The Russian Revolution and the Khivan Khanate

Introduction

What is a Khanate to do when his Russian supporters are overthrown by a revolution and he must now rely on a traitorous warlord to retain his throne? Read our article to learn about the Khivan Khanate during the Russian Revolution.

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Introduction

Last week we talked about the Russian Revolution and Central Asia, but we limited it to the urban areas of Turkestan and the Bukharan Emirate. Today, we’ll be discussing how Russia’s other protectorate, the Khiva Khanate, responded to the fall of the Tsars.

Khiva Under Russian Rule 1880-1916

As we discussed in our episode on Russian colonialism, Khiva was one of the two protectorates created by Tsarist Russia as it colonized Central Asia. It was smaller than Bukhara and not as wealthy or important to Russian officials, meaning the Khan could exercise great independence on how his territory was ruled, as long as he understood his protectorate was granted to him via Russian power. Khiva had been ruled by Muhammad Rahim until his death in 1910, when his son Isfendiyar took over. Isfendiyar passed minor reforms between 1910 and 1917 including support for a state budget, tax reform, and placing all government servants on a salary. He even supported the building of a reform madrasa and encourage the spread of the new-method schools championed by the Jadids. However, many of the reforms never became law and may have been lip service to keep the Russians at bay. Isfendiyar’s true focus was on his troublesome subjects the Turkmen.

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The Basmachi

Introduction

Famed but often misunderstood guerilla fighters, the Basmachi were an Islamic resistance force that targeted both the Bolsheviks and modernizing Islamic forces of Central Asia. This article provides a basic overview of their creation, organizational hierarchy, and talks about some of their most famous leaders.

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We’ve spent considerable time exploring how the Russian Revolution affected Central Asia from several different perspectives. So far, we’ve talked about the Russian Settlers, the Alash Orda, the Jadids, and the Bukharan and Khivan Emirs. You may be thinking, that’s plenty of peoples and we’re ready to move onto 1918, but we have one more perspective to add and that’s the Basmachi, a guerrilla movement that reinvented itself numerous times during the 1920s and clashed with the Soviets from 1918 to the 1930s.

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