Speaking Soviet with an Accent
Culture and Power in Kyrgyzstan
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: University of Pittsburgh Press
Series: Central Eurasia in Context
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
To all of the colleagues, friends, and family members in the United States, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkey who have helped make this book possible, I express my sincere appreciation....
Introduction: Craft ing Kyrgyzness
On the southern shores of Ysyk Köl, the largest lake in Kyrgyzstan and one considered holy to Kyrgyz, is a tiny ail (village) called Akterek.1 Even in May 2002, a small white building’s signage still declared, in bold lettering, that this was the “club” of the Kyrgyz Soviet Socialist Republic.2 The official purpose...
Map of Kyrgyzstan
The Bolsheviks inherited the images of “Asiatic” Kyrgyz from their imperial predecessors. These predecessors who concerned themselves with Central Asia included tsarist government officials, Russian intelligentsia, writers, artists, and their Turkic counterparts. The Bolsheviks, despite their best intentions, were not able to fully rid themselves of these ingrained images of the...
1. Being “Asiatic” Subjects ofthe Empire
2. The Making of Soviet Culture in Kyrgyzstan during the 1920s and 1930s1. Th e clubs must
Nadezhda Krupskaia, a Bolshevik leader and the wife of Lenin, identified three essential functions of clubs: improving amateur talents, teaching Marxist ideology, and collectivizing the institution. As one of the fi rst Bolsheviks to define the role of clubs in forging Soviet culture, Krupskaia provides important evidence for early Soviet cultural policies.1 The Kyrgyz version of the...
3. The Emergence of the Soviet Houses of Culture in Kyrgyzstan
In this excerpt, Kyrgyz writer Chingiz Aitmatov’s character Tanabai Bakasov, a former Kyrgyz Komsomol leader, kolkhoz worker, ardent believer in communist ideals, and war veteran, expresses his confl icting sentiments about his own heritage. Like many Kyrgyz people of his generation who matured during the Bolshevik Revolution, Tanabai believed in cultural...
4. Celebrations in Soviet Kyrgyzstan during the 1930s
In Kyrgyz towns and ails, clubs oft en served as the venues for Soviet celebrations. Reports from ail administrators and news stories in regional newspapers indicate that in the smallest ails, a school could provide the necessary space for a celebration, but the existence of a club (even if it was just a room) gave the celebration an official status.1 In a news item that reported the result...
5. Soviet Theater in Kyrgyzstan in the 1930s
Th eater provided a powerful arena in which Kyrgyz revolutionaries of the 1930s sought to introduce Soviet ideology to wide populations. All types of Houses of Culture became the stages for the first plays in Kyrgyzstan. Regional institutions of cultural activity, including the clubs, served as convenient locations for urbanized and ail populations to appropriate state discourses in...
6. Self-Fashioning Kyrgyzness among Women
Ail authorities went to great lengths to show that women’s full participation in society accelerated the process of “cultural development” for the Kyrgyz. According to party administrators in Kyzyl Kyia, in March 1925, Uzbek and Kyrgyz women organized women’s circles. They applauded the outcome of this cooperation, suggesting that these women together facilitated mass cultural...
Club administrators, theater professionals, cultural Olympiad organizers, and other indigenous professionals and activists, such as Sabira Kumushalieva, were engaged in fashioning a new Kyrgyz community with a Soviet accent. The same activists, however, allowed their grandmothers and mothers to remain true to their nomadic roots, which suggests that Kyrgyz traditions...
Page Count: 240
Illustrations: 12 b&w photots
Publication Year: 2012
Series Title: Central Eurasia in Context
Series Editor Byline: Douglas Northrop, Editor See more Books in this Series
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