Reviews

After a clear introduction reviewing the “Evolution of Soviet Regime’s Religion Policy from the 1920s to the 1960s (pp. 7-25),” the authors offer a short commentary on the documents published (pp. 25-33). Taken from the Uzbek State Archives (mainly from regional funds), about 323 documents (in Russian, with a few ones in Uzbek) are presented (pp. 33-615), unfortunately without any subsection or listing. The book follows a general chronological order, the authors’ aim being an overall contribution to historical research on Islam and Christianity in Central Asia. For this, they have been endeavouring to include religious history into a broader context and to enlighten local factors and agencies. Many aspects of religious activity are covered. For the interwar period, the focus is put on local factors, taking into account the fact that in 1930 the Commission on Cults had transferred competences to regional (krai) and provincial (oblast’) councils that eventually were entrusted the implementation of the antireligious policy. This aspect, added to collectivisation and repression of the religious personnel of Islam, led to massive discontentment, poorly reflected however in the set of documents presented. After those particularly violent times, the period of the war is covered by documents on the SADUM (Spiritual Board of Central Asian Muslims) and its national branches. The documents presented insist on different aspects, with numbers of details ― on the registration and membership of various religious groups; on the open and hidden functioning of worship places (with details concerning the amount of sadaqa or fitr, as well as attendance figures); on the organisation of religious rituals and feasts, etc. Some documents deal with the official visits of representatives of foreign Muslim countries, among which Indonesia (Sukarno), Pakistan or India, Morocco (Allal el-Fassi). In all, the collection provides a rich idea of the everyday life of believers and religious personnel as well as their interactions with local political power.

Cloé Drieu, French Institute of Central Asian Studies, Tashkent
CER: II-4.3.D-403