p. 165. 24 S. Kuczera, ‘Early History of North-Western China,’ Information Bulletin of the International Association for the Study of the Cultures of Central Asia, issue 3 (1982), Moscow, p. 66; and J.G. Andersson, Preliminary Report on Archaeological Research in Gansu, Memoirs of the Geological Survey of China, Series A, no. 5 (June), 1925, p. 43, etc. 25 See E. Pinks, Die Uiguren von Kan-chou in der frühen Sung-Zeit (960–1028), Asiatische Forschungen 24, Wiesbaden, 1968. 26 For just a few examples see W. Schott, ‘Zur Uigurenfrage’ I–II, Abhandlungen der königlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Berlin, 1874; Herrmann, Das Land der Seide, pp. 28–9, 113–124, 139–40; Sir A. Stein, On Ancient Central Asian Tracks, Taipei, 1982, p. 17; Franke, Geschichte des chinesischen Reiches, I, pp. 134, 347–8; W. Eberhard, Kultur und Siedlung der Randvölker Chinas, Leiden, 1979, pp. 47–8, 52; Beckwith, The Tibetan Empire in Central Asia, pp. 3–10. 27 Compare for instance J. Zhuang, Xie Sui Zhiyetu manwen tushuo xiaozhu, Taipei, 1989; and Y. Ma, ed., Die nationalen Minderheiten in China, Verlag für fremdsprachige Literatur, Beijing, 1990. 28 See for instance Ma, Die nationalen Minderheiten in China; and G. Hu, Gansu minzu yuanliu, Lanzhou, 1991. 29 D. Gladney, ‘Ethnic Identity in China: The New Politics of Difference,’ China Briefing (1994), Boulder, San Francisco and Oxford, pp. 171, 180–1. 30 See for instance T. Heberer, China and its National Minorities: Autonomy or Assimilation?, New York, 1989, pp. 17–18 31 Minwei (Gansu sheng minzushiwu weiyuanhui), Gansu shaoshu minzu, Lanzhou, 1989, pp. 1–2. 32 Renmin Ribao, 14 November 1990, p. 4.

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33 See for instance Tenishev and Todaeva, Yazyk zheltykh uigurov, p. 7; and Ma, Die nationalen Minderheiten in China, p. 189. For a general description of the Yugur, see Y. Fan, Yuguzu, Beijing, 1986. 34 See Heberer, China and its National Minorities, p. 30. 35 See Ma, Die nationalen Minderheiten in China, p. 194. 36 See for instance Minwei, Gansu shaoshu minzu, p. 200. 37 See H.T. Fei, Towards a People’s Anthropology, Beijing, 1981, pp. 23–35. 38 See for instance Ma, Die nationalen Minderheiten in China, pp. 190–2; and T. Saguchi, ‘Historical Development of the Sarıgh Uyghyrs,’ Memoirs of the Research Department of the Toyo Bunko 44 (1986). 39 Minwei, Gansu shaoshu minzu, p. 191. 40 For instance Mannerheim, ‘A Visit to the Sarö and Shera Yögurs’. 41 Ma, Die nationalen Minderheiten in China, p. 192. 42 S.E. Malov, Yazyk zheltykh uigurov. Slovar’ i grammatika, Izdatel’stvo Akademii Nauk Kazakhskoi SSR, Alma-Ata, 1957; and Yazyk zheltykh uigurov. Teksty i perevody, Izdatel’stvo Nauka, Moscow, 1967. 43 See J.R. Hamilton, Les ouighoures à l’époque des cinq dynasties d’après les documents chinois, Paris, 1955. 44 See for instance Mannerheim, ‘A Visit to the Sarö and Shera Yögurs’. 45 See G. Bexell, ‘Some Observations on the Population in the Nan-shan,’ in Reports from the Scientific Expedition to the North-Western Provinces of China under the Leadership of Sven Hedin (Sino–Swedish Expedition), Contributions to Ethnography, Linguistics and History of Religion 38 = VIII, 6, Stockholm, 1956, p. 24. 46 Carse, Finite and Infinite Games, p. 110.

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Nations Transgressing Nation-States: Constructing Dungan, Uygur and Kazakh Identities Across China, Central Asia and Turkey DRU C. GLADNEY

After nearly two decades of lying discarded in the waste bin of anthropological history, the term ‘tribe’ has been recently redeployed to account for the resurgence of ethnic nationalisms around the globe. The best example of this is Leo Kotkin’s book, Tribes: How Race, Religion, and Identity Determine Success in the New Global Economy, in which he argues that ‘tribal identities’ (in this case the Jews, Chinese, Japanese, British and Indians) are at the base of transnational business success.1 Published by Random House, the author is said to be an ‘internationally recognized authority on global, economic, political and social trends’ who invokes, in Arjun Appadurai’s terms, the ‘trope of the tribe’ to explain the coupling of ‘race, religion and identity’ in the modern world order.2 Though anthropologists discarded the notion of ‘tribe’ over two decades ago,3 since it was felt that ‘tribe’ was often only applied to less developed, non-Western societies (viz. ‘they are tribal; we are ethnic’), the idea of tribalism has resurfaced to explain the recent reassertions of ethnic nationalisms as distant and diverse as the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, South Asia and Africa. Central Asia, in view of its historic connection with nomadic and pastoralist tribal societies, is most susceptible to suggestions that it is ‘tribalism’ that is at the core of Central Asian identities.4 By contrast, Benedict Anderson has led the way for a host of theorists in suggesting that national identity is best understood as historically contextualized, a socially constituted and constitutive process of imbuing ‘imagined communities’ with the belief that they are somehow naturally linked by common identities.5 Post-structuralist approaches conceptualize identities as highly contested, multiple, constructed and negotiated within and between the power relations of the nation-state, rather than naturalized and primordial.6 Nationalist ideologies become cultural productions,7 legitimized as inventions of tradition and narrated as social histories.8 While it has become axiomatic that ideas of identity, ethnicity and nationality are socially constructed, the problem with suggesting that these identities are ‘imagined’ is that Anderson is often taken too literally (in 301

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ways he never imagined), as if ethnic and national identities were completely ‘invented’ (to use Hobsbawm’s and Ranger’s formulation which can be, and is just as often as Anderson, completely misconstrued) out of thin air, a fiction of the collective imagination, or an idea which arose in the smokefilled drawing rooms of a few nouveau-British aristocrats (as Liah Greenfeld 1992 seems to suggest9). As a corrective, this paper was written out of a desire to locate the rise of nationalism (and its contemporary challenges) in a particular moment of history, coterminous but not synonymous with the end of empire, the rise of colonialism, the expansion of global capital, and the domination of groups gradually classified and taxonomized as subject tribes, peoples, ethnic groups, and eventually nations. This is why I take issue with authors such as Appadurai and Homi Bhabha when they formulate idealistic notions about the nation-state becoming obsolete (‘stardate 3000-something?’), which in light of recent events in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union must be called ‘wishful thinking beyond the nation’. Similarly, Hobsbawm has theorized that ‘nations exist … in the context of a particular stage of technological and economic development.’10 He apparently believes that stage is nearly past. Nations and ethnic or linguistic groups are ‘retreating before, resisting, adapting to, and being absorbed or dislocated by, the new supranational restructuring of the globe’ to the extent that nationalism ‘is no longer a major vector of historical development’.11 – Try this idea on the Bosnians and the Hutu! Here I think Greenfeld is correct in suggesting that as long as nationalism is perceived as the ‘constitutive principle of modernity’ (with the term ‘perceived’ most operative here), post-nationalism will only arise with postmodernity, and for that we have a long ways to go.12 Milosevic, the new leaders of the fifteen nations of the former USSR, and other would-be national leaders in Chechnya, Abkhazia and Somalia are busily making more nations, not thinking beyond them. Contra Julia Kristeva,13 they are clearly not creating ‘nations without nationalism’, but rather creating nationalism in order to have nations, that eventually become recognized as states. Even in China, thought to be culturally and socially monolithic by most, the People’s Daily last November 29th had a front page editorial warning against growing ‘local nationalisms’ (difang minzu zhuyi), ‘regionalism’ (difang zhuyi) and separatism. This paper shall seek to understand national identity in the field of contemporary and historical social relations, particularly with regard to certain interacting social groups and newly invented nations in Central Asia, Turkey and China. Given the long history of interactions with powerful ‘others’ and colonizing empires on the Eurasian steppe, a purely relativist or, at the other extreme, a dehistoricized primordialist position with regard

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to identity formation is particularly dubious. Both extremes ignore issues of power, hegemony, ‘internal’ colonialism and cultural economy which have long dominated the region. It is the articulation of the multiplicity of these identities in the context of exile, engaging in the ‘borderline work of culture’14 most often in the modern nation-state, that these identities become salient. Through examining three peoples portrayed as, and who now speak of themselves as ‘nations’ (but only one of whom recently acquired a nation-state, and only one other as yet lays claim to it), I want to suggest three styles of discourse about ethnic nationalism that pose fundamental transgressions of the contemporary nation-state, and destabilizing challenges to it. These are discourses of diaspora, indigeneity and transhumanity elaborated by the social groups now known as Hui (Dungan), Uygur and Kazakh. I argue that nationalism itself is not just an imagined idea, but represents a certain style of representation, a Mannheimian stylistic mode of representation that contributes to a grammar of action now most often defined by interactions within or resistance to the nation-state. As Hobsbawm argues, ‘Nationalism is a political programme … Without this programme, realized or not, “nationalism” is a meaningless term.’15 Nationalism is not arbitrary, but neither is there any core content to it, any transcendent essence that is not shifted and redefined in internal and external, often dialogical opposition, using powerful symbols that John Comaroff has accurately described as defined by ‘totemic’ relationality.16 And, as Duara has noted, all nationalisms and ethnic identities are not necessarily by-products of or contained within the nation-state construction.17 It was through interviews with many of the people I had spent time with in China and then met again as exiles, or better yet as émigrés in Turkey, that I began to think more about the implications of relational alterity for what Rey Chow calls the diasporic condition,18 and its destablizing challenge to the contemporary nation-state. I spent the 1992/93 academic year as a Fullbright Research Scholar in Istanbul following up on interviews I had had in 1988 with refugees, who had originally come to Turkey from China in the 1940s. This was after having spent three years in China conducting fieldwork between 1982–86 primarily among the people known as Hui, but with brief trips to Uygur and Kazakh areas in China during that time. Since then, I have been back to China every year, visited Almaty on three occasions, most recently in June 1992, and attempted in each case to follow up on contacts with Hui, Uygur, and Kazakhs and their relatives I had met during the earlier period. Spending most of my time moving between the boundaries of nation-states among the peoples that cross them, rather than ‘squatting’ in one ‘timeless, self-contained’ village, neighborhood, town, or

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state (the preferred hierarchy of structural anthropologists) follows Richard Fox’s maxim to ‘work in the present’,19 or Bhabha’s ca to work within the ‘interstices’ between the boundaries by which the groups I’m most interested in define themselves. The spate of what might be termed ‘Soviet nostalgia’ in Foreign Affairs and other policy manuals which complains of the re-emergence of ‘tribalisms’ in Central Asia and Eastern Europe now that the ‘peace-keeping’ hand of the Soviets has been withdrawn, is misplaced, if not dangerously wrong. These peoples were profoundly different from what they had been before their domination by the centralizing states of Soviet and Chinese Central Asia, and their multi-faceted identities are anything but tribal. Pan-Turkists and pan-Islamicists have equally failed to see that expressions of Turkic or Islamic solidarity are often only one aspect of how these complex identities may be expressed in different circumstances. In fact, the outcome of the desiccation of post-Soviet Central Asia has been most profoundly disappointing to the pan-Turkists and pan-Islamicists. The welcome recent translation of Olivier Roy’s The Failure of Political Islam20 demonstrates that for Afghanistan, as well as for much of Central Asia, the ‘perception of Islam and Muslim societies as one, timeless cultural system’ does violence to both contemporary social movements sweeping these regions, as well as to the nature of Islam itself. This paper attempts to suggest why these pan-ideologies may be even less compelling in the postSoviet era than in the pre-Soviet period when they arose. The following three examples of three families across three nation-states drawn from my fieldnotes will attempt to illustrate some of the issues raised in this paper. Three Families, Three ‘Nations’ Fatma Wang came to Istanbul via Taiwan with her family forty years ago. A Muslim Chinese (known as Dungan in Central Asia or ‘Hui’ – a term which at one time merely meant Muslim – in China), Fatma’s more recent family roots go back to Sichuan in Southwestern China, but she like many Hui believes strongly that her earliest ancestors were Arabs, and possibly a part of the legendary ‘black-robed’ Arab force invited to help the Tang emperor suppress a local rebellion in Sichuan. She is thus descended from the hybrid off-spring of Arab mercenaries and their Chinese spouses, who entered China in service to the empire and were later implicated in its many hegemonies. To this day, Hui are often seen as somehow in-between Chinese and non-Chinese, distrusted by both sides, the liminal, eternal stranger, inherently useful as mediators, traders and scapegoats. Fatma Wang is now the proprietor of the oldest Chinese restaurant in Istanbul, the Cin Lokantası on Lamartine Caddesi. While over the years her

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food has taken on a decidedly Turkish taste, she can still serve up a zesty, spicy bowl of beef noodles. Her son, Ma Jianmin (pseudonym), has taken a Turkish name and managed to find a Muslim Chinese bride, but he says he is only hoping his children will be able to find Muslim spouses, since he has never really felt part of Turkish society. ‘As long as they are Muslims, I don’t care who they marry.’ They tell me that they relate to the Turks not as Turks, but as Muslims. ‘We are Muslim first, Chinese last.’ Neither Turk, nor Chinese, but merely Muslim. ‘Ibrahim’ (pseudonym), who lives in Zeytin Burnu just south of Istanbul, is the last of his generation to call himself a Uygur. Most of his fellow émigrés now call themselves ‘Eastern Turkestanis’ or just ‘Turks’, though many of them came from Xinjiang to Turkey in the early 1960s, after spending several hard years of exile in Pakistan and India before they were welcomed to Turkey and given land and financial assistance by the Turkish government. Ibrahim Bey still maintains his Turkish Uygur language, but his four sons and three daughters have all married Turks and they and their children only speak Turkish. This is curious since Ibrahim Bey is quite active in a political organization to ‘liberate the land of Turkestan from the atheist Communist Chinese’. This transnational organization is providing substantial financial aid to the Uygur separatist movement in Xinjiang. Members of the organization act on the basis of a deterritorialized identity tied to a former region still regarded as their own, just as the Sikhs in Vancouver are maintaining ties to the Punjab, Armenians in Los Angeles to Armenia, and Irish in Boston to Northern Ireland – a phenomenon that Appadurai has described as the ‘new transnationalisms’. The organization has claimed responsibility for the bombs that exploded outside the Oasis Hotel on 17 June 1993, as well as the 30-odd bombings throughout the year in Xinjiang.21 Yet Ibrahim’s children have little interest in Xinjiang. Though many of them still have Central Asian features, and this formerly made the young men popular with the Turkish girls (because it was thought they had pure ‘Turkish Central Asian’ blood), few of the 2nd and 3rd generations know much about their ‘Uygur’ origins. ‘We never call each other Uygur, but only refer to ourselves as Eastern Turkestanis, or Kashgarlik, Turfanlik, or even Turks.’ For Ibrahim it is the land of Eastern Turkestan (or as he sometimes refers to it, Uyguristan) that is important, the land of his autochthonous ancestors occupied by the Chinese invaders. Without that land, or recent memory of it, his grandchildren lack any strong sense of referentiality. Indigeneity rarely matters to the émigré, only to those resisting them. Ramazan Kubilay is the son of the great Tursunbay, a Kazakh who helped lead his people out of China via Afghanistan and Pakistan to Turkey, about the same time that the Uygur Ibrahim departed. Though they came from

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the same part of Inner Asia (North-West China), the 2nd and 3rd generations of the Kubilay family claim to have not lost their Kazakh language or culture. They continue to reserve one part of their homes to sit on the floor and eat ‘Kazakh’ style, drink milk tea and have searched all over Europe among other Kazakh émigré families for appropriate Kazakh spouses for their children. Ramzan Kubilay is one of many very successful leather-factory owners, with boutiques throughout Europe, which assist him in maintaining extended networks of Kazakhs in exile who are now becoming active in advising the leaders of the new state of Kazakhstan. When I asked why they made such an effort to preserve what they considered to be a ‘traditional’ Kazakh identity, they replied: We are descended from the great Kazakh nomad leader Genghiz Khan [he was Kazakh you know, not Mongol!], we know our entire genealogy, and it is the first thing every Kazakh remembers about himself, besides being Muslim. Whenever we meet another person on the street who looks Kazakh, we don’t ask him if he is Kazakh, but what Kazakh lineage, which Jüz he belongs to. Then we can see just how closely we are related.

They now have more opportunity to do so. The Turkish government gave 10,000 scholarships to students from the Central Asian States to study in Turkey while I was there in 1992/93, and 10,000 more the following year. Many Turkish journalists have noted that Central Asian students do not always adapt well to life in Turkey. Not only do they complain about the cramped dorms and the limited money they receive, but they also mention how difficult Turkish is to learn, how bad the food is (no rice pilaf), and how different the culture is from home. They did not take to Turkish society as quickly as the politicians in Ankara expected. And many Central Asians are returning from Turkey disappointed by what they found there, complaining of its secularism, hedonism and poor standards of education, which many of them found inferior to their Russian training. At the same time, Turks in Turkey have discovered how different they are from their ‘ancestors’ and ‘distant cousins’, which has led to growing public doubts about Ataturk’s dogma regarding the Central Asian origins of the Turks. The problem is we do not know much about the situation of these ‘subTurkic’ peoples, since they are regarded by the Turkish state simply as ‘Turks’ and not counted as minorities. Though there have been many studies on the official minorities in Turkey, the Armenians, Greeks, Jews and even the Kurds, there has been almost no research done on the sub-Turkic identities, since everyone assumed that once they came to Turkey, they would just blend in, becoming Turks, or what is culturally and politically defined as ‘white’ in the USA,22 just as in China, the Cantonese, the Hakka and people from Shanghai are defined as ‘Han’.23

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The Swedish scholar Ingvar Svanberg noticed the profoundly different acculturation patterns of Uygurs and Kazakhs in Turkey.24 Svanberg estimated that there are somewhere between 60,000 and 100,000 Inner Asian émigrés now in Turkey, but we do not really know the exact figures, because this group is ignored by a state which is only interested in defining a majority by quantifying certain minorities. Despite the popular Turkish proverb: ‘Türkyede yetmisbir buçuk milliyet var’ (‘There are seventy-one and a half nations/ethnoreligious groups in Turkey’),25 Ataturk’s policy was to stress Central Asian Turkish origins, but then to limit interaction with Central Asia in order to keep the Russians from getting nervous about panTurkism. Once the borders opened, Turks travelling to ‘Turkestan’ were surprised to find Kazakhs, Uzbeks and Kyrgyz whom they could hardly understand, and who weren’t interested in acquiring yet another ‘elder brother’ after getting rid of the Soviets. My study in Turkey was designed to try to understand the construction of this ‘whiteness’ by looking at sub-Turkic ethnicity, just as I questioned the construction of ‘Han-ness’ in China by looking at the construction of minority identity among the Hui and other minorities.26 This calls into question the nature of majority representation as ‘homogeneous’ in these regions, and ‘heterogeneous’ in Europe, as Hobsbawm seems to suggest: ‘… China, Korea and Japan, which are indeed among the extremely rare examples of historic states composed of a population that is ethnically almost or entirely homogeneous … Thus of the (non-Arab) Asian states today, Japan and the two Koreas are 99 percent homogeneous, and 94 percent of the People’s Republic of China are Han’.27 For Hobsbawm and other Eurocentric nationality theorists (and here I include Greenfeld and Samuel Huntington, e.g. his ‘West versus the rest’28), Europe and the West is troped as heterogeneous and diverse, while the ‘Orient’ is broken up into more or less homogeneous national chunks. These three families represent three kinds of discourse about identity that diverge widely from each other, though the families all came to Turkey at almost the same time, and in the case of the Kazakhs and Uygur, from almost the same place. The Hui now emphasize an Islamic identity (masking their diasporic hybridity); the Uygur, a Turkic or national identity (displacing their indigeneity from Eastern Turkestan), and the Kazakh, descent-based transhumant identities (that extend well beyond the nationstate). All three of these discourses of identity transgress the nation-state in that they make claims against the nation, originally conceived as pure, stationary and politically circumscribed. As traced by the Italian scholar Guido Zernatto, the Latin natio meant foreigners united by place of origin who were not Roman citizens.29 Like the Greek ethnos, it meant outsider, less civilized, but without the

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connotation of ‘heathen’, or religious minority, which has adhered to the term ‘ethnic’ in English. ‘Nation’ took on the meaning of a ‘community of opinion’ during the 12th-century Church Council where ‘nations’ represented élite ecclesiastical parties. Greenfeld shows how the term became transformed in a ‘zigzag pattern of semantic change’ over time to mean a ‘unique sovereign people’,30 and as I would argue, this is not unlike how individual groupings become transformed from loose associations into what might be called ethnic groups, nations and even nation-states. The most useful definition of nation I have found, which contains this notion of constructed meaning in the context of social relations, is still that of Julian Huxley and A.C. Haddon in their book We Europeans: A Survey of ‘Racial’ Problems: ‘A nation has been defined as a society united by a common error as to its origin and a common aversion to its neighbors.’31 This work, written in 1936, was quite far-sighted with regard to the difficulties of developing the present-day EU or EEC. In this paper I seek to address this issue with regard to the shifting simultaneity of identity, constructed through relations of alterity in the context of the contemporary nation-state. The Dungan (Hui Muslim Chinese): The Making of a Hybrid Identity Owen Lattimore, who lived and travelled for many years in North-West China, found that the ambiguity of their identity often made the Hui suspect: In times of political crisis, Moslem Chinese in Sinkiang are invariably caught on one or the other horn of a dilemma. If they stand with their fellow-Moslems, sooner or later an attempt is made to reduce them to a secondary position and to treat them as ‘untrustworthy’ because, in spite of their Moslem religion, they are after all, Chinese. If they stand with their fellow-Chinese, there is a similar tendency to suspect them of subversion and disloyalty, because, it is feared, their religion may prove politically more compelling than their patriotism.32

Imbedded within the ethnoscape of China and Inner Asia, the Muslim Chinese, known as Dungan in Xinjiang and much of Central Asia, and as Hui in China, are distributed over a wide geographical area. According to the official nationality census and literature in China, the Hui people are the second most populous of China’s fifty-five recognized minority nationalities, who altogether comprise almost 8 percent of the total population. The Hui are the most widespread minority, inhabiting every region, province, city, and over 97 percent of the nation’s counties. It is noteworthy that while the Hui may represent a small fragment of the population in most areas (with the exception of Ningxia), they often make up the vast majority of the minority population in Han-dominated areas. This is also true for most of

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China’s cities where the Hui are the main urban ethnic group. It is conventionally thought that China’s Muslim minorities are concentrated in the north-west corner, near Soviet Central Asia. Surprisingly, after Ningxia and Gansu, the third largest population of Hui is found in Henan Province in central China. Their sixth largest concentration is in Yunnan, and there are over 200,000 Hui in Beijing, the nation’s capital. In addition to the wide distribution of the Hui across China, there is also extensive economic and occupational diversity among the Hui, from cadres to clergy, rice farmers to factory workers, school teachers to camel drivers, and poets to politicians. In the north the majority of Hui are wheat and dry-rice agriculturists, while in the south they are primarily engaged in wet-rice cultivation and aquaculture. Since the collectivization campaigns of the 1950s, most Hui have been prevented from engaging in the small private businesses that were their traditional specializations. Hui adaptability has allowed them to run successful restaurants throughout China and beyond its borders; some of these restaurants I have visited myself in Thailand, Bishkek, Almaty, Istanbul (Cin Lokantası), and even in Los Angeles, where there are four. From the outset, the people now known as the Hui have been a diaspora community in China. Even their name Hui can mean ‘to return’, as if they were never at home in China and destined to leave. They are descended from Persian, Arab, Mongolian and Turkish Muslim merchants, soldiers and officials who settled in China from the 7th to 14th centuries and intermarried with Han women. Largely living in self-contained communities, the only thing that many, but not all, had in common was a belief in Islam. Until the 1950s in China, Islam was simply known as ‘the Hui religion’ (Hui jiao) and Muslims were Huijiao-believers. Despite their diverse origins, they are viewed by the state as one nationality, the Hui, and they themselves now use this designation in conversations with other Hui and non-Hui. Like their unique Islamic architecture and art, Hui often combine ‘Chinese characteristics on the outside, and Islamic ones on the inside’. Their hybridity, i.e. being both Chinese and Muslim resident strangers, is essential to their identity. As Hobsbawm surprisingly predicted: ‘No doubt Bosnian and Chinese Muslims will eventually consider themselves a nationality, since their governments treat them as one.’33 Relational Alterity and Oppositional Identity One way of conceptualizing contemporary Hui Dungan discourses of identity in China, Central Asia, and even Turkey, is to envisage an identity that is both relational, relative, and grounded in the social history that the people who have come to be known as the Hui have experienced. I suggest

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that it may best be understood through the notion of relational alterity, borrowed from anthropological descent theory. Evans-Pritchard’s classic study of the Nuer determined the unique expansive–contractive nature of hierarchical segmentary lineages among acephelous nomadic societies.34 When the Nuer (or Dinka) were confronted with an outside power, they unified and organized to a high degree of political complexity in order to respond to the perceived challenge. When the threat subsided, they diversified and atomized, in an articulated pattern of what Gregory Bateson once described as nested hierarchy.35 For as Bateson argued, it takes two somethings to make a difference – without an ‘other’, you only have ‘the sound of one hand clapping’.36 This approach can be roughly diagrammed for heuristic purposes as an articulating hierarchy of relational oppositions, a schematization that segmental kinship theorists have been playing with for some time. For example, when ‘A’ and ‘B’ encounter a higher level of opposition ‘D’, they form ‘C’, moving a node up the scale to form higher level relations. While this scheme is binary, it is always constructed in a field of social relations, and is inherently ternary in that A and B are always in union or opposition depending on their interaction with D. As David Maybury-Lewis and Uri Almagor (1989) have argued, it is the attraction (or repulsion) of ‘perceived’ opposites that is key – there is nothing essential to binariness beyond that perceptual act.37 Indeed, there is nothing that prevents three groups from becoming a fourth in actual social relations, though it is difficult to portray in two-dimensional diagrams. Also, it is important too that these alliances, relations and oppositions are based on my own observations and reading of social histories; it is not a cognitive map, and the only constraints are those imposed by the specific contexts of alterity. As I have argued elsewhere,38 these alterior relations are best described as ‘dialogical’ rather than ‘dialectical’, insofar as strict dialectics (Hegelian or Maoist) are generally thought to move in a certain direction, always negating a past relation, whereas dialogical interaction can move back and forth or up and down, depending on the nature of the interaction.39 Here we are merely tracing a ‘chain of stereotypical representation’,40 and seeking to outline, in Foucault’s terms, an ‘ontology of the present’ which can constantly shift depending on the moment and context. As Bhabha has noted, ‘This interstitial passage between fixed identifications opens up the possibility of a cultural hybridity that entertains without an assumed or imposed hierarchy.’41 The hierarchy of opposition emerges within the context of social relations. This does not assume the existence of a cognitive map, or that there are not other options available depending on shifting social relations. If we examine the case of the Hui Dungans described above, it becomes clear that Hui act as they do and identify themselves as such depending on

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the nature of their interaction with others. Thus, Beijing and Shanghai Hui differ in language, customs and locality, which is at times conducive to disruptive and competitive business relations, until a non-Hui enters the scene. At that moment, the Beijing and Shanghai Hui may unite as ‘Hui’, and so on up the scale of interactions. When Hui or Dungan move outside China, their ‘Chinese-ness’ may be stressed in interactions with nonChinese, or ‘Muslim-ness’ in interactions with non-Muslims. Indeed, the very nature of the Hui as a ‘nationality’ is based on the Chinese nationality policies that designated them as an official minzu and gave them legal status. These policies initiated a process I have described elsewhere in which a Muslim people became transformed into a minority nationality.42 Outside the confines of the Chinese nation-state, it should come as no surprise that the Hui begin to regard themselves less as a nationality and emphasize other aspects of their identity, such as Islam or their Chinese language. This helps to understand how the Hui at the Cin Lokantası in Istanbul often related to others simply as Muslims, hoping to override differences between ‘Turk’ and ‘Chinese’. Here I should note that there is nothing determinative in these relations. They are merely reflections of what I have observed in the field. The hierarchy of segmentation is not fixed; it is determined by the local context of difference, as defined by specific configurations of hierarchy, power, class and opposition that are often shifting and multi-faceted, but never arbitrary. Thus, even in China there have been situations in which Hui have united with Han–Chinese against other Hui, when it was in their interest to do so, often downplaying their Muslim identity, in favor of cultural, ethnic, or linguistic similarities to the Han–Chinese with whom they sought to share practical interests. The history of Gansu and Xinjiang is full of examples of such shifting power-alliances,43 where brother united with brother, and sometimes with the Chinese, against a cousin who was often a rival Hui warlord.44 The relational alterity approach seeks to map out the significant fault-lines of relation, opposition and nodes of hierarchy. It is a heuristic way of depicting this phenomenon, and it does not, of course, pretend to have predictive or universal, dehistoricized explanatory value. The Dungan Hui, being a minority that describe their identity as hybrid, transgress the nation-state insofar as the latter is predicated on the idea of a unique sovereign group, i.e. one state based on one ethnically uniform nation – despite many examples to the contrary. The Uygur: Indigeneities of Place The following remarks were made to me by a Uygur CITS tourguide at the ancient Astana underground tombs outside Turpan:

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The Uygur people are the descendants of a high civilization of Central Asian nomadic people who had a kingdom based here in Turfan. The elegant paintings and wrapping in this tomb date to the Han Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD) and are comparable in beauty and sophistication. A mummy in the Xinjiang Provincial Tombs also found in this area dates back 6,000 years and proves that the Uygur people are even older than the Han–Chinese.

Ancient Chinese historiography notwithstanding, every Uygur firmly believes that his ancestors were the indigenous people of the Tarim basin, now know as Xinjiang. This land was ‘his’ land. Nevertheless, I have discussed elsewhere in detail the constructed ‘ethnogenesis’ of the Uygur.45 In this popular history of Xinjiang, Jack Chen noted the re-introduction of the term Uygur to describe the Turkic inhabitants of Chinese Turkestan.46 While a collection of nomadic steppe peoples known as the ‘Uygur’ existed from before the 8th century, this identity was lost between the 15th and the 20th centuries. It is only after the fall of the Turkish Khanate (552–744 AD) to a people called Hui-he or Hui-hu by the Chinese historians that we find the beginnings of the Uygur Empire.47 At this time the Uygur were a collection of nine nomadic tribes, who, initially in confederation with other Basmil and Karlukh nomads, defeated the Second Turkish Khanate and then dominated the federation under the leadership of Koli Beile in 742.48 Gradual sedentarization of the Uygur, and their defeat of the Turkish Khanate, occurred around the same time that trade with the unified Tang state was becoming particularly lucrative. William Samolin argues that stable rule, trade with the Tang and ties to the imperial court, as well as the growing desire to establish fixed Manichaean ritual centers, contributed to a settled way of life among the Uygur tribes.49 Sedentarization and interaction with the Chinese state were accompanied by socioreligious change: the traditional shamanistic Turkic-speaking Uygur came increasingly under the influence of Persian Manichaeanism, Buddhism and, eventually, Nestorian Christianity.50 Extensive trade and military alliances along the old Silk Route with the Chinese state developed to the extent that the Uygur gradually adopted cultural, dress and even agricultural practices of the Chinese.51 Conquest of the Uygur capital of Karabalghasun in Mongolia by the nomadic Kyrgyz in 840, without rescue from the Tang who may have become by then intimidated by the wealthy Uygur empire, led to further sedentarization and crystallization of Uygur identity. Indeed, it is the Yugur nationality of present-day Gansu, not the Uygur who fled the Kyrgyz to Central China, who preserve much of the original Karakhorum Uygur history in their contemporary religious, linguistic and cultural practices. One branch that ended up in what is now Turpan took advantage of the unique socio–ecology of the glacier-fed oases surrounding the Taklamakan and were able to preserve their merchant and limited

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agrarian techniques, gradually establishing Khocho or Gaochang, the great Uygur city-state based in Turfan for four centuries (850–1250). The gradual Islamicization of the Uygur from the 10th on up to the 17th centuries, while suppressing their Buddhist religion, did little to bridge their local oases-based loyalties. The people of Uyguristan who lived in the Turfan basin and resisted Islamic conversion until the 17th century were the last to be known as Uygur. Other Uygur came to be known only by their oasis or by the generic term of Muslims.52 With the arrival of Islam, the ethnonym ‘Uygur’ fades from the historical record. Instead, we find a proliferation of such local terms as yerlik ‘persons of the land’, sart ‘caravaneer’, taranchi (agriculturalists from the Tarim basin transplanted to Yili under Qian Long) and other oasis-based designations. During the Republican period, Uygur identity was again marked by factionalism along local, religious and political lines. Forbes, in his detailed analysis of the complex warlord politics of Republican Xinjiang, finds important continuing distinctions between the three macro-regions of Xinjiang: northwestern Zungaria, the southern Tarim basin and the eastern Kumul-Turfan (‘Uyguristan’) area.53 Justin Rudelson’s recent dissertation confirms this persistent regional diversity along the lines of the three macroregions, and with insight he proposes a possible fourth one.54 It is the argument of this paper that factionalism among the Uygur reflects a segmentary hierarchy of loyalties common to all social groupings. The Uygur are divided from within by religious conflicts, in this case competing Sufi and non-Sufi factions, territorial loyalties (whether based on an oasis or a place of origin), linguistic discrepancies, commoner-élite alienation and competing political loyalties. It is also important to note that Islam was only one of several unifying markers for Uygur identity, depending on those with whom they were in significant opposition at the time. For example, to the Dungan (Hui), the Uygur distinguish themselves as the legitimate autochthonous minority, since both share a belief in Sunni Islam. In contrast to the nomadic Muslim peoples (Kazakh or Kyrgyz), the Uygur might stress their attachment to the land and oasis of origin. In opposition to the Han–Chinese, the Uygur will generally emphasize their long history in the region. The indigeneity of the Uygur poses a fundamental contradiction to the Chinese historiography of the region, the Chinese perspective being consonant with that of a colonizing regime seeking to assert power in a region not previously its own. By moving the clock back far enough, any regime can claim a territory was unoccupied. Claims of indigeneity always transgress nation-states, the latter frequently having been set up under conditions of post-coloniality.

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The Kazakh: Nomadic Nostalgia and the Power of Genealogy When two Kazakhs who do not know each other meet, they make their acquaintance by giving the lineage to which they belong and their closest patrilineal relatives. In East Berlin Kazakhs from Turkey established contact with Kazakh guest students from the Mongolian People’s Republic studying in the German Democratic Republic. As the Xinjiang Kazakhs, the Kazakhs from Mongolia belonged to Orta Jüz and generally also to the same lineages that are found in Turkey. In some cases they have found common kinship relations which even led to organized meetings in East Berlin between relatives coming from Turkey and visitors from Mongolia.55 As mentioned at the beginning of this paper, Ramazan Kubilay of Zeytin Burnu, Istanbul, claims he is a direct descendant of Genghiz Khan, whom he strongly believes was a Kazakh nomad. Indeed, for most Kazakhs nomadism is only a distant ethnic memory which they look back upon with nostalgia. Robert Ekvall concluded his classic ethnography of Tibetan nomadic pastoralism, Fields on the Hoof, with the following dire prediction: ‘In the framework of communist doctrine and experience … there is no logical and acceptable place for the nomad.’56 He was completely accurate with regard to the former Soviet Union, where among the entire population of over 7 million Kazakhs there are now only a few semi-nomadic pastoralists remaining in the most remote desert regions. His predictions for China, though not unreasonable at the time, were proven false. In fact, the last few years have witnessed a resurgence of nomadic pastoralism in some grassland areas to the extent that the ecological balance of these zones has become threatened through overgrazing. Yang Li and Hsin-i Wu of the Gansu Grassland Ecological Research Institute recently reported that the privatization of land-use and herd stocks in China came at the same time that the ‘free-market system was instituted in China and the government decreased the price-control measures. Since then, the cost of animal products has soared. This has resulted in the overgrazing of China’s grasslands far beyond carrying-capacity.’57 While it has yet to be demonstrated that Kazakh pastoralists in the Altai mountains have posed any threat to the grasslands of the alpine meadows or valley floors, Ingvar Svanberg’s and Linda Benson’s useful recent study, The Kazakhs of China, has documented a resurgence of traditional nomadic pastoralism with the free-market reforms.58 As descendants of the Turkish Khanate that dominated the Mongolian Steppe in the 6th century AD, the Kazakhs are pursuing a style of nomadic pastoralism that derives from their Turkish ancestors, who, according to the late Joseph Fletcher, ‘developed steppe nomadism in its final form, the form in which the Mongols later adopted it.’59 Even as Kazakh nomadism disappears from the Central Asian

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steppe, debate has raged in the Soviet Union over the role of religion and Turkism in defining Kazakh national identity. While some intellectuals argue for the role of Islam in defining Kazakh identity, others maintain that it is only pan-Turkism that can unite the peoples of the steppe.60 These endless debates have marred the important role of nomadism for Kazakh national identity, the idea of a nomadic past that unites Kazakhs transnationally from China to Central Asia to Turkey, among a people for whom, according to Martha Olcott’s study, ‘traditional Kazakh culture defined a man through the animals he owned, making private ownership of livestock almost the definition of what it was to be Kazakh.’61 With the rise of the market economies in China and the former Soviet Union, and the increasing contacts of these Kazakhs with the large immigrant community in Turkey, the role of animal husbandry and Kazakh identity is resurfacing as an important factor in the changing socio–ecological nexus. During interviews with Kazakh immigrants in the Zeytin Burnu district of Istanbul,62 I found a population that largely defined itself in terms of its burgeoning leather and tanning industry, with leather fashion boutiques run by extended Kazakh networks in Istanbul, Paris, London, Berlin, Stockholm and New York. Now that more unrestricted travel has been taking place between Turkey, Kazakhstan and China (there are direct flights from Istanbul to Urumqi and Almaty, and from Almaty to Urumqi), Kazakhs once separated by artificial political boundaries are beginning to trade and exchange ideas and products to an unprecedented extent. The importance of nomadism to the Kazakhs is clearly demonstrated by their recently selected national insignia: the flag of Kazakhstan, which has the famous flying horses beneath the interior dome of the yurt on a field of blue sky. In my interviews with Kazakh pastoralists in the Southern Pastures in 1987, I found that whereas a traditional Kazakh awl allowed full participation of all members (each household of the clan) in the various tasks of nomadic pastoralism: herding, marketing, leather processing and rug-making, this was almost completely abolished during the collectivization campaigns of the 1960s and 1970s and the deprivatization of the herds. There was no inherent incentive to care for the animals when the state controlled the profits, and traditional shared work roles were replaced by specific collective enterprise tasks. The traditional household and awl economies were dismantled. Now that there has been a return to traditional nomadic pastoralism and the private ownership of animals, one would expect a resurgence of traditional household and awl economic organization. However, unlike the traditional Kazakh social structure as outlined by Alfred Hudson,63 one now finds that often each yurt performs specialized tasks for the entire clan or awl: one household will be responsible for herding, another

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for marketing, and another for production of certain leather goods, crafts, or rugs. While this may not be the rule for all Kazakh awls of the Altai, it represents a new form of household economy and social organization that is perhaps due to the collectivized experience of the 1960s and 1970s. These households are also becoming tied into local and transnational economies through the marketing of their products. This reorganization of traditional household economies may be one of the factors that has led to the increased herd sizes reported in the Altai and is thus an important aspect of the changing socio–ecology of the region. The Kazakhs of Kazakhstan and Turkey look to the nomads of the Altai as their living cultural ancestors. Understanding of this nomadic way of life will assist in determining the evolving nature of Kazakh national identity.64 It is a way of life that is resurgent, albeit in a somewhat altered form, in China, while it has passed away elsewhere. It is clear that in reciting the oftmemorized genealogies among the Kazakhs, nomadism and its cultural byproducts loom large as an important feature in the representation of Kazakh identity. For the Kazakhs, tracing one’s genealogy is a much more powerful force in their identity construction than we have found for either Hui or Uygur. For the Hui, a generalized notion of descent from foreign Muslim ancestors is important for their contemporary identity. It does not really matter to modern Hui if these ancestors were Arab, Persian, or Turk, only that they were Muslims who migrated to China and maintained their distinctive identities. For the Uygur, knowledge of genealogy seems to be important only insofar as it relates to the land, as proof of early Uygur settlement in the Tarim oases, prior to the Chinese or other nomadic Turks. Tracing detailed genealogies, according to my Uygur informants in Xinjiang and Turkey, is something the Chinese like to do, not they themselves. Indeed, preoccupation with genealogical minutiae among the Kazakhs not only influences spouse-selection and promotes nomadic nostalgia, but it may specifically contribute to an increased awareness of identity. A typical Kazakh genealogy among members of the Saqabay sub-lineage with whom I had contact in Istanbul is several levels deep. At the highest level, most Kazakhs among the Saqabay knew they were descendants of the Orta Jüz (Middle Horde; originally a term referring to a tribal military formation). At the level Kazakhs refer to as tayifa (from the Arabic), which Svanberg translates as ‘tribe’65 and Hudson as uru,66 they identified with the Kerey. At the next level, that of uru or ‘lineage’, they traced their family line to the Zantekey. Yet many Kazakhs call all of these levels jüz or uru, and there is no consistency in the terminology. At the base level the emphasis is on migration groups known as awl, which were comprised of separate households, related through these complicated descent lineages. It was clear, however, that a Saqabay would rarely marry a Bazarkul or Tasbike, and only

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marry with great reluctance outside of the Zantekey uru. As Svanberg notes there was not much knowledge of specific connections to other Orta lineages beyond the Kerey. This knowledge is increasing, however, as a result of frequent travel to Central Asia, where Kazakh members of the Ulu (or Great) Orda are primarily concentrated. Social interactions would traditionally move up the scale from household to awl to lineage. There is now specific interest only at the lineage level or higher, since migration groups have changed dramatically as noted above. It is noteworthy that distinction from the Uygur and Hui only occurs at the sixth and seventh levels of interaction, revealing a much closer range of relations than has been ascribed to Uygur or Hui. Kazakh preoccupation with genealogy is reflected in their scale of relational alterity. Kazakh notions of transhumance based on awls that are traced back to the roots of nomadic descent lines, extend far beyond any contemporary configurations of the nation-state. The awl forms the basis of Kazakh networks that extend throughout Central Asia, China, Turkey and Europe. It finds its representation on the Kazakh and Kyrgyz flags. As Charles Scott argues: ‘Genealogies are ways of allowing differences, discontinuities, and the priority of exteriority and spatial imagery while one comes to know various ordered regions of human life.’67 Conclusion: Transnational Alterities Recent maps of the Central Asian region have begun to delineate clearly the composition of ethnic groups and divide them into majorities and minorities (e.g. Kazakhstan: 40 percent Kazakh, 38 percent Russian). This is in contrast to former maps of Inner Asia that generally blended all these groups together, since former Marxist/Stalinist and modernization paradigms stressed the disappearance of these Central Asian identities, as either Russified, Sinicized, or secularized. Yet even the ethnic maps show the overlapping nature of the situation, and geographic maps indicate that there are no natural boundaries between these regions which were divided geopolitically during the period known as the ‘Great Game’. The game of ethnopolitics is still being played across the steppes of Inner Asia, though no longer on a scale so ‘great’. This paper has attempted to provide an approach to relational alterity that seeks to understand different configurations of identity across transnational boundaries among the peoples now known as Hui (Dungan), Uygur and Kazakh. Two-dimensional diagrams detract from the emphasis here upon ‘dialogical’ relationality. While the specific ‘nodes’ of relation and alterity might be disputed in reference to the groups discussed above, the argument in general concerns the nature of hierarchy, power and

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relationality among these peoples of Inner Asia. It is clear that in some cases the oppositional relations described above may not always pertain – for instance one could find examples where Hui and Uygur have united against Kazakh interests in Xinjiang or even in Almaty – yet the trend here is toward a more contextualized, relational approach to identity formation and expression, as opposed to essentialized ‘tribal’ or relativized ‘situational’ formulations. Perhaps in this case a different metaphor than that of structuralist kinship models is called for. The analogy of the unscrambled cable channels on television tuners might be a more useful way of looking at the current shifting context of post-Soviet Inner Asian identities than the segmentary kinship models outlined above. As with the cable companies themselves, were it not for the arbitrary and artificial policies of intervening nationstates (the ‘de-scrambler’ operated by ‘remote’ control), one would not be able to ‘see’ or describe the blurred and shifting identities being represented. And like scrambled or censored channels, only discourses are detectable, narratives and dislocated shapes that give no more than glimpses of particular styles of identity being aired (though for cable channels, these glimpses are still clear enough to make parents complain about the ‘pornographic elements’ visible and audible to attentive juveniles). Like so many blended, scrambled channels, the present approach has attempted to describe (to unscramble?) the context of ‘both/and’ identities: how, for example, a person who calls himself a Turkestani can be both Kashgari and Uygur, Muslim and Turk, Chinese and Central Asian. In China all of these groups are Chinese citizens and they travel on a Chinese passport, whether they like it or not. The project then becomes not any essentialized attempt at a final definition of the meanings of these representations (i.e. what is a Uygur?), but an examination of the conditions of relationality (i.e. when is someone a Uygur?). As this paper argues, being Uygur is not as meaningful for younger émigrés in Istanbul, nor was it between the 15th and early 20th centuries, but it certainly has become relevant for the 5 to 9 million oasis-dwelling Turkic people who have been labeled ‘Uygur’ since 1934 as a result of nation-state incorporation, Great Game rivalries and Sino–Soviet nationality policies. These identities are particularly called into question once people move across national borders and become members of the transnational diaspora.68 The project then becomes not any essentialized attempt at a final definition of the meanings of these representations, but an examination of when they come to the fore, and with whom they are asserted. As Bhabha has noted: It is in the emergence of the interstices – the overlap and displacement of domains of difference – that the intersubjective and collective experiences of nationness, community interest, or cultural value are negotiated. How are subjects formed

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‘in-between’, or in excess of, the sum of the ‘parts’ of difference (usually intoned as race/class/gender, etc.)? … Increasingly, ‘national’ cultures are being produced from the perspective of disenfranchised minorities.69

The post-Cold War period has led to a downward movement of opposition: it is no longer a US–Soviet–Chinese trilateral configuration, but a much more particularized, multi-polar and multi-valent world, where shifting identities may move quickly up and down or even between scales of relation depending on specific circumstances. Without the Russian and US threat to China’s sovereignty, lower-level identities may increasingly come into play, evidenced by increasing ‘southern nationalisms’ among the Cantonese, Fujianese, Hakka, and others empowered by new-found economic wealth. This project also calls into question the nature of majority national identities in Turkey, the former Soviet Union and China. Recent studies of the Marxist influence on national identity construction in these regions have often ignored the process by which majority groups become constructed: the Turk, the Russian and the Han–Chinese. The ‘Turk’ in Ottoman history was the tent-dwelling nomad, and not held up as the essence of the Turkish nation until the rush from empire to nation associated with Ataturk. A similar transition from empire to nation led the early Chinese nationalists to appropriate a Japanese-derived term for nation (minzoka) and label what were initially five groups under the nationalists and later fifty-six groups under the communists as ‘nations’ (minzu). Germaine Hoston’s recent study, The State, Identity, and the National Question in China and Japan, is helpful in tracing the Marxist influences on this process, but fails to examine majoritarian/minority relations in this process, leaving aside the difference between Han and Chinese – indeed conflating the two, as China scholars often do.70 I have argued elsewhere71 that the notion of the Han as a minzu (nationality) is a quite recent phenomenon, popularized by Sun Yat-sen in his five-peoples policy in relational opposition to Tibetans, Mongols, Manchu and Hui, and more importantly, to the foreign imperialists, all of whom were perceived as ‘nations’. The category of ‘Han’ as a people was actually bequeathed to China by the Mongols, who viewed all northern peoples as Han (including the Koreans) in distinction to southerners (nan ren), Central Asians (semu ren) and the Mongols. Now that higher-level post-imperial as well as Cold War oppositions have subsided, China may find itself moving down the scale into serious sub-Han ethnic and national alterities, particularly with the economic rise of the south – Tang local nationalism versus a northern Han identity. It is clear that we must attend to the nature of shifting national identities in these regions, and the impact of changing international geopolitics. But a focus on geopolitics is not enough, as these processes of identity formation

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and re-formation cannot be understood without a solid grounding in history and cultural studies. It is even more apparent that relations between Turkey, Russia and China will hinge on the shifting identities of the mainly Turkic, mainly Muslim peoples in the region. The styles of national identity among these groups pose fundamental challenges, or transgressions, to the nationstates they find themselves in: Uygur indigeneity rejects Chinese claims to ‘their’ land; Kazakh idealization of nomadic transhumance suggests that no nation-state should be allowed to contain them; and Hui hybridity argues against the very notion of the ‘nation’, that the diasporic condition is part of a universal modern and post-modern legacy, and that there is no pure nation, ethnic group or race that as such can claim exclusive state power. In China, recognition of official national identities has spurred on these groups in their claims against the nation-state, particularly the Hui and Uygur, to a crystallization and ethnogenesis of identities – identities that have now moved above and beyond the bounds of the Chinese nation-state, encouraging other unrecognized groups to push for recognition and political power. And lest it appear that these so-called ‘marginal’ unrecognized peoples are irrelevant to Chinese history and society, one should recall that the Taipings had their origins in the southwestern corner of the country, in Guangxi among the Hakka and Yao, and they succeeded in splitting up and nearly toppling the Qing empire. The person who helped reunite China was Dr. Sun Yat-sen, a true member of the modern transnational diaspora, a Cantonese, born and raised in Hawaii, and educated in Japan. Nevertheless, Dr. Sun was effective in mobilizing China’s internal ‘others’ against the foreign ‘others’ (Manchu and Western imperialists), thus creating a new Chinese national identity which may, however, prove to be just as fragile as the old one. Identities shift as individuals move across various borders, and as Chuang Tzu reminds us, new identities are formed in relation to others in the field of social and political interactions: If there is no ‘other’ then we do not have a ‘self ’, if there is no ‘self ’, then we do not have anything to grasp. Chuang Tzu.

Notes 1 L. Kotkin, Tribes: How Race, Religion, and Identity Determine Success in the New Global Economy, New York, 1993. 2 A. Appadurai, ‘Patriotism and its Futures,’ Public Culture 5, no. 3 (1993), p. 423. 3 See J. Helm, ed., Essays on the Problem of the Tribe, Seattle, 1968. 4 G.R. Garthwaite, ‘Reimagined Internal Frontiers: Tribes and Nationalism – Bakhtiyari and Kurds,’ in D.F. Eickelman, ed., Russia’s Muslim Frontiers, London,

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1993, p. 142. 5 B. Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, London, 1983. 6 A. Gupta and J. Ferguson, ‘Beyond Culture: Space, Identity, and the Politics of Difference,’ Cultural Anthropology 7 (1992); L. Malkki, ‘National Geographic: The Rooting of Peoples and the Territorialization of National Identity Among Scholars and Refugees,’ Cultural Anthropology 7 (1992). 7 H. Befu, ‘Introduction’ in Idem, ed., Cultural Nationalism in East Asia: Representation and Identity, Berkeley, 1993; R. Fox, ‘Introduction’ in Idem, ed., Nationalist Ideologies and the Production of National Cultures, American Ethnological Society Monograph Series 2, Washington, DC, 1990. 8 E. Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism since 1780, Cambridge, 1991; E. Tonkin, M. McDonald and M. Chapman, History and Ethnicity, London, 1989, ‘Introduction’. 9 L. Greenfeld, Nationalism: Five Roads to Modernity, Cambridge, Mass., 1992. 10 Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism since 1780, p. 9. 11 Ibid., p. 182. 12 Greenfeld, Nationalism: Five Roads to Modernity, p. 491. 13 J. Kristeva, Nations without Nationalism, trans. by L.S. Roudiez, New York, 1993. 14 H.K. Bhabha, The Location of Culture, London and New York, 1994, p. 7. 15 E. Hobsbawm, ‘Ethnicity and Nationalism in Europe Today,’ Anthropology Today 8, no. 1 (1992), p. 4. 16 J. Comaroff, ‘Of Totemism and Ethnicity: Consciousness, Practice and the Signs of Inequality,’ Ethnos 52, no. 3–4 (1987), pp. 302–23. 17 P. Duara, ‘Deconstructing the Chinese Nation,’ Australian Journal of Chinese Affairs 30 (1993), pp. 1–26. 18 R. Chow, Writing Diaspora: Tactics of Intervention in Contemporary Cultural Studies, Bloomington, 1993. 19 R. Fox, ‘Introduction: Working in the Present,’ in Idem, ed., Recapturing Anthropology: Working in the Present, Santa Fe, 1991, p. 1. 20 O. Roy, The Failure of Political Islam, trans. by C. Volk, Cambridge, Mass., 1994. 21 N.D. Kristof, ‘A Muslim Region is Tugging at the Ties that Bind China,’ New York Times, 14 August 1993, p. 1. 22 R. Frankenburger, White Women, Race Matters: The Social Construction of Whiteness, Minneapolis, 1993. 23 Zhongguo Shaoshu Minzu, ed., Zhongguo Shaoshu Minzu (China’s Minority Nationalities), Beijing, 1981, p. 2. 24 I. Svanberg, Kazakh Refugees in Turkey: A Study of Cultural Persistence and Social Change, Stockholm and Uppsala, 1989. 25 The ‘half ’ milliyet (‘national’ or ‘ethnoreligious’ group) in Turkey refers, of course, to the gypsies. 26 D. Gladney, Muslim Chinese: Ethnic Nationalism in the People’s Republic, Cambridge, Mass., 1991; Idem, ‘Representing Nationality in China: Refiguring Majority/Minority Identities,’ The Journal of Asian Studies 53, no. 1 (1994), pp. 1– 34. 27 Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism since 1780, p. 66 and ftn. 7.

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28 S.P. Huntington, ‘The Clash of Civilizations?’, Foreign Affairs 72, no. 3 (1993), pp. 22–49. 29 See Greenfeld, Nationalism: Five Roads to Modernity, p. 5. 30 Ibid., p. 5. 31 Reference is made throughout the book to this working definition of a nation. See passim J.S. Huxley and A.C. Haddon, We Europeans: A Survey of ‘Racial’ Problems, New York, 1936. 32 O. Lattimore, Pivot of Asia: Sinkiang and the Inner Asian Frontiers of China and Russia, Boston, 1950, p. 119, ftn. 20. 33 Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism since 1780, pp. 70–1. 34 E.E. Evans-Pritchard, The Nuer, Oxford, 1940. 35 G. Bateson, Steps to an Ecology of Mind, San Francisco, 1972, p. 96. 36 Ibid., p. 78. 37 D. Maybury-Lewis and U. Almagor, eds., The Attraction of Opposites: Thought and Society in the Dualistic Mode, Ann Arbor, 1989. 38 For my views on the shaping of ethnic identity in general see D. Gladney, ‘Representing Nationality in China: Refiguring Majority/Minority Identities’; Idem, ‘Ethnic Identity in China: The New Politics of Difference,’ in W.A. Joseph, ed., China Briefing 1994, Boulder, San Francisco and Oxford, 1994, pp. 171–92; Idem, ‘Transnational Islam and Uighur National Identity: Salman Rushdie, Sino–Muslim Missile Deals, and the Trans-Eurasian Railway’, Central Asian Survey 11, no. 3 (1992), pp. 1–18. 39 As Michael Tausig notes, identity is often constructed in imitation of and resistance to an imagined ‘other’, which creates sameness-es and differences in mimeotic interaction: ‘ …mimesis registers both sameness and difference, of being like, and of being Other. Creating stability from this instability is no small task, yet all identity formation is engaged in this habitually bracing activity in which the issue is not so much staying the same, but maintaining sameness through alterity.’ See M. Taussig, Mimesis and Alterity: A Particular History of the Senses, New York, 1993, p. 27. 40 Bhabha, The Location of Culture, p. 251. 41 Ibid., p. 4. 42 Gladney, Muslim Chinese: Ethnic Nationalism in the People’s Republic. 43 A.D.W. Forbes, Warriors and Muslims in Chinese Central Asia, Cambridge, 1986. 44 J.N. Lipman, ‘Ethnicity and Politics in Republican China: The Ma Family Warlords of Gansu,’ Modern China 10, no. 3 (1984), pp. 285–416. 45 D. Gladney, ‘The Ethnogenesis of the Uighur,’ Central Asian Survey 9, no. 1 (1990), pp. 11–28. 46 J. Chen, The Sinkiang Story, New York, 1977, p. 100. 47 See C. Mackerras, The Uighur Empire: According to the Tang Dynastic Histories, Columbia, South Carolina, 1972. 48 D. Sinor, Inner Asia: A Syllabus, Bloomington, 1969, p. 113. 49 W. Samolin, East Turkistan to the Twelfth Century: A Brief Political Survey, The Hague, 1964, pp. 74–5. 50 Sinor, Inner Asia: A Syllabus, pp. 114–15. 51 Mackerras, The Uighur Empire: According to the Tang Dynastic Histories, p. 37. 52 A. Haneda, ‘Introduction: The Problems of Turkicization and Islamization of East Turkestan,’ Acta Asiatica 34 (1978), p. 7.

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53 Forbes, Warriors and Muslims in Central Asia. 54 J.J. Rudelson, Bones in the Sand: The Struggle to Create Uighur Nationalist Ideologies in Xinjiang, China, Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University, 1992. 55 Svanberg, Kazakh Refugees in Turkey: A Study of Cultural Persistence and Social Change, p. 116. 56 R.B. Ekvall, Fields on the Hoof: Nexus of Tibetan Nomadic Pastoralism, New York, 1968, p. 94. 57 Y. Li and H. Wu, ‘Status of Grasslands in China: With Special Emphasis on the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau’, paper presented to the CSCPRC workshop on Grasslands in China, 30 May 1990. 58 I. Svanberg and L. Benson, eds., The Kazakhs of China: Essays on an Ethnic Minority, Uppsala, 1988, pp. 200–5. 59 J.F. Fletcher, ‘A Brief History of the Chinese Northwestern Frontier,’ in M.E. Alonso, ed., China’s Inner Asian Frontier, Cambridge, 1979, p. 24. 60 M. Saray, Kazak Türkleri Tarihi: Kazakların Uvanısı, Istanbul, 1993, pp. 16– 17. 61 M. Brill Olcott, The Kazakhs, Stanford, 1987, p. 248. 62 Gladney, ‘The Ethnogenesis of the Uighur’; Svanberg, Kazakh Refugees in Turkey: A Study of Cultural Persistence and Social Change. 63 A.E. Hudson, Kazakh Social Structure, New Haven, 1938. 64 M. Brill Olcott, ‘Pastoralism, Nationalism and Communism in Kazakhstan,’ Canadian Slavic Papers (Spring 1983). 65 Svanberg, Kazakh Refugees in Turkey: A Study of Cultural Persistence and Social Change, p. 115. 66 Hudson, Kazakh Social Structure, p. 19. 67 C.E. Scott, ‘Genealogy and Difference,’ Research in Phenomenology 20 (1990), p. 57. 68 Chow, Writing Diaspora: Tactics of Intervention in Contemporary Cultural Studies, pp. 99–105. 69 Bhabha, The Location of Culture, pp. 2–6 70 G.A. Hoston, The State, Identity, and the National Question in China and Japan, Princeton, 1994. 71 Gladney, ‘Representing Nationality in China: Refiguring Majority/Minority Identities’.

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Past and Present of a Manchu Tribe: The Sibe LILIYA GORELOVA

The Sibe people are one of the ethnic minorities of China. They belong to the Tungus–Manchu peoples together with the Manchus, Nanaians, Oroks, Orochs, Udekhes, Ulchas, Evens, Evenkies, Negidals and Solons. According to the population statics given in the third pan-China census, 4.3 million Manchus and 84,000 Sibes at present live in various regions of China. In particular they inhabit the provinces of Heilongjian, Kirin, Liaoning, Hebei and Sinkiang. As is well-known, during the Ching period the Manchu language and the Manchu writing-system were officially employed in China. By the end of the 18th century, however, the Manchus had become completely Sinicized and after the Xinhai Revolution the Manchu language fell out of use entirely. It appears that today the Sibes are the only speakers of a language that can be properly called Manchu.1 For a number of historical reasons the Sibe Manchu tribe is nowadays settled in two different regions of China, namely in the North-East (Dongbei) and in Sinkiang. The majority of the Sibes reside at Dongbei, but they have almost lost their ancestral language. In Liaoning Province, whose capital city is Shenyang (Mukden), there are three Manchurian autonomous districts (Xiu yan, Feng cheng and Xin bing), but no one in those districts any longer speaks either Manchu or the Sibe language. In 1982 the Italian scholar A. Pozzi visited Xin bing, the original homeland of the Manchu people, and gathered evidence of the social and linguistic situation that then prevailed in that region. The area is situated a few kilometers north-east of Shenyang in Fushun Municipality, and is characterized by its diversity of ethnic nationalities. At the time the Manchus only made up 30 percent of the local population and coexisted with the Mongols, Sibes, Koreans, Hui and Han peoples. The old Manchu language and culture had been corrupted by Chinese civilization and no more than a few quite elderly people could still speak Manchu and no one could write it correctly.2 Likewise, in Heilongjian Province there remain only a few villages where some Sibes, again mostly aged people, can still speak their native language. In 1961–62 a number of linguistic expeditions were sent out to these villages 324

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of Heilongjian Province, but the results of this activity were only published in 1984. In that area there were four Manchu towns with a total popultion of 20,000, only half of which was ethnically Manchu. In the village Daujiazitun all Manchus over the age of fifty still spoke Manchu. In 1982, when a subsequent expedition took place, almost all the Manchu population had turned to Chinese and only some seventy-year-old men could speak their native language. Regarding another of Heilongjian’s villages, Sanjiazitun, the Chinese scholar An Jun maintains that the dialect spoken there is close to that spoken by the Sibes in Sinkiang.3 The Sinkiang Sibes, whose population runs to over 27,000, are concentrated mainly in the north, in the Sibe Cabcal Autonomous Region in the Ili Valley. More than 17,000 Sibes live there.4 This group of Sibes has not only retained their ancestral language since the time of their transference from Dongbei to Sinkiang in 1764, but they have also been developing spoken Sibe as well as its written form which is based on the Manchurian syllabic writing-system. Bearing in mind that the primoridal homeland of the Manchu people was the territory of Aigun and Fu Yui, some historical questions naturally arise. How did the Sibes find their way to Sinkiang? What was the reason for their resettlement in that region? Furthermore, what is the origin of the Sibe language and what connnection does it have with literary Manchu? If we knew the origin and the early history of the Sibe Manchu tribe, we could answer these questions with greater certainty, but in fact very little is known about the early phase of their history. On the basis of his analysis of surviving Manchu manuscripts and Chinese sources such as the Liao dynastic chronicles (927–1114), the Tan chronicles (651–907), the chronicles of Beishi (386–581) and the Weishu (a history of the Yuanwei dynasty, 386–556), the Russian scholar E.P. Lebedeva has suggested that the Sibe tribe originated among the Southern Shiwei which is a separate branch of the Manchu–Tungus Shiwei people. The Russian scholars N. Bichurin and P.N. Menshikov, basing themselves on the Beishi chronicles and the histories of the Tan and Yuanwei dynasties, believed that the Shiwei people were divided into five territorial groups, namely Southern Shiwei, Northern Shiwei, Bo Shiwei, Da Shiwei and Shenmohyn Shiwei. These groups differed from one another in their occupations, the clothes they wore and the dwellings they lived in. It is probable that the general name Shiwei was applied to all these tribes despite their originally being of different ethnic backgrounds. The majority of these people were of Manchu– Tungus ethnic origin, but others among them were of Mongol origin, like for example the ancient Chidans or the contemporary Dagurs.5 The Southern Shiwei were engaged in agriculture and cattle-breeding. They lived in settlements similar to small towns. As a means of conveyance

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they used carts and boats made from animal hides. Those of the Sibes who adopted a nomadic way of life built temporary shelters from branches covered with grass.6 The Shiwei lived in the territories that had previously formed part of the ancient Tungus state Fu Yui which was destroyed by the Xianbi people in 286 AD. The Sibes not only inherited territory from this earlier state (Chichihar and the area around the rivers Nomin and Nemer, tributaries of the Nonni) but took over from them agriculture as well.7 According to Lebedeva, during successive periods of their history the Sibes came under the domination of various peoples. From the 1st century BC to the end of the 3rd century AD they were governed by the Koreans and the Chinese. From the end of the 3rd, and probably throughout the 4th century, they were utterly dominated by the Xianbi people. The Northern Turki reduced them to a subordinate position from the 5th to the 10th centuries. Subsequently, they were absorbed into the Chitan Empire of Liao (10th century), until by the 13th century they came under the dominion of the Qorcin Mongols.8 We have no information about the historical period when the Sibes became vassals of the Qorcin Mongols. But this probably took place when the Mongols started to occupy the regions of the Sungari and Nonni rivers and the adjoining areas. Menshikov believed that the Qorcin Mongols belonged to the Mongols of the Jerim Seim who moved to these regions from the banks of the Argun and Haidar rivers and the Dalai Nor lake in 1438 after they had been defeated by the Oirats. The regions of Chichihar and Boduna were the original homeland of the Sibes, whereas the Mongols were newcomers.9 Over this long period of time the region of Chichihar and Boduna had been the Sibes’ fixed homeland. The Manchu manuscript entitled Sahalian ula vajimbuhe baitai danse (The Journal of Completed Documents Concerning Priamur’ye) contains documents dating from the end of the 17th to the beginning of the 18th centuries. These provide evidence that the Sibes were ransomed from Mongolian slavery in the 17th century by the Manchu emperor Kangxi.10 The same documents also attest to the fact that by the end of the 17th century there existed two large groups of the Sibes. The one group inhabited the region of Chichihar and the other was located near Boduna. Later, in 1700–1701, the Chichihar Sibes (nearly 20,000) were resettled in the region of Huhu–Hoto, but the subsequent fortunes of this group of the Sibes still remains unknown. The Boduna Sibes (nearly 36,000) were resettled in the region of Mukden. In 1764 nearly half of the Mukden Sibes (about 18,000 of them) were transferred to Sinkiang to colonize Jungaria, where they still live today. It is as yet unclear why the Sibes in particular were selected for this

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purpose. But document number seven of the above-mentioned collection reveals that the Sibe company commanders and their comrades were all removed from their posts in Chichihar. The same document refers to disorder breaking out among these Sibes. On the basis of this source it is not unreasonable to assume that this Sibe tribe had opposed the ruling Manchu dynasty. In the course of their transfer from Mukden to the Ili Valley, these Sibes were escorted by a Manchurian regular military force consisting of 800 men and officers. These details would appear to confirm the hypothesis that conflict had broken out between the Sibes and the Manchu confederation.11 This is the conclusion that J. Norman draws from the documentary evidence.12 Afterwards, in accordance with the Eight Banners’ Organization of the Manchu army, the Sibes were incorporated into eight companies and assigned to seven military colonies (the first and the third companies lived in the same military colony) together with the Solons and Dagurs who had been previously absorbed under the Manchu banners. Due to this fact, the Sibes increased in number. But in the second part of the 19th century the Sibes’ numbers fell again because they were forced to take part in suppressing the Dungan-Taranchi popular uprising in 1864–1871. In the course of this armed uprising, the villages of the Sibes were captured and they sustained heavy losses.13 In Sinkiang the Sibes were engaged solely in agriculture. They grew wheat, barley and millet, onions, garlic, aubergine, cucumbers and other vegetables, and cultivated tobacco and poppies. In old China the standard of living of the Sibes was very low. The Sibe people professed shamanism and Buddhism. There exists a Buddhist monastery in the military colony where the fifth company was located. Moreover, every colony had its own Buddhist temple.14 Having settled in Jungaria, the Sibe people found themselves in a peculiar situation. On the one hand, remoteness from the center weakened the influence that Chinese culture and language had on them and, on the other hand, living among people different from themselves with respect to their language and ethnic affiliation stimulated them to be aware of their own national identity. This situation also fostered their efforts for independence as well. None the less, the language of the Sibes was subjected to influence from the languages of the other peoples of Sinkiang, chiefly the Kazakhs, Uigurs and Mongols, as well as the Chinese and Russians. At the same time, however, their language displayed a conservative tendency toward selfpreservation and development. In my view, one is justified in viewing the language of the Sibe people as a dialect of literary Manchu.15 But according to Norman, the language of the Sibes may properly be called a Manchu dialect because in the late 16th

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and early 17th centuries when literary Manchu was formed on the basis of the Southern Manchu dialect, the Sibes were not members of the confederation of Manchu tribes under the first ruler Nurgaci.16 It should be noted, however, that among Chinese scholars, who currently devote much attention to studying Sibe, there are different opinions with respect to whether or not the primordial Sibe language, which the Sibes still speak, was Manchu. Some of these scholars (e.g. An Jun) consider the Sibe language to be a successor of the Manchu language, whereas others hold the view that it is a language apart.17 For more than 200 years, since the resettlement of the Sibes in Sinkiang, both forms of the Sibe language, i.e. written and spoken, have been altering and developing. The main difference of the written form of the Sibe language from literary Manchu is the writing-system it uses. The writingsystem of the Sibe language, based on the Manchu system, has undergone a series of changes. The way of writing some letters in certain positions has been altered. Likewise, some of the rarer syllables have been eliminated so that 13 out of the 131 syllables which are found in written Manchu in the initial position of a word have been dropped from present-day Sibe. Some new syllables (wi, wo, wu) have also been added.18 The internal tendencies, according to which Sibe has developed, are the main reason for the changes in the language. Other reasons are the social realities and interrelations between Sibe and languages of the other peoples who settled at the same time in the multi-ethnic region of Sinkiang. The most significant changes, primarily in vocabulary, were conditioned by the influence of the neighboring laguages, with loan words coming from Chinese, Uigur, Kazakh, Mongol and Russian. Having resettled in Sinkiang in 1764, the Sibe people borrowed a number of words from the local Chinese and other peoples. For example, the following words were borrowed from Uigur: pochi ‘a boaster’, parang ‘words’, ketman ‘tool for digging’, bazar ‘market’, kabab ‘barbecued meat’, namas ‘an Islamic feast’. And the following words came from Kazakh: kemes ‘Mongol tea’, kestao ‘pasture’, baige ‘horserace’. Other words have come into Sibe from Russian: baston ‘a kind of textile’, mashina ‘sewing-machine’, konsul ‘consul’, miter ‘kilometer’, pomidor ‘tomato’. After the Xinhai revolution (xinhai geming) some new terms appeared in the Sibe language to designate new realities and notions. Most of them were borrowed from the Chinese language. This process of borrowing from Chinese is still underway. Representative examples include: geming ‘revolution’, fangzhen ‘guiding principle’, ‘policy’, jiti ‘collective (body)’, jinji ‘economy’, zhuxi ‘chairman’, ‘chairperson’, zongli ‘prime minister’, shuji ‘secretary’, daikuan ‘loan’, ‘credit’, chuna ‘cashier’, gongfen ‘centimeter’, ‘gram’.19

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The spoken form of the Sibe language differs from literary Manchu to a much greater extent than the written form. The most striking discrepancies can be observed in the area of phonetics.20 The vocabulary and morphology of the spoken form of Sibe have also undergone some modifications as compared with its written form, but these are not very significant. In spoken Sibe there exist some words which are absent both in written Sibe and literary Manchu. For instance, instead of the Manchu word niyalma ‘a man’, ‘a male’, the word nan (nan nan) borrowed from Chinese is used.21 The changes in grammar, conditioned by the influence of the neighboring languages, are not great. In some cases we are not sure whether certain grammatical characteristics were borrowed from other languages before the resettlement of the Sibe people in Sinkiang or afterwards. Before the Cultural Revolution teaching in the primary schools in the Sibe Cabcal Autonomous Region was carried out in the Sibe language. At present in Sinkiang Province there exist eight schools where pupils learn Sibe. Despite the fact that teaching in the primary school is conducted in Chinese, lessons on the Sibe language are obligatory. How long the pupils can attend the Sibe language classes depends on the number of qualified teachers available. For the first time the Sibe language has begun to be studied in a higher educational institute. In Ili there is a pedagogical institute where a group of students study Sibe. In Cabucar the Pedagogical Institute of the Sibe Language has been created. This educational institute trains students for teaching Sibe in the national schools. In 1953, the People’s Publishing House was founded in Urumchi. It has concentrated its editorial activity on publishing Party documents, belleslettres and school books in Sibe. There was an interruption during the Cultural Revolution but afterwards, in the 1980s, the foundation resumed publication with great enthusiasm. In the Foreword to A Catalogue of Sibe– Manchu Publications, prepared by the young Sibe scholar Jin Ning, G. Stary gives a survey of the editiorial activities of the People’s Publishing House of Urumchi. The catalogue itself contains 285 entries and includes the works in Sibe published from 1954 to 1989.22 The newspaper Ice banjin (The New Life) was printed in Ili from 1946. In 1972, the title of the newspaper was changed to Cabcal serkin (The Cabucar Newspaper). Under its new name Cabcal serkin, this newspaper is now regularly published in Sinkiang. In 1980, the Society of the Sibe Language was founded in Cabucar for the purpose of developing and improving the native language of the Sibe people. By way of closing this brief survey of the history of the Sibe people, it is appropriate to note that this Manchu tribe has not only managed to preserve its specific ethnic features, but in recent decades it has been successful at promoting the development of its own original and distinctive culture.

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Notes 1 J. Norman, ‘A Sketch of Sibe Morphology,’ Central Asiatic Journal 18, no. 3 (1974), p. 159. 2 A. Pozzi, ‘A Journey to the Original Places of the Manchu People (1982),’ Zentralasiatische Studien 20 (1987), pp. 208–18. 3 An Jun, ‘Xibo yuyan wenzi ji manyu manwen–de jixu’ (Research on the Sibe and Manchu Languages and Writings), in Manyu yanjiu 2 (1985), pp. 41–7. 4 Li Shulan and Zhong Qian, Xibo yu jianzhi (A Sketch of the Sibe Language), Beijing, 1986, pp. 1–2. 5 E.P. Lebedeva and L.M. Gorelova, Sidi Kur. A Sibe–Manchu Version of ‘the Bewitched Corpse’ Cycle, transcribed by V.V. Radlov, Wiesbaden, 1994, pp. 14–15. 6 Ibid., p. 16. 7 E.P. Lebedeva, ‘Fuyui (Puye),’ in Formirovanie kul’turykh traditsii tungusoman’chzhurskikh narodov (Formation of Cultural Traditions of the Tungus–Manchu Peoples), Novosibirsk, 1985, pp. 3–26. 8 Ibid., p. 24. 9 Lebedeva and Gorelova, Sidi Kur, p. 12. 10 Ibid., p. 11. 11 Ibid., pp. 10–11. 12 Norman, ‘Sibe Morphology,’ p. 159. 13 Lebedeva and Gorelova, Sidi Kur, pp. 7–8. 14 Ibid., p. 8. 15 Ibid., p. 1. 16 Norman, ‘Sibe Morphology,’ pp. 159–60. 17 Cf. An Jun, ‘Xibo yuyan wenzi’; and Li Shulan, ‘Xibo yu manyu bi jiao yanjiu juyao’ (The Sibe Language Compared with the Manchu Language), in Zhongguo yuwen 4 (1983), pp. 298–306. 18 L.M. Gorelova, ‘The Sibe and Various Forms of Their Language,’ in Proceedings of the 35th Permanent International Conference, Taipei (Taiwan), 1993, p. 130. 19 These examples of vocabulary borrowings are all taken from Li Shulan, ‘Xibo yu manyu,’ pp. 298–306. 20 Ibid., p. 301. 21 Ibid., p. 305. 22 Jin Ning, A Catalogue of Sibe–Manchu Publications, ed. G. Stary, Wiesbaden, 1989, pp. V–VI.

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The Tuvans in China: Ethnic Identity and Language MARINA MONGUSH

The Tuvan people currently lives within the territory not only of Russia and Mongolia, but that of China as well. The governing state in each of these countries has undeniably exercised a decisive influence on the way in which the different Tuvan ethnic groups have developed. At present the vast majority of the Tuvan people live in Russian territory (198,360 according to the 1989 census) where they form a nation-state known as the Republic of Tuva which, until the break-up of the USSR in 1991, had been called the Tuvan ASSR. In the territory of the adjacent states of Mongolia and China, relatively small groups of the Tuvans constitute ethnic minorities and do not enjoy national, territorially defined statehood. Over the centuries they have merged with the peoples among whom they live, either becoming naturally assimilated or existing as ethnic groups within the larger population structures. Generally speaking, the social and cultural development of the Tuvans outside Tuva has been complex and contradictory. As for the Tuvan community in Mongolia, a number of scholarly works dealing with linguistics, philology, folklore, history and ethnography have been published concerning them.1 Much information, often based on reliable fieldwork, has been gathered on their ethnic composition, settlement patterns, population distribution, and their language and culture. It would appear that the Tuvans living in Mongolia have been studied in greater detail than any other community of Tuvans outside the Republic of Tuva, although much still remains that we could learn about them. The state of our knowledge about the Tuvans living in China is a completely different matter. At present Russian and Western ethnographers have almost no reliable information on the basis of which an overall picture of the Chinese Tuvan community can be sketched. Several Chinese and Russian scholars have published works which deal with the Tuvans in China. As a rule, however, the Russian studies have tended to be based entirely on research carried out by Chinese researchers. China is only just beginning to publish studies in this field. Consequently, there is still a dearth of ethnographic information about the Tuvans who today live in Chinese territory.2 331

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In this paper I will present untested materials about the Tuvans in China. Specifically, I will look at their contemporary forms of ethnic identity and language. In the Chinese context identity is to a great extent determined by the environment Tuvans find themselves in. The information I will present here was collected by me during a short stay in the Sinkiang-Uygur Autonomous District of China (SUAD). During June and July of 1993, I was able to carry out fieldwork among the Tuvans in the Altay Aimag, to mix with them and to observe at first hand their everyday life along with certain of their traditions and customs. Speculation on the Origins of Tuvan Settlement in China The entire Tuvan population of China is concentrated in the territory of the Altay Aimag of the Sinkiang-Uygur Autonomous District. The majority of the population live in the extreme north-eastern area of the Ili-Kazakh Autonomous Region, predominantly in the Kaba and Burchin districts, but also in the Altay, Chingil, Koktogay and Burultogay districts.3 My field studies were carried out in the Kaba and Burchin districts. It has been suggested that the Tuvans arrived in Sinkiang over 200 years ago. In 1871, the famous Russian explorer, M.I. Venyukov, noted the existence of a small group of Uryankhs (Tuvans) living in the valleys of the right-hand tributaries of the Chernyy Irtysh (Black Irtysh) and added that at the time their community did not exceed 1,000.4 The question I most wished to find an answer to was when exactly did the Tuvans first come to Sinkiang. Unfortunately, my attempt to find a convincing answer on the basis of interviews with the Tuvans themselves was not successful. Each time I put this question to them, I received different replies, replies which were sometimes extremely contradictory. Many informants admitted that they did not know when the Tuvans had originally settled in Sinkiang. They merely assumed, and most of them agreed about this, that the Tuvans had migrated to Sinkiang during the rule of the Ching Dynasty (1636-1911). There were some informants, though, who believed that Sinkiang was part of the original ethnic territory where the Tuvans had always lived. According to this view, the Tuvans are one of the indigenous ethnic groups of Sinkiang. On the other hand, one of my informants knew that his ancestors had arrived in the region in 1913, two years after the fall of the Manchus (Ching Dynasty) in Tuva. They had come from Ak-Dovurak, which is now the center of the Barun-Khemchik District and one of Tuva’s large towns. Other information suggests that the last migration of Tuvans into Sinkiang took place during the 1920s, an influx that mainly consisted of small groups of related families who for one reason or another did not

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accept the popular revolution in 1921 in Tuva. They first fled to neighboring Mongolia where some settled, while others moved on to Sinkiang. Ethnic Identity In China the Tuvans are called Kok Monchaks or just Monchaks, although they tend to refer to themselves as Tuva. They are also called Monchaks by the other peoples living in their immediate surroundings. It is thought that the Kazakhs first applied this name to them, and that the term was then adopted by the Tuvans as if it had originated with them. In the Chinese administrative statistics the Monchaks are not classified as a separate people. They are therefore not included in the official list of the country’s ethnic minorities and, not surprisingly, vastly differing figures for their population are given in the pertinent scholarly literature. Thus according to the Chinese explorer Khe Sinlyan, about 13,000 Monchaks were living in Sinkiang at the beginning of the 20th century.5 Some sources put their present numbers at around 1,000, others at between 2,500 and 3,000. Still others cite the figures produced by the 1982 all-China census, according to which over 4,000 Monchaks live in territory of the SUAD.6 However, if the Monchaks are not recognized as a distinct ethnic minority, it seems strange that they should feature as a separate group in the official list of peoples subject to census. Informal figures given to me by Chinese colleagues suggest that their population is somewhere between 2,300 and 3,700. It is interesting to compare this informal figure with the more detailed data given by Reshetov. For instance, according to rough calculations based on the results of Chinese studies, during the reign of the emperor Tsyanlun (1736-1795) there were up to 2,745 Tuvan homesteads. Reshetov writes, ‘If we assume that each homestead consisted of four people, then by the end of the 18th century there were about 11,000 Tuvans. At the end of the 19th century there were upwards of 7,000 Tuvans. Even if these are low estimations, there are still grounds for saying that a process of ethnic assimilation has been going on.’7 According to data for 1983, the Beezi Khoshuns of the left and right flanks contained over 200 homesteads, the Ak Soyan Khoshun over 30, the Kara Soyan Khoshun over 130, the Maylengay Khoshun over 10, the Kok Monchak Khoshun over 200, and the Shalule Khoshun about 10. Linguistic surveys show that the population of the Kok Monchak, Ak Soyan and Kara Soyan Khoshuns speak Tuvan. The latter comprise upwards of 360 homesteads, i.e. about 2,000 people, who live mainly in the Burchin and Kaba districts. The population of the other four Khoshuns (Beezi of the left and right flanks, Maylengay and Shalule) comes to over 2,000 but they

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speak chiefly Mongolian. Their ethnic origin is clearly Tuvan, although they have lost their original language and now consider Mongolian to be their mother tongue. Reshetov’s research shows that as a rule Tuvans who have completely lost their native language cease to regard themselves as Tuvans. They are not usually called Kok Monchaks but Altay Uryankhays. In fact they distance themselves from the Turkic-speaking Monchaks and consider themselves as a separate ethnic group.8 This information raises the intriguing question as to whether the Altay Uryankhays should be regarded as a separate ethnic group or whether they see themselves as Mongolians. In the latter case, to what part exactly of the Mongolian people do they consider themselves to belong? This situation makes it more problematic to define the real Tuvan population and complicates the question of their ethnic identity. My fieldwork was carried out exclusively among the Tuvan-speaking Monchaks, who recognize themselves as being part of the Tuvan people. In the course of my interviews, however, it emerged that the Monchaks are described as Mongolians in their passports. Thus, for all official purposes and in all government documents they are not Monchaks – though in fact they are – but Mongolians. In view of this bureaucratic muddle it is virtually impossible to establish the exact size of the Chinese Tuvan population. Most informants, however, put it at not more than three to four thousand people. Nor are there grounds for believing that this figure will rise in the future, as there appears to be a clear trend in the population dynamics towards a slow decline. While this is a manifestation of the ongoing process of ethnic assimilation, which is fairly persistent, it also reflects the actual relations between the Tuvans and the other ethnic minorities of China. I may confirm quite unambiguously that the Monchaks do speak Tuvan. They use Tuvan mainly in the home, but also in some family rituals such as weddings and funerals. My own communication with the Monchaks was carried out in Tuvan and although there were occasional misunderstandings, I felt we were speaking the same language. However, the Tuvans also speak Mongolian and Kazakh, the languages of the more numerous peoples among whom they live. Their fluency in these languages may be regarded as part of their method of adapting to the different ethnic environment in which, for historical reasons, they have come to live. During my fieldwork I often observed Monchaks freely switching from one language to another depending on whom they were talking to. They actually speak three languages. Their own language contains quite a few Mongolian and Kazakh borrowings, as one would expect given their close contact with these peoples. On the other hand, they know very little Chinese and one has the strong impression that Chinese is not widely used in this part of China. In fact I did not meet anyone who was fluent in

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Chinese, although it is still a compulsory part of the school curriculum. My informants mentioned that because their children did not know Chinese well, they were not accepted in the country’s universities where teaching is primarily in Chinese. Most Monchaks end their education after attending secondary school or a technical college, although a minority do go on to higher education. On the whole the language of the Chinese Tuvans, which they call tyva dil, is the same as the spoken language of the Tuvan Republic. However, its vocabulary, phonetics and melodics have some special features. It is noticeable that the Monchaks speak with a particular accent influenced by Mongolian. This is not surprising given their 200-year isolation from the inhabitants of Tuva. Nevertheless, the grammatical structure of their language is essentially the same as that of the main core of Tuvans. The Chinese Tuvans do not have their own schools, so their children are educated either in a Kazakh or a Mongol school. The latter is preferred, as the Monchaks are officially classified as Mongolians. When the Monchak children first come to school they can generally only speak Tuvan. Since the official language for teaching is Mongolian or Kazakh, for the beginner classes the teachers are obliged to translate all the teaching material from Mongolian or Kazakh into Tuvan. From then on, the native language begins to recede into the background and the dominant languages for communication become Mongolian and Kazakh. The Monchaks greatly regret the loss of their language, but they recognize that there is little they can do to change the inevitable process at work. They are completely bereft of any means which would guarantee their language’s survival. At present there are no publications in the language, no schools that teach it, and no written form of it even exists. The only official source of Tuvan is the radio broadcasting from the Republic of Tuva. While listening to these broadcasts, the Monchaks take heart that their language has not totally died out. Although these thirtyminute programs do not solve the problem of the language’s survival, they confirm the feeling of the Monchaks that they belong to a single Tuvan people. Kok Monchaks see their situation as being quite unique. Whereas they are close to the Kazakhs linguistically, in their religion they are Lamaists like the Mongolians. Kazakhs believe that Monchaks are their younger brothers and Mongolians also think of them this way. But Monchaks identify themselves as Tuvans. They have not, however, adopted this identity officially because they are afraid of being prosecuted for fomenting national separatism. One should bear in mind that from the ideological point of view China is a very strict country, where the claims of any ethnic minority to be distinct can be interpreted as ‘separatist tendencies’. At the same

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time, one should not ignore the fact that China is a multi-ethnic country, in which it is difficult for the state to maintain control over all the ethnic minorities, especially ones with a small population. The result is that an ethnic minority like the Tuvans may become lost among more numerous peoples. Conclusion In conclusion, my acquaintance with the Kok Monchaks reveals that it is not possible to draw a sharp boundary between them and the Tuvans living in the Republic of Tuva. Despite the fact that the Monchaks have been isolated from the greater Tuvan community for centuries, they still retain their native language and many features of their traditional culture and way of life. This in turn has enabled them to preserve their ethnic consciousness as well. That ethnic consciousness is a vital factor in confirming that the Kok Monchaks still belong to a single Tuvan ethnic community. Notes 1 Y. Aranchyn, ‘Novye etnograficheskie i filologicheskie materialy iz SeveroZapadnoi Mongolii,’ Uchenye zapiska TNIIYaLI, T. XVII, Kyzyl, 1975, pp. 212-18; L. Bold, Osobennosti uiguro-uryankhaiskogo yasyka (doctoral dissertation), University of Ulan Bator, Ulan Bator, 1968; Idem, ‘Uygar-Uriankhai khelnii egshig avia,’ Khel zokhiol sudlal, Bot 9, 1-24 devter, Ulan Bator, 1975, pp. 133-45; D. Mongush, ‘O yasyke tuvintsev v Severo-Zapadnoi Mongolii,’ Voprosy tuvinskoi filolgii, Kyzyl, 1983, pp. 127-45; E. Taube, Das Kastrierfest bei den Cengel-Tuwinern. Asien in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart, Berlin, 1974; Idem, Tuwinische Volksmärchen, Berlin, 1978; Idem, Tuwinische Lieder. Volksdichtung aus der Westmongolei, Leipzig and Weimar, 1980; Idem, Skazki i predaniya altaiskikh tuvintsev, Moscow, 1994; Z. Tsoloo, ‘Uriankhai ayalchuug sudalsan zarim dun,’ Khel zokhiol sudlal, Bot 9, 1-24 devter, Ulan Bator, 1972, pp. 57-63. 2 See articles in the following Chinese journals: Minzu yuwen 1 (1985), pp. 6580, and 3 (1985), pp. 61-8; Zhongyang minzu xueyuan xuebad 1 (1988), pp. 36-42; Gansu minzu yanjiu 1 (1988), pp. 80-8; A. Reshetov, ‘Tuvinskie i altaiskie uriankhaitsy v Kitae: problemy istorii, etnosa i yazykovoi situatsii. Obshchestvo i gosudarstvo v Kitae,’ XXI nauchnaya konferentsiya, Tez. dokladov. T.2; S. Sat and L. Dorju, ‘Izuchenie tuvinskogo yazyka v Kitae,’ Sovetskaya turkologiya, Moscow, 1989, pp. 93-6. 3 Reshetov, ‘Tuvinskie,’ p. 178. 4 M.I. Venyukov, ‘Zametki o naselenii Dzhungarskogo pogranichnogo prostranstva,’ Izvestiya IPGO, T. VII, St. Petersburg, 1871, p. 343. 5 Gansu minzu yanjiu 1 (1986), p. 66. 6 Sat and Dorju, ‘Izuchenie tuvinskogo,’ p. 93; Reshetov, ‘Tuvinskie,’ p. 178. 7 Reshetov, ‘Tuvinskie,’ p. 178. 8 Ibid., pp. 178-9.

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Central Asia in the Minds of the Mughals RICHARD FOLTZ

Zahir al-Din Muhammad Babur, known to the world as the founder of the so-called ‘Mughal’ dynasty of India, was born in Andijan in the Ferghana valley in 1483, in what is now the Republic of Uzbekistan.1 He was, therefore, indisputably a Central Asian, although from a historian’s perspective he was certainly not an ‘Uzbek’, however much some quarters today might like to claim him as one. Fifth in descent from Timur (Tamerlane), Babur thought of himself as a Muslim by religion, a Turk by language, and a Chaghatai by tribal affiliation. At age 11 he inherited the throne of Ferghana from which he would launch repeated attempts to recapture his ancestor’s glorious capital, Samarqand. He succeeded twice briefly, each time being chased out by nomads from the Qipchak steppe to the northwest – a tribal group known in Babur’s time as the Uzbeks. Following these setbacks, Babur reluctantly set up a small kingdom in Kabul to the south, which would be his stronghold for two decades before he finally turned his attentions toward India. His dream of Samarqand, however, he held to the end of his life. Indeed this obsession was to be the lasting inheritance he bequeathed on his own descendants, which would haunt them mercilessly despite their successes and glories in India for two centuries to come. Babur bursts onto the pages of Indian history as the greatest of the Muslim conquerors, with his crushing defeat of Ibrahim Lodi at the Battle of Panipat on April 21, 1526. But in the Central Asian sphere of which he never ceased to consider himself a part, at his death four years later Babur probably left this world feeling like a colossal failure. He disliked India, which for all its riches was small consolation in his mind for the loss of his hereditary lands. The nostalgic reminiscences which fill his memoirs are curiously echoed by subsequent Mughal emperors who never even laid eyes on Central Asia.2 Babur’s son and successor Humayun was as much a Central Asian as his father was, and in 1549, nine years after his disastrous loss of northern India to the Afghan Sher Shah Suri, he showed more interest in using his borrowed Safavid army to attack Balkh, the gateway to Samarkand, than in recapturing his father’s Indian conquests.3 Humayun’s efforts were thwarted, 337

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as always, by his uncooperative brother Kamran, but had he succeeded in re-establishing himself in Central Asia it is doubtful there would ever have been a Mughal dynasty in India. It was perhaps a partially reluctant Humayun who finally reconquered Delhi in 1555. Under Akbar, Humayun’s son and successor, the Mughal Empire expanded to cover two-thirds of the Indian subcontinent and became the richest land in the world. The royal chronicler Abu2l-Fazl claims that Akbar never ceased to dream of reconquering Central Asia, although in reality this was neither consistent with Akbar’s efforts to consolidate his Indian empire, nor was it feasible in light of Central Asia’s uncharacteristic stability at the time under 1Abdullah Khan.4 Akbar’s son Salim, who succeeded to the throne as Jahangir in 1605, revived his predecessors’ obsession with Central Asia, although his dreams remained dreams and were not put into action. Jahangir’s preoccupation with Central Asia is vividly illustrated in the account of a visitor from Samarqand, a certain Mutribi, whom the emperor took extraordinary pains to impress, continually showing him things and asking, ‘have you got anything like this in Central Asia?’ and speaking of famous Central Asians as of mutual acquaintances.5 Jahangir passed on his passion to his son Khurram, who on Jahangir’s death in 1627 became the emperor Shah Jahan, best known to the world as the man who commissioned the building of the Taj Mahal as a memorial to his wife, but more important to this discussion as the Mughal who at last tried to reconquer the ancestral homeland, which is referred to as ‘the cemetery of the great ancestors’.6 After false starts in 1639 and 1641, Shah Jahan finally put the century-old Mughal fantasy to work and launched an invasion of Central Asia in 1645, despite the fact the region could never have provided revenue to balance the cost of conquering it. The Mughal army did capture and hold Balkh for a year and a half, but was unable to penetrate further and ultimately abandoned the effort, withdrawing under humiliating circumstances in 1647. Yet even this disaster was not enough to put the Mughal dream to rest completely. Aurangzeb, Shah Jahan’s diligent third son whose regnal name was 1Alamgir, dethroned his father and locked him up in Agra fort within view of his masterpiece, the Taj, and went on to make a career of reversing the policies of his forefathers. Nevertheless he retained a sufficient sense of duty to pass on the obligation of reconquering Central Asia in a letter to his own son, Mu1azzam.7 On another occasion, hearing that Tamerlane’s tomb in Samarqand had fallen into disrepair, the emperor became extremely distraught, but could do no more than make a feeble attempt to undertake its annual maintenance.8 Despite their failure ever to reconquer their ancestral lands in Central

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Asia, the Mughals’ power, wealth, and achievements greatly exceeded that of their Uzbek rivals to the northwest. The source of the Mughals’ anxiety about Uzbek rule in Central Asia must, therefore, be sought on a more subtle level. A degree of denial can be detected in the Mughals’ official chronicles, which hint at the illusion that they were still somehow the true and legitimate masters of Central Asia but were content to let the Uzbeks ‘housesit’ for them there as long as order was maintained.9 The coup de grâce which the Uzbeks dealt the Herat-based Timurid Empire at the beginning of the 16th century had been a shattering psychological blow. It was first and foremost their lineal descent from Timur that gave Babur and his successors their legitimacy, both in their own eyes and in the eyes of others, although in the Central Asian context the Uzbek challenge even in this respect was disturbing since the latter traced their own genealogy back to Chinghis Khan himself. Babur was one of a number of Timur’s descendants who were struggling to hold on to the splintered remnants of the Timurid empire in Central Asia in the face of repeated Uzbek victories. He was the foremost of the very few Timurid princes successfully to retain a power base in the early 16th century (in Kabul), but his major achievements were in India, which two centuries earlier Timur had conquered briefly and then left, and not within the Timurid heartland – and even this didn’t come until near the end of Babur’s life. Yet although his wish was not to remain in India but rather to rule from Samarqand as Timur had, Babur’s legitimacy as an Indian ruler derived from his ancestor’s conquests there.10 This legitimacy became increasingly important for the Mughals after Babur’s death, as Humayun and his successors came to accept, to some degree at least, their role as Indian monarchs. But in a world where lineage was nearly everything, the Mughal descendants of Timur could not, ideologically speaking, abandon their paramount claim to Central Asia no matter how firmly established in India they became. Timur remained the prime role model and reference point for the achievements of the Mughal emperors. The Timur-nama and other such books are said to have been Humayun’s ‘real companions’ during his campaigns.11 At the time of his exile among the Safavids he drew an omen from a dervish’s gift of a boot that the time was ripe for him to reconquer India, ‘the foot of the world’, remembering how Tamerlane had divined from the breast of a sheep that it was his time to take Khorasan, ‘the breast of the world’.12 Abu2l-Fazl copiously quotes the 15th century historian Sharaf al-Din Yazdi who was Timur’s official biographer,13 and compares Akbar’s horoscope favorably to that of his illustrious ancestor, whom he calls ‘that brightener of the face of fortune’.14 He even goes so far as to say that Timur’s ‘holy existence was the forerunner of the perpetual dominion of his Majesty, the King of Kings (meaning Akbar)’,15 pointing out that

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while Timur had captured only 120 elephants in India, Akbar captured 1,500.16 Bada1uni mentions that on one occasion Akbar revived traditional Chaghatai dining hall customs for the visit of Prince Sulaiman, the Timurid ruler of Badakhshan, although he adds that they were discontinued again after the prince’s departure.17 More than a century later Aurangzeb was sententiously quoting anecdotes about Timur to his father, Shah Jahan, whom he had imprisoned. In his high-handed way, the usurping son claimed humility before God just as Timur had done after defeating the Ottoman Sultan Bayazid,18 and told his father, ‘I should disgrace the blood of the great Timur, our honored progenitor, if I did not seek to extend the bounds of my present territories’.19 Apart from carrying on the torch of Timurid triumph, however, the Mughals were also subtle perpetuators of numerous Mongol traditions, demonstrating the additional layer of their character as products of the pre-Islamic steppe world. The Humayun-nama mentions how after a hunt Prince Hindal offered his game to his elder brother Humayun, ‘following the rules (tura) of Chinghis Khan’.20 According to Bada1uni, writing in Akbar’s time, it was a Mughal law (again, tura) that ‘if the Emperor cast his eye with desire on any woman, the husband is bound to divorce her’.21 Jahangir is described as having performed obeisance and prostration when greeting his mother ‘according to the custom (tura) of Chinghis, the rules of Timur, and common usage’.22 And when Jahangir’s rebel son Khosrau is brought before him, the captive is led up to the emperor’s left side, ‘after the manner and custom (tura) of Chinghis Khan’.23 The late 16th century Portuguese traveler Montserrate describes how the Mughals maintained the Mongol arrangement of tents and pavilions in setting up the royal camp while on campaign.24 Akbar’s mansab ranking system was derived from a Mongol model,25 and the Mongol title ‘Tarkhan’, which offered privileges such as excusing the holder from mandatory attendance at court, was bestowed infrequently on favorites by the Mughal emperors.26 Under Timur a Tarkhan had free access to the palace, and criminal immunity for himself and his children up to nine offenses. The number ‘nine’ also held a special significance for the Mughals. For example, gifts made to the emperor had to be given nine at a time; so that the Turkish word for nine, tuqquz, came to mean ‘a gift’.27 The Mughals’ consciousness of their Timurid roots was perhaps most enduringly manifested in the architectural legacy they left. Anyone who has seen Tamerlane’s mausoleum, the Gur-i Amir, at Samarqand, Humayun’s tomb at Delhi and the Taj Mahal at Agra can see the connection. Lisa Golombek calls the latter two monuments ‘variations on the theme of the imperial mausoleum in a garden setting’, citing the two main characteristics of ‘monumentality and rationalism’ which Mughal tombs share with

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Timurid architecture. She points out that the Gur-i Amir ‘shares with the Taj Mahal a sense of majesty’ in addition to its double-dome which ‘no doubt inspired the double-domes of Mughal architecture’, and the perfection of the transverse vault which was ‘the key to all the major innovations of Timurid architecture’.28 John Hoag, citing examples such as the 1Ishrat-khana and the Bibi Khanum mosque at Samarqand, states in regard to the Taj Mahal that ‘the very building of such a lavish tomb to the memory of a woman is a Turkish, Central Asian custom rather than Indian’.29 The many conscious attempts by the Mughals to perpetuate Timurid traditions in India are supplemented by a general trend of maintaining an inflow of Central Asian influences throughout the 16th and 17th centuries. The Mughal army which conquered northern India in the first place was of course a Central Asian army, operating as such and built upon a network of loyalties inherited from the steppe tradition.30 Once established as patrons of a new empire, the Mughal rulers showed great favor to poets, musicians, artists, craftsmen, and religious figures from Central Asia, thereby further integrating and replenishing Central Asian elements of Indian Muslim culture which had existed in India since the time of the Ghaznavids.31 In particular, the Naqshbandi Sufi order came to India from Central Asia during Akbar’s reign, and established itself firmly on the subcontinent in the 17th century.32 In a more worldly vein, one of the most enduring attachments felt by the Mughals was for Central Asian fruits. The 1Ain-i Akbari, Abu2l-Fazl’s exhaustive gazetteer of the Mughal Empire under Akbar, begins its fruit section by listing Central Asian varieties, including their seasons and prices.33 Akbar tried to have Turani melons and grapes cultivated in India,34 but in Jahangir’s time the demand for the real thing had only increased, and Samarqand apples were brought down every year by special runners, called dakchoki.35 The French traveler François Bernier, who was attached for some time to the court of Aurangzeb, mentions an Uzbek embassy which brought apples, pears, grapes, and melons. Among the other produce Bernier mentions are Bukhara prunes, apricots, and pitted raisins.36 The Venetian Niccolao Manucci calls Bukhara plums ‘the best in the world’.37 Thus Stephen Dale may not be stretching things too far when he suggests the politicization of fruit in the case of the Mughals, asserting that their ‘nostalgic taste for melons, dried apricots and almonds echoed their political irredentism for Timurid homelands in Turan’.38 Another preference the Mughals held was for Central Asian falcons, hawks and pigeons. The 1Ain states that Hajji 1Ali Samarqandi’s pigeon stock was famous in India.39 In 1638 Nazr Muhammad honored Shah Jahan by sending his huntmaster along with an official embassy.40 Indeed, among

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Uzbek missions to Mughal India in the 17th century, which brought everything from Bactrian camels to lapis lazuli, the most common gift appears to have been birds.41 The Mughals, in exchange, sent or bestowed gifts of money, textiles, gemstones such as diamonds, gold, and occasionally elephants.42 The Mughals looked back along the trade route to Central Asia not only for reminders of the homeland they longed to regain, but more practically as the source for so-called Turki horses, the high-endurance mounts which had formed the backbone of many a successful Turko–Mongol cavalry. This was in fact Central Asia’s number one export item to Mughal India, amounting to as many as 100,000 horses per year.43 Throughout the nearly two centuries during which the Mughals dominated the Indian subcontinent, they never ceased to be mindful of their Central Asian origins or to foster the Central Asian elements of Indian Muslim culture, a culture which owes Babur and his descendants a great debt. It may be worthwhile, however, to consider a little-remarked aspect of the Mughal character: the frustration of exile. Jahangir’s need to impress a visitor from Samarqand, Shah Jahan’s costly obsession with conquering territory that could not but drain the royal treasury, Aurangzeb’s hand-wringing at hearing of the Gur-i Amir’s decrepit state – these are all psychological issues. They hint at an underlying insecurity, not the familiar storybook insecurity of a ruler fearing for his possessions, but rather the restless discomfort of one who has gained power and wealth beyond anyone’s dreams but lost a fundamental part of himself in the process. The Mughals came to India as foreigners, and remained foreigners there in many ways. Seen in this light, their insatiable hunger for Central Asian goods, people and ideas appears as a manifestation of an unabating nostalgia for their lost homeland. What a strange shadow of failure this casts on the radiant successes of the Mughals in India! When all is said and done, however, it is a shadow and nothing more. The Mughal legacy is one of the grandest and most encompassing that the world has ever known. But it is not without a certain poignancy that this was a legacy built up in exile, nor is it without a certain irony that only now, centuries later, is the homeland attempting to claim it back. Notes 1 The term ‘Mughal’, a Persian corruption of ‘Mongol’, applied to the greatest Muslim dynasty to rule India is a misnomer. Central Asian sources refer to Babur and his successors as ‘the Chaghatais’, while the preference in post-Soviet Uzbekistan is for the term ‘Baburid’. The modern attempt to assert a generalized ‘Uzbek’ identity for the inhabitants of Mavarannahr arose from Soviet policy.

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2 Zahir al-Din Muhammad Babur, The Babur-nama, tr. W.M. Thackston Jr., Washington and New York, 1996. See R. Foltz, ‘The Mughal Occupation of Balkh,’ Journal of Islamic Studies 7, no. 1 (1996), pp. 49–61, and Idem., Central Asia and Mughal India, Karachi (forthcoming). 3 Gulbadan Begum, Humayun-nama, tr. A.S. Beveridge, reprint Delhi, 1972, p. 191. 4 Abu2l-Fazl 1Allami, Akbar-nama, tr. H. Beveridge, 3 vols., reprint New Delhi, 1977, III, p. 296. 5 Mutribi al-Asamm Samarqandi, Khatirat, ed. A.G. Mirzoev, Karachi, 1977. For Jahangir’s declaration of intent towards Central Asia see Tuzuk-i Jahangiri, tr. A. Rogers and H. Beveridge, Calcutta 1909–14, I, p. 89. 6 Hasan Khan Shamlu, Khatirat, ed. R. Islam, Karachi, 1971, ff. 77b, 80b–81b. 7 Ruqcat-i 1Alamgiri, tr. J.H. Bilimoria, Delhi, 1972, pp. 3–4. 8 Muhammad Hadi Samarqandi, Muzakkir-i ashab, Institute of Oriental Studies of the Uzbekistan Academy of Sciences, ms. no. 4270, f. 297b. 9 The Shah Jahan-nama calls Nazr Muhammad’s march on Kabul following Jahangir’s death ‘rebellious’, reflecting his notions of Mughal suzerainty. (cInayat Khan, Shah Jahan-nama, tr. A.R. Fuller, ed., W.E. Begley and Z.A. Desai, Delhi, 1990, p. 23) Thus the invasion of 1645 was portrayed by the Mughal sources simply as a ‘peacekeeping’ mission (See Foltz, ‘Mughal Occupation’). In 1662 Aurangzeb, sending home an embassy from the Uzbek ruler Subhan Quli khan, presented the ambassadors with robes which, unbeknownst to them, were given only to subjects (Niccolao Manucci, Storia do Mogor, tr. W. Erskine, 4 vols., Calcutta, 1907, II, p. 39). 10 The famous calligrapher Mir 1Ali, in an ode to the founder of the Mughal dynasty in India, rhymes ‘Babur’ with ‘Timur’ (Qazi Ahmad Qomi, Gulistan-i hunar, tr. V. Minorsky, Washington, 1959, pp. 128–9). 11 Akbar-nama, I, pp. 309–10. 12 Akbar-nama, I, pp. 612–3. 13 Akbar-nama, I, p. 79. 14 Akbar-nama, II, p. 314. 15 Akbar-nama, I, p. 200. 16 Akbar-nama, II, p. 69. 17 1Abd al-Qadir Badacuni, Muntakhab al-Tawarikh, tr. G.A. Ranking, W.M. Lowe, and W. Haig, 3 vols., Calcutta, 1898–1927, II, p. 220. 18 F. Bernier, Travels in the Mogul Empire, tr. Brock, rev. Constable, reprint Lahore, 1976, p. 167. Tamerlane is purported to have told the defeated Ottoman, ‘What can there be within the circle of a crown which ought to inspire kings with inordinate self-esteem, since Heaven bestows the bauble on such ill-fated mortals?’ 19 Bernier, Travels, p. 168. One assumes from this that Shah Jahan had been urging his son to renew the attempt to reconquer Central Asia, since Aurangzeb is defending here his campaigns in Bengal and the Deccan. 20 Humayun-nama, p. 197. 21 Muntakhab al-Tawarikh, II, p. 59. 22 Tuzuk-i Jahangiri, I, p. 76. 23 Tuzuk-i Jahangiri, I, p. 68. 24 Cited in J.F. Richards, The Mughal Empire, Cambridge, 1993, p. 42. 25 Richards, Mughal Empire, p. 24.

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26 See G. Doerfer, Türkische und mongolische Elemente im Neupersischen, 4 vols., Wiesbaden, 1963–75, no. 879. 27 Likewise, the Khwarazmian Uzbek Abu2l-Ghazi divided his Shajara-i Turk into nine chapters, because ‘wise men have said: “Nothing must exceed the number nine.”’ (Abu2l-Ghazi, Shajara-i Turk, tr. P.I. Desmaisons, St. Petersburg, 1874, p. 4). To cite a Mongol precedent, young Genghis Khan, giving thanks to the mountain Burkhan Khaldun for sheltering him from his Merkit enemies, knelt nine times facing the sun (F.W. Cleaves, tr., The Secret History of the Mongols, Cambridge MA, 1982, p. 37). 28 L. Golombek, ‘From Tamerlane to Taj Mahal,’ in A. Daneshvari, ed., Essays in Islamic Art and Architecture, Malibu CA, 1981, pp. 43–45. 29 J. Hoag, ‘The Tomb of Ulugh Beg and Abdu Razzaq at Ghazni,’ Journal for the Society of Architectural Historians 27, no. 4 (1968), p. 246. 30 See R. Foltz, ‘Central Asians in the Administration of Mughal India,’ Journal of Asian History 31, no. 2 (1997). 31 See R. Foltz, ‘Cultural Connections Between Central Asia and Mughal India,’ Central Asiatic Journal 41, no. 2 (1997). 32 See R. Foltz, ‘The Central Asian Naqshbandi Connections of the Mughal Emperors,’ Journal of Islamic Studies 7, no. 2 (1996), pp. 229–39. 33 Abu2l-Fazl 1Allami, 1Ain-i Akbari, tr. H. Blochmann and H.S. Jarrett, 3 vols., Calcutta, 1877–96, I, p. 65. 34 ‘Skilled hands from Turkestan under His Majesty’s patronage, sowed melons and planted vines, and traders began to introduce in security the fruits of those countries...’ (1Ain-i Akbari, III, p. 10). 35 Tuzuk-i Jahangiri, II, p. 101. 36 Bernier, Travels, p. 118. 37 Manucci, Storia, II, p. 34. He mentions among the list of gifts brought by Subhan Quli Khan’s mission of 1661–62 one hundred camel-loads of fresh fruit from Central Asia. 38 S. Dale, Indian Merchants and Eurasian Trade, Cambridge, 1994, p. 22. 39 1Ain-i Akbari, I, p. 301. 40 Shah Jahan-nama, p. 244. 41 Tuzuk-i Jahangiri, II, p. 10; Shah Jahan-nama, pp. 148, 536. According to Manucci, Subhan Quli’s 1661-62 mission brought lapis boxes filled with musk, zadwar (an expensive medicinal root), skink (Ar. saqanqur – an aphrodisiac), eighty Bactrian camels, eighty Turki horses, and one special horse with amazing speed and endurance, in addition to the loads of fruit mentioned above (Manucci, Storia, II, pp. 33–4). 42 A. Vambéry, History of Bukhara, London, 1873, p. 315; Shah Jahan-nama, p. 154; Mustacid Khan, Ma2asir-i 1Alamgiri, tr. J.N. Sarkar, Calcutta, 1947, p. 241. 43 Bernier, Travels, p. 203; Manucci, Storia, II, p. 391.

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Russian Slaves in Seventeenth-Century Bukhara AUDREY BURTON

The slave trade flourished in the town of Bukhara in the 16th and 17th centuries. It was still quite lively in the 18th and 19th centuries, and even as late as 1873, although the amir had assured Russia that it had long ceased to exist. The true facts were established by the American consul general in St Petersburg, Eugene Schuyler, when he travelled to Bukhara in 1873, but it took much ingenuity and not a little scheming before he could obtain a slave, for the authorities put every possible difficulty in his way. He was told that the Iranian boy of 15 whom he had purchased had run away, that he had been taken away by his master and finally that no one knew anything about the matter. Schuyler later managed, by devious means, to buy another Iranian boy aged 7, but this time he kept the purchase secret until he was ready to leave Bukhara. He then showed the boy to the market supervisor (toksaba), who was furious and who vented his anger on the slave trader. Fearful for his life, the man hurried after Schuyler. He caught up with him 6 miles outside Bukhara, offered him the ransom money and asked for the boy, but Schuyler refused, so he tried to seize him by force. Schuyler, however, got away safely. When he reached Samarqand he showed the child to the Russian authorities. As a result a clause specifically decreeing the abolition of slavery was included in the peace treaty of 1873 which the amir was made to sign later that year.1 But what about the Russian slaves? Some information is available about the slave population of the khanate in the 16th century, and it included Russians, as well as Afghans, Indians and Qalmaq who were employed locally.2 Anthony Jenkinson, who went to investigate the trading potential of Bukhara on behalf of the Muscovy Company in 1558, mentions that slaves from ‘diverse countries’ were exported to India and Iran,3 and he himself took back twenty-five Russian slaves to Moscow. He does not say how he found them or what they might have cost him to ransom, but he mentions that they ‘had bene slaves a long time in Tartaria, nor ever had before (his) comming, libertie, or meanes to get home’ and that during the return journey across the Caspian they helped to ‘rowe when neede was’.4 Later that century, at least two Russian slaves of middling height and aged about 60 and 70 were freed by their masters in Bukhara ‘for the sake of 345

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Allah, to please him’ and ‘to free (at least the soul of one of their masters) from torment’. Distinguishing features listed in their manumission documents of 1589 and 1590 were ‘good limbs’ and red hair in the case of 60-year-old Yusuf (Joseph), ‘good limbs’ and ‘a white face with undergrown eyebrows’ in the case of 70-year-old Aq Qiz. Her name suggests that she could have been an albino, but it is possible that she was simply named after her owner Agha Biche.5 We have no description of the numerous Russian slaves who were held in the khanate of Bukhara during the 17th century. However, we have the names of about 100 who went back to Muscovy, and also some information about the events that led to their enslavement. In the majority of cases these men, women and children had been captured by the Noghays or Bashkirs while they were travelling, working in the fields, or fishing. A large number were taken from within their own towns or villages and in some cases it seems that entire villages might have been destroyed. Very few of them were prisoners, taken during, or after a battle involving the Bashkirs, the Cossacks or the Qazaqs.6 Whatever the circumstances leading to their capture, the slaves were then dispersed among the various nomadic encampments until an opportunity arose for them to be sold. They reached Bukhara or Balkh either directly, being delivered there by their captors, or indirectly, having first been sold to a Khivan master. In the case of the peasant Martynko Yermolaev who was captured by the Crimean Tatars, for example, his original purchaser only kept him five days before selling him off to a Bukharan.7 The slave marts of all three towns were particularly active. Bukharan merchants were always ready to buy slaves on their way back from Muscovy, as for example in 1607 when they called at the Noghays’ encampments. Khivan merchants made a point of visiting the various nomads’ encampments for this purpose and they were prepared to wait as long as was necessary for fresh ‘supplies’ of slaves to arrive.8 Some of the captives had changed masters repeatedly, such as the soldier Medvedev who was captured in turn by the Bashkirs, the ‘Kirghiz’ (i.e. the Qazaqs) and the Qalmaq before he was sold to Bukhara. A remarkable story was that of Petrushka Trenogin who was captured by the Qalmaq, sold to Khiva, re-sold to Bukhara, and then presented by 1Abd al-1Aziz Khan to the Mughal Emperor by 1Abd al-1Aziz. When he was released by Aurangzib nine years later, Trenogin returned voluntarily to Bukhara. There he ransomed and married a woman from Kazan’. And he eventually got back to Muscovy via Khiva, travelling with his wife in the suite of the Khivan envoy to Moscow.9 Little is known about the treatment of slaves or their conditions of life at the time, beyond general complaints that they were ‘living in torment, putting up with torture, dying of hunger and merciless treatment’, and a

Russian Slaves in 17th-Century Bukhara

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suggestion that they were forced to convert.10 However, Muscovites were permitted to marry and to have children, and it was possible for more than one member of a family to be set free at the same time, except in one case when a woman’s unmarried daughter was kept behind by her master, no doubt because she had taken his fancy.11 In 19th century Bukhara Meyendorff found that an attractive woman fetched an even better price than an experienced craftsman!12 A little more information is avail