The Imperial Society of Oriental Studies, founded in 1900 in St. Petersburg, had sections in Tashkent, Ashkhabad, and Bukhara.  The Bukharan Section, headed by the Russian Imperial Political Agent in Bukhara, V. I. Ignat’ev, was opened in January of 1901.  Its statutes state frankly that the primary goal of the Section was to foster the Russian economic penetration of Central Asia: “The investigation . . . of the situation of trade and industry among the peoples of the East, especially with regard to the opportunities of the marketing of Russian goods.”  Other official goals were the organisation of expositions and museums, of Oriental language courses, and of translations from the Russian to Oriental languages “to introduce the peoples of the Orient to Russia, her customs, morals, and her ways of enlightenment”.  In addition, it was planned to organise expeditions to other countries in order to support Russian exports.  The Bukharan Emir was won as honorary patron, and the Section was intended to attract Bukharan Muslim and Jewish merchants as well, and to support mutual cultural “reconciliation”.  However, the association was clearly dominated by Russians.  It seems that the Section did not show any serious activities or achievements; it was “reopened” at least once, in 1907, and maybe another time around 1911 or 1912.

Michael Kemper, University of Amsterdam
CER: I-1.2.A-34