Uzbekistan and russias complex relationship between humans


Moreover, Uzbekistan's relationship with Russia at that time was complicated by their Karimov's foray into a new relationship with Putin's Russia was followed by a She was very critical of the Uzbek government's poor human rights record. The death of Uzbekistan's year-old president Islam Karimov will result in of Uzbek President Islam Karimov, the man who had ruled Central Asia's site of multi-functional residential complex Baltiyskaya Zhemchuzhina. It will be difficult for Uzbekistan's new president to bring about foundational been weighed down by the complicated personal relationship between Karimov The future of Russian-Uzbek relations is not so cut and dried.

Vladimir Putin pays tribute to Karimov. Uzbeks themselves seem amenable: But accession would demand that Uzbekistan liberalise its onerous customs regime. Uzbek officials are nervously following reports of activity by militant groups in northern Afghanistan.

Russia–Uzbekistan relations

But Tashkent is suspicious of Russian offers of military assistance. Uzbek security forces are ubiquitous and relatively competent; they should have little need for Russian backup except in extreme circumstances. Some big state-run projects have been successful: China has been making inroads in Uzbekistan for years. US diplomats have little scope to offer financial aid, and have few if any political channels into the elite.

Washington wants to maintain a partnership on Afghanistan through diplomatic engagement and some limited security assistance, but whoever takes control in Tashkent will be wary of appearing too close to them. The most likely outcome is an updated version of the status quo. This study will demonstrate that the answer is no.

There is much to be learned about these problems from afar. One potentially rich source of information on the subject is the prose and poetry of contemporary Uzbek writers. The information in belles-lettres literature is, moreover, greatly enhanced when it is supported with such additional materials as literary criticism and historical accounts. There are certain topics which are tabu in modern Soviet poetry and prose fiction just as they are in any other types of literatures published in the USSR.

Among them are currently existing antagonisms among Soviet peoples — especially between Russians on the one hand and non- Russians on the other. Nevertheless, the particular emphasis or images in writing can be revealing.

In the body of this study I will attempt to outline some of the issues relating to ethnic feelings which have appeared in Soviet Uzbek literature during recent years. In order to understand them better, a few trends in Soviet Uzbek history will first be sketched. Following this introduction, I will present a brief outline of the recent rehabilitations of Uzbek political and literary figures who were condemned and most of whom died in the late 's. This is necessary because it directly relates to one of the most sensitive issues which has been raised in recent literature: What happened in the 's and why was the older generation of the Uzbek intelligentsia destroyed and replaced with a more compliant group?

After this I will give examples of the great pride which Uzbek literature has exhibited in 1 native arts and music; 2 the Uzbek homeland and its natural beauty; 3 Uzbek or Central Asian historical figures.

Certain characters in recent Uzbek fiction have represented the "russified Uzbek. Next I will examine the interpretation which some Uzbek writers have given to the development of a "Soviet people" and "Soviet culture. It is important to keep in mind that censorship limitations on literature appearing exclusively in Uzbek are not necessarily less severe than those on literature appearing simultaneously in Uzbek and Russian or in Russian alone. There are, of course, few Russians who have mastered the Uzbek language to the extent necessary to censor literature effectively, especially belles-lettres literature.

However, there are many Uzbeks who are more vigilant in censorship demands than most Russians. As one Uzbek scholar in a rare moment of frankness informed me when I was in Tashkent, "In America they say that the Russians have russified our culture; that's not true; it was done by certain Uzbeks.

For example, the selected works of Fayzulla Khojaev Chairman of the Uzbek Council of Peoples' Commissars who was liquidated during the show trials of the 's were printed first in Russian, and only later in Uzbek. Certain information about the Uzbek nationalist writer and political figure Fitrat who also died in the late 's has appeared in recent years only in Russian.

In certain cases it is safer to allow Russian authors to undertake the work of rehabilitation; they are invulnerable to charges of Uzbek bourgeois nationalism, Pan-Turkic leanings or Pan-Islamic tendencies. Given this state of affairs, why is it important to investigate Uzbek language literature? First of au, there are certain Uzbek novelists, dramatists, poets, literary scholars and historians who appear to circumvent censorship controls to a limited extent particularly in periodical publications.

This is in some instances thanks to a prestigious editor who is able to insist on allowing certain controversial articles, names, or words to appear.

Looking at Uzbek-language materials along with Russian works provides a much better understanding of what Uzbeks are reading. Russian translations of Uzbek literature are not always faithful or complete.

When Uzbek novels are translated into Russian, for example, certain sections may be deleted for various reasons. Moreover, given the politically-charged environment in which debates over the Uzbek language's vocabulary have taken place and continue to take placean author's choice between alternative Uzbek synonyms e. All Uzbek writers including those who succeed in introducing themes which might be labeled "bourgeois nationalist" by the more pro- Russian writers include a certain selection of the required themes in their works.

Among these are the improvement of life in Soviet Central Asia since the revolution, the progressive nature of the Russian conquest of Turkestan, the hero figure of Lenin, and friendship of peoples of the USSR; at least occasional approving bows are required to the "progressive" nature of atheistic thought, the new role of women in contemporary Uzbek society and the inevitability of world communism. If this is the case, it might be assumed that the only authors allowed to have their works printed are those with no national pride.

One must remember, however, that these are obligatory for any author who wishes his or her works to be published in the USSR. After making the required obeisance, many authors impart a contradictory message in their writing.

Vera Dunham, in her work on Soviet Russian literature, advises special attention to details which may be more important than tens of pages of otherwise hackneyed prose. The territory which today comprises the third most populous republic in the USSR then belonged to three entities — the Bukharan emirate, the Khivan khanate and Russian Turkestan.

The people living in what later became the Uzbek SSR spoke a number of Turkic and Tajik dialects the latter particularly in certain urban areas and territory which today is in the Tajik SSR ; only about two percent of them could read and write. Few of these people had contact with the world beyond the immediate area where they lived. They considered themselves Moslems, members of a particular tribe, or residents of a small geographic area.

There was no developed sense of Uzbek identity. For the first several years after the October Revolution, the official division of western Turkestan already existing continued without change, although the Bukharan emirate and the Khivan khanate were in some ways gradually integrated with the Turkestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, which was already under more direct rule from Moscow.

At the end ofa national delimitation took place and the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic was born.

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Europeans, particularly Russians, and Tatars who lived in Uzbekistan therefore were very prominent in all modern spheres of public life. It became clear to Moscow soon after the revolution that it would be necessary to form an alliance with some of the native Central Asian intelligentsia in order to establish and maintain Soviet power in the region.

Moreover, a small number of educated natives who looked to the West for the science and technology they felt were necessary to improve the life of their people were receptive to help from Moscow.

The goals of the two partners in the alliance were not identical, but to the reform-minded jadid4 intelligentsia, the Russian support was valuable in overcoming opposition to change by the traditionally powerful religious leaders. After the establishment of the Uzbek Republic, many of the more radical reform-minded intelligentsia occupied prominent positions in the Uzbek government and Party. A number of these same men were also well-known native writers.

There was a joint effort by the government in Moscow and the top native intelligentsia to recruit Uzbeks and other natives into intermediate level positions at the end of the 's and beginning of the 's; this campaign known as korenizatsiia [nativi- zation]however, failed, because the policies it dictated contradicted economic and certain other political goals.

The 's was a decade of considerable literary activity in Uzbekistan. Especially in the years before the national delimitation, literature critical of the Soviet government and containing various sorts of nationalist sentiment could be printed. Many of the most talented literati stopped writing entirely or else wrote within new restrictions placed by Moscow.

With abandonment of korenizatsiia policies after came the admission that Europeans would continue to run a colonial-like administration in Central Asia for the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, until the purges ofthere were certain natives, former members of the left wing of the reform-minded intelligentsia, who continued to exert some influence.

The purges, however, almost entirely obliterated the generation of older Uzbek intelligentsia and replaced it with more compliant, generally poorly-educated natives. The importance of this period for the present study lies in the following: Uzbeks were told of the wonders of Pushkin's poetry; Russian words penetrated the Uzbek literary language at an accelerated rate; the Cyrillic alphabet was adopted to write Uzbek in Whereas during korenizatsiia there had been a government policy to provide equal opportunity to the native population even in such areas as higher education, after it was clear that any native who wanted to advance in the modern Uzbekistan needed to learn Russian and adopt Russian ways.

The spirit of these times can perhaps best be demonstrated in the following: Likewise, page two of the book had an illustration showing a teacher in a classroom of Uzbek children; all were wearing doppi. The edition of the book was almost identical to the one of ; the illustrations were the same except for the removal of the doppi both from the teacher's head and from the heads of the students.

We will use this event to characterize two types of Uzbeks throughout the rest of this study — those with hats and those without them. The "hatless" Uzbeks were those who were willing to adopt "international" ways and to learn Russian in order to enjoy upward mobility; many prominent Uzbeks who "held onto their hats" in the late 's were executed. Others quietly sat in the background and watched their russified fellow-Uzbeks climb to at least apparent positions of authority.

A second reason that the 's and I93o's are important to this study is that the treatment of this period in belles-lettres literature, in histories of literature and in general historical accounts is itself very significant.

Those who lost their lives during the final phase of the purges of the 's including those among them who had lost their prestige and influence a decade or so before were condemned for their bourgeois nationalism.

During the 's and early 's there were no writers who dared to compose favorable accounts about the works of the "lost generation," or who expressed sentiments which reflected nationalist feelings.

In the present study I will demonstrate that the limits since have broadened and expression of national feelings is now somewhat more tolerated. Now there does exist a cadre of qualified Uzbeks — a cadre about whom the native writers and political figures of the 's could think about only in distant terms.

The end of korenizatsiia postponed the arrival of a generation of Uzbeks who were competent professors, researchers, technicians, administrators, doctors, etc. Beginning in about and for more than two decades the alternatives were 1 become like Russian and modernize or 2 stay Uzbek and backward. Now there is a basis which to a greater extent allows modernization and mobility to Uzbeks who do not wish to become "Russians.

Those Uzbek writers who began to assert pride in their own people and own traditions in the late 's are, in a sense, the successors to the "lost generation" four decades ago. The vindication of Uzbek martyrs The conditions in which certain Uzbek writers once again began to express national pride in their works were created by Stalin's death and Khrushchev's subsequent "secret speech" at the twentieth congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

Among the first signs of change were the rehabilitation of certain Uzbek writers and political figures who had been prominent in the 's and 's but whose names had been almost unmentionable since. One of these writers, Abdulla Oadiriy, subsequently became very popular and his works are printed in large editions.

Others, such as Abdurauf Fitrat, Batu and Cholpan, who disappeared and probably were executed for their sins of nationalism inhave been cautiously rehabilitated, but almost none of their works have been printed. This has also paralleled the rehabilitation of Akmal Ikramov and Fayzulla Khojaev, the two most prominent political figures in Uzbekistan up until These two rehabilitations occupy a central role in the expression of national feeling in Uzbekistan for several reasons.

At the show trials in the 's, bourgeois nationalism and the attempt to use the help of the imperialists to separate Uzbekistan from the USSR were major accusations hurled at Ikramov, Khojaev and the cadre they had promoted. They indicate an unmistakable pride in these Uzbek communists who now stand as great men of the revolutionary era. Scholarly Soviet histories of the Uzbek Republic now contain detailed information about Ikramov and Khojaev; the history textbooks used in Uzbek schools likewise attribute important roles in Uzbek history to these men and include pictures of them.

A Russian-language three volume set of selected works of each of these leaders was printed in the 's. Only Khojaev's have also been made available in Uzbek, and those only after the appearance of the Russian edition. At least two short biographies of Khojaev have been published.

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Moreover, the names Fayzulla Khojaev and Akmal Ikramov have been given to many institutions. One of the raiony in Tashkent newly created by the division of a larger raiori bears the name A.

Ikramov, and in Bukhara oblast' there is F. The museum of history in Samarkand is named for Ikramov. A teacher training school in Bukhara is named for Khojaev; in it are proudly displayed pictures of the leader; a bust of him which was shown to.

The literature surveyed for this study did not contain any fictionalized accounts of the lives of these two men in which they were portrayed as heroes. An article about a recent play by the well-known Uzbek dramatist Kamil Yashin, however, implies that Fayzulla Khojaev is depicted as a great leader in the reviewed work.

This play won the first prize at an Uzbek Republic drama competition. Yet even from the small sample of literature I have investigated, it is clear that the question "what happened? Ikramov's and Khojaev's demise, while they are the most well-known cases, are merely symbolic of the purges which destroyed so many other lives. The setting of most of the novel is the war period in Uzbekistan. In one scene the boy's mother is forced to explain to her son that his father was a good man and not a scoundrel as the local Party secretary claims.

This same secretary who at the time the action takes place still wields much power in the village was the same man who demanded that the boy's father turn in his Party card.

Nearing the end of the story, as she is telling her son about his father, mother says, the "So you see, my child, your father never was a traitor. He was a faithful soldier of the revolution [. Perhaps the present controls on literature in Uzbekistan would not allow such a portrayal even if Yaqubov had wanted to place the blame on this character more immediately. Nevertheless, the blame is indirectly put on the shoulders of "provocateurs;" the boy's father dies when talking with a friend shortly after a Party meeting.

The rehabilitation of those who died or were killed in the purges — whether prominent writers, political leaders or simple Party members — is sensitive in great measure because of the accusation of nationalism which was made against these individuals. However, the rehabilitation of those who survived the 's and are or were still alive in the 's and 's is in some ways more sensitive and therefore an even more difficult problem to approach. This is because 1 those who rose quickly in the late 's and 's were the "hatless Uzbeks" and 2 many who were severely criticized and barely survived were Uzbeks who refused to change their attitudes to conform with the political climate; they were forced to sit on the sidelines while their "hatless" colleagues enjoyed rapid upward mobility.

Even in the 's and 's many of the russified Uzbeks along with Europeans who rose after the purges maintained a hold on the higher positions in various fields, while their less compliant and in some cases perhaps genuinely less talented colleagues remained in the less important positions. This pattern is familiar to any member of the Uzbek intelligentsia. Because of this, the question of how some of the powerful individuals in various organizations, ministries, educational and research institutions gained their positions still touches a very sensitive nerve.

Adil Yaqubov addresses this problem in his novel Diyanat,11 set in the early 's. One of the major figures in this work, Namurad Shamu- radov, is an irrigation specialist born shortly before the turn of the century. Throughout the book Shamuradov's insistence on principle is contrasted to the opportunism of his long-time enemy and rival, Vahid Mirabidov.

The reader is told that in one of the years just prior to World War II, Shamuradov was accused as an enemy of the people. His "crime" had been proposing bringing the lands of Mirzachol under cultivation. Mirabidov, a student at the time, took advantage of the political climate and wrote an article accusing Shamuradov of this offence.

Following the war, despite the vindication of cultivation of lands in Mirzachol, Mirabidov became a powerful professor with good personal connections in the republican ministries. Shamuradov, although permitted to write articles again and his reputation somewhat restored, never achieved the prestige or power of Mirabidov. Consequently, even in the 's, Mirabidov in contrast to Shamuradov enjoys the privileges he gained because of his opportunism.

The awkwardness of explaining how it happened that many declared enemies of the people were patriotic Soviet citizens who stood up for what they believed was right and, moreover, that these "enemies" often were right!

A particularly telling scene is one in which Shamuradov explains some of the circumstances surrounding the accusations made against him in the thirties to the recently-arrived new raion Party secretary, Abrar Shukurov; unknown to Shamuradov during this conversation, it was Shukurov's own father-in-law Mirabidov who concocted the charge of "enemy" over three decades before: That's very good, very good. Where have you worked in the past?

Then in the Qarshi steppe. I want to tell you that when I was there I read your book about Mirzachol. One thing really surprised me. The thing is that if that Decree had not been found I would really have been in terrible straits. But go leaf through the newspapers of the late thirties.

You'll find articles pointed at me like bared daggers'. At his grandson's dissertation defence, Shamuradov argues with Mirabidov about the advisability of diverting water from the Ob River to Central Asia. Shamuradov is concerned that the water may leave harmful quantities of mineral deposits in the soil if it comes to Uzbekistan.

As part of his argument, he points to the United States which prohibits the use in irrigation of water which contains excessive quantities of minerals.

Why should we now carry out our work looking to the West? Since when has the West been an example for us? But at this moment the bitter laughter of someone sitting in the back was heard: Science cannot be separated from politics. Namurad Shamuradov should have known that both our economy and our scientific research are based on entirely different principles' [from theirs].

In Uzbekistan, however, this familiar story has an unmistakable ethnic element. That Yaqubov is aware of it is clear from his portrayal of Shamuradov and Mirabidov.

Shamuradov is an Uzbek who has not turned his back on his own people. He is neither ignorant of the Islamic past of Central Asia nor ashamed of it. He studied in a medresseh Islamic religious school and is well versed in Arabic and Persian.

His extensive library includes many volumes about history and philosophy which are written in Uzbek in the Arabic alphabet. He is struck with a heart attack which proves fatal, although not immediately as he scolds young teachers who are interested only in material well-being and who are disrespectful to his books.

Even on his death bed his rare books are a primary concern of his. He dictates a letter shortly before he dies: As you know, I, as a scholar who has been conducting research for many years, have managed to collect a small library on science, philosophy and particularly literature and art. You are aware that I have given this library of mine of almost ten thousand volumes to the secondary school of Lenin's Way Collective Farm. The first reason for sending this note to you is to request that my library which I have collected over my lifetime not be entrusted to the first person who comes along; rather, it should be given to one who knows the value of books and has a thirst for science and literature so that the younger generation will enjoy use of these rare works.

Soon after the death of his wife he moves permanently to the country. Shamuradov is intolerant of those who preach religion, yet he is not anti-religious. He is not merely stubbornly opposed to the project, but insists that the potential effects on the soil be thoroughly investigated before anything is undertaken lest irreparable harm be done to Uzbek land. Mirabidov, on the other hand, is depicted as a man who is willing to sacrifice his homeland for personal gain and expediency.

He is unconcerned with potential environmental damage. Moreover, unlike Shamuradov, he apparently knows little about the Islamic past and is most at home in the "international environment" of Tashkent. Mira- bidov's dishonesty and opportunism lead him to attempt to have himself nominated for an award. He even enlists Shamuradov's nephew's aid in this. His attitude toward the village is unlike Shamuradov's: Without the information provided by Adil Yaqubov about the history of the relationship between Mirabidov and Shamuradov as well as their attitudes toward Uzbek land and culture, the characters might simply seem the respective personifications of hard work plus honesty and opportunism plus dishonesty.

Given the fact that all of this information is given and that the types are well-known to the educated Uzbek, however, the events are an indictment of the russified opportunist Uzbek who advanced by taking off his hat and obeying in the 's and io,4o's.

On the surface it may even appear that no significant changes in ideology have occurred since the heavy- handed russification of the 's. Indeed, just as at present, in the 's it was claimed that the creation of an international or socialist, cross-national or Soviet homogeneous culture was a natural successor to the flowering of the many individual national cultures. The new culture was supposed to inherit the best elements of each of the national cultures.

This superficial similarity of jargon, however, masks fundamental changes which have taken place over the past few decades. In the late 's it was predicted that the new international culture would be formed in the near future; in the area of language, for example, it was claimed that a new language would soon replace the many national languages.

This new language would inherit the riches of all other languages; judging from the evidence given of the formation of this new language, it would closely resemble Russian. The "internationalization" russification of the vocabularies of the languages of the peoples of the USSR and the adoption of the Cyrillic alphabet at the end of the 's by many of these languages are evidence of this.

Unlike the harsh russification of the 's which could be illustrated with many more examples such as the "disappearing hats"in the 's and I97o's much more room has been allowed for different interpretations of this "flowering" of socialist nations. The protracted nature of the socialist national development and its immunity to artificial acceleration mean that such national customs as wearing doppi are not in contradiction to the formation of a Soviet culture, but are simply part of the process.

It is no longer easy to distinguish what constitutes legitimate concern about one's own particular national culture from "unhealthy" preoccupation with separateness or individual nations. In this environment it is much easier for "national" patriots to encourage study of such subjects as national musical traditions, literary forms, crafts, and language.

Let us now look at how certain aspects of national culture have been treated in recent Uzbek literature. Some form of expression of pride in Uzbekistan — its history, art, music, natural beauty or other aspects — is at the center of much recent Uzbek writing.

It is striking that at a time when many ethnic minorities in the United States have begun to search for their "roots," an Uzbek writer has chosen the same image to express similar feelings. Pirimqul Oadirov entitled one of essays, "The plane tree's roots. Oadirov looks at the plane's roots which "embrace the heart of the mother soil;" if the earth underneath is not solid or if there are holes in it, the roots may not be able to support the trunk and leaves during a big storm.

Such men grow strong spiritual roots into the life of their people. These individuals' roots resemble those of plane trees which filter out the substances which are injurious to the rest of the tree. In those who are ignorant or spiritually impoverished, such roots will not form. They are like parasite weeds which grab onto other plants' roots and take their the other plants' food, sometimes strangling them.

These weeds, however, do not survive long, for after they have taken all the food from the plant with roots, they, because they have no roots of their own, soon wither and die. He emphasizes that they are one's own.

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Instead of being like a parasite weed, "how much better it is to be nourished by one's spiritual roots and to live with true beliefs!

Qadirov notes that the inner world of an individual is limitless. He can choose to absorb the spiritual treasures which have been created by mankind in the past. Tolstoi can all exist. At first glance this seems to indicate that the soil from which Uzbeks should absorb their spiritual nourishment contains a heavy European component. On the other hand, it should not be forgotten that censorship rules probably demanded that mention of Central Asian writers in this context be accompanied by the names of Russian ones.

Rather than "diluting" the emphasis on native roots, the references to Goethe and Shakespeare may be more a balance to Pushkin and Tolstoi. Qadirov makes no specific mention of roots in the Soviet homeland; he seems to be saying that "roots" understood on a level which includes Russian writers must include other European authors — i. As for Uzbeks' own roots, however, they must be firmly in Central Asian soil and not like weeds which depend on the roots of other plants to obtain nourishment.

Pride in Uzbek crafts and music The pride of Uzbeks in their own roots takes many forms in modern Uzbek prose and poetry. Some of the forms are actively discouraged, but others are tolerated both officially and by the average Russian living in Central Asia.

One of the more "benign" ways in which Uzbeks express ethnic pride is in their treatment of native crafts which have been famous in Central Asia for centuries; these include pottery, metal chasing, textiles, and wood carving.

Native wood carving, for example, has received considerable attention in the press. A typical recent news item entitled "The eternal art" begins with an account of some of the greatest masters of this art from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Today, the article reports, the living masters are not only restoring the monuments which have been neglected for so long but they are decorating new buildings.

Naturally, the Communist Party is credited for its wise policy of encouraging the craft; but the art is no less a source of Uzbek pride because of such an acknowledgement. Another article on wood carving concerns restoration work in Kokand; there young people are interested in this ancient art, but many, unfortunately do not have the patience which is required to master it.

A master may be able to carve tables and screens and never worry about themes such as Lenin, the Party or friendship of the peoples of the USSR. Moreover, Uzbek wood carving and pottery are actually admired by many Russians and other Europeans who live in Central Asia.

Praising the Uzbek or Central Asian style of wood carving is also safe because there is no rival Russian tradition with which to compare Uzbek work and no need to address such questions as how Russian wood carving and Uzbek wood carving influence each other. Other Central Asian art forms are not as frequently admired by Russians and may even be a source of irritation to them.

Perhaps the best example of this is Uzbek music. Native music, unlike wood carving, does in a sense compete with the western tradition and is influenced by it. Pride in Uzbek music is also often reflected in fiction.