A  L  P  A  M  Y  S  H 
                   Central Asian Identity 
                     under Russian Rule 
                        H. B. PAKSOY 
              Association for the Advancement of  
                    Central Asian Research 
                       Monograph Series 
                   Hartford, Connecticut 
   CHAPTER TWO:  Attempts to Destroy and to Save Alpamysh 
                          Phase I 
The Russian  military conquest of the  steppe and Turkistan

was a protracted process whose origins can be traced to the

conquests  of Ivan IV (1533-1582). It was Ivan IV who began

the   Russian  state's  eastward  expansion  into  non-Slav

territory  with his annexation of the  entire length of the

Volga as  well as much of  Siberia. From that time  on, the

territory  ruled  from  the  Russian  capital  continued to

expand  by treaty and, more often, by conquest. In the 18th

century,  Peter  I   began  building  on   the  territorial

requisitions  of Ivan  IV (whom  Peter greatly  admired) by

such  diverse actions  as military  reform and  creation of

programs  of  Oriental  studies.  Peter  and his  immediate

successors extended  the building of forts  in the northern

steppe    including    Omsk   (1716),    Orenburg   (1737),

Petropavlovsk  (1752) and others.  Cossack settlements were

established from the  1730s to the  1760s along the  entire

Siberian-steppe frontier. These  were bases from which  the

19th century  conquests east of the  Caspian were launched.

The culmination of that process can be narrowed to the last

four  decades  of  the 19th  century  from  the  capture of

Chimkent in 1864  to the border agreement  with the British

in  1892 which  established the  Russian Empire's  southern

border along the Amu Darya River, at the Afghan border.1 
Once  in  control  of  this  vast  territory,  the  tsarist

government  set about  governing.  Although the  Volga-Ural

region,  like the  North Caucasus  and Transcaucasia,  were

incorporated into European Russia, the steppe and Turkistan

were divided  into two large districts, the steppe krai and

the Turkistan krai. The former lay south of Siberia and the

latter, south and southeast of Lake Balkhash to the Chinese

border.  There,  military  governors general,  rather  than

civilian administrators were placed in power. To the south,

lay the  still nominally independent khanates  of Khiva and

Bukhara (through  which the Amu  Darya flowed).2 During the

subsequent years  of imperial rule the  Central Asians were

differentiated by  legal  status  --  while  Tatars,  (like

Azerbaijani  Turks)   were  citizens,  the   population  of

Turkistan  and the  steppe (like  those in  North Caucasus)

were  classified as  inorodtsy, "aliens."  The territories'

status as colonies was undisguised. During the years of the

State  Duma (from 1906 until the fall of the ancien regime)

the population  of the  steppe and  Turkistan was at  first

sparsely represented,  then disenfranchised on  the grounds

of "backwardness." 
2                               H. B. Paksoy 
Another by-product of Russian rule was the establishment of

Russian Orthodox churches in the region and missionary work

among the  local population. These efforts  were begun with

the  conquest of Kazan by  Ivan IV (1552)  and continued in

various    forms    thereafter.    Part     of    religious

proselytization, especially  in the 19th  century, included

efforts  to encourage the  spread of  Russian or  to create

Cyrillic alphabets for the native language. In this regard,

the  work of  Russian-Orthodox missionaries,  led by  N. I.

Il'minskii,3 a  contemporary  of Divay,  provides  a  clear

example   of  the   interlinkages  among   these  policies.

Furthermore, later  Soviet language policies  (discussed in

detail  in  the following  section)  would  be inspired  by

Il'minskii's example.  
The Il'minskii method was originally based on an attempt to

separate Tatar and Kazakh (then  called "Kirghiz") dialects

and  establish   for  the   latter  a  Cyrillic   alphabet.

Il'minskii strove to emphasize tribe-specific  and regional

vocabulary,   using   Cyrillic    characters   to    stress

differentiation   visually   and   codify   variations   in

pronunciation,  however  minor.  Another  Russian  Orthodox

missionary  and  graduate  of  the  Kazan  Academy,  Mikola

Ostroumov,  built  on  Il'minskii's  work  to  attempt  the

creation of  a "Sart"  language for the  settled population

which  used the  Tashkent dialect  and to  differentiate it

from Tatar and Kazakh.4 
Ostroumov  established a  newspaper in  Tashkent, Turkistan

vilayetinin gazeti:  Tuzemnaia gazeta, which  was published

for  35 years,  from 1883-1917  (from 1890  to 1896,  it is

known  that 600-700  copies  per issue  were produced).  He

called the language of the newspaper "Sartiye" and tried to

establish a  circle of "Sart  literature" around it. Togan5

remarks  that  this  newspaper's  language  was  a  "broken

(bozuk)" dialect and  records Ostroumov's "special methods"

for distancing this "language" from "Tatar" and "Kazakh:"  

     "For example in the  articles whenever the  words 
     'kelgen,'  'toqtay  turgan,' 'tilegen,'  'buyuk,' 
     'pek,' 'guzel,' etc.,  appeared, he would  become 
     angry at  these words, labeling  them as  'Tatar' 
     and  'Kazakh,'  and  insert   'kilgan,'  'toqhtay 
     durgan,'     'khohlegan,'     'katte,'    'cude,' 
     'ciraylik,'  respectively.  Furthermore he  would 
     change the spellings of  loan words, for  example 
     'vagon,'   'poezd'   would  become   'vagan'  and 
     'fayiz.' This exaggerated pronunciation style was 
     mostly  used while  Ostroumov was  publishing his 
     newspaper.  Despite  that  in the  works  of  the 
     literati and the journalists of Kokand and Khiva, 
     the  language  preserves  the  beauty   of  their 
ALPAMYSH:            Chapter Two                          3

     Chagatay tradition."  
Thus distorting the  phonological aspects  of local  usages

constituted  a   step  toward   the  later  Soviet   policy

(discussed below) of recording such differences  in subsets

of  Latin,  then  Cyrillic orthography,  and  dubbing  each

product  a "separate  language."  When the  Soviet  sources

claim  that Central  Asian peoples did  not have  a written

language of their own before they came under the protection

of the  Russian elder  brother, and  that the  Soviets gave

them one, this is what is to be understood.6 
It should be  noted that these efforts build  on resentment

between  nomads  and  Tatars,  generated in  the  reign  of

Catherine II (1762-96) when she granted privileges to Tatar

merchants and  mullahs for conducting trade  (and acting as

semi-official representatives of  her government) with  the

cities of  Transoxiana and,  at the  same  time, to  spread

Islam  among  the  nomads.  It  was apparently  Catherine's

belief  that Islam would break  the unity of  the oymak and

render the nomads more malleable. 
The Central Asians' response  was as broad as the  areas in

which the Russians exerted  pressure, and ranged from armed

resistance to education reform and publishing. Our focus in

the present work, however, is the response that was in some

ways  the most central and deep rooted -- protection of the

repository  and symbol  of their past.  Several individuals

began to collect and record versions of the dastans, as far

as available records  indicate, on the heels of the Russian

conquest  in   the  late  19th  century.   Among  the  four

identifiable "waves"  of saviors -- interested  parties who

attempted to save Alpamysh and the Turkic dastan genre from

oblivion by  collecting and publishing  transcriptions from

bahshis  -- these constitute the first intellectual (rather

than   biological)  generation.  These  saviors  and  their

successors performed a unique  service in the  preservation

of Alpamysh. 
The  first wave,  striving  to make  Alpamysh available  in

print, was based in  Kazan in the  latter part of the  19th

and  the beginning  of the 20th  centuries. Very  little is

known about  most of them, since they largely avoided using

their names as a protective measure to avoid reprisals from

the  Tsarist secret  police.7  The earliest  known  printed

Alpamysh  (Item  1  in   Bibliography  below)  carries  the

following inscription in its title page: 
     "This  episode  is  related  by  Yusuf  bin  Hoca 
     Sheyhulislam oglu. The date is the 1316th year of 
4                               H. B. Paksoy 
     the Hijra; 8 March  1899 according to the Russian 
     calendar. I finished it in one day and one night. 
     The mistakes are due to the shortage of time."  
This  edition  must have  proved  popular  with the  native

readership,  judging from  the  seven additional  printings

between 1901 and 1916  (noted in the Bibliography). 
According   to   Togan,8   this   man's   broader   efforts

contributed   substantially   to   the   establishment   of

Kazakh-dialect  publishing  and the  adaptation  of various

stories to Kazakh tastes:  
     "In  the  1880s,  works  in  the  Kazakh literary 
     dialect started appearing in  print. One of those 
     who  has served  as  propagator in  this line  is 
     Seyhulislamoglu  [sic]  Yusufbek.   He is  a hoca 
     from Qarkara  [sic]. He  is considered to  be the 
     Ahmed Midhat9  of the Kazaks.   He wrote books as 
     long  as  a few  hundred or  even a  few thousand 
     couplets within a day or even a night.   
     "He  published many  works of  popular literature 
     (halk edebiyati), especially  Shi'i legends  such 
     as those tales of  Hazreti Ali, Hasan and Husein, 
     Kerbela, Salsal Zerkum, etc.; also [he published] 
     the  Iranian  dastans  such as  Rustam,  Jemshid, 
     Ferhad-u Shirin in the Kazakh dialect.   Yusufbek 
     adapted these Islamic Iranian works to the Kazakh 
     life.  Ali and  Husein, in his works, are  in the 
     full  sense nomadic Turk-Kazakh  types. From this 
     point  of  view  his works  have  performed great 
     deeds in the publication of Islamic  traditions.  
     "Radloff,  in amazement,  records  that one  such 
     work,  Kissa-i  Jumjume  undercut completely  the 
     work  of Christian  missionaries  that  had  been 
     going on for years.10  Those old Turkish  dastans, 
     mythology  and  folklore  still  alive  among the 
     Kazakhs  were made  known to  Europe by  Radloff, 
     Altynsaryn,  Letsch, and  Platonov. On  the other 
     hand Yusufbek, of course, mixing a certain amount 
     of  Islamic elements  into  them,  collected  and 
     recorded  them  from  among  the people  for  the 
     benefit of successive generations. 
     "Yusufbek's  Kazakh can  be  understood by  those 
     Turks who are not Kazakh and his grammar is taken 
     from   the   old  agatay   grammar.   Among  his 
     publications,  Qizjibek, Alpamysh,  Ayman Cholpan 
     are well known." 
ALPAMYSH:            Chapter Two                          5

Perhaps the most eminent  of this "first wave" was  the man

whose  redaction of Alpamysh appears in English translation

in Chapter Three, Abubakir Ahmedjan Divay [Divaev]. Divay's

career is known partly because he spent his life in Russian

imperial  service,  where  he  gathered  his material,  and

became famous as an ethnographer who published widely under

the old regime. He held several posts under the Bolsheviks.

Divay,  a  Bashkurt,11  was  born  on  19  December 1855 
Orenburg and lived most  of his life among the  Kazakhs. He

attended  the Orenburg Nepliuev  military academy, studying

first in the  Asiatic Division, where  the majority of  his

classmates  were  reportedly  Kazakhs,  and  second in  the

division  for the  preparation of  translators of  Oriental

languages for the steppe regions.  
In 1876-1877, at the age of 21, Divay left school to accept

an appointment in the  Russian bureaucracy of the Turkistan

krai.   There in the southern steppe region Divay travelled

and  was able to visit many Kazakh, Kirghiz and Uzbek auls.

He was Divisional  Inspector12 of the Aulie-Atinsk  uezd
then  became  translator  and  junior  official  of Special

Missions attached to the  Governor-General of the Syr-Darya

oblast'. This  latter post  gave him wide  opportunities to

travel throughout the Turkistan krai.13 
In 1883, Divay began collecting ethnographic materials. The

following  year,  the  Governor-General  of  the  Syr-Darya

oblast',  N.  I.  Grodekov,  initiated  the  collection  of

information on Kazakh and Kirghiz customary law in order to

publish a code of juridical customs of the  nomadic peoples

(among  whom   were  included   "Kazakh,"  "Kirghiz"14  
"Karakirghiz") of  the Syr-Darya oblast'.15   While 
on  this project,  Divay  reportedly collected  "historical

legends from ancient manuscripts,  in the hands of educated

Kirghiz,  [and] heroic  poems, aphorisms,  fables, riddles,

incantations,  etc."16   A portion  of  these materials 
published in Grodekov's  book and the  remainder, including

fables, legends, songs,  poems and dastans, were  published

in  Sbornik  materialov   dlia  statistiki   Syr-Dar'inskoi

oblasti' for  1891-1897, 1901, 1902, 1904,  1905, and 1907.

These articles by Divay  were reviewed by various prominent

Divay also  published his articles in  other periodicals in

the  1890s  including  the  journal  Okraina,  the  almanac

Sredniaia  Aziia  and   the  semi-official   Turkestanskaia

Vedomost'.   Also  at  this time  he  began to  publish  in

scholarly journals  of the major Oriental  and ethnographic

societies   of  the  Empire:   Zapiski  Vostochnogo  otdela

Russkogo    arkheologicheskogo    obshchestva;    Izvestiia

Obshchestva arkheologii, istorii,  i etnografii;  Izvestiia

Turkestanskogo     otdela     Russkogo     geograficheskogo

6                               H. B. Paksoy 
obshchestva,   and    Zapiski   Russkogo   geograficheskogo

obshchestva. In 1896, Divay was one of the founding members

of   the   Turkestanskii  kruzhok   liubitelei  arkheologii

(Turkistan Circle  of  Lovers  of  Archeology).18  In 
Divay became Director of the Tatar [sic] school in Tashkent

and participated in the compilation of materials on Central

Asia  in  the  Turkestanskii  sbornik  statei  i sochinenii

otnosiashchikhsia k Srednei Azii, 1878-1887.19 
Divay's  twenty  fifth  anniversary  as a  Turcologist  and

ethnographer  was celebrated  in 1915.  In  connection with

this  occasion,  the   journal  Zhivaia  Starina  published

reviews of  his work  and much biographical  material. This

was not the  end of his  efforts, however, which  continued

under the Bolshevik regime. 
Policies of the Bolshevik and Soviet Union governments were

continuations of  many tsarist  practices, but  carried out

more  thoroughly and  brutally, with  greater determination

and new rhetoric. The  "civilizing mission" was replaced by

the   goal  of  "liberation  through  communism."  Rule  by

commissars  and  soviets  (composed  primarily  of  Russian

railroad  workers) replaced the  tsarist governors general;

successive "republics" were created instead of the imperial

krai  and  oblast';  missionaries were  replaced  by  those

proselytizing  the  new  faith  of   Marxism-Leninism,  and

churches were supplanted by  communist clubs and the League

of the Godless Zealots. 
The  language of  "backwardness"  was  abandoned,  but  the

Stalinist  criteria  for  determining  a  "nation"  in  the

Western  European sense was  used to imply  the same thing.

The Central  Asian Turks  -- a dangerously  homogenous mass

that  seemed  unreceptive  to communism  borne  by  Russian

workers  -- had  to be  "pared down"  into more  convenient

units  --  "nations." To  conform  to the  Stalin  model as

articulated  in his  1913  work "Marxism  and the  National

Question,"  each nation  had to  have, or  in this  case be

given, a  single distinct language, territory,  economy and

history.  The  Turks  of  Central  Asia,  despite  regional

economic diversity, shared a single language, territory and

historical  tradition. Thus  they seemed to  constitute, by

the  Stalin criteria,  one huge  "nation." The  Soviets set

about the task of making several "nations" in its place. 
The steps were obvious  -- create separate territories, and

implant   contrived   "literary  languages,"   economy  and

histories  in each.  The guiding  imperative was  to create

differences   and   division.  Dialects   became  "separate

languages," tribal or other subgroups become "nations." New

ALPAMYSH:            Chapter Two                          7

histories could  "prove"  the historic  distinctiveness  of

each  "nation" by  projecting the new  differentiation back

into history.20 In the way, stood the dastans.  
Boundary Changes and Language Reform 
The  boundaries  in  Soviet  Central Asia  were  drawn  and

redrawn during  the 1920s and 1930s to  create ever smaller

administrative units  which enjoyed "on  paper" sovereignty

and rights,  including that of secession.  For example, the

present-day Kirghiz  SSR was  initially part of  the Kazakh

SSR and separated from it 1932.21 
Terminology also  changed. The  term "Kirghiz" was  used in

the late Russian imperial  period to denote Turkic speakers

east  of Orenburg. In the Soviet period, those who had been

called "Kirghiz"  began to  be called  "Kazakh"22 and 
to the southeast of the "Kazakh steppe" who had been called

"Kara-Kirghiz"  before  the  1917  Revolution  were  called

simply "Kirghiz." This renaming coincided with the division

of  the  former Turkistan  krai  and  the protectorates  of

Bukhara and Khiva into  Soviet Socialist Republics and with

the "language reforms" of the 1920s and 1930s. 
In the Soviet period, a language policy  was implemented in

Central Asia which strove to establish the various dialects

as  separate   languages.23  The   current  Uzbek,  
Kirghiz, Turkmen  and other Central  Asian "languages" (the

designation  "Turkic" in  connection  with any  of them  is

mostly   avoided   in   popular,  though   not   scholarly,

publications) so  rigidly favored  by the Soviets  were, as

noted above, inspired by Il'minskii's work. 
The formulation  of "new" alphabets (actually  the addition

of new  symbols to the Latin, then  the Cyrillic alphabets)

for each "language" is  yet another aspect of this  policy.

The  exploitation of phonetic differences between the local

dialects  was  the   starting-point.  Therefore  when   the

different pronunciations  are written down with  the aid of

deliberately  differentiated  subsets   of  Cyrillic,   the

foundations  of "independent" languages are established. In

essence, this practice amounts to no more than changing the

spelling rules and calling  the final product a "language."

According  to such  rules, the  English spoken  in Alabama,

Boston and London would be written slightly differently and

be classified as separate languages.  
To take a simple but representative example, the publishing

houses of the Academies  of Sciences are named "knowledge,"

(from  the Arabic  'ilm)  as follows:  Gyilem (Tatar),  Elm

(Azerbaijani Turkish), Ylym  (Turkmen), Ilm (Uzbek), Ghylym

(Kazakh)  and  Ilim  (Kirghiz).  Significantly,  nearly all

8                               H. B. Paksoy 
dictionary entries for this word  use the Turkic term bilim

in the definition.  
Noticeable  in this  example  is another  feature of  these

alphabets,  the use  of different  characters for  the same

sound -- the "e" in Azerbaijani, the "y" in Turkmen and the

"i" in Uzbek represent approximately  the same sound.   The

character  for the "j" (which does not exist in Russian and

must always be represented  by the cumbersome "dzh") varies

from alphabet to alphabet.24 
Furthermore,  each of  these  alphabets is  organized in  a

different order,  particularly placing letters that  do not

occur  in  Russian  in  various places  in  each  alphabet.

Although  all  alphabets  begin   with  "a"  they  all  end

differently: Azerbaijani  ends with  "j"  and "sh;"  Tatar,

with "ng" and "h;" Kazakh with the Russian characters  "iu"

and "ia," which exist in various locations in the Tatar and

Uzbek alphabets but were removed from Azerbaijani in a 1957

reform;  and Uzbek ends with "gh" and "kh." The letter "gh"

follows the  Russian "g" in  Azerbaijani (where  it is  the

fifth letter) and in Kazakh (where it is the sixth), but is

placed  next to  last in  the Uzbek  alphabet and  does not

exist at all in Tatar. The  letter "u" comes toward the end

of  all alphabets,  but, again,  in different  sequence. In

Kazakh it is  12th from last,  in Azerbaijani seventh  from

last, in Uzbek and Tatar, fourth from last.25 
The  Arabic alphabet,  the  one used  at  the turn  of  the

century was at least the sixth one to be employed by Turkic

speakers,   effectively   obliterates   regional   phonetic

differences. Turki,  usually written in a  series of Arabic

alphabet subsets, is  still read with no  trouble by almost

all  literate Central Asians  over the  age of  fifty. This

does  not mean,  however, that the  Arabic alphabet  is the

most  suitable writing  system for  Turki. The  three vowel

signs in the Arabic alphabet fall far short of representing

the minimum  eight vowels required. The  created subsets of

Cyrillic for  the "languages" of  Central Asia  err in  the

opposite  direction,  codifying one  region's pronunciation

and establishing  that spelling as the  "approved" literary

The next step  in the  creation of "new  languages" was  to

highlight the vocabularies not  common to all the dialects.

Depending on  the locality, every dialect  may contain such

specialized words through historical development or contact

with  other languages.  These geographic  or tribe-specific

words have often been cited by the Russian linguists as yet

another proof of the existence of "independent" languages. 

To  facilitate  the  proliferation  of  these  "languages,"

ALPAMYSH:            Chapter Two                          9

particularly among  the youth,  Soviet linguists  have been

turning out  scores of  grammars for each  "language" since

the  1920s.  The  lexicographers  are even  busier,  having

compiled at least two  dictionaries per "language" over the

past  sixty years. These  dictionaries, especially the ones

from  the native  "language"  to  Russian, include  various

words from the Soviet vocabulary (including many words from

Western  languages that  have entered  Russian). Among  the

relevant entries  are "kolkhoz," "sovet,"  "radio," "tank",

(translated as  "kolkhoz,"  "sovet," "radio,"  and  "tank,"

respectively)  as though  these  were  native  words  which

required translation.  
The Campaign Against the Dastan Alpamysh  
According to Leninist doctrine,  "Every culture of the past

includes  progressive, popular  elements,  which should  be

preserved  in  socialist  culture  as  well as  reactionary

elements  bearing the  mark of  the parasite  classes which

must  be  eliminated." To  this  dictum  Stalin added  "the

culture of Soviet peoples must be proletarian and socialist

in  essence and  national in  form."26 It  was  within
guidelines that Soviet commentators analyzed dastans.  
Tura Mirzaev, an Uzbek Alpamysh scholar, stated that during

the  1930s and 1940s close attention was paid to dastans in

general and to Alpamysh in particular. He noted,  
     "Different  variants  have  been  collected,  the 
     contents   of  which  have   been  analyzed  from 
     historical  and  social  points of  view.  It was 
     stressed that the dastans contained motifs of the 
     labors of  people who lived in  the distant past, 
     of   their   high   ideals,   lives,   histories, 
     objectives and aesthetic tastes."27 
Nonetheless, a campaign against  the dastans began in 1951.

Alexandre Bennigsen describes the general pattern:  
     "The campaign  to purge the national  cultures of 
     those  elements  incompatible  with the  dominant 
     Marxist-Leninist  world  view   began  in   1951. 
     Initial  attacks  followed  a  standard  pattern, 
     beginning  with derogatory  comments  in a  local 
     newspaper,  Pravda  or Literaturnaia  Gazeta. The 
     theme  would then  be  picked up  by the  Central 
     Committee of the respective  republican Communist 
     Party, next by various local,  political, social, 
     academic or literary  organizations, and  finally 
     by  the oblast',  raion or city  Party Committee, 
     the   Komsomol,   Academy   of   Science,   state 
10                               H. B. Paksoy 
     university, Union  of Writers  and so  forth. The 
     operation   would   culminate...with:   (1)   the 
     universal condemnation of local intellectuals who 
     were     charged      with     idealizing     the 
     bourgeois-nationalist  aspects of  their national 
     patrimony; and  with: (2)  a shower  of approving 
     telegrams  and letters  addressed to  the Central 
     Committees of the republican Party organizations, 
     thanking their leaders for rescuing the Socialist 
     Fatherland  from  the clutches  of its  most vile 
The  treatment of  Alpamysh followed  this pattern.  In the

late 1940s,  the "progressive"  elements of the  dastan had

been praised. Alpamysh was deemed  "One of the most perfect

epic poems  in the  world;"29 Elsewhere  it was  called
liberty song of Central  Asian nations fighting against the

alien  invaders;"30  "and an  "authentic  popular 
voicing the ideology of the toiling masses."31  
However,  when   it  was  discovered   that  the   Alpamysh

strengthened  the   sense   of  individual   identity   and

independence of their creator-heir-owners, the tone changed

rapidly. During  the "crisis" of which  Bennigsen spoke, an

attack  was mounted  on  Alpamysh similar  to that  against

other  dastans, charging it  with being:  "Impregnated with

the  poison of  feudalism  and  reaction, breathing  Muslim

fanaticism  and  preaching  hatred  towards  
Alpamysh  was condemned  by  the Central  Committee of  the

Uzbekistan Communist  Party before its  tenth plenum33 by 
special  conference  of  historians  of literature  at  the

republican  university  in  Samarkand34  and  by  the 
session  of the Academy of Sciences and the Union of Soviet

Writers in Tashkent. At this last meeting, the defenders of

Alpamysh were declared to be "Pan-Turkic nationalists."35  
The  key article  in this  assault seems  to have  been "Ob

epose  'Alpamysh'," ("About  the  epic  'Alpamysh'")  which

appeared  in Pravda  Vostoka (Tashkent)  in  January
The  article  was  authored  by  A. Abdunabiev,  identified

elsewhere37 as a  doctoral student of  the Uzbek section 
the Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute of the Central Committee of

the CPSU, and by A. Stepanov, who is not identified, but is

apparently a Russian.  
The  Abdunabiev and  Stepanov  article is  one  of the  few

detailed and specific attacks on Alpamysh.  It was the only

such  article printed in the  first five months  of 1952 in

Pravda Vostoka, the Uzbek Party organ which was a leader in

this campaign. Later articles merely repeat charges made by

Abdunabiev and  Stepanov. Their article also  served as the

basis for the March 1952  meeting (later called the  "Trial

ALPAMYSH:            Chapter Two                         11

of Alpamysh") as reported in Pravda Vostoka.38 
"Ob epose 'Alpamysh'" begins by recalling the importance of

the  theme  of  opposition  to foreign  and  local  [class]

oppressors in  the popular  oral tradition. It  states that

this tradition  glorifies the moral qualities  of the hero,

his actions in the  name of justice, the protection  of his

homeland and  people and his faith in  love and friendship.

The  authors  concede  that the  Uzbeks  have  a  rich oral

tradition  of this type, but  state that Alpamysh  is not a

part of it. 
Primarily,  the  authors  blame  the  folklorists  for  the

mistaken praise  of the dastan  Alpamysh. These folklorists

were  not guided  by the  classics of  Marxism-Leninism and

therefore were  able  to see  in  this folklore  only  "the

living past." They evaluated dastans only from the literary

point  of view,  which  led to  serious ideological  errors

including an  idealization of a work  that contains harmful

Abdunabiev and Stepanov then  enumerate the various harmful

ideas of the dastan,  mentioning in passing, its similarity

to the  "reactionary epic" Dede  Korkut. It is  stated that

their remarks  are based  on the Penkovskii  translation of

the  1939  printing of  the  Fazil  Yoldashoglu variant  of

The central figures  of the dastan  Alpamysh are khans  who

have  slaves  -- two  clearly  "anti-populist" motifs.  The

authors state:  
     "The embodiment of terrible 'evil' and  'vice' in 
     the  epic are represented  by some 'unbelievers,' 
     settled in  the country of  the Oirots [Kalmaks], 
     which is  a six-month journey from  Baysun. As we 
     learn  from  the  poem,  the  Oirot  people  live 
     peacefully, occupied in land  cultivation, cattle 
     raising and never dreamed  about making raids  on 
     the land of the Kungrats."  
The  authors of  this  article describe  the welcome  given

Baysari's family in the land  of the Kalmaks and  criticize

Baysari's   refusal   to  permit   Barchin   to  marry   an

"unbeliever." This, the authors state, fosters hatred based

on religion.  
Alpamysh  himself, the  authors continue,  has no  positive

qualities. He goes after  his betrothed only under pressure

from  his sister. Indeed, the  desire to save  his bride is

merely Alpamysh's  excuse to cover  up his goal  of slaying

enemies,  whom  he  defines  as  all  unbelievers  --  more

12                               H. B. Paksoy 
evidence of hatred  based on religion. The  pair has little

to  say  about  Alpamysh's  behavior  in the  land  of  the

Kalmaks. The bloodshed accompanying his return, however, is

noted  and held up  as another harmful  example. Ultan (the

usurper  and suitor to Barchin)  is portrayed as willing to

step down from power  on Alpamysh's return.  The  defeat of

Ultan  by Alpamysh, according  to the authors,  is meant to

convey a lesson --  "only a 'pure-blooded khan' may  rule a

country,  and  a  slave must  remain  a  slave."   Clearly,

conclude the  authors, this  dastan is not  "populist," but

rather is a glorification of khans, religion, slave-holding

and the power of "feudals." Even the attempt of Penkovskii,

in   his  translations   of   the   dastan,  to   introduce

"improvements"  and "refinements," they say, cannot conceal

the "reactionary essence" of this dastan. 
This   remark   about   Penkovskii's   "improvements"   and

"refinements,"  made  so  casually  in  this  article,  are

striking. It  is one of  the rare admissions  of deliberate

changes introduced into a  translation. In this context, it

can  be understood that the changes were made to attempt to

bring  the  contents of  the  dastan  into conformity  with

current Russian tastes. Since  this is the translation that

is  regarded as "the most  complete" at a  later date, this

early alteration will have important repercussions and will

be discussed again below. 
Writing in the  1960s, Tura Mirzaev, discussed  some of the

charges  levelled against  Alpamysh  during  this  "crisis"

period. Describing a joint meeting of the Uzbek SSR Academy

of Sciences  Institute of  Language and Literature  and the

Uzbekistan  Soviet  Writers  Union   (March  1952), Mirzaev

argues that  this meeting, which Shark  Yilduzi called "The

Trial  of the  dastan  Alpamysh,"  distorted the  objective

sense of the dastan. Alpamysh was accused of idealizing the

feudal  past   and  bearing  traces  of   Pan-Islamism  and

Pan-Turkism.  It  was  declared  devoid  of  historical  or

educational value. The scholars of the chairs of literature

of the  Uzbek State University declared  their readiness to

instruct their  students in  the dangers contained  in this

dastan.  The entire  assembly  declared  that Alpamysh  was

"glorifying bloody fights, the brigandage of khans and beks

and their oppression of the masses..."39  
In Pravda Vostoka's  report of this meeting40,  Candidate
Philological   Sciences   Iu.   Sultanov   is   quoted   as

articulating the anti-Alpamysh view, using the  article "Ob

epose 'Alpamysh'"  as a  basis for his  remarks. Abdunabiev

criticizes  the folklorists  for  permitting this  work  to

reach   the  masses.  Several  university  faculty  members

confess their  errors in failing to  criticize Alpamysh and

state that they will be more vigilant in the future. Pravda

ALPAMYSH:            Chapter Two                         13

Vostoka  notes that  Hadi Zarif,  a senior  Orientalist and

co-author with Zhirmunskii of a seminal  work on the "Uzbek

epic,"  evaded serious  self-criticism and  limited himself

only to repeating "generally known facts."   
After  the crisis  "ended" in  1952, defenders  of Alpamysh

emerged. At a Moscow meeting on Epics of the Peoples of the

USSR (June  1954) prominent  Orientalists, A.  K. Borovkov,

Hadi  Zarif, O.  A.  Valitova, M.  I.  Afzalov and  others,

severely  criticized those who  found nihilistic tendencies

in the dastan Alpamysh.41 
Immediately  after this  conference, according  to Mirzaev,

new  variants  of the  dastan  began to  be  collected. The

folklorists  of the  Gorkii Institute  of World  Literature

also criticized the previous attacks on Alpamysh and stated

the  need to  "study  the problems  of  the epics  and  the

traditional  folkloric ideals..."  and  argued that  "these

national  epics  must  be  understood and  studied  in  the

deepest scientific manner."42 
With this  official encouragement  by the  Gorkii Institute

and  the  Pushkin  Institute  of  Language  and  Literature

(Tashkent)  of the  Uzbek Academy  of Sciences,  debate and

commentaries on Alpamysh began  to appear in the republican

press.  Again, A.  Abdunabiev and A.  Stepanov came  in for

criticism for their "distortions"  and for their claim that

this dastan is nihilistic.43 
Perhaps the  most decisive event  was the  decision of  the

20th  Party Congress (1956), "in the name of Soviet science

and  especially  Soviet  folklore studies,"  to  convene an

investigative  conference on the  Alpamysh dastan "in order

to  bring to  a  close these  dogmatisms, commentaries  and

theoretical problems  and once  and for all  to investigate

these matters in  detail and  come to a  decision." Thus  a

regional conference  was held from 20-25  September 1956 in

Tashkent,  co-sponsored  by the  Gorkii  Institute  and the

(Tashkent)  Pushkin  Institute,  the purpose  of  which was

"reconciling  the   studies   [of  Alpamysh]   with   party

Specialists on Alpamysh from Moscow, Leningrad, Uzbekistan,

Karakalpakistan,   Kazakhistan,   Tajikistan,   Tataristan,

Bashkurdistan, Altai, Georgia and "other fraternal peoples'

scholars of  epics," attended.  The speakers discussed  the

various versions of the  dastan and stressed "the objective

meaning  of  the dastan  Alpamysh  and  its rhetorical  and

populist  particulars."   Twenty papers  were read  and the

transactions published.45 
Mirzaev  particularly  notes  the  contribution  of  A.  K.

14                               H. B. Paksoy 
Borovkov,  who examined  and discussed  the history  of the

collection  of Alpamysh, its transcription and its variants

among Uzbek, Karakalpak  and Kazakh peoples.46 Mirzaev 
pointedly  adds  that  Alpamysh,  "belongs  to  the  Turkic

peoples (Tiurki halklar)." 
Hadi  Zarif wrote a  decisive retort to  the denigration of

Alpamysh in Shark Yilduzi in 1957: 
     "The intellectual basis of  the dastan was not to 
     glorify  brigandage,  nationalism,   religiosity, 
     [but] instead to show bravery, humanism,  love of 
     homeland,   loyalty,   close  friendship,   noble 
     ideals.  This dastan is an encyclopaedia  dealing 
     with  the most  beautiful  examples of  rhetoric, 
     literary  form,  peoples'  humor  and  aphorisms, 
     examples of speech of the masses."47 
Mirzaev criticized the former critics: 
     "Some individuals during  the 1950s regarded this 
     valued  oral  monument  as  nihilistic.     Those 
     individuals,  on  the pretext  that  these pearls 
     created  by  the masses  were bankrupt,  tried to 
     destroy  them. Those  critics from  a  social and 
     political  point of view  denied the  populism of 
     Alpamysh. They...misrepresented the motifs of the 
     dastan,  analyzing those separately  from the era 
     in which it was created and called it a 'reaction 
     against populism.'"48 
In  1958,   the  "most  complete"  Alpamysh,  a  Penkovskii

translation  of the  Fazil variant,  was published.  It was

subsequently  reissued several times.  Official comments on

the  dastan   have  since  then   been  laudatory.  Earlier

printings are unavailable. This  republication may not have

been a "victory" for the dastan, but rather a shift  by the

authorities to  a more  subtle attack. That  attack, "Phase

II," will be the subject of Chapter Four.  
The  campaign against  Alpamysh  and the  struggle for  its

rehabilitation, like the history of its earlier  printings,

fit into a larger pattern  of CPSU politics and  especially

the   organization  and  reorganizations  of  the  Oriental

Institutes.  Indeed, the  Phase II  efforts to  destroy and

save Alpamysh cannot be understood outside this context. 
Party, Oriental Institutes and Policy  
The origins of the Oriental  studies in the Russian Empire,

with reference to  their political significance, have  been

ALPAMYSH:            Chapter Two                         15

traced by  Richard N.  Frye.49   After the 1917 
the Soviet government, in recognition of the "revolutionary

potential"  of Asian  peoples,  took a  variety of  actions

which reflected  the importance they attached to propaganda

and agitation among the Eastern nationalities.  
During the Civil War, the  Bolsheviks began to expand  both

the  scope  and  the  staffs of  the  Oriental  Institutes,

although this was not  fully accomplished until after World

War II  (see below).  Gradually they  were brought  under a

single  umbrella.50   At the  same time,  "the General
of  the  Red  Army  of  Workers  and  Peasants acquired  an

Oriental Section  in 1919, which later  became the Oriental

Faculty of the General Staff's Military Academy."51 
These   actions   as   well   as  the   founding   of   the

Kommunisticheskii  Universitet  Trudiashchikhsia Vostoka  -

KUTVa   (Communist University of  the Toilers of  the East)

were aimed  at linking  the expansion  of Communism  in the

"Soviet  East" to the export  of revolution to  the rest of

Asia.  The pivotal event of this effort was the Congress of

the  Toilers of  the East, held  in Baku (a  city which was

seen  as a key springboard for the export of revolution) in

September 1920.  Although the  result of this  Congress was

the  reinforcing  of  Russian  rather  than  Central  Asian

control  over  the  process,  the  interest   in  exporting

Communism remained alive into the mid-1920s.52 
After  the   Baku  Congress,  the  efforts   to  study  and

propagandize the East continued. 
     [Recognizing] "the great need for agents and agitators

     proficient  in  the  tongues of  the  various Oriental

     peoples   and  familiar   with   their  history,   the

     Military-Revolutionary Council of the  Turkestan Front

     established  in  October  1920  a  special  program of

     Oriental Studies.  This served  as the nucleus  of the

     Higher  Military School of Oriental Studies founded in

In  Moscow  on  13  December  1921  the  Soviet  government

established    Vserossiiskaia    nauchnaia    assotsiatsiia

vostokovedeniia  (All  Russian  Scientific  Association  of

Oriental  Studies)  --  VNAV.  This  was  attached  to  the

Narodnyi kommissariat po  delam natsional'nostei  (People's

Commissariat  for  Nationalities  Affairs)  --  Narkomnats,

headed by Stalin and in charge of all nationalities policy.

"It [VNAV] assisted  the government  and the  party in  the

implementation of official policy  and with propaganda work

in the Asian regions  of the Soviet Union. It  had cells in

Moscow  and in several other places both at home and abroad

whose members forwarded information to VNAV."54 
16                               H. B. Paksoy 
Tura  Mirzaev  notes  that  the Central  Committee  of  the

Russian  Communist Party  passed  a resolution  on 18  June

1925:   On  "Party   policy  in   the  field   of  artistic

literature".55  Contained   in  this   resolution  was  
declaration  that "in a classless  society there is and can

be no  neutral art."56 As  a result of  this resolution,
Uzbek Commissariat  of Education and  Knowledge ordered new

collections  of Alpamysh  variants to  be conducted  "in an

organized  fashion." In  1928, the Turcological  Cabinet of

the USSR Academy of  Sciences was founded and "...sponsored

translations  of Turkish  classics and  historical records,

published  monographs on  the  history and  culture of  the

Turkic peoples..."57 
Wayne   Vucinich   articulates  the   relationship  between

education of "scholars" and agitation: 
     "From  the very  beginning the  Soviet Government 
     undertook  to   establish  completely  controlled 
     communist  centers  of   Oriental  research   and 
     training. It wanted Orientalists to be militantly 
     missionary,  to dedicate themselves  to the cause 
     of  communism  and to  interpret,  popularize and 
     implement the policies of the  government and the 
Examination  of Oriental  studies in  the USSR  reveals two

sets  of linkages. The first  is that between  the study of

history   and  current   problems,   the   second   between

institutional  reorganization and  ideological redirection.

Of  the  first, the  Party itself  provides straightforward

     "Naturally, the  study  of these  most  important 
     problems  must be  based  on full  and exhaustive 
     research...   Deep  scholarly  analysis of  these 
     problems must  necessarily  be based  on  serious 
     study of the  entire history of Eastern  peoples, 
     including ancient  and medieval history;  but the 
     basic issue  of  the Oriental  Institute  is  the 
     study of problems  of contemporary history...  in 
     the  study of  ancient  and medieval  East it  is 
     necessary to concentrate  attention on  questions 
     having   timely   (aktual'nyi)    significance... 
     (using)   Marxist-Leninist   methodology...   and 
     guided by the historic  decisions of the  Central 
     Committee   of   the   VKP(b)    on   ideological 
The    second    linkage,   that    between   institutional

reorganization   and   ideological  redirection,   is  more

complex.  The first period  of institutional reorganization

ALPAMYSH:            Chapter Two                         17

and redirection  was roughly  from 1928  or 1929 to 
This was the  period of  the purges of  Central Asians  for

"national  deviation."61  It  was during  this  period 
VNAV  was dissolved (in 1930) and replaced by the Institute

of  Oriental  Studies  within  the  reorganized Academy  of

Sciences. Among the tasks of the historical-economic sector

of the Institute was investigating  "socialist construction

in Soviet eastern regions and republics..."62 
Another reorganization took place in 1935 on the eve of the

Great  Purges. Any  remnants  of  Central  Asian  "national

deviationists" from the first purges were liquidated in the

1936-38 period.  An  additional institutional  change  took

place in 1937 when the Academy of Sciences finally absorbed

the institutes  formerly under the Communist  Academy. Even

after these changes, complaints were made about the quality

of work and understaffing.63 
Within this  context  of purges  for "national  deviation,"

repeated   "reorganizations"    and,   presumably   greater

ideological control  over Oriental studies,  the attempt by

Hamid Alimjan to "rescue" Alpamysh takes on a new, dramatic

significance. He  may well have seen  this 1939 publication

of  Alpamysh  as his  last  chance  to preserve  a  central

monument of culture and repository of identity. Alimjan was

literally  risking  his life,  an  act which  by  itself is

eloquent  testimony   to  the  importance  of   the  dastan

The  pace of  Oriental  studies was  slowed but  not halted

during  World War  II.  The Institute  of Oriental  Studies

worked   closely  with   the   party   and   the   military

organization. It  published propaganda materials..."65  
task of training future  generations was not neglected. The

Oriental Institute  in Leningrad was moved  to Tashkent and

Central  Asians were  admitted  for  training. The  Central

Asians constituted a portion of the enlarged cadres in this

Institution even when  transferred back to Leningrad  after

the war.66   In March 1944,  a major  Conference on 
Asian  folklore was  held in  Tashkent.67  The convening 
such a conference during  the war bespeaks the significance

of  the topic,  probably  in connection  with the  Oriental

Institute's propaganda function.  
More relevant  for this  topic is  the  postwar renewal  of

interest  in  Oriental  studies and  the  institutional and

ideological vicissitudes of the Oriental Institute.  In the

wake of enormous war losses, the contribution to victory of

the Russians  (who, in official  propaganda, received  sole

credit  for  the  victory)  and,  by  extension,  relations

between non-Russians  and Russians received  new
Orientalists were invited to engage  in ideological warfare

18                               H. B. Paksoy 
against falsifiers of history,  including those who sullied

the  friendly  relations between  Soviet  peoples. Vucinich

perceptively describes the era: 
     "From 1949 until  1951 leading Soviet  newspapers 
     and   journals   often   published  warnings   to 
     historians  and  literati,  as  well  as  to  the 
     institutes    sponsoring   them,    and   offered 
     acceptable   interpretations   of   controversial 
     issues in  the history  of the Soviet  Muslim and 
     certain other Asian peoples.... In their writings 
     Asian  authors  were   obliged  to  refrain  from 
     expressing any ideas or interpretations that were 
     anti-Russian and were told to honor and extol the 
     many virtues of the 'Great Russian people', under 
     whose leadership the Soviet peoples  would attain 
     a  common  supranational culture  for  the entire 
     'Soviet family' of nations."69 
The period  of the "crisis of  dastans 1949-1951" coincided

roughly  with  the  beginning  of a  protracted  period  of

reorganization of  the Oriental Institute and  the Oriental

departments of  the Academy  of Sciences.  In its plan  for

1950,  the Oriental  Institute called  for new  emphasis on

several fields  including literature.70 The  1950 report 
the  Presidium  called  for  a  major  reorganization.  The

Oriental Institute  was moved from Leningrad  to Moscow and

workers from other academic institutes were transferred  to

it.  In addition,  the Oriental  Institute was  transferred

from  the  Department of  Language  and  Literature of  the

Academy  of  Sciences  to  the  more  politically  oriented

Department of History and  Philosophy.71 Among new 
created  was the Section of  the Soviet East  headed by the

well-known  Orientalist E.  E. Bertels.72  However, as 
as  the  early  part  of  1951  the  Institute  was   still

understaffed  and   the  work   quality  was   still  being

The  organizational  reforms  and  ideological  redirection

continued into  the middle  of the decade.  The 19th  Party

Congress  (October  1952) criticized  the  Orientalists for

having  failed  to  follow  party  directives.  Among other

matters, the  Orientalists were  told to  produce scholarly

works  on Eastern  literature.73    Again, a  (perhaps 
major  issue  was  relations  between   Asian  peoples  and

Russians.74    Also  in 1952,  historians  were  purged 
"erroneous ideas"  and  for having  fallen into  "bourgeois

ideological waters"  concerning the "Muslim  heroes" Shamil

and Kenesary Kasymov and the national question.75 
In  1953,   the  Presidium  of  the   Academy  of  Sciences

criticized the output of  the Oriental Institute since 1951

ALPAMYSH:            Chapter Two                         19

as      having       a      low      "political-conceptual"

(ideino-politicheskii)  level. It  further stated  that the

cadres  were weak  in theoretical  training and  lacking in

systematic control.  Among the  priorities handed down  for

the   Institute   were  "production   of  scholarly-popular

literature illuminating the  successes of popular democracy

in  the  East,  the  liberation  struggles  of  peoples  of

dependent  and  colonial  countries,"  and  "production  of

qualified  help  for  the   academies  of  science  in  the

republics  on questions  of the  history and  literature of

peoples of the Soviet East."76 
A  decree  of  the   Academy  Presidium  of  February  1953

established  an "independent  section"  of the  history and

culture  of the  Soviet East.  Some subsequent  adjustments

were made,  presumably  linked to  the death  of Stalin  in

March 1953. Twelve  sections were created.77 The  Section
the Soviet  East was now upgraded  to "independent section"

(of which there  were only three) on  "history and cultures

of  the  Soviet East."78  It was  still headed  by
In 1954, the Central Committee of the Party demanded that a

careful research  plan be  drawn up  for all 
In  that same  year a  Coordinating Commission  for Eastern

Literature was  established under the  Central Coordinating

Council for Oriental Studies.81 
The  following year,  the journal  Sovetskoe Vostokovedenie

resumed  publication. Seemingly  for  the first  time,  the

Oriental  Institute  was   not  understaffed.  There   were

reported to be 220 workers, of whom 155 worked on Far East,

South  Asia  and   Middle  East.82  That  would   leave 
presumably for work on Soviet domestic issues. The Oriental

Institute embarked on a  new path in 1955. From  that time,

the Institute invested "serious  effort" in the publication

of  "historical  and literary  monuments,"  which certainly

included  the  dastans.  Under the  editorship  of  Bertels

himself,  the  Institute   began  publishing   "significant

monuments  of  medieval  literature," including  Firdousi's

Shahname and Rashid al-Din's Chronicles. In connection with

this effort,  the  Institute also  carried out  preparatory

research on Kutadgu Bilig and the Secere-i Terakime by Abul

Criticisms,  however, continued.  In a meeting  of December

1956,  the  Academy   Presidium  attacked  the  Institute's

treatment of a number  of issues including "national trends

of peoples of Central  Asia and criticisms of nationalistic

errors  in  the  work of  historians  and  literati."84 
on-going displeasure  of the Presidium  with the  Institute

led to  new guidelines and yet  further reorganization. The

new  guidelines,  stated  to  be  in  conformity  with  the

resolutions  of  the  20th  Party  Congress,  included  the

20                               H. B. Paksoy 
continued publication of literary and  historical monuments

of the peoples of the East.  To facilitate this publication

agenda,  a  publishing  house  of  Eastern  Literature  was

established in 1957.85 
The new  structure of the  Oriental Institute was  far more

complex  than before. Sections on the Far East and Near and

Middle East included  subsections on individual  countries.

Gone was  the old "independent  section" on the  peoples of

the  Soviet East.  A new  division was  added, however,  to

replace the  Soviet East department headed  by Bertels, who

had  been the  chief  of the  various Soviet  East sections

since 1950.86    Along with  the  structural change  of 
Institute, the  plan was  changed as  well. For the  "first

time"87  the Institute  called for  large scale 
of literary and historical monuments. 
Several  events  had  led  up to  the  "rehabilitation"  of

Alpamysh  in 1956 -- the Party Congress of 1952, the Moscow

Conference  on  Epics  in  1954,  the  Tashkent  "Trial  of

Alpamysh"  in 1952 and, in 1956 the 20th CPSU Congress. All

issued guidelines  relevant to Alpamysh. Finally,  with the

institutional  reforms of  1957, the reorganization  of the

Oriental   Institute   was   pronounced  "completed."   The

Institute  was now ready to  carry out the  dictates of the

Party Congress.88   In the following year,  the

"definitive" and "complete" version of Alpamysh appeared.  
In the light of  the reforms and ideological  directives of

the 1950s, and  particularly the increasing  emphasis after

1955  on the  "literary  and historical  monuments" of  the

peoples  of  the East,  the  beginnings  of reemergence  of

Alpamysh   after   1958   becomes  more   explicable.   Its

republishing  has  a  specific  place  within  the  broader

pattern of activity in the field of Oriental studies.  Only

with the newly enlarged staff and with the establishment of

"final"   ideological   instruction   could  the   Oriental

Institutes undertake the work necessary for the publication

of Alpamysh.  In this  regard, Bennigsen is  perhaps overly

optimistic  in  his  assessment  of  the   reappearance  of

Alpamysh  (and other dastans) as  a sign of  the victory of

the  Central  Asians.89  In  fact,  the Oriental 
finally  had the  personnel  and  the "proper"  ideological

framework with which  to edit the  dastan according to  the

dicta of the CPSU. 

In the  Soviet period, as before  the Bolshevik Revolution,

collecting  and publishing efforts  continued among Central

ALPAMYSH:            Chapter Two                         21

Asians. These efforts produced dozens of published versions

and  a  still  unknown  number  of  manuscripts  which  are

occasionally  cited  by Soviet  authors and  are reportedly

kept in restricted access manuscript archives of Academy of

Sciences of the USSR and Academies of individual republics.

Mirzaev, in  his 1968  work,90 cites  29 reciters'
variants in the Tashkent archives of the Academy  of

Sciences alone; in his  1969 work,91  he cites  33 variants 

of Alpamysh in this same  archive. Zhirmunskii92 and  M.

 Ghabdullin and T. Sydykov93 cite  additional manuscripts  

in Nukus, Alma-Ata, Kazan, Moscow and Leningrad. 
Unfortunately,  the  available   individual  printings   of

Alpamysh do not provide sufficient information tracing  the

origin of variant in  question. Introductions remark on the

dastan's  antiquity  without detail.  None  of the  Russian

translations,  as far  as  this  writer  has been  able  to

determine, incorporates a critical apparatus. Even in those

instances  where the editor-translator  is of Central Asian

origin,  such  as  Divay,  only  occasional  footnotes  are

included.  These  footnotes  are  usually  limited  to  the

explanations of  words. The native dialect  editions rarely

if  ever provide  any explanations  since the  readers are,

after all, familiar with the dastan.  
One  of  the  main  reasons  for  the  ignorance  about the

"genealogy" of any of the variants may lie in the fact that

the  known versions of Alpamysh appear to have come down to

the present day through diverse sources -- various reciting

schools, tribal  units, localities and  collection efforts.

Reports  of  these collection  efforts  show  little or  no

evidence  that   the  collectors  attempted  to  trace  the

historical   line  of  descent   for  any   given  variant.

Regardless of the cause, this failure by  the collectors to

trace the origins of individual variants renders comparison

extremely  difficult. Establishing  descent,  if that  task

were to be attempted, would also be problematical, even for

those who may have full access to all known manuscripts. 
The first monographic treatment (discussed in Chapter Four)

devoted to the "Uzbek national heroic epic" and including a

large  section on  the  dastan Alpamysh  is  the 1947  work

coauthored by V. M. Zhirmunskii  and Hadi Zarif (under  the

name  Kh. T.  Zarifov,  the form  used in  Russian-language

sources). The  sections on  dastans were written  by Zarif,

according to the work's  Introduction. Although Hadi  Zarif

attempted   to  examine   various  historical   events  and

documents in order to establish the approximate time of the

dastan's creation, even he did not deal with any particular

variant of Alpamysh, and confined himself primarily to what

he labelled the "Kungrat" version. This lack of a genealogy

is  disappointing  because   by  virtue  of  his   personal

22                               H. B. Paksoy 
knowledge and  access to documents, he  was well positioned

to trace such a lineage.  
Alpamysh has  apparently never been printed anywhere except

in the Russian and Soviet domains. There have been 55 known

published versions of Alpamysh offered for sale since 1899.

A  complete  bibliography  of  those  works  follows.  They

include  versions published  in Kazakh,  Uzbek, Karakalpak,

Tatar, Kirghiz,  Altai, Russian  and Tajik, the  last being

confined   to   portions   of   Tajikistan   and   northern

Afghanistan.94   It  is not  known  to  exist in  any 

other language and  the  very  name  is unknown  in  the  

Turkish Republic.95  
The dastan Alpamysh was  the subject of at least  185 books

and articles in the USSR between 1923 and 1967 alone. These

publications of evaluation  and research were the  products

of  Kazakh, Kirghiz,  Uzbek,  Bashkir,  Tatar  and  Russian

authors  and do not include  editions of the  main texts or

major translations of this dastan. 
The bibliography below is compiled from various sources and

covers publications known  to me as  of this writing.  This

list does not include the Alpamysh extracts found in school

textbooks or readers: 

Bibliography of Published Versions of the Alpamysh Dastan  
1.   Kissa-i Alfamish.  By Yusufbek Seyhulislam  (in Arabic

alphabet.) Kazan, 1899. 
2.  Second edition of (1), 1901.  
3.  "Alpamis-Batir." In  Sbornik materialov dlia statistiki

Syr-Dar'inskoi  oblasti. Edited  by  A. A.  Divay. Vol.  X,

Tashkent, 1901.  
4.    Alpamis-Batir.  Djia-Murad  Bek  Muhammedov  version.

Editor:  A. A.  Divay.  Reprint of  (3).   Text  in  Arabic

alphabet in  Kazakh,  with Russian  translation.  Tashkent,

5.   "Alpamis-Batir."  In Pamiatniki  kirgizskogo narodnogo

tvorchestva. Reprint of (3). Tashkent, 1901.  
6.  Third edition of (1), 1905.  
7.  Fourth edition of (1), 1907.  
8.  Fifth edition of (1), 1910.  
9.  Sixth edition of (1), 1912.  
ALPAMYSH:            Chapter Two                         23

10. Seventh edition of (1), 1914.  
11. Eighth edition of (1), 1916.  
12.  "Velikan Alpamis."  In  Turkestanskaia vedemost',  no.

217-218.  Russian translation, collected (during 1916?) and

edited by A. A. Divay. Tashkent, 1916. 
13. "Alpamysh." In Batirlar. Vol.  VI. Editor: A. A. Divay.

Second edition of (3), Tashkent, 1922.  
14. "Alpamysh." In  Kirgizsko-Kazakhskii bogatirskii  epos.

Vo. VI. Reprint of (13), Tashkent, 1922.  
15.  "Alpamish dastani." In  Bilim Ocagi,  No. 2-3,  18 May

1923. pp. 39-59. Editor: Gazi Alim. Tashkent, 1923.  
16.  "Alpamis  Batir."  In  Sbornik   obraztsov  kazakhskoi

narodnoi  literatury. Editor:  S.  Seyfullin.  Kizil  Orda,

(  - Unverified - ) [Alpamysh Batir.  Reprint of (3 and 13)

17.  Alpamysh.  Karakalpak (?)  version.  (Latin alphabet?)

Moscow, 1936.  
18. Alpamys. Russian  translation from Hojabergen  Niyazov.

Moscow, 1937. 
19.  "Alpamis Batir."  In  Batirlar Jiri,  V. 1.  Compiler:

Sabit Mukanov.  (Latin alphabet?) Alma-Ata,  1939. (Reprint

of Item 16?)  
20. Alpomish  dastani. Uzbek Fanlar  Akademiyasi Nasriyati.

In  Latin  alphabet. Fazil  Yoldash  oglu version.  Editor:

Hamid Alimjan. Tashkent, 1939. 
21.  Altai-Buchai. Russian  translation of  (23), Ulagashev

variant. Moscow, 1939.  
22. Altai-Buchai. In Altaiskie skazki. Shortened version of

(23), Ulagashev variant. Moscow, 1939.  
23. Alyp-Manash. N. Ulagashev variant. Moscow (?) 1940.  
24.  "Alpamysh i  Barsin Khyluu."  In Bashkirskie  narodnye

skazki,  No. 19. Recorded and translated by A. G. Bessonov.

General Editor: Prof. N. Dimitriev. Ufa, 1941.  
25. Alpamysh. Second edition of (18), Moscow, 1941.  
24                               H. B. Paksoy 
26. "Altay Buchai." In  Oirotskii narodnyi epos. Editor: A.

Koptelev.  N. Ulagashev  variant. pp.  79-126. Novosibirsk,

27. "Alpamysh." In Uzbekskii narodnyi epos; Glava iz poemy.

Significantly abridged translation (by L.  Penkovskii) into

Russian.  Probably contains  only  the  suitor  competition

section. Tashkent, 1943.  
28.  Alpamysh. Partial  translation  by  V.  Derzhavin,  A.

Kochetkov and L. Penkovskii. Tashkent, 1944.  
29.  "Alpamysh." In  Kazakhskii geroicheskii  epos, Moscow,

30. "Alpamys." In Tatar Halk Ekiyatlara. Kazan, 1946.  
31. "Alpamis." In Tatarskie narodnye skazki, vol I. Russian

translation of a Kazan Tatar version, 1946.  
32. Alpamisha i Barchin-huluu, Bashkirskie narodnye skazki.

Collected by  A. Bessonov, edited by  N. Dimitriev. (Second

edition of (24) ?) Ufa, 1949.  
33.  Alpamysh. Uzbeksii epos  po varianti  Fazila Yoldasha.

Translated  by L.  Penkovskii, foreword  by M.  Sheykhzade.

Tashkent, 1949.  
34.  Alpamysh.  Uzbekskii  narodnyi epos.  Translated  from

Fazil  Yoldash  text.  Translator:  L.  Penkovskii. Moscow,

35.  "Alpamysh." In  Kazakhskii epos.  Russian translation.

Alma-Ata, 1953.  
36. Alpamys. Text prepared by G. G. Musabaev, editors N. S.

Smirnova and T. S. Sydykov. Alma-Ata, 1957.  
37. Alpamys. From Kiyas-jray Hayreddinov. Nukus, 1957.  
38.  Alpamysh i  Sandugach.  Tatarskie narodnye  skazki. In

Tatar. Kazan, 1957.  
39. Alpamysh. Second edition of (20), Tashkent, 1957.  
40. Alpamysh. Third edition of (20), Tashkent, 1958.  
41.  Alpamish:   Tatar  Halk  Ekiyatlara.   Edited  by   H.

Yarmuhametov. Second edition of  (29) 1946 printing? Kazan,

ALPAMYSH:            Chapter Two                         25

42. Alpamish. Russian translation by L. Penkovskii. Preface

by V. Zhirmunskii. Reprint of 1949. Moscow, 1958.  
43.  "Alp-Manash."  In  Altay Baatirlar.  Volume  II. Tuulu

Altaydin  Bichikter  Chigarar  Izdatelstvozi.   Editor:  P.

Kuchiyak. Gorno-Altaysk, 1959. 
44. Alpomish.  Editor: R. Amonov. Translated  into Tajik by

L. N. Demidchik. Stalinabad, 1959.  
45. Alpomish. Tajik? Second  printing of (44) ? Stalinabad,

46. Alpamys. From Esemurat-jray Nurabullaev. Nukus, 1960.  
47.  Alpamis  Batir.  Prepared  for publication  by  N.  S.

Smirnova and T. S. Sydykov. Editors: M. O. Auezov and N. S.

Smirnova. Alma-Ata, 1961. 
48. Alpamis Batir. Editor: A. Shalabaeva. Alma-Ata, 1968.  
49.  Alpomish. Uzbekistan  SSR  Fanlar  Akademiyasi, A.  S.

Pushkin  Nomidaki Til  va Adabiyat Instituti.  Berdi Bahshi

Variant. Transcriber: Abdulla Alavii; editor: Tura Mirzaev;

Editor of the series: Hadi Zarif. Tashkent, 1969. 
50.  Alpamish.  Uzbekskoe narodnoe  tvorchestvo. Translated

from Fazil  Yoldash oglu text.  Translator: L.  Penkovskii.

Reprint of (34) ? Moscow, 1977.  
51. Alpamis Batir. Kazak SSR Gylym Akademiyasi M. O. Auezov

Atindaki Edebiyet yane Oner Instituti. Alma-Ata, 1977.  
52. Alpamysh. Tashkent, 1979.  
53.  "Alpamis  Batir."  In Kazakhskii  gerocheskii  epos  v

prozaicheskom   pereskaze  Akseley   Seydimbekova.  Russian

translation by Satimjan Sanbaev. Alma-Ata, 1981.  
54. Alpamis. Nukus, 1981.  
55. Alpamish. Uzbekskii narodni epos. Translated from T. M.

Mirzaev  text. Translator:  L.  M.  Penkovskii. Reprint  of

(33), Moscow, 1982. 
As  the  Alpamysh bibliography  demonstrates, approximately

one third of the  items are Russian translations of  one or

another variant. Most publication efforts, however, reflect

the  dedication of  several individual Central  Asians, who

can be regarded as saviors of dastans. 
26                               H. B. Paksoy 
Saviors of Dastans: Second and Third "Waves" 

As  Bolsheviks  continued  tsarist  policies,  the  Central

Asians also continued their  efforts to collect and publish

the dastans  after the revolution. Attempts  to collect the

dastan from  bahshis and  to publish  were numerous  in the

1920s and 1930s  until the  death of many  reciters in  the

purges. Mirzaev96  also notes new collection  efforts

around the Ferghana  Valley in 1956, after the so-called 

"Trial of Alpamysh." 
This  second "wave of  saviors", concentrated  in Tashkent,

managed  to publish the dastan at least three times between

the Revolution and  the demise of the Turkistan Republic in

1924. Slightly more information is available on this group,

by virtue  of the  individuals'  affiliation with  Narodnyi

kommissariat prosveshcheniia (the  People's Commisariat  of

Education)  --  Narkompros  and  the  Kazakh-Kirghiz  Bilim

Kamiyasi (roughly: Society of  Kazakh-Kirghiz Scholarship).

It is because of this history that information is available

on Divay,  Yusufbek and Gazi  Alim.97 Other individuals 
likely to come light in the course of further research. 
Available information on  Divay's career indicates that  he

continued his  efforts to  record and preserve  elements of

Turkic  culture after  the revolution  as before.  In 1918,

Divay offered courses in Kazakh ethnography and language at

the Central Asian University  and at the Turkistan Oriental

Institute, where  he held the chair  of Kirghiz ethnography

and language. He was  first an "independent instructor" and

later  a  professor. He  organized  a  major expedition  to

Semirechie in  spring  1922  as a  member  of  the  Kirghiz

Scholarly  Commission of  Narkompros of  the Turkrespublika

(Turkistan Republic).  During the following year,  Divay is

reported  to  have  gathered,  described  and  systematized

approximately  eight  thousand  pages of  notes  from  this

As before,  Divay's findings were published  in the various

scholarly and  popular journals  in Russian and  the native

language during 1922.  He also participated at this time in

the  special commission  for the  elimination of  the kalym

("bride  price") and for the "reform of the study of native

languages."99   A second  jubilee for  Divay was 

celebrated in 1923.   Divay's  Soviet biographers  are  

silent on  the ensuing years  of his life and  note only 

that he  died ten years later. 
Much   has  been  written  and  said  about  Divay  by  his

contemporaries.  A few items are  revealing. In an issue of

Zhivaia Starina,  V. A.  Gordlevskii, noted one  of Divay's

"praiseworthy  tendencies,"  "to   extract  articles   from

ALPAMYSH:            Chapter Two                         27

Turkestanskaia  vedomost' and  republish them,  thus saving

them   from  oblivion."100    This  "praiseworthy 

tendency" would  explain  the  multiple  printings of  

Alpamysh  and, apparently, the goal behind them. 
Zeki Velidi Togan  wrote about a visit  to Divay's Tashkent

home in 1913.  Zeki Velidi had read Ismail Gasprali's Rusya

Muslumanlari,  which  he  had  found  in  Divay's  personal

library. In  a conversation with Divay (Togan refers to him

as "Miralay" [colonel] and "Divay  Agha"), Togan criticized

Gasprali's "timidity." Divay responded:  
     "During  those times  our thoughts  were somewhat 
     different. In addition, if this language had  not 
     been used,  that book would not  have cleared the 
     censors. Political repression in Russia  in those 
     days was  much more stringent. In  those hours of 
     our  need,  works  such  as  this  gave  us  some 
Detailed information on the dastans and on Divay himself is

to  be found in the Kazakh Academy of Science's Kazakhskaia

narodnaia  poeziia.102   The  first  chapter was 

presumably written by one  or more members of  the 

editorial committee which produced this work -- N. S. 

Smirnova, M. G. Gumarova, M. S.  Sil'chenko and T. S. 

Sydykov.  The chapter describes Divay's method of 

collecting  materials. Divay often sought out   those  

among   the   Kazakh  populations   who  owned

manuscripts of  traditional oral  works. Often  the bahshis

themselves had manuscripts of dastans. These manuscripts he

collected or, when unable to acquire them, had them copied.

     "Divaev made a request of the responsible persons 
     of  the Turkestan  krai  to copy  manuscripts for 
     him.   In  this way  in June  1896 he  received a 
     manuscript  of the epic  Alpamysh. The manuscript 
     itself is  reported to be in  the Manuscript Fond 
     of the Library of the Academy of Sciences  of the 
     Kazak  SSR,  'Materialy  A.  A.  Divaeva,  folder 
A piece by Sydykov in the same volume gives the details  of

the collection in 1896:  
     "In  this   same  year  1896  Divaev  received  a 
     manuscript  of  the  Karakalpak  of  the  Turtkul 
     volost' of  the Amu-Darya otdel of  the Syr-Darya 
     oblast'   Dzhiemurat   Bekmukhamedov   [sic],   a 
     professional bahshi.  The manuscript was prepared 
     for  publication by  Divaev in November  1897. It 
     was published on the pages  of Sbornik materialov 
28                               H. B. Paksoy 
     dlia   statistiki   Syr-Dar'inskoi   oblasti   in 
Sydykov  also  noted that  Divay  had  already known  about

Alpamysh  and  first  mentioned  the  work  in  an  article

published  in   1896  in  Zapiski   Vostochnogo  otdeleniia

Russkogo  arkheologicheskogo obshchestva, 1896,  v. XI, no.

III-IV, p. 292. 
Another major savior of dastans was Gazi Alim. He published

a version of  Alpamysh in 1923  (Item 15 in  Bibliography).

Togan tells  of Gazi Alim's  collections in  the 1910s  and

1920s both  in the  vicinity of Tashkent  during the  short

life of  the Turkistan Republic (1918-1924)  and from Fazil

Yoldashoglu in the environs of Samarkand in 1928.105 
The collection process did  not always proceed smoothly. In

compiling his  1923 Alpamysh, Gazi  Alim, then a  member of

the  Bilim Kamisiya, reportedly  collected one variant from

Yoldashoglu  and  another  variant  from  reciter  Hamrakul

Bahshi.  According  to  Mirzaev,  the  1923  printing   was

"spliced"  from  recitations  of  the  two  ozans.  Mirzaev

further states that  this very manuscript  was subsequently

"lost"  and the dastan had  to be collected  again later in

the decade.106 
In his  introduction to the  1923 printing (Item  15), Gazi

Alim  describes  the  importance  of the  dastan  and  thus

suggests his motives in wanting to save this dastan:  
     "The dastan occupies the most  important place in 
     the people's literature. The dastan is a literary 
     genre  encompassing all  the  particulars of  the 
     tribal life in the most lucid manner.  
     "If  we  do  not know  the  Turk-Ozbeg  [original 
     spelling]  dastans, we  will not  become familiar 
     with  the  struggles  of  the  Turk  tribes,  the 
     reasons   underlying    their   politico-economic 
     endeavors,  their methods  and rules  of warfare, 
     the  characters and  the social  places of  their 
     heroes in their societies; in short, the  details 
     of  their  past.  National  dastans  contain  the 
     styles  and customs  of local  akins, which  is a 
     fundamental  characteristic  of the  dastans. The 
     Turkish land is rich  in dastans. All Turk tribes 
     have  their own dastans:  the Kipaks  have their 
     Koblandi  Batir;  the  Nogays, Idige  Batir;  the 
     Kungrats,  Alpamis  Batir;  the   Naymans,  Shora 
     Batir; the Kirgiz, Manas Batir.  
     "In addition, there are  many others in the Altay 
ALPAMYSH:            Chapter Two                         29

     mountains, the  Turkistan  steppes and  the  Idil 
     [Volga]   shores   that  are   repeated   by  the 
     Turk-Ozbeg akins, but are not yet written down.  
     "Our awakening period is just beginning,  and our 
     national  literature  will  undoubtedly serve  an 
     important  purpose  within  this   context.  This 
     rebirth of our own  native literature will become 
     even more powerful, if  it can be saved from  the 
     false classicism of  aghatay, which  in turn  is 
     influenced by  and has taken its  form and spirit 
     from  Persian.  Consequently, our  new literature 
     must  be based on the power and the purity of our 
     people's soul."  
In  the 1930s it appears there was another group working to

further  the  efforts of  their  predecessors.  Within this

group Hamid Alimjan, then head of the Uzbek Writers' Union,

is most visible.  
The 1939  compilation of Alpamysh  is not available  in the

Western world. Even  in the  libraries of the  USSR, it  is

exceedingly  difficult to see a  copy of this printing. The

volume  begins  with  an extraordinary  introduction,  more

fiery  than the one  by Gazi  Alim. In  the copy  which was

available to  this  author for  one thirty-minute  session,

pages 8 through 25 were missing from the introduction. They

had been removed. In these missing pages Alimjan apparently

describes the reasons why  he believes that this  dastan is

important and must be kept alive. 
Passages  below  are  extracted  and  translated  from  the

introduction written by Hamid  Alimjan to the 1939 printing

of Alpamysh as taken down  from Fazil Yoldashoglu (Item  20

in Bibliography).  
The Kungrat tribe of the Uzbeks are seeking refuge with the

Kalmak ruler. Alimjan uses the spelling Ozbeg, (rather than

Uzbek);  this form is probably to be related to the popular

etymology: Ozum  Bek, "my  essence is princely."  The text,

which is reproduced  below, is in Latin orthography and all

spellings are as in the original. 
     "Kungrat  Aksakallar  Qalmakga qarab  bir  soz eb 
     turgan ekan:  
     Aja sahim sizga ajtar arzim bar,  
     Almadajin solgan guldaj tarzim bar,  
     Turkistandan bizlar kaib kelibdi  
     Bu bajlardan sahim baldin bexabar  
     Abla menin aqli husim alibdi  
     Sum falak basima savda salibdi  
30                               H. B. Paksoy 
     Bizning elga qattik talan qilibdi  
     Davlatini kordim cuda qalibdi(r)  
     Aslin bilsan Turkistandan kelibdi  
     Ekinmin barni nabud kilibdi  
     Uqur edin qanatindan qagrildin  
     Jugruk bolsan tujaqidan tajrildin  
     Biz avqatdan, sen sursatdan tajrildin  
     Xazan bolib baqda gullar soladi  
     "The Kungrat whitebeards introduce  themselves to 
     the Kalmaks:  
     My lord, allow me respectfully to declare  
     I appear  like a wilted rose,  discarded (because 
     of our ordeal)  
     We have escaped from Turkistan  
     My lord, you are unaware of those gardens (of our 
     The disgrace has taken away my senses  
     The heavens have burdened me with this shame  
     And severely devastated our lands  
     I have seen it prosperous; now it is gone  
     As for our origins, we come from Turkistan  
     Our cultivated fields have been destroyed  
     I used to fly, but now I am bereft of my wings  
     When we left, we had to part from our belongings  
     We  have  been  prevented  from  worship  and the 
     revenues (of our holdings)  
     Autumn   has  come;  roses  have  wilted  in  the 
     "Alpamis  is a  dastan  shared  among the  Ozbeg, 
     Karakalpak,  Kazak and  one  of the  oldest  such 
     lineages, the  Kungrats, describing their  way of 
     life. Alpamis has entered into the literatures of 
     these  native  Central  Asian   peoples.  Ozbegs, 
     Kazaks,  Kirghiz,  Turkmens and  Karakalpaks have 
     read and cherished Alpamis as their own.  
     "These people have regarded  Alpamis as a part of 
     their  own history,  and rightly  so. All  of the 
     best  akins  of the  Ozbegs  knew Alpamis.  Among 
     these  poets,  lack of  knowledge of  Alpamis was 
     considered a  shame.  Therefore all  poets  began 
     their recitations with Alpamis.  
     "The original  contains  15,000 lines  of  verse. 
     Poet Yoldashoglu  of the Jani Mihnat  (New Labor) 
     Kolkhoz,  located  in   the  Bulungur  oblast  of 
     Samarkand,    is    considered   as    the   most 
ALPAMYSH:            Chapter Two                         31

     authoritative of its reciters.  
     "Alpamis  is one  of  the oldest  dastans of  the 
     Ozbeg people. Among the Ozbeg  folklorists, there 
     are  those who consider Alpamis  to be at least a 
     thousand years old. These  claims are, of course, 
     not without foundation".  
The fourth wave  of Central  Asian intellectuals  concerned

with  the fate of Alpamysh  and the Turkic  dastan genre in

general  is just  beginning to  emerge. The  challenge they

face  shall be  the focus  of  Chapter Four.  In biological

terms, the  members of  this group  are actually the  third

generation and  a virtual  intellectual replacement  of the

independence  minded  "nationalists"  who  were  physically

liquidated  by  the Stalinist  measures  of  the 1920s  and

1930s.  It is  from  the  point  of  view  of  intellectual

heritage that  they constitute  the fourth group.  Each and

every one of these writers, mostly born since World War II,

chose to  utilize the  dastans in placing  their historical

fiction onto paper. They  liberally incorporate motifs from

a variety of dastans into their works.107 
The  theme of their  efforts is  perhaps expressed  by this

1982 poem, signed "Shakir Jumaniyaz" from the Uzbek journal

     "Give me a chance, my rebellious dreams 
     My father has erected his statue in my memory 
     May years and winds be rendered powerless 
     May his legacy not be erased from my conscience.  
     "Give me a chance, my rebellious dreams 
     Grant my father a Holy dastan 
     May years and winds be rendered powerless 
     May his memory never be allowed to fade."108  
32                               H. B. Paksoy 


1. On Russian expansion from the 16th to  20th centuries,
one may begin with Caroe  (Cited in Chapter One); Alexandre
 A. Bennigsen and Chantal Lemercier-Quelquejay, Islam in
 the Soviet Union (G.Wheeler, trans) (London,  1964). On 
 the late  18th-19th century expansions, see works of
 Ingram cited in Chapter  One. Also see Muriel Atkin
 Russian and Iran, 1780-1828 (Minneapolis: University of
 Minnesota Press, 1980)  as well as Firuz Kazemzadeh's 
 classic study of  Russian and  Britain in  Persia,
 1864-1914  (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1968) on
 expansion into the Caucasus. The Gorchakov Memorandum
 (issued by Foreign Minister Gorchakov in 1864  as 
 an instruction  to Russian  embassies  in  the  West
 concerning the government's grounds for its  conquest of
 Central Asia) establishes  Russia's "civilizing  mission"
 in Asia  as one justification for the  expansion. The 
 1892 Anglo-Russian treaty also established Afghanistan as 
 an official buffer state between the Russian Empire and
 British India. On  the history  of Oriental  Institutes
 and  their role  in this expansion, See Richard N. Frye's
 "Oriental Studies in Russia," in Wayne  Vucinich,  Editor,
 Russia  and  Asia (Stanford:  Hoover Institution Press,

2. The first Governor General of the krai was General
Kaufman who held the  post from 1867  to 1882. The 
conquest is discussed  in several monographs  including of
course  Caroe; Geoffrey  Wheeler, History of Modern Central
Asia (New York, London: Praeger, 1964). For  a  description
of  administrative  arrangements  as well  as greater focus
on the  khanates of Bukhara and Khiva,  see Seymour Becker,

Russia's Protectorates  in  Central  Asia;  Bukhara  and
Khiva, 1865-1924  (Cambridge,  MA: the  Harvard Russian 
Research Center Series, No. 54, Harvard University Press,

3.  I.  T.  Kreindler,  "Education Policies  Toward  the 
Eastern Nationalities in Tsarist Russia: A Study of
Il'minskii's System," unpublished doctoral dissertation,
Columbia University, 1970.

4. On  Il'minskii,  see Kreindler,  "Ibrahim Altynsarin, 
Nikolai Il'minskii and the  Kazakh National  Awakening,"
CAS V.  2, N.  31983. On Ostroumov, see Togan, Turkistan,
503 and Frye, "Oriental Studies in Russia," 43.

5. Togan, Turkistan, 503 discusses Ostroumov.

6. N. A.  Baskakov makes this  argument regarding smaller 
Turkic populations  such as the Altai,  Khakass, and Tuva, 
but even the Yakut, Chuvash, Karakalpak and the numerous
Kirghiz are stated to have  languages   that   are  "either

 unwritten   or   written primitively." See  Wurm's
translation in The  Turkic Languages of Central Asia, 1-2. 
 ALPAMYSH:                 Chapter Two              33

The same view is expressed in A. N. Kononov, Turkic
Philology: 50 Years  of  Soviet  Oriental  Studies (Moscow,

1967)  in  English translation,  7. The view  has even
crept  into Western textbooks such as Dmytryshyn, cited in
Chapter One.

7. For  a glimpse  of such  Tsarist reprisals,  see A.  N.
Kurat, Muhammed Ayaz Ishaki: Hayati ve Faaliyeti (Ankara,

8. Togan, Turkistan, 492-3.

9.  Ahmed   Midhat  (1844-1912)   was  a  popular  
novelist  and newspaperman active during the reign of
Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid II.  See  Stanford J.  Shaw,
History  of  the Ottoman  Empire and Modern  Turkey, Vol 
2, (Cambridge:  Cambridge University  Press,1977), p. 255.

10.  Togan cites here W. W. Radloff, Proben der
Volkliteratur der Turkischen Stamme, III, Introduction.

11.  This material  was  compiled from  various sources. 
See the articles   published  in   Kazakhskaia  narodnaia  
poeziia,  (Izobraztsov,  sobrannykh i  zapisannykh A. A. 
Divaevym) (Alma-Ata,1964). esp. Ch 1 and the article by

12.  The  term  used  in  the  original  Russian  is 
uchastkovyi nadziratel' which  literally means "inspector
of an uchastok," a police district.

13.  More  details on  his travels  and  informants are 
given in Kazakhskaia narodnaia poeziia, 14.

14.  N. C.  Smirnova inserted  the term  "Kazakh" as 
explanatory material after the reference in  the original
title to  Kirghiz. Kazakhskaia narodnaia poeziia, 8. 
Discussion of terms Kazakh and Kirghiz taken up shortly in
this Chapter. 

15.  Smirnova, ibid,  cites here  Grodekov's monograph 
Kirgizy i karakirgizy Syr-Dar'inskoi oblasti, vol.I,
Tashkent, 1889, p. v.

16. A note in the Russian text refers to Grodekov, ibid.

17.  Reviews by W. Bartold,  N. F. Katanov  (who criticized
Divay for using  the Cyrillic alphabet for 
transliteration) and othersare reproduced in Kazakhskaia
narodnaia poeziia.

18. Kazakhskaia narodnaia poeziia, 9.

19.  This work,  under the  general editorship  of V.  I.
Mezhov, comprised several hundred volumes.   Divay
apparently contributed to volumes 566-569. See Kazakhskaia
narodnaia poeziia, 9-10, Note 7. 
 34                         H. B. Paksoy

20. This process is well documented by Lowell Tillett's The
Great Friendship.  He pays  particular attention  to the 
Kazakhs. Also useful in connection with this policy are
those works on language policy cited below.

21. This and other changes are discussed in detail by Olaf
Caroe, The Soviet  Empire (cited in Note  1, this Chapter)
and  in C. W.Hostler Turkism and the Soviets.

22. For the definition of Kazakh, see Togan, Turkistan, 37,
38. For the  political use  of the  term Kirghiz, see  A.
T.  Hatto, "Kirghiz" in Traditions  of Heroic  and Epic
Poetry  A. T.  Hatto (Ed.) (London, 1980), P. 300.

23. Many sources  exist on  this topic -  Edward Allworth, 
Uzbek Literary Politics (The Hague, 1964); Michael Bruchis,
"The Effect of  the USSR's Language Policy  on the National

Languages of Its Turkic People," in Yaacov Ro'i, ed, The
USSR and the Muslim World (London, 1984); Olaf Caroe; 
Wheeler; Stefan Wurm, Turkic Peoples of the USSR: Their
Historical Background, Their Languages and the Development
of  Soviet Linguistic policy  (Central Asian Research
Centre in association with  St. Antony's College) (Oxford,
1954); idem,  The Turkic Languages of  Central Asia:
Problems of Planned Culture  Contact  (Central Asian 
Research Centre  in association with St. Antony's College)
(Oxford, 1954).

24. Wurm,  The Turkic  Languages of  Central  Asia, 30-48. 
Togan discusses further problems, Turkistan, 486-513. Also
see Bruchis, Note 23, this Chapter.

25. See  Azarbayjan Dilinin  Izahly Lughati (Baku,  1980);
Kazakh Tilining  Tusindirme Sozdigi  (Alma-Ata,  1961); 
Tatar  Teleneng Ahglatmatly Suzlege (Kazan 1977); Uzbek
Tilining  Izokhli Lughati (Moscow, 1981).

26.  A. Bennigsen,  "The  Crisis of  the  Turkic National 
Epics,1951-1952:  Local Nationalism  or Internationalism?,"

Canadian Slavonic Papers, V. XVII, No. 2&3, 1975.

27.   Tura  Mirzaev,   Alpomish  Dostonining   Uzbek 
Variantlari (Tashkent, 1968),  9-13.

28. Bennigsen, 465.

29. Anthology  of Uzbek Poetry (Moscow, 1949), cited
without page number in Bennigsen, 467.

30. BSE (Moscow, 1950), cited in ibid.

31.  Preface to the Russian  translation (Moscow, 1949),
cited in ibid. 
 ALPAMYSH:  Chapter Two                            35

32.  "Concerning the  Poem  Alpamysh,"  Literaturnaia
Gazeta,  14 September, 1952, cited in ibid, 468.

33. Pravda Vostoka, Tashkent, 24 February, 1952, cited in

34. Pravda Vostoka, Tashkent, 28 February, 1952, cited in

35. Pravda Vostoka, Tashkent,  3 April, 1952, cited in 
ibid. The charge  is  self  contradictory  since, by 
definition,  a  "pan" movement must be broader than

36. "Ob epose 'Alpamysh'," in Pravda Vostoka, 29 January

37.    "Obsuzhdenie   eposa   'Alpamysh'   i   vopros  
uzbekskoi fol'kloristiki," in Pravda Vostoka, 3 April 1952.

38. Ibid.

39. "Alpomish dostonining mukhokamasi,"  in Shark Yilduzi,
vol. 5 (Tashkent)  1952,  cited in  Mirzaev,  14. Details 
are  given in Pravda Vostoka, 29 January; 24, 27, 28
February and 3 April 1952.  Although  the  word 
"mukhokama"  can also  mean  "judgement"  or "discernment,"

in this  context it  is best  understood  as "the hearing
of  a case in court;  trial" and therefore has  been here
rendered as "trial."

40. "Obsuzhdenie," cited in note 48.

41. Vsesoiuznoe soveshchanie po voprosam izucheniia narodov
SSSR, Khronika  in Izvestiia  AN  SSSR, Institut 
literatury i  iazyki,1954, vol. XIII, No. 5, cited in
Mirzaev, 15.

42. Mirzaev, 15.

43. N.  Shukurov, S.  Mirzaev, KH. Donierov,  "'Alpamysh'
dostoni hakkida," in  Shark Yilduzi  (Tashkent) 1956,  vol.

2, cited  in Mirzaev, 16.

44. Tezisy dokladov i soobshchenii regional'nogo
soveshchaniia po eposu 'Alpamysh'  (Tashkent, 1956), 
published by AN  UzSSR. Also cited in Mirzaev, 17.

45. Tezisy. Also cited in Mirzaev, 17.

46.  Borovkov,  "Geroicheskaia poema  ob  Alpamyshe,"  in
Tezisy, 61-86, cited in Mirzaev, 17-18.

47.  Kh. Zarifov,  "'Alpomish'  eposining  asosii
motivlari,"  in Shark Yilduzi No.1, 1957 (Tashkent), cited
in Mirzaev, 16. 
 36                H. B. Paksoy

48.  Mirzaev,  14.  Also  see "Ob  epose  'Alpamysh'," 
(Excerpts reprinted in Literaturnaia Gazeta, 12 February
1952); and also by Abdunabiev  and  Stepanov,  "Pod  flagom
narodnosti,"  in  Zvezda Vostoka, (Tashkent) 1952, No. 4.

49. Richard Frye, "Oriental Studies in Russia." 

50.   Wayne  Vucinich,  "Structure  of  Soviet 
Orientology,"  in Vucinich, Russia and Asia.

51.   Iz istorii sovetskogo  vostokovedeniia by N.  A.
Kuznetsovaand  L. M. Kulagina (Moscow, 1970) (Publication
of the Academy ofSciences of  the USSR,  Oriental
Institute), 12.  (Henceforth: Izistorii).  Also cited in
Vucinich, 56.

52. Vucinich, 52. On  the development of Lenin's interest 
in the revolutionary potential of the colonial world, see
Richard Pipes, Formation  of  the  Soviet  Union; 
Communism   and  Nationalism, 1917-1923  (Cambridge  (Ma), 
1957);  and  I.  T.  Kreindler,  "A Neglected Source of
Lenin's Nationality Policy," in Slavic Review (March 1977).
On  the Baku Congress, see Alexandre  Bennigsen and S.  E.
Wimbush,  Muslim National  Communism in  the  Soviet Union
(Chicago, 1980); Stephen White, "The Baku Congress of the
Toilers of the East,"  Slavic Review, September, 1967.

53. Novyi Vostok, N. 4 (1925), 503-504. cited in Vucinich,

54. Iz istorii, 27-28. (Also cited in Vucinich, 59).

55. Mirzaev, 8.  Cites the resolution in Uzbek  "Partiyanin
badii adabiyat sahesindeki  siyaseti."  The resolution was
originally in Russian.

56. B. Dmytryshyn,  A History of  Russia, (Englewood
Cliffs:  New Jersey, 1977), 516, discusses this cultural

57. Vucinich, 55.

58. Vucinich, 56.

59. Iz istorii,  136, citing "Perspektivnyi plan raboty
Instituta vostokovedeniia AN  SSSR v blizhaishchee
piatiletie,"  in Kratkie soobshcheniia  Instituta
vostokovedeniia  AN SSSR, vol.  1, 1951,3-16.

60. Iz istorii, Chapter II, and Vucinich, 56.

61. Vucinich, 60, citing Iz istorii, 72, 73.

62. Iz istorii, 73-75. 
 ALPAMYSH:             Chapter Two     37

63. Iz istorii, 75.

64.  See  D.  Montgomery,   "Career  Patterns  of  Sixteen 
Uzbek Writers," presented to the  Second Central Asian
Conference, held in Madison, Wisconsin, October 1985.

65.  G. A.  Kniazev and  A. V.  Kol'tsov, Kratkii  ocherk
istorii Akademii  nauk  SSSR  (Moscow-Leningrad,  1957), 
122,  cited  in Vucinich, 66.

66. Vucinich, 67.

67. Vucinich, note 72  cites a report on this  congress
publishedin  Izvestiia  AN SSSR,  Otdeleniia  literatury i 
iazyka,  no. 4 (1944), 177-81.

68. Vucinich, 69.

69.  Vucinich, 70, note 70  citing I. Amusin,  "Sektor
drevnego iranne-srednevekovogo  IVAN   {Institut 
vostokovedeniia  akademiinauk}," in Vestnik drevnei istorii
(VDI), no. 2, 1948, 164-167.

70. Iz istorii, 134-135, citing document.

71. Vestnik AN SSSR (Hereafter: Vestnik), 1950, No. 9,

72. Iz istorii, 135,  citing "Otchet Instituta
vostokovedeniia ANSSSR za 1950 g.," (Henceforth:
"Otchet...za (year)").

73.  Vucinich, 74,  notes  91-93, citing  Voprosy istorii, 
no. 9(1954)  and no. 3 (1957); Iz  Istorii, 141-142; and
Vestnik no. 4(1953).

74. Vucinich, note 94 for other details.

75. Vucinich, 75, notes  96-97, citing Bol'shevik, no. 13 
(1952) and Voprosy istorii, no. 11 (1952).

76.  Iz  istorii, 141-142,  citing  "O  nauchnoi
deiatel'nosti  isostoianii kadrov Instituta
vostokovedeniia," in Vestnik,  no. 4, 77.

77. Vucinich, 76,  states these changes were made  in 1955.
In Izistorii, 143, the authors are ambiguous, but suggest
the  changeswere made around 1953.

78.  Iz  istorii,  143, citing  "Otchet...za  1952  g.,"  
ArkhivInstituta  narodov   Azii  AN  SSSR  (henceforth:  
Arkhiv);  and "Postanovlenie  Prezidiuma  AN  SSSR  ot 13 
Fevralia  1953  g.,"Arkhiv.

79. Iz istorii, 135, citing "Otchet...za 1950 g.," Arkhiv. 
 38                    H. B. Paksoy

80. Plan reproduced in Iz istorii, 142.

81. Vucinich, 72.

82. Iz istorii, 146, citing "Otchet...za 1955 g.," Arkhiv.

83. Iz istorii,  148, citing   P.P. Bushev,  "O rabote 
Instituta vostokovedeniia Akademiia  nauk SSSR," in Voprosy

istorii, 1954, no. 9.

84. Iz istorii, 151 citing  V. V. Struve and M.  A.
Korostobtsev, "100-letie so  dnia rozhdeniia V. C. 
Golenishcheva," in Vestnik,1957, no.2.

85. Iz istorii, 152-153 citing "O zadachakh i strukture
Instituta vostokovedeniia AN SSSR," in Vestnik, 1956, no.1.

86. Iz istorii, 154.

87.   Iz   istorii,  157,   citing   P.   A.  Brovtsinov,  
"Plannauchno-issledovatel'skikh  rabot  Instituta 
vostokovedeniia  ANSSSR  na 1959-1965  gg.," in  Voprosy 
istorii, 1959,  no.11; (no author)   "Plan   
nauchno-issledovatel'skikh   rabot  
Institutavostokovedeniia  AN  SSSR,"  in Problemy 
vostokovedeniia,  1960,no.1.

88. Iz istorii, 158.

89. Bennigsen, 472-474.

90. Mirzaev, Uzbek variantlari, 161-169.

91. Mirzaev, Alpomish (Tashkent, 1969), 108-110.

92. Skazanie, 36, 40-41.

93. Kazak Halkynyn Batyrlyk Jyry (Alma-Ata, 1972), 77, 80,

94. The Tajik variant I discovered is a translation,
published by Akademiyai Fanhoi RCC Tojikistan,  Instituti
Zabon va Adabiyat banomi Rudaki: Alpomis (Stalinabad,

95. A project  has been discussed during 1982  to create a
German translation with the cooperation  of East German
institutions and Uzbek scholars.

96. Mirzaev, Uzbek variantlari, 17-20.

97. See Togan, Turkistan,  504, 513, 516, 520.
98. Kazakh halkynyn Batyrlyk Jyry, 11. 
 ALPAMYSH:         Chapter Two            39

99. Kazakh Halkynyn Batyrlyk Jyry, 11.

100.  "A.  A.   Divaev;  k  25-letuiu  nauchnoi  
deiatel'nosti, "published  in Zhivaia Starina,  1916, no.
3,  37-38, reprinted in Kazakhskaia narodnaia poeziia,

101. Togan,  Turkistan, 556.  Togan was  23 at  the time 
of this visit.

102. Full citation in Note 11, this Chapter.

103. Ghabdullin and Sydykov, 15, Note 18.

104. From a  reprinted presentation by Sydykov before the
Academy commemorating  the 100th  anniversary  of Divay's 
birth in  1855 (reproduced  pp. 181-185). Note cites  this
as vol.  X, pp. 3-40.  Only in this  work is that  volume
of the  Sbornik cited as  1902 rather  than  1901.   
However, since  the  separately  published Alpamysh is 
dated 1901, it  can only  be an offprint  from a  1901

105. Togan, Turkistan, 493, 513.

106. Mirzaev, Uzbek variantlari, 7, 8. Mirzaev examined
both 1928 manuscript and the 1923 printed version in Bilim

107. See H. B. Paksoy, "New Dastans," cited in Chapter One.
Muhbir, Uzbekistan Kompartiyasi Markazii Komitetining
Nasriyati, November, 1982. 

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