In connection with key concepts of the Soviet history of Central Asian literatures, postulating a stable hierarchy between “popular” and “learned” culture, and a rapid progression towards “realism” in the late nineteenth century under diverse external influences, the author insists on the diffusion of specific genres of Turkic “popular” culture (such as hikmat in Central Asian tradition, as well as odes in the form of murabba‘ [quatrains] and mukhammas [five-line stanzas]) in the learned circles through the case of a poem on the Russian conquest of Khiva by a minor poet with the penname Shayda’i (شیدایی) or Mulla Shayda’i. The author stresses the presence of three historical figures in Shayda’i’s poem: the Muslim saint Pahlawan Mahmud (1247-1326), the Khan of Khiva Muhammad-Rahim Khan ii (r. 1864-1910), described as a just ruler, and the minister Muhammad Diwan-Bigi, characterised as a traitor and a Shiite of Persian extraction (qizil-bash), and identified as the cause of the misfortunes of Khwarezm. A. Erkinov concludes on the overall religious interpretation of the fall of Khiva in the Chaghatay literature of the time. The embodiment of the causes of the vicissitudes of Central Asia in the nineteenth century in the figurehead of Shiite men of high position is at the same time one of the most striking leitmotivs of late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century vernacular historiography, and a still unvisited taboo of modern historical studies. The article is followed by the publication of the text in its original Arabic script, with an English translation.