Reviews

A famous specialist of the history of Russia’s colonial policies in Central Asia, the author has notably been an organiser of the ‘Borderland Research Group’ that has powerfully contributed to the current renewal of studies on Russian colonialism (cf. D. Brower & E. Lazzerini, eds., Russia's Orient. Imperial Borderlands and Peoples, Bloomington, IN : Indiana University Press, 1997). In the present volume D.B. proposes a collection of personal synthetic articles on the evolution of the “colonial discourse” in Russia, through the ideological debates and strategic decisions that have successively oriented the definition of the relations between the populations of Turkistan and their conquerors between, roughly, 1860 and 1920.  Although the work is not properly speaking a monograph, the lack of discussion of some existing references (see for instance the periodisation sketched by H. Carrère d’Encausse in her classical Réforme et révolution chez les musulmans de l'Empire russe, Paris: FNSP, 1966; see also a more recent tentative regional typology in S. G. Agadzhanov, ed., Natsional'nye okrainy Rossiiskoi imperii: stanovlenie i razvitie sistemy upravleniia, Moscow: Slavianskij dialog, 1997) brings the author to a number of repetitions.  The central idea of the volume is that of a permanent opposition between “conservatives” (in favour of authoritarian methods) and “reformists” (searching for a better political integration of the conquered populations into the Russian Empire).  Based on numerous researches in the Central State Archives of Uzbekistan, in the Archives of Military History of the Russian Federation, and in the State Historical Archives of St. Petersburg, the author casts light on the logics of the agricultural colonisation of Central Asia, and on its specific weigh in the debates of the early twentieth century.  He also insists on the big porosity between the conservative and reformist tendencies among the colonial administration, and does his best for elucidating the political mobiles of both.  So doing, he sketches interesting perspectives on the continuities of the nationalities policy in Russian Central Asia from the eve of wwi till the beginning of the Soviet period.  The result is an exceptionally well-informed and stimulating synthesis that escapes the over-simplifications that characterise a majority of works on this theme.

Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: I-3.4.C-286