General Mikhail Frunze has arrived in Turkestan and identified the Musburo and the two Emirs of Khiva and Bukhara as threats to Communism. But can he win a war with the Emirs when facing an insurgency and famine?

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From 1917 to 1919, Central Asia was cut off from Moscow and the Red Army. This allowed events in the Steppe and Turkestan to take their own course with a regionalized flavor. Beginning in 1919, that all ended with the defeat of the White Army in the Kazakh Steppe, the absorption of the Alash Orda by the Bolsheviks, and the arrival of the Turkestan Commission also known as the Turkkomissiia. After ensuring the Steppe would no longer be a problem, General Mikhail Frunze and the Red Army followed and upending existing relations between the Bolsheviks and the local peoples of Central Asia.

Mikhail Frunze: the Wrecking Ball

Frunze was born in Bishkek in modern-day Kyrgyzstan. At the age of eighteen, he was involved in the split between the Mensheviks and Bolsheviks, siding with the Bolsheviks. He took part in the 1905 Revolution that led to the creation of the Duma, during the Revolution he was arrested and sentenced to death. His sentence was commuted to hard labor, and he spent ten years working in Siberia. In February 1917, he was in Minsk before traveling to Moscow to take part in the fight for the city.

Read More: The Russian Civil War: Enter Mikhail Frunze and the Fall of the Last Emirs in Central Asia 1920-1921

            In 1919, he was appointed the head of the Southern Army Group of the Red Army Eastern Front [SA1] and fought against Admiral Alexander Kolchak’s White Army in the Steppe. He would defeat Kolchak at the end of 1919, bringing the Steppe under Bolshevik control and subsuming the Alash Orda into Bolshevik forces. In February 1920, he traveled to Tashkent to take part in the Turkkomissiia, a special commission sent to Turkestan to help establish a Bolshevik government in the region. One that would rely on the Red Army to ensure its edicts for the foreseeable future.

            The Turkkomissiia attempted to work with local organizations until Frunze arrived in February 1920. Even though he would only remain in the region until September 1920, Frunze was a wrecking ball in a China shop, destroying former understandings among the Indigenous peoples and wiping out old enemies that had plagued the Bolsheviks in Central Asia since the Revolution.

Frunze arriving in Turkestan

            When Frunze arrived, he identified the following issues immediately:

  1. The Musburo’s bid for autonomy jeopardizing the Bolshevik experiment in Central Asia
  2. Turkestan has three dangerous neighbors-Khiva, Bukhara, and Afghanistan-that Britain could use to undermine the Bolsheviks in Central Asia
  3. The Basmachi insurgency and famine

            During this post we’ll discuss how Frunze took on the Musburo, Khiva, and Bukhara. In a future episode we’ll discuss how Frunze dealt with the Basmachi.

Frunze vs Musburo

When the Turkkomissiia arrived, Risqulov and the Musburo greeted them with joy, believing they would help the Musburo expand its authority throughout Turkestan. However, Frunze was distrustful of the Musburo, claiming that they weren’t communist enough and that their cause was nothing more than a “narrow, petty, bourgeois nationalism” (pg. 114, Making Uzbekistan). He also attacked the Communist Party of Turkestan (KPT), proposing, in April 1920, that they should disband the existing party and start over. Instead, the Turkkomissiia launched a purge, weeding out 42% of the party’s members. They purge the ranks again in 1922 by 30%, reducing the ranks to 15,000 members. It would grow to 24,000 in 1924.

Mikhail Frunze

            Risqulov and other Muslims and Indigenous peoples fought back by lackadaisically carrying out Turkkomissiia orders and sent complains to Moscow about Russia’s high-handedness. G’ozi Yunus, a Jadid turned member of the Musburo, wrote the following about the Bolsheviks:

“[the party contained] a group of narrow nationalists having washed their hands with the blood of the people, put on the mask of Bolsheviks or Left SRs and cleansed the uezd of its Muslim… naturally given that the Soviet government established in 1918 was headed by narrow nationalist comrades, complaints about such behavior was ineffective.”

Adeeb Khalid, Making Uzbekistan, pg. 115

            In May 1920, Risqulov would write:

            “In Turkestan as in the entire colonial East, two dominant groups have existed and [continue to] exist in the social struggle: the oppressed, exploited colonial natives, and     European capital.” Imperial powers sent “their best exploiters and functionaries” to the   colonies, people who liked to think that “even a worker is a representative of a higher culture than the natives, a so-called “Kulturtrager.”

Adeeb Khalid, pg. 170, Central Asia

            And in June 1920, Risqulov would argue

“In Turkestan there was no October revolution. The Russians took power and that was the end of it; in the place of some governor sits a worker and that’s all.” “The October revolution in Turkestan should have been accomplished not only under the slogans of the overthrow of the existing bourgeois power, but also of the final destruction of all traces of the legacy of all possible colonialist efforts on the part of Tsarist officialdom and kulaks.”

Adeeb Khalid pg.108-109, Making Uzbekistan

            Frunze seems to have legitimately believed that the Muslims of Central Asia didn’t truly understand Communism and that the Musburo was a hybrid form of government that needed to be cleansed of nationalists. From a pragmatic perceptive, the situation in Turkestan was chaotic and needed a firm hand to establish any form of government, let alone a communist government. Frunze, naturally, believed the best way to bring order was to simplify command and grant power to those he could rely on and were dedicated to the correct version of communism. The Musburo, KPT, and whatever remained of the Kokand Autonomy and the Tashkent Soviet had proven too weak to rule on their own and he had no need for their skills since he brought with him the Red Army full of officers and Bolsheviks agents, he knew he could rely on. As we’ll see, Frunze would allow Indigenous peoples of Central Asia to work in governmental positions, but he wanted to start fresh and establish a form of command he understood and knew.

            It should also be noted that Frunze did not favor Russian settlers over the Muslim populations of Central Asia. He also banished local communist organizations of Russian railroad workers, the same men who led minor revolts like Osipov’s revolt of 1919. In fact, there were rumors that they were planning a similar revolt against the Turkkomissiia who they felt were too friendly with the non-Russian inhabitants of Central Asia. So, while there is certainly xenophobia and racism involved in Frunze’s decisions, there is also an element of pragmaticism going on, but also note that Russian racism and chauvinism really outdoes itself in Central Asia and deserves deep, scholarly investigation that is beyond this podcast.

            Risqulov and the Muslim Communists went around Frunze and the Turkkomissiia and traveled directly to Moscow to speak with Lenin. The Turkkomissiia also went to Moscow to present their case. Risqulov argued that the Turkkomissiia were undermining the Musburo’s efforts, that Turkestan was the key to spreading Communism throughout the east and that it should be its own republic with full autonomy to print its own money and conduct its own foreign policy. Lenin ignored Risqulov’s arguments and sided with Frunze.

Turar Risqulov

            On June 22nd, 1920, the Politburo passed a resolution that formerly brought Turkestan under Soviet control. It stripped Turkestan of control over external relations, external trade, and military affairs. Its economic and food-supply policies had to fit within the plans established by the central government of the Soviet Union. It claimed that

“Recognizing the Kazakhs, Uzbeks, and Turk-mens as the Indigenous peoples of Turkestan the Turkestan Soviet Socialist Republic…as an autonomous part of the RSFSR”

Adeeb Khalid, pg.115 Making Uzbekistan

            They also transformed the Turkkomissiia into the Turkestan Bureau which then changed to the Central Asia Bureau (Sredazburo) were it served as a mechanism of Central Power. Risqulov and his party were defeated in a forced re-election with Risqulov sent to several desk jobs far from Turkestan. The Sredazburo also arrested several “nationalists” and deported nearly 2000 Europeans from the region.

            While this effort put an end to the Musburo and the Communist Nationalist’s grip on power within Turkestan, it didn’t permanently end indigenous power. Instead, it set new parameters on who could exercise that power and how. Many of the Muslim actors affected by Frunze’s destruction of the Musburo (including Risqulov) would return to Central Asia and hold varying degrees of power. Frunze wasn’t against the Indigenous peoples of Turkestan holding power, in fact as he struggled to reassert Soviet control over the region, he realized he needed Indigenous actors to legitimize Bolshevik rule and Communist thought. But he also believed that they needed to follow the Communist Party’s ethos, edicts, and governmental framework.

            After ending the “threat” of Muslim nationalism within Tashkent, Frunze followed the tradition of the Tashkent Soviet and first attack Khiva in February 1920 and Bukhara in August 1920.

Frunze vs. Khiva

What has Khiva been up to?

When last we left Khiva, Junaid Khan, a warlord, extorted Khiva’s Emir then had him assassinated and replaced him with his brother Sayid Abdullah as a puppet. Junaid consolidated his power by creating a government of local military commanders and raised taxes on the Uzbek population while demanding that the Turkmen arm themselves for compulsory military service. There were frequent disturbances throughout the spring and summer of 1918, but nothing truly threatened Junaid’s control. He established the city capital at Bedirkent, where he began the construction of a palace.

Junaid Attacks the Bolsheviks

After destroying any internal threats to his rule, Junaid decided to raid the nearby Russian outposts. He first attacked the city of Urgench on September 20th, 1918, stealing money and goods from Russian banks and firms. The Russians demanded the release of prisoners and Junaid complied but warned them against interfering in Khivan affairs.

            Junaid regarded the Bolsheviks as enemies, not for any ideological reason, but because they threatened his own personal fiefdom. The Russian outpost at then Petro-Aleksandrovsk was an incursion in Khiva’s natural line of defense. Junaid attacked the outpost on November 25th, 1918, believing winter would make it impossible to assist the outpost. He laid siege for eleven days before being chased off by Russian reinforcements. Junaid spent the spring of 1919 attacking Russians garrisons, but his losses were greater than his victories so on April 9th, 1919, he signed the Treaty of Takhta with the Russian forces. This treaty ended hostilities immediately, reaffirmed Khiva’s independence, established normal diplomatic and trade relations, and amnesty for all Turkmen charged with anti-Bolshevik activities.

            Junaid did not follow the treaty, rebuffing the Bolshevik diplomatic representative sent from Tashkent in July, refusing to extradite Russian criminals finding shelter in Khiva, and selling grain to Turkestan. He allowed the Russians to rebuild the telegraph line between Chardjui and Petro-Aleksandrovsk but would not guarantee its safety in the future.

            Relations between Khiva and the Bolshevik forces in Turkestan fell to an all time low in the summer of 1919, when Junaid supported a group of rebel Cossacks fighting against the Bolsheviks. This group of Ural Cossacks stationed themselves at Chimbai in the Amu-Darya region. By mid-August, the Cossacks with aid from the Karakalpak people controlled the entire delta from the Aral Sea south to Nukus and across the river from Khodjeili. Russian naval commander Shaidakov returned to Petro-Aleksandrovsk on August 19th and took commander of the newly formed Khivan army group of the Transcaspian front. When he tried to suppress the Cossack uprising using steamboats to ferry his men to battle, he was fired upon by Junaid’s patrols. Junaid also cut the telegraph lines to Chardjui and was discussing a joint attack on Petro-Aleksandrovsk with the Cossacks. By September, Tashkent feared a Khivan invasion.

The Fall of Khiva

By the fall of 1919, military events turned in the Bolshevik’s favor. Frunze and the Red armies were defeating Kolchak’s and Dutov’s forces in the Steppe and were seeing success in their Transcaspian campaign. Additionally, the small faction of Jadids in Khiva, who now called themselves the Young Khivans, had gained recognition from the Turkestani government. The Young Khivans themselves claimed to have a militia of five hundred men and secret underground cell in the capital. Frunze declared that both Khiva and Bukhara needed to be liberated from the tyranny of the Khans. The only reason he overthrew Khiva’s khanate first was because Junaid had made too much of a nuisance of himself to ignore and because he was protecting the Cossacks at Amu-Darya.

Frunze ordered G. B. Skalov, the recently appointed representative for Khiva and the Amu-Darya Otdel, to liberate Khiva. The Russians would prepare for their assault while fending off multiple attacks from Junaid’s forces in November and December of 1919.

Skalov began his attack in January 1920. He had two columns of men at his command. The first column, station at Petro-Aleksandrovsk, consisted of 430 men. They would first approach from the northeast, targeting cities such as Khanki and Urgench, before turning and attacking Junaid’s headquarters in Bedirkent from the south. The second column consisted of four hundred men and was commanded by N. A. Shaidakov. They would approach the capital from the northwest. (Becker, 287). Skalov easily took the city of Khanki, but he was besieged for three weeks at Urgench. Shaidakov, however, easily defeated a group of Cossacks and Karakalpak rebels near Chimbai and captured two more cities on their way to the capital.

            Skalov broke the siege at Urgench and approached Bedirkent from the south while Shaidakov approached from the north. They fought for two days with Junaid’s own commanders and allies turning against him. Bedirkent fell on January 23rd, 1920, with Junaid fleeing into the Kara-Kum Desert. From there he would form a new branch of the Basmachi and return to being a thorn in the Bolshevik’s side. The Bolsheviks forced the puppet khan to abdicate and replaced him with a revolutionary committee composed of two Young Khivans, and two Turkmen chieftains. With Junaid out of the way the Bolsheviks were able to concentrate on destroying the Cossack revolt in Amu-Darya.

            On February 8th, the Young Khivans requested aid from the Bolsheviks in creating a workers’ and peasants’ government and a congress of Soviets arrived on April 1st to assist the Young Khivans. At the end of April, the khanate was formally abolished, and the Khorezm People’s Soviet Republic took its place as the only legitimate government in Khiva. A Khorezmi Communist Party formed at the end of May, boosting six hundred members by the summer of 1920, although records suggest that most of these members were Russian or Turkestani Communists.

Frunze vs Bukhara

Catching up with Bukhara

When last we left Bukhara in March 1918, the Tashkent Soviet tried and failed to invade, signing a humiliating agreement that let the Emir live for another day which allowed him to hunt the Jadids, who renamed themselves the Young Bukharans. Many fled to Tashkent and reunited with the Jadids there and met with Communist officials.

            Soviet historians have painted the Bukharan Emir as an inherently hostile foe, making deals with everyone from the Emir of Afghanistan to the white Army to the British, always ready to strike against the Russian forces. Their paranoia over Bukhara increased because of the growing threat in the Transcaspia, which is beyond the scope of this podcast, but was receiving heavy British support. Junaid never fully committed to the Transcaspia front but attacked the Russian’s communication lines and soldiers. If Emir Muhammad Alim Khan chose to support the forces in Transcaspia, then the Russians in Tashkent would be surrounded by enemies with British backing.

            In reality, the Emir was a cautionary man, far more caution than Junaid in Khiva. He did not like or trust the Russians, but he wasn’t ready to start a war with them. It seems that he was waiting out the various wars and battles to determine who would be his true competitor or potential ally. He most certainly hoped to break from Russian influence, but that never seemed completely feasible. Even though the Russian forces were weak in Tashkent in 1918 and into 1919, they still controlled the railroad zone that cut through the heart of the khanate and Samarkand, the key to western Bukhara’s water supply. At some point I will have to do an episode or blog post on water rights in Central Asia, because it’s vital to understanding Russian colonialism in the region and still affects the states to this day. So, the Bukharan Emir chose neutrality.

            The situation in Transcaspia grew worse for the Russians during the summer of 1918 when British support enabled Transcaspia to stall the Russian assault. The Emir opened a consulate at Merv, Iran, where the British General Malleson made his headquarters, but it was mostly for observation and a channel of communication and intelligence gathering. He had talks with the British about their intentions in Britain. Malleson sent a small collection of arms to Bukhara in February as a token of friendship, but also urged the Emir not to provoke Tashkent. This confirmed the Russian’s fear that Bukhara had allied with Britain and were receiving arms, training, and supplies. The evacuation of the British from Transcaspia in early 1919 did nothing to slow these rumors down.

            Emir Muhammad Alim Khan had grown his army to thirty thousand men in preparation for war in Central Asia, but whatever shipments he may have received from Britain did nothing to substantially help Bukhara. Even if the Emir was not prepared for war himself, he kept his land open to members of the Basmachi and other anti-Communist forces. Turkestan asked Bukhara to extradite all fugitives per the treaty they signed in March 1918, but the Emir refused.

Emir Muhammad Alim Khan

            Relations hits a new low when the British evacuated Transcaspia and the resistant forces sent forces to the Bukharan city of Kerki to try and get behind the Russian’s rear before they could press their advantage. The Russians attacked, believing the Bukharan officials in the city were collaborators with the rebels. They took the town but were then blocked by the emir’s troops. A truce was arranged long enough for the Russians to expel the Transcaspian rebels in the rural areas of Kerki, but the blockade continued for another month. Bukharan forces even fired upon the Soviet embassy on their way to Afghanistan.

            Meanwhile, the British kept telling the Emir to remain neutral. Malleson wasn’t necessarily worried about Bukhara attacking the Bolsheviks as he was about Bukhara making an alliance with the Bolsheviks or Afghanistan. Meanwhile the Red Army continued defeating White forces in Transcaspia and in the Steppe and it became more prudent for Emir Muhammad Alim Khan to offer an olive branch to the Bolsheviks. However, the Bolsheviks made it clear that they would never find common cause with a country ruled by a bourgeois tyrant. Their propaganda made it clear that they considered Bukhara to be a bulwark of revolutionary and counterrevolutionary forces that the Kolesov campaign failed to crush. They encouraged the people of Bukhara to rise up and liberate themselves from British controlled enemies with Bolshevik help. They grew hopeful after the fall of Afghanistan cut Bukhara off from their British “supporters,” but it quickly became clear that the people would not revolt without Russian assistance.

The Young Bukharans Recover

While the Emir was navigating the tricky waters of the Russian Civil War, the Young Bukharans were struggling to survive their forced exile into Tashkent and other neighboring cities. At first, their number one priority was to avoid starvation and arguing with each other over the failed March coup. Some left politics, fled to Moscow, or joined the Communist organizations in Tashkent and Samarkand while reuniting and reconnecting with other Jadids. They tied their hopes for liberation of Bukhara with the Bolshevik cause, even though, as the Bolsheviks pointed out, many had land and wealth in Bukhara and thus greed and financial interest partially drove their concern. For their part, the Young Bukharans tried their best to tie their goals and messaging to Communism. A handful of Young Bukharans traveled to Moscow to represent the Bukharan state and argued that

“only the Russian Socialist Revolution, the vanguard warrior with world imperialism, can liberate Bukhara from the slavery into which imperialists of all countries have led it, supporting Bukharan reaction in their own interests”

Adeeb Khalid, pg. 121, Making Uzbekistan

The Young Bukharans, encouraged by the Bolsheviks, argued that the Emir was a tyrant

“All his thoughts are of living in luxury, and it is none of his business even if the poor and the peasants like us die of starvation. ‘His Highness’ is a man concerned only with eating the best pulov, wearing robes of the best brocade, drinking good wines, and having a good time with young and good looking boys and girls”

Adeeb Khalid, pg. 122, Making Uzbekistan

            However, the Young Bukharans ran into competition for Communist support when a group of Muslims living in the Russian enclaves of Bukhara organized the Bukharan Communist Party (BKP). The Bolsheviks in Tashkent were more sympathetic with the Bukharan Communist Party then they were with the Young Bukharans, and the BKP could use the Bolshevik language to heap complaints on the Young Bukharans. Meanwhile, the Young Bukharans considered the BKP to be interlopers who didn’t truly understand the needs of the Bukharan people. The Bolsheviks still needed the Young Bukharans for when they overthrew the Emir, so for the time being they tolerated them, but it was a painful and awkward relationship.

            The Emir’s retaliation against the Young Bukharans/Bukharan Communists was swift and severe. He attacked anyone who had a western education and read western newspapers.The Emir government held tribunals and sentenced fifteen to twenty advocators for reform to death. Other, larger groups were killed without trial. Additionally, Bukhara’s economy was collapsing because the war prevented the re-establishment of the old economic relations with Russia or its neighbors. This led to higher taxation of the people leading to rioting and civilian anger. The Bolsheviks and the Young Bukharans saw it as a perfect opportunity to stoke that anger against the Emir. The Bolsheviks were doubtful about the Young Bukharan’s chances for success. One Bolshevik in Tashkent wrote that

“The Decembrists of Asia, the Young Bukharans…have learnt nothing from history. They argued that the oppressed people of…Bukhara have to be “liberated’ from outside, with the force of the bayonets of the proletarian Red Army of Turkestan. That the ‘liberated’ exploited masses could, through their ignorance, see their liberators as foreign oppressors does not concern them.”

Adeeb Khalid, pg. 124, Making Uzbekistan

Yet, Frunze planned to use the Young Bukharan’s rhetoric to justify his invasion of Bukhara.

The Fall of Bukhara

When Frunze arrived at Tashkent, he received reports that Emir Muhammad Alim Khan had raised an army of about 30,000 men with limited weapons and ammunition. Most of their officers were Ottoman and Austrian POWs, deserters from the British Indian Army, and anti-Russian officers and Cossacks. The Emir of Afghanistan sent support via two hundred troops and six elephants. After taking care of Junaid in Khiva, Bukhara was clearly the bigger threat.

            Frunze’s army was spread across a territory of 2,000 kilometers and was involved in establishing a People’s Republic in the Steppe and Khiva, supporting the Turkkomissiia in Tashkent, and fighting the Basmachi in the Ferghana. He requested permission from Moscow to attack Bukhara and for reinforcements, but Moscow had no reinforcements to send. Frunze would have to rely on his own initiatives to justify and win an invasion.

            Frunze did two things to prepare for his invasion. First, he increased his army by conscripting 25,000 Muslims and Indigenous peoples, organizing the units based on nationalities. Adding the 25,000 conscripts to his army of 6-7000 infantrymen, 2,300 cavalrymen, 35 light and 5 heavy guns, 8 armored cars, 5 armored trains, and 11 pieces of aircraft, he was confident he had enough men to win a fight with the Bukharan army. All statistics regarding the Bukharan invasion come from Robert F. Baumann’s book, Russian-Soviet Unconventional Wars in the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Afghanistan. He was definitely better prepared than Kolesov was in 1918. His conscription solved his manpower issue, but temporarily exasperated his Basmachi problem by driving 30,000 men into the arms of the Basmachi, but that’s a problem for a different podcast episode.

            Second, he united the Young Bukharans and the Bukharan Communist Party into one party to streamline communications and power sharing and then used their grievances with Emir Muhammad Alim Khan to invade the khanate.

Fires in Bukhara under siege by Red Army troops, 1 September 1920

            Frunze’s assault consisted of four surprise and simultaneous strikes conducted by four independent operational groups. The Jadids contributed by sparking uprisings within the khanate. The attack would start with the Chardzhul uprising.

            Operational Group Two consisted of a rifle regiment and battalion, and two detachments of cavalry. Group Two advanced from the southwest to provide support to the Chardzhul uprising and take the city Kara-Kul and the neighboring railroad line. Cavalry elements would take several crossings along the Amu River and cut the railroad line that connected Old Bukhara to Termez.

            Operational Group One consisted of the 4th Cavalry regiment, the 1st Eastern Muslim regiment, an armored car detachment, and militia from several garrisons. Once the uprising in Chardzhul started, Group One advanced on old Bukhara from the city of Kagan in the north. Their goal was to destroy the emir’s main force and deny him any chance of escape.

            Operational Group Three, which consisted of a cavalry regiment and detachment of conscripted Muslim soldiers attacked from the east, taking four neighboring cities on the way. Operational Group Four which consisted of a rifle regiment, two cavalry detachments, and engineer company, advanced from Samarkand.

Frunze relied on the Amu flotilla to patrol the Afghan border and blocking the emir’s escape route. His ground forces were supported by the 25th, 26th, and 43rd Aviation Reconnaissance Detachments as well.

Group Two seized Chardzhul on the night of August 28th and Group One marched north to Old Bukhara while securing the Amu River. By the night of August 29th, Group One was sitting outside the gates of Old Bukhara. The city itself consisted of 130 defensive towers and eleven gates and it’s estimated that the city walls were roughly ten meters high and five meters thick. (Baumann, 109)

Frunze launched an aerial bombardment of the city on August 31st and September 1st but were unable to damage the defensive walls. He pulled up his 122-mm and 152-mm artillery pieces, but they were ineffective because of inexperienced officers. Russian infantry followed the bombardment, but they failed to take the city. After hearing of the failure, Frunze bemoaned:

“If the operation will be conducted this unskillfully the city will never be taken”

Robert F. Baumann, Russian-Soviet Unconventional Wars in the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Afghanistan, pg 111

On September 2nd, 1920, the Red Army blew a breach in the inner fortress wall. They followed the breach up with aerial and artillery bombardment and then the infantry charged. Both forces engaged in street-to-street fighting as the Emir’s forces broke and fled. The Emir himself watched the battle from outside the city and escaped along with five hundred mounted fighters, when the battle turned. A Russian aviation unit spotted the emir and a cavalry unit chased after him, but he evaded their forces and reached his fortress at Dushanbe. From there he would flee to Afghanistan and remain there until he died in 1944.

With the fall of Bukhara, Frunze had cleared most of the Communist’s enemies from Turkestan. The only ones who remained were the Basmachi. Frunze worked with the Indigenous people to proclaim the Bukharan People’s Soviet Republic on October 8th, 1920, establishing the final people’s republic of Central Asia. It was now time to crush the Basmachi insurgency and establish a Communist form of government over the region.


Making Uzbekistan: Nation, Empire, and Revolution in the Early USSR by Adeeb Khalid

Central Asia: a History by Adeeb Khalid

Russian-Soviet Unconventional Wars in the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Afghanistan by Robert F. Baumann,

Russia’s Protectorates in Central Asia: Bukhara and Khiva 1865-1924 by Seymour Becker

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