Edited and Translated
The University of Minnesota
© Iraj Bashiri, 1996
Department of Slavic and Central Asian Languages and Literatures
The University of Minnesota
© Iraj Bashiri, 1996
In a letter dated July 9, 1927, the Tajik representatives in Moscow informed the Soviet of People's Commissars of ASSRT that:
The supporters of the national republics thought that by joining Uzbekistan as an autonomous republic Tajikistan would receive the necessary economic and cultural assistance from Uzbekistan. Helping the Tajiks, they thought, would be Uzbekistan's contribution to the elimination of backwardness in the Union. But their good intentions blinded them to the fact that the two people could not easily live together and that they did not share the same language, ethnic background, customs, or heritage. They ignored the fact that the Tajiks are Indo-European and that they speak the same language that is the official language of Afghanistan and Iran and that millions of other people speak it in India, Pakistan, and China. After all this was, and continues to be, the language of science, poetry, and literature throughout the East. If they had considered these points, they would have given Tajikistan its independence, rather than make it an autonomous republic.
There is a great deal of evidence that from the very first days of the inclusion of the ASSRT in Uzbekistan, the good intentions and the high hopes that had been placed on the Uzbeks were dashed. Of the approved budget, Uzbekistan paid an insufficient amount to Tajikistan, even of the allocations already made by the Center. Spending large amounts of the originally Tajik fund for its own uses, Uzbekistan plundered the assets of not only the ASSRT but also of the Tajiks who lived in Uzbekistan as citizens of that republic. In most cases, in the politics of the cadres, the interests of Tajikistan were not taken into consideration. The following is stated in a report to the Central Asian Central Committee of the Communist Party (b) of Russia by the Secretary of the Organizational Branch of the Communist Party of Uzbekistan in the Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic of Tajikistan, V. V. Talpigo and the Director of the Organizational Branch, A.M. Diakov, 4 "The Uzbek comrades were not quite the comrades they were deemed to be. They exiled to Tajikistan those individuals who had been rejected by their system. Those who went to Tajikistan, too, referred to themselves as exiles, a situation that affected their very psychology and, consequently, the progress of the country." 5
The government and the Party organizations of Uzbekistan did not assist Tajikistan in the development of its culture, on the contrary, using every excuse, as was said at the time, they made the situation in the civilization front complex. The Tajiks were subjected to many discriminatory acts then and are still being discriminated against in present-day Tashkent. Here, for instance, the governmental publishing houses of Uzbekistan blocked the way of publishing textbooks in Tajiki. In most of the schools in Uzbekistan and the ASSRT they registered the Tajik students as Uzbek. The Tajiks who opposed party Policy and the Soviet officials and who tried to safeguard the interests of their people were persecuted. Criminal dossiers were opened against them, they were summoned for interrogation, or were sent to far-off places, in some cases to the ASSRT.
The economic and ideological punishment doled out by the Uzbek leaders to Tajiks and the ASSRT, if not criminal, brought about Tajikistan's subsequent backwardness.
Before long, after the completion of the national-administrative divisions in all the Tajik-inhabited cities, regions, and villages, under the pretext of localizing the Party and Soviet organizations, a process of Uzbekization of the governmental, Soviet, and party organs began.
Pravda Vostoka, August 30, 1926, reported that there were only 12 schools for more than half a million Tajiks. In Samarqand, Bukhara, and Khujand where the majority of the inhabitants were Tajiks, there was not even one school or kindergarten in which the language of instruction was Tajiki.
In Shirinsha Shatimur's report to J. V. Stalin, Central Asian Central Committee of the Communist Party (b) of Russia and the subdivision of the National Minorities of the Central Committee of the Communist party (b) of Russia of June 25, 1924, entitled: "About the Cultural and the Socio-Economic Situation of the Tajiks in the Republic of Uzbekistan," the following is stated, "After national-administrative divisions in the territory of the Republic of Uzbekistan, about 800,000 Tajiks remained in opposition to the other nationalities in Uzbekistan. In a socialist republic where the Communist Party issues reports about the situation of the nationalists, it might appear awkward to request special attention regarding the Tajiks, but the present situation of these people requires that. I regard it my debt to my Party to apprise the Central Committee of the Communist Party of these actions.
I shall begin with the situation of the Tajiks before the national-administrative divisions in Turkistan and Bukhara. At the beginning, the very existence of the Tajiks, except for the Tajiks of Badakhshan-Western Pamirs (see the Uzbek newspapers, Zarafshan, and Turkistan, December 1923 and February 1924), even at the time when Turkistan's official records showed 600,000 Tajiks, the situation was the same. According to the same data, there are 200,000 Turkmens living in Turkistan. They were given the right to use their native language, publish literature, open schools, etc.
The Tajiks were deprived of all that. In addition, there were 802,000 Tajiks in the Bukhara Republic and 200,000 Kyrgyzes. The Kyrgyzes had schools and there was a Kyrgyz branch of the Central Executive Committee of Bukhara. As for the Tajiks, they were not allowed to use their native language. They referred to Tajiki as the language of the Amirs, even though the Amirs themselves were Uzbek, the official language of the Emirate was Tajiki. Tajiki was also the language of culture and literature not only in Central Asia but also in Iran, Afghanistan, and India. This barbaric act would find its equal if, for instance, after the Revolution, we were to persecute speakers of Russian because Russian was the language of Nicholas II.
Before the divisions, the discussion of this problem was not appropriate. The time, too, was short. Then there was the Basmachi problem and the general situation in the country. But, at the present, there are various groups among the people of this republic that are inflicting harm. At the present time, the Uzbeks are teaching in the Tajik schools, using Uzbeki as the medium of instruction, even though Tajiki is the language of culture and has a rich literature. Beginning at this time, the Tajiks are deprived of instruction in their native language. This situation has revolved, and continues to revolve, around the concepts advocated by the Pan-Turkists, Pan-Islamists, Pan-Uzbeks, Uzbek intellectuals, and the Muslim clergy. The resolution of the Tajikistan problem is of great importance for the entire Soviet Union because, in addition to Central Asia, the Tajiks form considerable groups in neighboring countries (Iran, Afghanistan, and India). The Communist Party of Uzbekistan, however, did not give the Tajik problem its due attention because a large number of the high officials of the Communist Party of Uzbekistan themselves are influenced by these same chauvinistic circles. Thus, the local party's views on this is considerably partial.
This concept will become more understandable, if we analyze the situation in the following manner. The Autonomous Republic of Tajikistan unites the mountain Tajiks of Eastern Bukhara, Gorno-Badakhshan (Western Pamir), and some areas of the Samarqand region. This population is rustic in the main and is culturally and economically backward. The most educated and cosmopolitan of the Tajiks (city dwellers-traders, artisans, and artists-as well as the working class intellectuals) remain in the territory of Uzbekistan. It is this latter Tajik population that the Uzbeks have targeted and, using uncivilized means, intend to make them Uzbeks. It is evident that this kind of unnatural treatment will elicit a high degree of chauvinism from the Tajiks and will generate all kinds of anti-Party and anti-Soviet feelings among them.
After the division of Central Asia, the Tajiki language was mercilessly suppressed. At the time of defining the national-territorial boundaries, in August 1924, the old Uzbek Central Executive Committee in its last plenum accepted that the Tajiks existed as a people and agreed to open a pedagogical school to serve their educational needs. At the end of 1924 that institute was inaugurated in Tashkent. At the present, there are 171 students enrolled in it. It is two years since the opening of the institute and it still has only two classrooms in which to carry out its task.
During September of the same year, the publication of The Tajik Voice began but its distribution was informally prohibited. The recognition of the Tajiks in the territory of Uzbekistan, the establishment of the institute, and the publication of newspapers before the divisions were mostly devised to neutralize the efforts of the Tajiks of Ferghana and Samarqand who sympathized with the other Tajiks. In spite of this, when R. Kalinin was traveling through Ferghana, in 1924, the Tajiks of Kan-i Badam requested from him to include their region in Tajikistan. In reality, this request was not satisfied (and there was no need for it either). But following that, the region began to be known as the Tajikistan of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
Two years have passed, but in all the schools of the region, the language of instruction is still Uzbeki, even though the children do not know Uzbeki.
Since the completion of the divisions, the Tajiks have been protesting and seeking to establish their national rights. In most regions, the issue of instruction in the native language has been taken up by the People's Education Bureau and by the Commissar of Education of Uzbekistan. But none of these efforts has been fruitful. There were even instances of pressure being brought down on the people to silence them. In 1925, in response to an ultimatum by the Tajiks, a four-month remedial teacher-training course was opened in Samarqand. When the teachers finished the course and returned to their posts, they were persecuted. Even today instruction in the Tajiki language is prohibited (see the statement of the teacher Qulikhan Asimzada). Recently, R. Ivanov, Secretary of the Communist Party of Uzbekistan, in his speech (November 1925) to the First Meeting of the Central Committee of the Communist Party (b) of Uzbekistan stated that the Uzbeks in the Zarafshan region (in Bukhara) are bringing every kind of pressure down on the Tajiks to prevent them from conversing in their native language.
This kind of persecution of the Tajiki language by the local organs is conveying the wrong message to the Tajiks about the policies of the Communist Party and about the Soviet government's handling of the nationalities question.
In order to illustrate the characteristics of the Party organizations, let us consider the following. On this day, the economic representatives of Uzbekistan were celebrating the first anniversary of the establishment of the Autonomous Republic of Tajikistan. For the occasion, they had invited the representatives of various organizations, Tajik workers of the Tashkent factories, Tajik students, and the youth of the city of Tashkent. The celebrations began and everything was in the Uzbeki language. The Tajiks voiced their dissatisfaction, because the majority did not know Uzbeki. They requested that the meeting be conducted in either Tajiki or Russian. At the end the celebrations ended as an anti-Uzbek spectacle.
As a result of this event, the director of the Tajik Institute was dismissed for failure to educate his students properly. One of the students (a Tajik national) of the Central Asian Communist University who had participated in the uprising was detained by the Security Commissariat, awaiting Party punishment. That student, perhaps, was reprimanded and, eventually, expelled from the Party. The roots of the nationality problem, however, run very deep. Expelling a few comrades will not resolve the problem.
Even if we were to assign a certain portion of these strange conflicts during the Soviet rule to the inevitable clashes between the Tajiks and the Uzbeks on the issue of nationality, three-fourths of them could be resolved by a judicious application of the nationality rules and the policies of the Party. Such an application of rules would direct the local thinking toward a Soviet dimension. The present situation is such that national antagonism has poisoned all the workers' minds and national conflicts have blocked the achievement of national self-determination.
Based on the above statements, I request that the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union pay special attention to the Tajik situation. Here are my recommendations:
It can be said that the process of assimilation of the Tajiks into the Uzbek context reached genocidal proportion and that the assimilation process was carried out by force and through illegal means, including threat of exile to the former Eastern Bukhara; dismissal of Tajik officials who defended the Tajiks' rights and who supported the Tajiks' interests; delimitation of the positions to which the Tajiks could aspire; blocking entrance to special schools; and the threat of curtailing existing freedoms. The Uzbeks made every effort to influence the 1926 census so that it would reflect a low number of Tajiks in the cities and regions where they were in the majority. All this derived from a master plan aimed at artificially, down-sizing the census and preventing the Tajiks from achieving independence (an eventuality that they felt could happen). At the time of the establishment of Tajik SSR, they made an effort to retain the cities of Samarqand, Bukhara, and Khujand in Uzbekistan. It was for this very purpose that the city of Samarqand was made the capital of Uzbekistan from 1924 until 1930.
Whereas according to the 1920 census, the population of Samarqand was 44,758 Tajiks and 3,302 Uzbeks, the 1926 census showed 43,364 Uzbeks and 10,716 Tajiks. In the rural district of Khujand (including Asht, Kan-i Badam, and Isfara), where the Tajiks were in the majority, the 1926 census showed a similar trend. It showed the Tajiks to be 24.8% while the Uzbeks were 73.4%. 6 Is not this a clear example of genocide? (We are not talking about physical genocide, of course). The important thing is that the Tajiks no longer existed as a people in Uzbekistan.
The passing of Samarqand, Bukhara, and the other Tajik regions into Uzbek hands indicated one thing to the Tajiks: in as much as they live in the land of the Uzbeks they are no longer Tajiks, they are Uzbeks. At that time, the famous anthropologist, I. I. Zarubin, said the following about the situation, "The Iranians of Central Asia, having been long surrounded by the Uzbeks, have accepted the latter's identity. In this case the Tajiks call themselves Uzbek, using the term 'Uzbek' in the sense of a resident or settler of Uzbekistan." 7
Zarubin cites an example about the Urguts. "It is easy to understand this. The Uzbek Republic was formed as a result of the 1924 administrative divisions, but the census was begun on December 17, 1926. At that time, Tajikistan was an autonomous republic within Uzbekistan. The Tajiks' choice of the Uzbeks was also influenced by the fact that Samarqand was the capital of Uzbekistan (and retained this status from 1924 until 1930)." 8
In the article cited above, R. R. Rahimov, referring to the work of the famous Soviet anthropologist O. A. Sukhareva, states: As a result of the 1926 census from the 41,839 residents of Bukhara (old Bukhara) 27,823 have called themselves Uzbek and 8,646 Tajik. Clearly, the scholars have not taken the language of the respondents into consideration; as a result, they have accounted for only a quarter of the Tajik population.
All this, once again, is evidence that the 1926 census, like those taken in subsequent years, was flawed by exerting administrative force. The "introductory" words of the Central Governmental Presidium of Statistics of Uzbekistan SSR entitled, "About the Materials for the Soviet Census," illustrate this point: 1) "The questionnaires were in Russian and Uzbeki; 2) Persuasion was used to prepare the inhabitants for responding to the questions of the census takers in a particular way; 3) booklets, documents, and invitations, in the Russian and Uzbeki languages, were widely distributed." 9
Persuasion and incentives were used for the sole purpose of increasing the number of the Uzbeks at the expense of the Tajiks. Thus, efforts were made to produce lower numbers in areas where Tajiks were in the majority. In the secret letter of the Central Asian Central Committee of the Communist Party (b) of Russia to the party organization, we read, "The exercise of regionalism and chauvinism on the part of the Soviet officials as well as a lack of care in safeguarding the interests of the national minorities, have forced the representatives of these people to hide their true national identity." 10
In relation to this, it is significant to carefully study the activities of the Nationality Committee of the rural district of Khujand. According to the 1920 census and allocations, the rural district of Khujand was 64.1% Tajik and 35.9% Uzbek and others. The 1926 census shows a much smaller number of Tajiks. Since in many areas, like Samarqand and Bukhara, in very recent times, Tajiki was the main language, it can be concluded that the population, too, was Tajik. But in the 1926 census, due to the persuasions outlined above, the number of Tajiks has decreased in the cities and in the region.
We know that within the five years that had elapsed between the two censuses, the Tajiks neither moved out of their ancestral land nor were they summarily killed. The reason was simple, it had to do with the pressures that the Soviet and Party officials brought to bear on them. They were threatened; if they did not cooperate and register themselves as Uzbeks, they would be exiled to Eastern Bukhara. Their only salvation was in changing their national identity.
One of the prominent education leaders of Uzbekistan expressed his general sentiment about the instruction in the Tajiki language as follows, "I am personally against allowing the language of 18 schools to change to Tajiki. We are making an effort to decrease the number of schools in which the language of instruction is Tajiki. I have talked to the teachers in Samarqand and have their assurances for the change of the language of instruction into Uzbeki. Within a year, we can convert all these schools into Uzbeki schools." 11
The Uzbeks created untold obstacles in the way of providing instructional materials in Tajiki. For instance, in the education branch of the People's Education of the rural district of Bukhara, the People's Commissariat of Education (narkompros) handed out the Alphabets very late. The director of information, some Uzbek named Hamidjan Alimov, in spite of the repeated requests of the Tajik teachers, refused to distribute the books. They remained in his office until the end of the academic year. 12
This kind of a scene was universal. Out of the 35 Tajiki schools of the Ferghana rural district only eight received the Alphabet; while, in the Panghiz region, they had 200 unused copies of the Tajiki Alphabet as early as 1922.
During the formation of the Bukhara schools, many illegal acts took place. When filling out the forms, in 1927-28, the teachers directed the students to identify themselves as Uzbek in order to prevent errors. Consequently, it was difficult to know how many Tajiki-speaking students were forced to study through the medium of Uzbeki. 13
In May, 1929, A. Ikramov, the Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party (b) of Uzbekistan, in one of his speeches said the following about the national minorities, "We must admit that the Tajiks are a strong national group in our republic. Until the past national divisions of the Bukhara and Turkistan republics, and at the time of the establishment of Uzbekistan SSR, we were filled with Pan-Turkist feelings. We went as far as to impose the concept of the 'Great Uzbek Nation' on our minorities." He documented his assertions with the following, "There was not even one Tajik school in Bukhara. In the Khujand rural district, where 90% of the population was Tajik, there were no Tajik schools. There were certain misunderstandings between the Soviet officials and the Tajiks. A great deal of that is the result of the effects of the very "Great-Uzbek-Nation" chauvinism that we are trying to eradicate, granted that we are still not quite well-established." 14
The fact that the rights of the Autonomous Republic of Tajikistan and the Tajiks were constantly infringed upon is evident from the speech of Amasov, an instructor of the Central Committee of the Communist Party (b) of the Soviet Union. He states that, "Tajikistan is correct in its complaint that Uzbekistan does not take it seriously. For instance, as far as rights are concerned, Uzbekistan treats Tajikistan as if it were one of its own rural districts. Other manifestations of this attitude include a decrease in the budget, and refusal to move the produce. We observe that people are forced to hide their national identity and to assume Uzbek identity. Even the members of the Party hide their true identity out of fear and register themselves as Uzbek." 15
Before long the incorrect, anti-Tajik decrees of the national-administrative divisions of 1924 displayed their negative influence. The relations between Uzbekistan and ASSR Tajikistan, which was being included in Uzbekistan, were quite complex. Protests against the Uzbek administration policy toward the Autonomous Republic and the towns and regions that had remained in Uzbekistan spread everywhere. The unresolved problem of Tajik leadership led to the dissatisfaction of the Tajiks of the rural districts of Khujand, Kan-i Badam, and other areas in present-day northern Tajikistan.
The famous historian and geographer of Tajikistan, M. S. Andriev, writes the following to V. V. Barthold, "In addition, there is a political item which has local significance. Soon after the establishment of Tajikistan, the Tajiks who were indifferent as to their national origin and had placed themselves at the mercy of the assimilation process, have suddenly become active the other way around. They call themselves Tajiks and, in one instance, have refused documents that have not been written in Farsi. Very recently, they have succeeded in being considered for a decree that would make them a special autonomous region. One of these days, in Isfara and Kan-i Badam, they will celebrate the achievement of autonomy. It is expected that the other Tajiks of Ferghana (Chust, Namangan, Uch-Kurgan) will also join them." 16
In 1927, the rural district of Khujand was established, uniting Khujand, Isfara, Kan-i Badam, and the Asht region; together they formed the national Tajik rural district of Uzbekistan SSR.
The main reasons for taking Tajikistan out of the Republic of Uzbekistan is explained in the letter written by the members of the regional Communist Party (b) of Uzbekistan to the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party (b) of the Nation, the Central Asian Bureau, and the Central Committee of the Communist Party (b) of Uzbekistan. Among other things, the letter states that without a doubt, with regard to the national-administrative divisions in Central Asia, the Party has laid the foundation for a progressive educational and economic base." 17 The achievements in various fields include: the defeat of the anti-revolutionary forces; success in the resolution of the land and water problems; liberation of women; positive resolution of social problems; and the creation of positive nationality relations. The members of the regional committee of the Communist Party (b) of Uzbekistan, at the same time, referred to some of the negative factors that had affected the equitable growth of the economics and cultures of the new nations adversely. These mistakes made during the national-administrative divisions have prevented some people from enjoying the right to form an independent nation. Referring to some of the problems that, at the time of the implementation of the divisions, had blocked the way to Tajikistan's independence, they said, "Now the time is ripe to consider the situation of the regions that belong to the Tajiks but which, at the present time, are in Uzbekistan and include them in the ASSRT. The establishment of Tajikistan must receive the same treatment that other republics (i.e., Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) have received. 18 There were documents that supported the formation of a Soviet republic if, of course, the insignificant obstacles for the achievement of independent republic status were removed. In addition, the ASSRT had carried out all the terms that, at the time of the national-administrative divisions, the people of Central Asia had assigned to it. A more important factor was that the republic as a whole now provided a much better life for its people, although this statement did not apply to the Uzbek leadership which had infringed upon the rights of the Tajiks. Several times, the ASSRT protested to both the officials of the Union and the Central Asian Bureau about Uzbekistan's discriminatory acts against both its own Tajik residents and the ASSRT. There are archival documents that testify to the manner in which Uzbekistan infringed upon the economic and cultural rights of the people of the ASSRT.
Similarly, we observe that at the time of the inclusion of Tajikistan in the Republic of Uzbekistan, the relations between the two were strained. At a time when the other republics- Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Karakalpakistan, and Turkmenistan-brought territorial claims against Uzbekistan with positive results, Tajikistan, in spite of Uzbekistan's infringement on the rights of its people, tried to satisfy the terms of the agreement. In fact, after the conclusion of the national-administrative divisions, Tajikistan did not make any territorial claims on any republic, including Uzbekistan.
Therefore, in a letter signed by twenty members of the regional committee of the Communist Party (b) of Tajikistan, the following statement is made, "We consider the territorial question, with regard to the Tajiks who are temporarily placed in Uzbekistan, to be of prime importance." 19
What was the content of the ASSRT's territorial demand?
Highest priority for the immediate release to Tajikistan of the rural districts, cities, and regions where the majority of the population was Tajik. In addition, the members of the regional committee of Tajikistan in the Communist Party (b) of Uzbekistan sought free economic and cultural development of those regions which had a mixed population, i.e., wherein in addition to Tajiks other Central Asian peoples lived as well.
The following were mentioned among the administrative units to be turned over to Tajikistan:
|Name of Region||Tajiks||Uzbeks||Others||Total|
According to the 1917 and 1920 censuses, the national demography of Tajikistan on the eve of the national-administrative divisions, was as follows:
Tajiks-553,435; Uzbeks-139,813; other-88,580; total-782,328.
The subtotal of the population of ASSRT, along with the rural districts, cities, and the regions mentioned above, should have been:
Tajiks-1,068,303; Uzbeks-279,843; other-183,143; total-1,531,281. 20
Based on the national composition of Uzbekistan, to some degree the demands of the ASSRT on Uzbekistan about the release of the above-mentioned territories is objective.
For instance, before the national-administrative divisions, the national composition of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Tajikistan, without the above-mentioned Tajik region, according to the 1917-1920 census was as follows:
Tajiks-747,222; Uzbeks-2,838,935; other-440,843; total-4,025,000. 21
The national composition, according to the same sources, after Tajikistan's demands were met and Tajikistan was leaving Uzbekistan was:
Tajiks 235,116; Uzbeks 2,674,905; other 346,180; total 3,256,201. 22
In the column marked "Uzbek," all the Turkish-speaking peoples: Laqais, Qarluqs, Qunqurats, Barlases, and others were mentioned. This included those who did not, and still do not, recognize themselves as Uzbek. The Laqais, who dwell in the present-day republic of Tajikistan, are a case in point.
One of the basic demands of the authors of the letter was that, at the time of the departure of Tajikistan from Uzbekistan SSR, its new demographic composition be assessed on the basis of the statistics that had been gathered before the national-administrative divisions. This was a reasonable demand because the 1926 census and the responses to its questions, being flawed, did not reflect the true demography of Central Asia.
For example, let us consider the two national cities of the Tajiks, Samarqand and Bukhara. Before the national-administrative divisions, the census showed 75% to 98% of the population to be Tajik. The 1926 census showed 15% to 20%. 23
A comparative study after 1926 of the results of the census for a number of rural districts, cities, and regions of the Tajiks who were directly under Uzbek rule showed that over 50% of the Tajiks had been registered as Uzbek.
The tactics used in gathering the 1926 census, as we have already said, included the intimidation of the citizens of Samarqand and Bukhara and other regions in Uzbekistan where Tajiks lived under the threat of exile to Eastern Bukhara, i.e., to the ASSRT, and other such evil acts.
The authors of the letter had still more exact and objective evidence, according to which the composition of the Tajiks, Uzbeks, and the other peoples; indeed, the demography of Central Asia, would assume a different form. According to a military census of the former Bukhara Republic, the Tajiks formed 70% of the population, i.e., 2,100,000. The Uzbeks formed 25%, i.e., 750,000. 24
According to the same source, the number of the Tajiks of the Republic of Turkistan was as follows: former Ferghana region 450,000; Samarqand 750,000; in the other regions of the Republic of Turkistan 1,300,000. 25
Similarly, according to the same documents, the number of the Tajiks of Bukhara and Turkistan combined was 3,400,000, a number that is larger than the numbers for Tajikistan and Uzbekistan combined. 26
It is necessary to state this and there is no room for doubt. The land requested by the Autonomous Republic of Tajikistan, before and after the formation of the Tajik SSR, was an integral part of Tajikistan. The history of those parts encompasses both the nationality factor and the economic and cultural factors, it is a product of Tajik skills and psychology. Unlike the tribal people, the Tajiks farmed, developed orchards and vineyards, cultivated cotton, raised silk worms, and promoted the arts. Besides, the addition of these regions contributed to the economic and cultural development of the republic and secured its stability. Conversely, remaining in Uzbekistan was not to the benefit of the Tajiks, especially where the threat of assimilation existed as a barrier against self-determination.
Finally, as the letter indicates, the unbreakable union of the Tajiks of the rural districts of Central Asia and the establishment of a unified government for them will expand socialist thought among a large population in Tajikistan's vicinity; countries like Afghanistan, Northern India, Iran, and Western China." 27
Recent events, worldwide and in the Soviet Union, indicate that socialist ideas failed to penetrate both the East and the West. Instead, the malformation of these ideas within the first world socialist state itself resulted in fragmentation and stagnation.
Similarly, we observe that after the divisions and the establishment of the ASSRT, a struggle began between the Tajik political and governmental officials and Tajik people of some of the regions that had illegally been included in Uzbekistan to extricate Tajikistan from Uzbekistan and to establish an independent republic.
The struggle for changing Tajikistan from an Autonomous Republic to a Union Republic continued. It should be stated that the project was being moved forward by those who, from the start, i.e., from the time of the implementation of the divisions, had identified their position and sided with the establishment of an independent Tajik republic. Among those individuals we can name Nusratulla Makhsum and Shirinsha Shatemur. These two individuals were distinct from Abdulla Rahimbaev, Chinar Imamov, Abdurrahim Hajibaev, and others who were satisfied with receiving an autonomous region for the Tajiks. In later years, many of those individuals realized their mistakes, confessed, and participated in the movement for the establishment of Tajikistan SSR. The great contributions of Abdulqadir Muhiddinov and Abdurrahim Hajibaev, who carried the entire burden of the divisions on their shoulders, must be appreciated. Before submission, all the economic, political, cultural, demographic, and other principles were drawn up by the committee founded and guided by A. Muhiddinov and A. Hajibaev. In later years, their past actions created grounds for them, and for other comrades, to be accused of regionalism and be purged. There exists documentary evidence now that Nusratulla Makhsum, Abdulqadir Muhiddinov, Shirinsha Shatimur, and Abdurrahim Hajibaev were sacrificed for safeguarding Tajik interests in the resolution of the nationality issue. This and future generations must pay tribute to them. The names of these truthful and loyal guardians must not be forgotten.
For a just resolution of the territorial conflicts between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan SSR other alternatives to the return of the land were also suggested. For instance, Abdulqadir Muhiddinov suggested the creation of a Central Asian federation into which Tajikistan could enter as a unit. But, at the same time, one thing frightened him: Were the federation to geographically encompass the pre-division (1924) regions, it would include four republics-Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan. In that case, Uzbekistan would have an opportunity to treat all the republics along the same line as it had treated Tajikistan, because Uzbekistan's land mass and economic strength outweighed the power of the other three republics combined. Therefore, to decrease the power of Uzbekistan so that there is a degree of equality among the republics of the federation, A. Muhiddinov suggested that Tajik territories in the north and west of the ASSRT (Samarqand, Bukhara, part of Ferghana, Khujand, and the Surkhan Dariya rural district) be taken away from Uzbekistan. This would create the needed equality among the future members of the federation. <A HREF = "infringenotes.html#28">28
A. Muhiddinov actively participated in bringing about a just solution for the territorial claim and for reestablishing the historical truth. His reports and articles that have survived indicate the depth of his knowledge of Tajik history. They also point to his untiring efforts for uniting all Tajiki-speaking peoples in an independent republic of their own.
In one of his reports to the Central Asian Bureau of the Communist Party of the Union he wrote, "The Commission dealing with the territorial division between Uzbekistan SSR and the ASSRT, in its September 8, (1929-R.M.) meeting did not allow the inclusion of Surkhan Dariya in Tajikistan. Similarly, Tajikistan's request for Termez, a trade center with mostly European inhabitants, to be included in its territory was rejected.
This Commission registered a unanimous vote for Surkhan Dariya to remain in Uzbekistan.
During the discussion of the problem we, the Tajik representatives, expressed our dissatisfaction with the resolution and filed our suggestions separately. A copy of our suggestions is attached to this letter. With this letter, we expressly request the Central Asian Bureau to reexamine the resolutions and take into consideration the views of Comrade Belov and Comrade Karp, impartial experts who have studied the Surkhan Dariya situation carefully." 29
The documents prepared by the committee of experts state that on historical and economic grounds, and from the point of view of national composition, Surkhan Dariya and Termez belong to Tajikistan SSR. A. Muhiddinov demands that from an economic point of view, Termez should be turned over to Tajikistan. At the same time, the Uzbeks use economic imperatives as the base of their arguments for keeping Samarqand and Bukhara within Uzbekistan, even though both cities are inhabited by Tajiks.
The result of the discussions and the bilateral territorial demands of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan SSR, which lasted from summer to September 1929, and which were carried out under the direction of the head of the Economic Soviet of Central Asia, Makiv, with the participation of the representatives of the above-mentioned republics are summed up in "The Political Reasons for the Assimilation of Tajiks into Uzbek Society."
In the meeting, the Uzbek representative stated that, on the matter of resolving the question of the separation of Tajikistan from Uzbekistan SSR to form Tajikistan SSR, he would accept only the 1926 census because that census was accepted by the Central Bureau of Statistics and was, therefore, all-Union. 30 A. Hajibaev, on the other hand, presenting incontrovertible evidence, stated that the leaders of the Republic of Uzbekistan have infringed upon the economic and cultural rights of the Tajiks of both the ASSRT and the Uzbekistan SSR. Regarding the 1926 census, he stated that that information as far as it dealt with the Tajiks, was manipulated and flawed; in fact, it was a pack of lies. I shall prove that at the time the census was taken, the census takers had deliberately recorded smaller numbers for the Tajiks. A. Hajibaev regarded the following statement a necessity, "I state and prove my statement that the 1926 census taken in Uzbekistan is fallacious. The Soviet and Party Uzbek officials themselves are in agreement with this statement." 31
The head of the commission, Makiv, added, "Until the beginning of the national divisions, the language of instruction in all Tajik schools was Uzbeki. The Tajiks were persuaded to register themselves as Uzbek. The intensity of the persuasion was such that not only the general public, but the Tajik officials in the Party registered themselves as Uzbek." 32
In addition to the official documents presented by the government of Tajikistan and A. Hajibaev's speech of June 26, 1929, to the Commission Makiv said, "I believe that if the Soviet officials knew that the 1926 census, distinguishing separate nationalities, had been taken under these conditions, they would not have approved it. They would even have brought those who had doctored the data to justice." 33
In his introductory remarks, Makiv spoke about Pan-Turkism which had developed deep roots in Central Asia under the guise of Pan-Islamism. Having been poisoned by Pan-Turkism for a considerable length of time, the Pan-Turkists had developed a special hatred for the peoples of the other races.
After WW1 and the fall of the Ottomans, the aim of Pan-Turkism was the creation of an Islamic empire ruled by caliphs. The Pan-Turkists wanted to create an independent and unified Turkic state that would encompass all the Turks from Russia's Tataristan to the border of Afghanistan and from Constantinople to the Wall of China and Eastern Turkistan.
As it was explained above, the pan-Turkist movement in Central Asia reached its zenith after 1917, when Turkish Prisoners of War, i.e., soldiers and officers who did not wish to return home, found a new home in Turkistan and Bukhara. Here they met with the jadids, who had Pan-Turkist leanings, and promoted Pan-Turkism. The number of officers and generals who after their defeat in the war, were afraid to return to Turkey because of the new government in Turkey was on the rise. For instance, the ex-Turkish Minister, General Kazimbek, accompanied the German delegation from Afghanistan to Central Asia. At the same time, along with the Pan-Turkists of India, Barakatulla and others also arrived. Other Turkish generals, Halim Pasha and Jamal Pasha came from Berlin. They were accompanied by Tatar Pan-Turkists and anti-revolutionary elements. The Tatar and Bashkird Pan-Turkists accompanied them to Central Asia.
With the Pan-Turkists of Central Asia, they fortified the social aspect of the anti-revolutionary movement in the rest of Central Asia. This was the reason the anti-Soviet efforts lasted longer in this region. They had organized a special anti-Soviet front complete with its Pan-Turkist motto: "All the Muslims and Turks Unite!" To reach their goal, they were trying to create a unified Turkish people (only the Tajiks were not included). The most dangerous and worrisome aspect of this movement was that, using all means available, it was penetrating the Soviet and Party organs of government in Central Asia.
On the eve of the national-administrative divisions, when the Basmachis and other major anti-revolutionary forces were defeated and, when the hopes, both inside and outside the Pan-Turkists, to create a Turkistan government in Central Asia by means of military force were dashed, they chose an alternate approach. Instead of Pan-Turkism, they installed a program of forcing the Tajiks to become Uzbeks. This shows, in essence, that Uzbekization and Pan-Turkism were the same.
The persuasion methods of the Uzbeks, after the national-administrative divisions appeared in the following forms:
If we study the data gathered before 1926, we find that the number of Tajiks in Samarqand was 59,901 in 1915. The 1917 census shows 47,758 Tajiks and 3,301 Uzbeks. This information is from a book of records published by the Academy of Sciences of the Soviet Union, in 1926, about "The People of Samarqand." 35
According to the 1926 census, the population of Samarqand was 43,304 of which 10,716 were Tajik. Similar deviations were observed in the census taken for all the cities and districts where the Tajiks lived in 1926. The results of the 1926 census for Uzbekistan were quite the opposite of what they had been in the previous censuses. Hajibaev's report to the commission proved the degree of inaccuracy of that census. In the resolution of the commission, we read, "Therefore, the city of Samarqand and the Tajik-inhabited areas, more exactly, the village cluster of Andijan, Bagh-i Baland, Kauchinan-i Payan, Jum'abazar, Kushtan Ghali, Matrid Khumar, Khushruy, Khaja Ahrar, Akhalich, and some other places inhabited by the Tajiks should join Tajikistan as part of its Panjkent region." 36
The resolution also indicated that for the Uzbek-inhabited villages of this region, provisions should be made for an Uzbek Soviet to oversee their educational and economic needs.
At the same time, the Commission considered the fact that the inclusion of Samarqand into Tajikistan did not disturb the economic situation. After all, before the national-administrative divisions, the Panjkent district was a part of the Samarqand region. In fact, the inclusion of Samarqand would fortify the economic life of Panjkent. Besides, Samarqand is one of the cultural centers; Dushanbe can be an administrative center, but it cannot play the role of a cultural center for Tajikistan for a long-period of time. In addition to its role as a mainstay of the economy of the republic, Samarqand can become a major cultural center for the republic. For Tajikistan, it can play the same role that Tashkent plays for Central Asia as a whole." 37
It can be deduced from archival materials of the Commission about the separation of Tajikistan from Uzbekistan that the situation for the people of Bukhara, which became part of the Uzbek SSR in 1924, and for the city of Bukhara itself, was not satisfactory. About the intense influence of Pan-Islamism and Pan-Turkism in the People's Soviet of Bukhara before and after the revolution, the Committee wrote, "In Bukhara and its environs there live the Tajiks and people whose language is Tajiki (Persians and Arabs). In spite of this, until 1927, we did not have any Tajik schools. The 1926 census has registered the majority of the population as Uzbek, whereas the language of the Bukhara Revolution was Tajiki. Tajiki was the official language. Only after the 4th Kurultai of the Party we introduced a series of district rules which indicated the language of instruction should be Tajiki. Bukhara is known throughout the East as the city of the Tajiks; the language of the people as well as their literature and culture are Tajik. The fact that the 1926 census recognizes Bukhara as an Uzbek city and makes the language of instruction Uzbeki is a mere political mistake related to the nationality issue." 38
To prove that the process of forcing Tajiks of Bukhara to become Uzbeks went on, A. Muhiddinov produces a number of documents showing the composition of the people of Bukhara. In response to the Commission's question about the percentage of Bukharan Tajiks, he says that the question should be asked in reverse, i.e., what percentage is Uzbek? That is to say if, for instance, we assume that old Bukhara has a population of tens of thousands, from among them 15-20 individuals are Uzbek. The percentage then can be calculated from that." 39
Tajikistan's request regarding Uzbekistan's returning the district of Surkhan Dariya, especially the regions of Sar-i Asiya, Baisun, Pusht-i Hissar, and part of Dihnau was fully supported by Makiv and the Tajik delegation. For the Tajik claims against Uzbekistan to be proven and the groundless claims of the Uzbek representative, Imamov, stating that that region, especially Baisun, cannot join Tajikistan, the Commission asked the Uzbek representative to avail himself of a study of the Uzbek materials (version 1-1926), presented to the 5th Central Executive Committee of Uzbekistan SSR and the census for Uzbekistan SSR and the ASSRT place list (version 8, published by Central Bureau of Statistics of Uzbekistan SSR, 1925). A comparison of these materials and the 1926 materials shows a great deal of discrepancy.
On the obverse, regarding the regional divisions (page 154), the following is written about the Baisun region, "The population of the region is 42,856 (with 7, 723 in villages). From these 3,598 are in the cities of Baisun and Darband, which form 98% of the region. This is equal to 12 individuals in every square verst. 40 The national composition is 57.8% Tajik and 42.2% Uzbek. 41
According to the results of the 1926 census, the demographic composition of the Baisun region is very different. It is as if the inhabitants of the Tajik villages of the region, and Baisun itself, have become Uzbek. While the materials presented to the Commission indicate that the regions of Durban, Duab, Pasurkhi, Sairab, Tashpulad, Urta, Magai, Khaos, Shurab, and Baisun were populated by Tajik-speaking people. In addition, even in the regions where Uzbeks predominated, there were other nationalities, including Tajiks. The trade centers and the markets were in the Tajik districts. In terms of percentage, too, the number of Tajiks in Baisun and environs was 66% of the total population. 42
It is stated in the same materials that, "We see the same situation in the Sar-i Asiya region. Out of the twenty-one local soviets, twelve are Tajik soviets: Tashtabai, Duab, Kund-i Juvaz, Kshtut, Nilu, Tuichi, Khandiz, Khufar, Kharvart, Shahurd, Uzun, and Main. In addition, our statistics indicate that of the total, Tajiks are 70% of the population. There is no doubt that the 1926 census is fallacious. 43
From an economic point of view, not only the Surkhan Dariya region, but some of the other regions of Bukhara had close economic relations with the Hissar Valley, which is populated by the Tajiks. And even after the building of the Termez-Dushanbe railway, compared to Uzbekistan, the national composition is still more Tajik. Furthermore, there is a special affinity to Tajikistan that is visible even at the present time, because the majority of the population of the region is Tajik.
In order for the Uzbek representatives to believe the well-documented assertions of the Tajik Commission, they were told to travel in the region and assess the situation for themselves (even though they were aware of their wrongdoing without actually traveling there-R.M.). The Tajik representatives, with their incontrovertible evidence, rejected the 1926 census completely. The Uzbeks then rejected all the data that, prior to the 1926 census, they themselves had provided to the Center about the composition of the area to be returned to the Tajiks without giving any reason for their rejection. And they persisted that the results of the 1926 census be accepted. In short, they were adamantly opposed to giving the territory to the Tajiks. Besides, they claimed that even though the language of the inhabitants of Samarqand and Bukhara is Tajiki, the people themselves are racially Uzbek." 44
After listening to these ridiculous remarks, the Head of the Commission said, "If the Uzbek representatives had examined the literature that is published on the subject in Russian, English, Chinese, Arabic, and other languages, they would know that throughout their history in Central Asia, the Turks have not been city dwellers but that they have ruled over the cities.
Regarding the people who, until the national-administrative divisions were known as Sarts, and who are referred to today as Uzbeks, there is also considerable literature. They are a mixture of Tajiks and Turks who live in Tashkent, some in Khiva, and the rest in Ferghana.
If the government of Tajikistan had tried to define nationality not in terms of language, in the way that the Uzbeks are doing, but rather on the basis of culture, that would have been against the Soviet way. Similarly, if the Uzbek representative tried to prove that the inhabitants of Samarqand and Bukhara are Uzbek, he would be undertaking a difficult task. But it is easy to prove that the Uzbeks are Tajik Sarts. For this, it is incumbent upon the Uzbek representative to read Iran, published by the Academy of Sciences of the Soviet Union, The History of the Civilization of Turkistan by V. V. Barthold, and Tajikistan, a collection of articles published in 1925. He then would believe in the veracity of my statement." 45
But the Tajik demands regarding the inclusion of Surkhan Dariya into Tajikistan SSR, in 1929, i.e., on the eve of the establishment of the republic, were not met satisfactorily. Discussion of the issue continued after the final decision on the boundaries of Tajikistan SSR.
In 1930, the Commission appointed by the Director of the Central Executive Committee of the Soviet Union relegated the assessment of the influence of the Tajik-Uzbek border to the Central Executive Committee of Tajikistan SSR, in consultation with the high-level organs of the central government. The problem was to be discussed in the meeting of the Head of the Central Executive Committee of the Soviet Union on January 23, 1930. But the Uzbek government requested that the discussion be postponed until February 3, 1930. The request was accepted. At that time the Central Executive Committee of the Soviet Union informed both parties that a definitive resolution on the issue will be reached on February 3, 1930. When on February 3, 1930, the dispute between Tajikistan SSR and Uzbekistan was discussed, the following resolution was made:
Ten days later, on February 13, 1930, the meeting of the Head of the Central Executive Committee of the Soviet Union was held to listen to the request of the Central Executive Committee of Uzbekistan SSR regarding the review of the February 3, 1930 decision in favor of Tajikistan on the question of the Surkhan Dariya rural district. This meeting of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR resolved that, "the transfer of the Surkhan Dariya region to Tajikistan should be stopped." The reasons for the nullification of the February 3, 1930 resolutions do not appear in the minutes of the Central Executive Committee of the Soviet Union. Perhaps the reason was the necessity of Uzbekistan SSR's having a border with foreign lands. This was one of the main points in the formation of the Union republics. The only place that could provide Uzbekistan with a foreign neighbor was the city of Termez in the Surkhan Dariya rural district. We cannot find any other reason. With this, the territorial dispute between Uzbekistan and Tajikistan at the governmental level, came to an end. In 1929, the regions to the north of present-day Tajikistan were added. The other cities and regions of the Tajiks remained in Uzbekistan SSR.
Undoubtedly, the repressive acts of the 1930's affected the territorial demands among the republics adversely. This is the time when the highly visible Tajik politicians-Nusratulla Makhsum, Abdulqadir Muhiddinov, Abdurrahim Hajibaev, Shirinsha Shatimur, and others, i.e., those who had opposed the national-administrative divisions of 1924, were murdered.
The resolution of the national problems through a show of force not only resulted in the separate people being deprived of their rights, but it also created the very calamity with which the present generation is afflicted.
Today, they say that the past mistakes regarding the national and territorial issues must be resolved in discussion sessions; and, with the same breath they add, "Changing the boundaries at the present is tantamount to skinning a republic alive." Neither is anyone willing to say what boundaries are being discussed. No one wants to face the fact that it is impossible to restore territorial integrity without creating conflict and bloodshed. Life forces us to restore the territorial integrity that due to carelessness and recent border changes has been destroyed. Can we easily transplant parts of one body to another? Even if such a person finds hands and feet and becomes happy, is not his life still threatened by gangrene?
Thus is the real bitter history of the Tajik people in recent times. Before long, the ominous consequences of this history will emerge and we will observe the shortcomings of the system. We will see that the individual cannot find a piece of land to feed himself, build himself a house in which to live, that the individual cannot move to industry and make progress. Russia and the Russian people remain Tajikistan's only hope for today and tomorrow.
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