Browse Exhibits (4 total)

Soviet Muslim Posters

Visual propaganda played an enormous role in the history of the 20th century. In contrast to the 19th century, it was aimed not only at the educated classes of the mother countries but also at the masses in the colonies of the great powers, including vast territories in the east and south of the former Russian Empire. The posters created for Muslims (and with the participation of Muslims) between the two world wars in the Soviet East – in the Volga Region, in Crimea, in the Urals, in Siberia, in the Caucasus and in Central Asia – represent an enormous and as yet little-studied layer in the history of Soviet propaganda.

Introduction by Vladimir Bobrovnikov

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Religious Boards of Transcaucasian Muslims in the Russian Empire, 19-20th centuries

Гусейн-эфенди Гаибов.pdf

An anthology of documents reflecting the process of Islam’s evolution in the Russian Empire, in particular its institutionalization in the Transcaucasian provinces. They were drawn from the collections of the Central Historical Archives of Georgia (TsIAG) and the State Historical Archives of the Republic of Azerbaijan (GIAAR). The anthology consists of three sections. The first one contains drafts of the “Statutes” on governance of the Transcaucasian Muslim clergy and the relevant instructions and rules. The second section is based on statistical materials regarding the number of Muslim “parishes,” mosques and clergymen and data on changes in the personnel of the Religious Boards. The third one presents ritual texts and lists of religious writings that served as a guide for the clergy in resolving civil cases.

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General Introduction

Commentary on the documents

Russia: The Counterinsurgency State

Stephen Blank is Senior Fellow at American Foreign Policy Council

February 2017

The current war in the North Caucasus, in historical perspective (along with the ongoing war in Ukraine), represent the latest in an apparently unending centuries-long set of struggles over imperial “space” in and around Russia. Therefore the study of these wars sheds new light on older practices and paradigms and vice versa.  Looking backward as well as forward allows us to see what has worked and what has failed in Russian counterinsurgency (COIN).  Specifically, here we intend to reveal these ongoing paradigms in Muslim areas of the USSR, e.g. Central Asia and the North Caucasus by examining those practices of the 1920s in the light of the contemporary war in Chechnya that Moscow won but also in the light of the current struggle in the North Caucasus where no resolution appears in sight.

Imperial Management and Cooptation of Elites in Russia’s Wars: Past and Present

Stephen Blank is Senior Fellow at American Foreign Policy Council

July 2017

In the course of building and then losing an empire at least twice and striving again to recover at least some of its lost legacy the Russian state has acquired an immense amount of experience in what British analysts have called wars of imperial management, counterinsurgency, power projection beyond Russia’s borders, etc. One of the hallmarks of this historical experience is a repeated pattern of cooptation of elites in foreign territories and with it an unending tactical flexibility that exploits ethno-religious divisions among peoples on its periphery and even beyond to break up hostile or targeted states or at least to neutralize their ability to resist Russia’s strategies for advancing its national interest.