The author reviews Russian-Kazakh relations, the question of Khan Abu’l-Khayr’s “voluntary submission” in 1734, Russian settlement policies in the Steppe, and Kazakh revolts in the late eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries.  Russia officially abolished the Kazakhs’ title of Khan in 1824.  At the same time the Russian peasant colonization in the Steppe increased significantly, depriving Kazakh nomad clans of their pasture land and leading to plight and conflict among the Kazakhs as well as to Kazakh raids on Russian and Cossack settlements.  Kenesary Kasymov’s revolt was seemingly motivated by both the drive to secure the title of Khan for himself and to ward off Russia’s, as well as Kokand’s, attempts to absorb the Steppe.  Apparently Kenesary never managed to obtain the support of all the three major Kazakh confederacies at the same time, and his revolt must also be regarded as part of the civil strife among Kazakh clans.  Accordingly, Sabol questions not only Soviet historiography, which regarded Kenesary’s movement as reactionary and opposed to the progressive union with Russia, but also Kazakh historians, from the repressed scholar Ermukhan Bekmakhanov in the 1940s to the new scholarship after 1991, who celebrate Kenesary’s revolt as a struggle for national independence and unity.

Michael Kemper, University of Amsterdam
CER: I-1.2.C-89