Reviews

Based on unpublished statistical materials from the Central State Archive of Tajikistan, on a limited set of substantial accounts by late nineteenth- and early-twentieth century Russian observers (Geier, Iavorskii, Konopka, Lykoshin, Masal’skii, Nalivkin), as well as on the “Great Soviet Encyclopaedia” and on several monographs by Soviet historians (the arch-classic K. E. Bendrikov on the educational policy of the Tsarist administration, the leading local historian A. Mukhtorov on the principality of Ura-Teppa and its Russian colonisation, and N. Kosimov [Kasymov / Qosimov] himself on the new settlements of the Soviet era), this short synthetic work quickly evokes the Russian conquest of the city of Ura-Teppa in October 1866, and its inclusion into Russia’s territory in 1868.  The book continues with chapters on the formation of Russian settlements in the north-eastern part of the city, on the latter’s administration and planning, on the composition of its population, on the evolution of its educational and medical amenities during the late Tsarist period, and on the local events of the revolutionary years 1916 to 1921.  The archive materials used by the author unsurprisingly cast light on the prominent part of servicemen, and of their families, in the first Russian occupation of the city’s former ruler’s property, on and around the ‘Magus Hill’ (Mugh Teppa).  Interesting and hitherto unpublished elements are introduced on the mediocre vernacular attendance of the Russian-Autochthonous School (russko-tuzemnaia shkola) of Ura-Teppa from the 1890s to the 1910s, and on the problems met by Tsarist administration for the recruitment of Russian-speaking local officers.  The two pages on the revolutionary events of 1905 confirm the postulates of existing historiography on the lack of vernacular participation in them.  The book’s overall discourse is pretty conservative, the author praising Russian colonial city-planning and furniture, as intrinsically superior to the local ones, and lauding the presumed positive role played by Russian proletariat (in spite of the clearly weak part of workers and peasants in the population of the Russian settlement) in the city’s modern history.  Discussable orthographic choices and patent inaccuracies are also to be deplored, in particular in the transcription of the Russian and vernacular administrative vocabulary of the Tsarist period.

Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: I-3.4.C-301