This short essay on the political activity of Turkic-speaking intelligentsias in the early twentieth century focuses on the First Congress of the Muslims of Russia, held on August 15, 1905 on the steamboat “Gustav Struve” based in Nizhny Novgorod. Analysing the resolutions adopted by Muslim representatives from all part of the Russian Empire, the author asserts that the “All-Russian Muslim” Ittifaq movement was already considered then a political party capable of unifying the Turkic-speaking populations of the Russian Empire. As it is well-shown by the author, the question of community representation was central in 1905, but remained for the most part unsolved. Adopted by few intellectuals, the western concept of political representation was precious for Finnish or Polish nationalists for contesting Russia’s autocracy, but unsuitable for “Muslim nationalists” deprived of a nationally aware opinion and trying to unify a wide range of Turkic-speaking populations through Islamic identity.

Xavier Le Torrivellec, French-Russian Centre for Human & Social Sciences, Moscow
CER: II-3.2.C-189