The author analyses the personal diary kept in Russian language by the outstanding Azerbaijani writer Yusif Vezir Chemenzeminli (or Yusif Vezirov, 1887-1943) in 1907-9, when he was a pupil at the Baku gymnasium (high school).  A representative figurehead of the “abrazavonnys” (from Russian obrazovannyi [lit. “instructed”], a large group of peoples who had swayed away from their national group and accepted a superficial Russification and Europeanisation), with literary references among Russian Populists (narodniki), Chemenzeminli openly proclaims his irreligiousness and stresses that one of the main obstacles towards progress is religious fanaticism and the backward clergy.  However, his diary is marked by continuous movements forth and back towards the Russian milieu, and hesitation between adoption and rejection.  The “other” milieu arrogantly pointed an insuperable border out to him, “letting him know that although he could come close to it, he would nonetheless always remain an ‘outsider’, a person who is not at home in this milieu (41).”

Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: I-3.3.C-239