Report: The Second Central Asian Research Seminar

At the Central Asian Research Seminar, co-hosted by Units 1 and 3, over thirty participants including young researchers, graduate students, as well as visiting researchers from Central Asian countries (namely Turkmenistan, Kyrgyztan, Kazakhstan, and Tadzhikistan) took part in lively discussions over the two reports presented.

Below is a resumé of Dr.KOMATSU Hisao's contribution to the event. Please look forward to Dr. John SCHOEBERLEIN's report being published soon as part of the IAS Working Paper Series.



Some Notes on the National-Territorial Delimitation of Central Asia in 1924

July 10, 1998




• 'The Second Revolution' in Central Asia and its significance

From multiethnic republics to 'national republics'

• Rahim Masov's recent works:

Istoriya topornogo razdeleniya, Dushanbe, 1991.

Tadzhiki:istoriya s grifom <sovershenno sekretno>, Dushanbe, 1995

"Proceedings of the Special Territorial Commission Conference held on June 4, 1924", pp. 158-190.


1. Turkistani Nationalism after the Russian Revolution

• Muslim Communists' appeal for higher autonomy for the Turkic Republic

rather than an Autonomous Turkistan Republic: Resolution adopted in Jan. 1920

Art. 1: Turkistan, consists of the following five oblast' Syr-Darya, Semirechie, Fergana, Samarkand and Trans-Caspian, is the country of Turkic peoples such as Kirgiz, Uzbek, Karakalpak, Kipchak, Taranchi, Tatar, Dungan and others (including Tajik, native Jews of non-Turkic origin, as well as Russian, Armenian, and Jews coming from abroad. (D. Ziyaeva, "Kishanning songi halqalari," Jamiyat va Bashqaruv, 1997, No. 1, pp. 60-62.)


2. The Problem of Tashkent: Which Republic should Tashkent belong to?

• Uzbek commission vs Kirgiz commission

The case for Kirgiz: Tashkent is the most important economic, administrative and cultural center for the Kirgiz population in Turkistan Republic.

• Nomadic peoples and cities

The Kirgiz area as a subregion of Kazakhstan?


3. Central Asiatic Federation

• Abdurakhmanov (Kara-Kirgiz), Secretary of the Turkistan Central Executive Committee, declared in August 1924 that:

The formation of an independent republic and autonomous oblast's is a step forward to the establishment of a single state of workers in Central Asia. Through national delimitation to international unification of the toiling masses of Central Asia, to the creation of a Central Asiatic Federation- such is the slogan of our Party. (R. Vaidyanath, The Formation of the Soviet Central Asian Republics, New Delhi, 1967, p. 184)


• Vareikis, Secretary of the Central Committee of the CP of Turkistan:

Therefore I think that sooner or later we will see the formation of the Central Asiatic Federation. Historically, it is inevitable since so great are the common interests and so strong are the ideals of Soviet republics.

(I. Vareikis/I. Zelenskii, Natsional'no-gosudarstvennoe razmezhevanie Srednei Azii, Tashkent, 1924, p. 53.)


• S. Khodzhanov (Kirgiz): architect of the Federation argument for the inseparability of Central Asia, in other words, the formation of the Central Asiatic Federation and integration of the Kirgiz Autonomous Republic (since 1920 within the RSFSR) into it.

"If the Kirgiz population in present-day Turkistan Autonomous Republic is incorporated Kirgiz Autonomous Republic, they will curse whoever planned such a project." (Masov 1995, pp. 104-105)



• Rejection of the Federation project because it was considered premature and irrational

Central Asiatic Economic Council excluding the Kirgiz Republic


• Fayzulla Khodzhaev's appeal for the Federation in 1929 as well as A. Mukhiddinov, the leader of the Tajik SSR


4. Independent Khorezm Republic

• Resistance to the National Delimitation and efforts to preserve the entity of Khorezm


5. Formation of Uzbek SSR

• 'Greater Bukhara' or 'Smaller Turkistan limited to sedentary region'

On February 25, 1924 the Plenum of the Bukharan CP adopted the proposal that "The Uzbek SSR be created on the basis of the Bukhara SSR by joining to it part of the territory of the Khorezm SSR as well as the Ferghana, Samarkand, and Syr Darya oblast's of the Turkistan ASSR.

(Donald S. Carlisle, "Soviet Uzbekistan: State and Nation in Historical Perspective," B. F. Manz ed., Central Asia in Historical Perspective, Westview Press, 1994, p. 125)


6. Total absence of voices speaking for the Tajiks during the preparation for the National Delimitation in 1924.

• Emergence of Tajik national identity


7. V. V. Bartol'd and the Delimitation: Oriental Studies and Soviet Policy

• "National principle, put into practice in the course of National-territorial Delimitation in Central Asia in 1924, was produced by the history of 19th -century Western Europe, and absolutely alien to the historical tradition in the region. The most significant example of this contradiction can be seen in the destruction of Khorezm as a political entity... Even antagonism between Uzbeks and Turkmens, often presented by bloody incidents, has never brought about the idea of dividing Khorezm." ("V. V. Bartol'd o natsional'nom razmezhevanii v Srednei Azii," Vostok, 1991, No. 5, p. 163)

• His writing of the history of the Central Asian peoples excluding the Uzbeks

• The idea of Soviet Republics based on Kazakh, Kirghiz, Uzbek, Tadjik and Turkmen 'nations' was a theoretical construct of Soviet intellectuals rather than a primordial aspiration of any of those Central-Asian peoples. (E. J. Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality, Cambridge UP, 1990, p. 166.)



These issues present a promising subject for interdisciplinary studies within the framework of the Islamic Area Studies Project.