Reviews

In the first half of the twentieth century, one of historical figures struggling for independence of Turkistan from the Soviet Union was Mustafa Chuqay-ughli (Chokaev, 1890-1941)—one of those intellectuals of the Turkic peoples of Russia who attempted to form national governments in the aftermath of the February Revolution in 1917.  Elected President of the Turkistan (Kokand) Autonomy, he became one of the outstanding political figures of the era.  However, Chuqay-ughli remains less well-known than many of his counterparts, because of still insufficient research on him, in spite of his captivating life.  Never giving-up struggle against the Bolsheviks, even after the collapse of the Turkistan Autonomy, he continued his combat against them and the supporters of the Tsarist regime inside Russia.  In December 1918, he and Ahmad Zaki Walidi tried to overthrow Ataman Dutov in Orenburg.  After the Bolsheviks established their domination on all Russia, Chuqay-ughli emigrated to Europe and went on his political activities in Paris, establishing partnership with two organisations: the National Union of Turkistan and the Prometheus League.  The latter, supported by the Polish government, was actually an intellectual club of representatives in Europe of the nations of the newly created Soviet Union.  It had a number of publications in various languages, and clearly sided in the western camp in the tensions between the latter and the Bolshevik regime before wwii.  But the war upset everything:  The Prometheus League was dissolved and Chuqay-ughli brought to Berlin by the Nazis who proposed him the leadership of the ‘Turkistanian Legion’, a unit made up by Central Asian prisoners from the Red Army.  Chuqay-ughli decisively refused, and died in mysterious conditions in Berlin in 1941, a short time after his rejection.  Information on Chuqay-ughli was banned for many years in the Soviet Union, where he used to be considered a people’s enemy.  His posthumous rehabilitation was marked by a difficult process during Perestroika, and his promotion from people’s enemy to national hero proved a difficult test for the Kazakh intelligentsia at the eve of independence.  The present book offers a complete panorama on Chuqay-ughli’s work as both a statesman and a political analyst—with a complete bibliography of his some 700 articles in the most varied publications, and special attention for his journal Yash Turkistan published in Berlin from 1929 to 1938, an encyclopaedia of the culture and history of Turkistan.

İsmail Türkoğlu, Marmara University, Istanbul
CER: I-3.4.D-323