Despite Cultures

Early Soviet Rule in Tajikistan

The publication of any new study on Central Asian history is cause for celebration among Central Asian scholars, but when Botakoz Kassymbekova's Despite Cultures came out, the excitement was justifiably doubled, for it is a significant contribution to the growing body of literature on the Central Asian region.
The Russian Review

Despite Cultures examines the strategies and realities of the Soviet state-building project in Tajikistan during the 1920s and 1930s. Based on extensive archival research, Botakoz Kassymbekova analyzes the tactics of Soviet officials at the center and periphery that produced, imitated, and improvised governance in this Soviet southern borderland and in Central Asia more generally. She shows how the tools of violence, intimidation, and coercion were employed by Muslim and European Soviet officials alike to implement Soviet versions of modernization and industrialization. In a region marked by ethnic, linguistic, and cultural diversity, the Soviet plan was to recognize these differences while subsuming them within the conglomerate of official Soviet culture. As Kassymbekova reveals, the local ruling system was built upon an intricate network of individuals, whose stated loyalty to communism was monitored through a chain of command that stretched from Moscow through Tashkent to Dushanbe/Stalinabad. The system was tenuously based on individual leaders who struggled to decipher the language of Bolshevism and maintain power through violent repression.

296 Pages, 6 x 9 in.

October, 2016

isbn : 9780822964193

about the author

Botakoz Kassymbekova

Botakoz Kassymbekova is a scholar at the Forum Transregionale Studien Berlin.

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Botakoz Kassymbekova