Reviews

The Bashkir national hero Salavat Yulaev (1754-1800) was a companion of Emilian Pugachev, one of the main leaders of the popular uprising of 1773-75.  A group of Bashkir historians and specialists in literature, folklore, music and art studies have worked during several years on this biographical encyclopaedia.  The articles of this massive volume describe with a multitude of details different episodes of Salavat’s life and draw several portraits of his followers and famous contemporaries.  Apart from these innovative studies, an important methodological point is the wish manifested by the authors to be included in a long tradition of biographers of Salavat’s.  Some other articles describe the sequence of events by which the 1773-75 uprising can be characterised on the territory of Bashkiria and in the Ural.  The book comprises useful appendixes composed of different documents, from a list of the Bashkir clans elders engaged in Pugachev’s uprising to an enumeration of all winners of the ‘Salavat Yulaev Prize’ during the Soviet and current periods.  The great value of the book comes from its introduction and summarisation of all new literature on the main Bashkir hero.  This does unfortunately not concern the works published outside Russia, which remain mostly ignored in Ufa.  Nevertheless, this book assesses a two-century long historiography, tries to resolve some old controversies and suggests directions for further research on Salavat.  Considerations on this warrior being also a poet, though, remains poorly argued.  One of the main weaknesses of this encyclopaedia is the absence among the authors of recognised specialists of Salavat, several of whom live in Ufa.  As a result, several articles are conspicuous by their lacunae, or provide factual mistakes.  Nevertheless, this encyclopaedia may be very useful as a data base for historians working on the southern Ural at the end of the eighteenth century, especially during the uprising of 1773-75.

Igor Kuchumov, Centre of Ethnological Studies, Ufa
CER: I-3.2.C-209