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From Communism to Anti-Communism

 | 
Andre Liebich
, 
Svetlana Yakimovich

Soviet Life in 1931

Pioneers of Uzbekistan as Guests of Moscow Pioneers

Sergey Abashin

Texte intégral

The back of the document reads in Russian: “УНИОН-ФОТО. Пионеры Узбекистана в гостях у пионеров Москвы. /сн.Глидера/ Март 31 г. М.С.”. [Purple stamp] UNIONBILD G.m.b.H. (…); [in Russian] “СОВЕТСКОЕ Фотографическое Издательство Акц. О-во Унион-Фото”. – [“Pioneers of Uzbekistan visiting Moscow Pioneers. March 1931. SOVIET Photographic Publishing house. Joint-stock company Union-Photo”]. Black and white photograph; 12.5 x 18.5 cm.

1This photo undescores the remarkable cultural and regional diversity of the Soviet experience. The USSR inherited from the Russian Empire a multiplicity of different languages, religions, ethnic and tribal identities. Central Asia was one of the largest regions, which found itself in the sphere of Russian influence in the second half of the 19th century. This faraway region, inhabited by Muslims, known for the cities of Bukhara and Samarkand and for the Pamir Mountains, was seen as a territory with a military and colonial administration without strong government intervention in the local lifestyle. After the collapse of the Russian Empire in 1917 there was a powerful political movement for independence, known as Basmachestvo, in Central Asia. Only by 1922–1923 did Soviet authorities manage through violence and concessions to draw some political groups to their side and to suppress others, thus regaining control and integrating the region into the USSR.

2Like their imperial predecessors, Soviet politicians treated Central Asia with trepidation, lack of understanding and caution. However, their goals were more ambitious and their actions more resolute. During the 1920s the intervention of Soviet ideology and its institutions increased. The Republics of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan were created as a result of the national administrative delimitation, carried out in the region in 1924–1925, followed by the creation of an autonomous Tajik Republic in 1929. The statuses of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan were raised to that of a union republic in 1937. By 1927–1928 all Islamic schools and courts had been prohibited. The mass campaign of “liberation of women” started in 1929, comprising removal of facial clothing and the more active involvement of women in public life. In 1930–1931 social and economic reforms, collectivization and dekulakization encompassed the whole Central Asian population. In the same years, the first repressions occurred among the cultural and political elite that had adopted the Soviet system, but looked insufficiently loyal.

3One of the main trends in Soviet policy was the formation of a new cultural and political stratum in Central Asia which would have nothing in common with pre-Soviet experience. To achieve this here, as well as in other regions of the Soviet Union, a network of Soviet secondary schools and civil society organizations, including children and youth groups, Pioneers and Komsomols, was established. They were designed to create a new Soviet person, whose cultural experience could be national in form, but necessarily socialist in content.

Bibliographie

Edward Allworth, ed. Central Asia: A Century of Russian Rule, with contributions by Hélène Carrère d’Encausse [et al], New York: Columbia University Press, 1967.

Table des illustrations

Légende The back of the document reads in Russian: “УНИОН-ФОТО. Пионеры Узбекистана в гостях у пионеров Москвы. /сн.Глидера/ Март 31 г. М.С.”. [Purple stamp] UNIONBILD G.m.b.H. (…); [in Russian] “СОВЕТСКОЕ Фотографическое Издательство Акц. О-во Унион-Фото”. – [“Pioneers of Uzbekistan visiting Moscow Pioneers. March 1931. SOVIET Photographic Publishing house. Joint-stock company Union-Photo”]. Black and white photograph; 12.5 x 18.5 cm.
URL http://books.openedition.org/iheid/docannexe/image/6633/img-1.jpg
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