This short article offers an extremely panoramic historical overview (exclusively based on Russian bibliography) of Sunni – Shiite relations in Central Asia since the eighth century CE, with particular interest in the exiles of the Umayyad period, in the Abbasid revolution, and in the aftermath of the Safavid takeover in Persia. The early modern period is forgotten (the 1910 pogrom in Bukhara is discreetly passed over in silence, as well as the growing role of Shiites in Bukhara’s state apparatus in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries), and the present-day role of Iran in Central Asia oversimplified as a mere counterbalance to Turkish Sunni influence ― the evolution of the past thirty years since the revolution of 1979 largely suggests, on the contrary, the Iranian political instrumentation of Islam as a whole, of Sunni Islam in particular, in the whole former Soviet Union.

Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: II-4.1.B-328