Reviews

Through an examination of the Sheki uprising, a relatively understudied, but at the same time broadly recalled page of the history of Soviet Azerbaijan, the author attractively discusses differences between “history making” times and “average” seasons of history.  Sheki rebelled successively against Timur, Nader Shah, the Soviet rule, and even the twenty-first century began for the people of Sheki with rebellion.  These historical facts definitely make Sheki quite a “none-average” place in Azerbaijan.  At the same time, one may conclude that “history making” events like rebellion has become “average” or “common” fact for this specific area of Azerbaijan, attractive by both its beautiful mountainous nature and its sweet local dialect, coloured by the local population’s notorious sense of humour.  In the history of Sheki, there are several examples when these features “acted” together.  For instance the castle in the mountain area that became a well-known symbol of rebellion against Nader Shah bears the funny name “Gäläsän-Göräsän” precisely translated by the author as “come and get what is coming to you.”  Pages from the personal history of the article’s main hero, Mulla Mustafa, can also be seen as “average” examples of the fate of those repressed under the ‘Red Terror’—a history of protests against collectivisation and the ensuing repressions, as well as against the lasting rumours on those who survived and collaborated with the NKVD in the 1930s.  From this viewpoint the present article, based on intensive fieldwork in the Sheki area and on a scrupulous analysis of KGB archive materials, provides invaluable keys for an understanding of the impact of modern history upon collective memory in nowadays Azerbaijan.

Altay Göyüshov, Baku State University
CER: I-3.3.D-243