Reviews

During the last decades, Kazan has become an outstanding centre of Oriental studies in Russia, with new research on diverse cultural areas in Islamic, Turkic, Arabic and Iranian studies. The present publication of a set of Ottoman documents from the Palace-Museum of Topkapı in Istanbul is a result of an agreement between the national archives of Turkey and Tatarstan, for the delivery of copies of more than five hundred documents. Ilias Mustakimov, a compiler and translator of texts, publishes sixty-one of these documents in facsimile, text decoding, and translation into Russian with an introduction and comments. (Some of these major sources had already been published in Europe in facsimile or as translations into European languages.) I. Mustakimov’s editing and translation work has already received a favourable appraisal by Russian specialist of Turkic studies Ilya Zaitsev, who in his review for Vostok has just been mentioning a limited amount of incorrect readings. The corpus can be divided into three parts, according to the chronology and themes of documents. A first category is made of sources of the sixteenth century related with the aftermath of the Muscovite conquest of Kazan and Astrakhan, the tentative reaction by the Khanate of Crimea, and the Ottoman lack of interest in these developments in the Volga-Ural region. A second set sheds light on relations between the Sublime Porte and the Kalmyk rulers in the eighteenth century. The third and last section consists of data on the situation of Tatar Muslims in the Russian Empire, through petitions sent to St. Petersburg, Istanbul and Mecca against Christianisation attempts during the last decades of the nineteenth century. Documents from the Porte illustrate the Ottoman Islamic discourse on the Muslims of Russia, revealing Ottoman arrogance and despise towards “bad Muslims” (344-346).

Alfrid Bustanov, University of Amsterdam
CER: II-1.1.C-15