Reviews

A conservative academic and editorial writer, supportive of the Communist and current presidential regimes—see his Soli Nabiev [“Nabiev’s Year”] (1995), very favourable to the neo-Communist president of the years 1992-3, reviewed by us in Abstracta Iranica 17-19 (1994-6), 279—, the author offers a personal narrative of the events of the 1990s in Tajikistan.  Relatively short, this text does not bring a lot of fresh factual elements, and aims mainly at bringing contradiction to narratives proposed for several years by prominent figures of the former Tajikistani opposition to the Soviet regime (in particular the memoirs by the “renovator” Communist Buri Karimov, by the Democrat leader Sahibnazar, by the Islamist leaders Nuri and Turajanzada), or by alternative leaders of the conservatives—in particular Safarali Kenjaev: see Abstracta Iranica 17-19 (1994-6), 276.  To the latter Usmonov attributes a large part of the misfortunes of the governmental camp in 1991-92.  The book’s main chapters are devoted to the political confrontations and to the armed conflict of the period from 1991 to 1994, to the peace talks of 1994-1997, and to the normalisation period that has followed the signature of the peace agreement of June 1997.  The author sharply criticises the creative intelligentsia (Rus. tvorcheskaia intelligentsiia) of Dushanbe through its prominent figures the laureate poets Bazar Sabir, Layiq Shirali, and Gulrukhsar, as responsible of the genesis of the conflict.  As to the normalisation of the last ten years, it is put to the credit of the current President, Emomali Rahmonov.

A diametrically opposed narrative can be found, among others, in the work by Sharofiddin Imom, Ta‘rikhi bedorii milli va istiqloli Tojikiston [A History of the National Awakening and Independence of the Tajiks], Dushanbe: Nashriyoti Sunnatullo, 2003, 368 p., bibliography.  After an introduction in which the author resituates the political history of Tajikistan in different durations (from the ancient ‘Aryans’ to the political repressions of Stalin’s era . . .), the author propose an intrigue of the civil war that is centred on the emergence of a national movement during Perestroika (pp. 139-173), then on the history of the two main organisations of the Tajikistani nationalist opposition during the years 1989-92: the association Rastokhez (“Aftermath”) and the Democratic Party of Tajikistan (pp. 174-320).  Almost deprived of a critical apparatus, the book is based for the most part on the author’s personal memories and archive.  It usefully introduces the history of the organisations of Tajikistani intelligentsia that remain understudied and poorly documented in the abundant literature that has flourished during last years on the period of the civil war.

Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: I-3.4.D-331