Account of Zeki Velidi Togan
By: H. B. Paksoy
J. V. Stalin, in his denunciation of Sultan Galiev, formerly Stalin's own assistant in Narkomnats, stated:
....I accused him (Sultan Galiev) of creating an organization of the Validov type... despite that, a week later, he sent... a secret letter... to establish contact with the Basmachi and with their leader Validov...1
Ahmet Zeki (Validov) Velidi Togan (1890-1970), a Bashkurt Turk,2 published his own comprehensive account of the Basmachi movement3 on two separate occasions. According to Togan, these were based on the field diaries he kept during his involvement in the movement. The said diary was smuggled out of Turkistan in segments, via various persons and routes, before and after Togan's own departure from Turkistan in 1923.4 Both accounts complement each other and contain ample material to aid the reader in reconstructing the events surrounding Stalin's references and putting all in historical perspective.5
In completing the final versions of these works for publication, Togan indicates, in addition to his own field notes, he had also utilized secondary sources to refresh his memory. These included the materials deposited with the Hoover Institution Library, which he consulted during 1958, as well as the newspaper collections pertaining to the time period which he chronicles. Togan recalled:
"Kerensky (1881-1970) and I sat down at the microfilm machine and together read the newspapers dating back to the times when we knew each other."
Togan also cites various histories written in the Soviet union after his departure, containing references to his own activities. The first section of this study contains Togan's brief biography, educational and personal background. The second, the events leading to his Basmachi period, due to space limitations, in a highly compressed form.6 The last section is largely translated directly from his pen, both from Turkili and Hatiralar.
At the outset, two points must be made. The first one pertains to the term Basmachi, as described by Togan: Basmachi is derived from "baskinji," meaning attacker, and was first applied to bands of brigands. During the tsarist times, these brigands existed when (Turkistan) independence was lost and Russian occupation began in Turkmenistan, Bashkurdistan and Crimea. Bashkurts (in Russian language sources: Bashkir) called the ayyar, by the Khorasan term. In Crimea (and, borrowed from there, in Ukraine) haydamak was used. Among Bashkurts such heroes as Buranbay; in Crimea, Halim; in Samarkand, Namaz became famous. These did not bother the local indigenous population but sacked the Russians and the Russian flour-mills, distributing their booty to the population. In Ferghana, these elements were also active during the tsarist times.... After the proliferation of cotton planting in Ferghana [with the forced the tsarist policy of replacing grain production] the economic conditions deteriorated. This increased the brigandage. Among earlier Basmachi, as was the case among the Western Turks, the spiritual leader of the Ozbek and Turkmen bands was Koroglu.7 Basmachi of Bukhara, Samarkand, Jizzakh and Turkmen gathered at nights to read Koroglu and other dastans. What has the external appearance of brigandage is actually a reflection and representation of the thoughts and spirit of a wide segment of the populace. Akchuraoglu Yusuf Bey, 8 reminds us that during the independence movements of the Serbians, the Hoduk; the Kleft and Palikarya of the Greeks comprised half nationalist revolutionaries and half brigands... The majority and the most influential of the Basmachi groups founded after 1918 did not follow the Koroglu tradition; they were composed of serious village leadership and sometimes the educated. Despite that, all were labelled Basmachi. Consequently, in Turkistan, these groups were regarded as 'partisans;' more especially representing the guerilla groups fighting against the colonial power. Nowadays, in Ozbek and Kazakh press, one reads about Chinese, Algerian and Indian Basmachi.9
Second is the language issue. Togan was fluent in quite a number of dialects used in Turkistan; historical and modern. At times he writes in an amalgam of those, not only while he is quoting from manuscripts, but also when he mentally travels to a particular location, recalling an incident. Togan gives the impression that the memory was etched in his mind in that particular dialect. He was sufficiently concerned about his propensities in that regard, and the readability of his writing dialect to ask a scholar-poet friend to review the manuscript of at least one of his books.
Togan was very sensitive to the matter and details his own views of the "language and dialects" issue (i.e. Bolshevik claims that the dialects of Central Asia are "languages"), as well as the Bolshevik political stance. He even confronted the Bolshevik leadership on the matter, with a letter, which is translated below. Togan supplies additional observations on the politics of language in a special section of his Turkili. It must be noted that Togan's references to Turk is in accordance with the normal usage in all dialects of Turke; Turki, Turkistani. The terms "Turkic" and "Turkish" are only introduced into non-Turk languages in much more recent times10 and do not reflect the actual, native usage.
Togan's own writing style also has to be considered separately. It is not always an easy task to unpack his highly elaborate, detailed, information-laden and lengthy sentences. At times it has been necessary to break his paragraph-long statements into a number of smaller ones. Furthermore, he sometimes provides the consequences of an event he is narrating before fully recounting the event itself. Thus he may interrupt his narrative to report an eventual outcome in a single sentence or page and then continue with the remaining sequence of the event.11
That might be one reason holding back potential translators and publishers of Togan's works. Indeed, several attempts have been made to translate his Turkili into English and German over the past decades. Almost all of those remain in manuscript form, some complete. Togan reports that one draft English translation of Turkili was distilled by Olaf Caroe and incorporated into one of his books.12
I. Togan's Upbringing, Education, Early Years
Togan was born 10 December 1890, in Bashkurt-Eli, the Kuzen aul near Isterlitamak.13 His family, like their ancestors, was involved most aspects of agriculture, most prominently apiculture and animal husbandry. Togan observes that in areas surrounding his ancestral lands, there were localities named "Uris Olgen" (Russian died) and "Uris Kirilgan" (Russian was "broken") indicating previous battles, since the 17th century, when the Russians first invaded the Bashkurt lands.
Togan received his elementary education from his parents, both of whom were literate in several languages in addition to the Bashkurt dialect and well-read in related literatures. Togan also studied in the village medrese14 of his own father and of his maternal uncle at Utek, a few miles away from his home. Consequently, by age 18, Togan had a command of his native Bashkurt, Chaghatay, Persian, Arabic and Russian. He accompanied his father on travels, on yearly extended social calls, to Troitsk and neighboring cities, and became familiar with a wide geographic region. This was to prove beneficial after 1916, when he became the Chairman of the Bashkurt Autonomous Region.
During the summer of 1908, he unceremoniously left his home to further his education and to gain a wider world perspective. At Kazan, he met several prominent Orientalists including N. Katanov (1862-1922) and N. Ashmarin,15 and attended lectures at the Kazan university and the Kasimiye Medrese. He notes that in Kazan, Merjani's (1818-1889) circle was very much alive.16 By 1911, Togan published in Kazan his Turk ve Tatar Tarihi (Turk and Tatar History), meant to be a textbook for the course he began teaching at Kas miye.
During the summer months of ensuing years Togan returned to Utek, on the way stopping at various cities, such as Orenburg, Astrakhan, Kemelik to visit historical sights and meet with individuals with whom he was corresponding. He began learning German and French, and Latin. His aim was to sit for the necessary examinations to qualify as a teacher in higher institutions of learning within the Russian empire. He was reading voraciously, both Eastern and Western authors, especially works on the history of the Turks.
His Turk ve Tatar Tarihi was well received, and he was therefore elected a member of the Kazan university Historical and Archeological Society. He also received invitations from a number of medreses to teach, with offers of "satisfactory stipends." In 1913, the Kazan university Historical and Archeological Society officially charged him with the task of collecting primary documents pertaining to the indigenous history, language and literature from the Ferghana region. Once in Tashkent, he was invited to join the Turkistan Military Governor's administration. He declined.
The following year, the Imperial Academy of Sciences (St. Petersburg) and the International Central Asian Historical Society, with the recommendation of Katanov and Bartold (1869-1930), jointly sponsored Togan to conduct a similar study and collection tour in the Bukhara Khanate. Upon his return to St. Petersburg with Bartold's urging he began publishing the results of these missions in related journals.
Bartold also introduced Togan to General Pisarev, the director of School of Oriental Languages. The Tsarina was the patron of this institution and Bartold was attempting to secure a position for Togan as an instructor. Again on the advice of Bartold, Togan went to Kazan, sat for the examinations to qualify as a Russian language teacher at the "non-Russian Seminaries." Although he passed the test, the schedule of which was expedited by Ashmarin, Togan dryly notes that "since I did not have an appointment, the diploma was useless." He continues:
" Bartold did not approve of the war efforts of the Tsardom. He told me: 'to be cannon fodder is unsuitable for you.' But the efforts of Bartold, who had lost a number of his students at the front during the first months of the war, and of Samaylovich,17 bore no fruit. I was inducted into the Army. Fifteen days after I settled into the barracks as a soldier, a law was passed to exempt the teachers of the non- Russian schools. I returned to Ufa."
At the end of 1914, Togan started teaching at Ufa. During 1915, he was elected a deputy from that city to the St. Petersburg Duma. Togan continued his scholarly endeavors in St. Petersburg and helped Bartold with the preparation and publication of Ulugh Bey.18 He became a member of Radloff's (1837-1918)19 Circle, worked on the corrections of Bartold's Timur's Indian Expedition and worked with Samaylovich at the Imperial Geographic Society. Asiatic Museum there. He continued publishing and began meeting political figures, especially those belonging to Socialist Revolutionaries (SR's). Kerensky was one such individual. He had grown up in Tashkent as the son of an "Education Inspector." With the aid of Kerensky, Togan and Mustafa Chokay visited the front to observe the conditions of the laborers conscripted from Turkistan.20
During this period, Togan also met Maxim Gorkii (1868-1936) and the writers working at the Russkii Letopisets:
"Gorkii had decided to publish the Sbornik of the 'nations imprisoned by the Russians.' to stress their cultures. Histories of Ukrainian, Finnish, Armenian and Georgian literatures were being written. Gorkii asked me to write the Sbornik of the Russian Moslems. During the winter of 1916, I devoted much time to this project. I read all pertinent publications printed in Russia, such as those written by Gasp ral (1854-1914)21, Azerbaijan's Hasan Bey Melikov (Zerdabi; 1842-1907), Fettah Akhundov (Mirza Fath Ali Akhunzade; 1812-1878)22; also those Russian works printed in Turkistan. Old Professor V. D. Smirnov, who was the Director of the Oriental Section of the St. Petersburg General Library, rendered spacious help. I evaluated those works written by Russian Moslems but have not been published. Smirnov was very interested in the topic, from the Russian point of view. I finished the draft of this large volume during winter of 1916, in Russian, and gave it to Gorkii. He gave it to Ukrainian Gurevich, to read. Then the Revolution took place. The volume was left in the hands of Gurevich, who was killed after he became Minister of Education in Ukraine."
Togan returned to full-time academic life during 1925. Invited to the Turkish Republic by the Ministry of Education, he was given citizenship in six weeks and began teaching at Istanbul university the same year. After a disagreement on historiography in the First Turkish History Conference, he resigned and went to University of Vienna (1932), where he earned his doctorate (1935). Togan taught at Bonn and Goettingen Universities (1935- 1939) before returning to his earlier post at Istanbul University (1939).
Togan was jailed for 17 months 10 days (1944) by the Turkish government "for acts against the Soviets," released and later returned (1948) to his post; organized and convened the XXI International Congress of Orientalists (1951); appointed Director of the Islamic Institute at Istanbul University (1953); became a visiting professor at Columbia University (1958); was awarded an honorary doctorate from Manchester University (1967); remaining an historian until his death (1970) in Istanbul. His life-time publications, in various languages, approach 400 in number.23
II. Preparatory Years
The February Revolution of 1917 found Togan living across from the Preobrazhenskaia Military Barracks. He immediately plunged into the organization of the forthcoming political meetings, "called to discuss the legal and social status of the Turk population of Russia under new developments." These endeavors took him to Tashkent, where he had to oppose the largely Russian Tashkent Soviet. He joined the Tashkent SR party, but resigned in disgust, within a month, upon discovering the complicity of that party in inequitable food distribution.
Further, Togan notes, the majority of the educated Russians in Tashkent were members of the Kadets, headed by the mayor of the city, Malletskii. The Kadets planned to establish two categories of municipal districts (one for the local people, the other for the Russians), with the Russian side ultimately wielding all power. Togan, "having read the related publications for the past few years" vehemently and publicly objected, exposing the hidden purposes behind it in a series of meetings:
"I knew that the structure proposed was translated into Russian and published, from the (British) Indian Government laws. The aim was to have the minority rule over the majority Turkistanis. I brought the books to the meeting."
At that point, the SR's were supporting Togan. Turkestanskaia Vedemost (published in Tashkent) carried related speeches and meeting notes.
Togan prepared for the Moscow congress of "Moslems of Russia, everywhere demanding that the Turk populations should have territorial autonomy, thus forming a federative system within the new regime." He was in favor of "including all Turk regions of the Russian Empire into this autonomous Turkistan." He faced opposition, not only from the Bolsheviks, but also from some "unitarists" among his own people who rejected Togan's federation idea and instead favored a single Russian state. Also, the kadimist ulama (the orthodox clergy), in some regions a part of the salaried Russian bureaucracy,24 objected to the territorial autonomy or the formation of a Turkistan as a part of the federated Russian state.
Since both the Moscow and the Tashkent Soviets were opposing anything but "Russianism," especially the demands of the majority population of Turkistan, Togan continued his efforts among Bashkurts. He met with success, as Bashkurt autonomy was declared, after several Kurultays (congresses), under the Presidency of Yunus Bekov. Togan was appointed Minister of Interior and Defense. Concomitantly, Bashkurt Government affairs began to be formalized, the Bashkurt Army was reestablished.25
On 18 January 1918 (new style) Bolsheviks occupied Orenburg, where the autonomous Bashkurt Government was headquartered. For the first few days, the Bolsheviks were solicitous towards the Bashkurt Government, but on 3 February arrested and jailed its prominent members, including Togan. It appears that Togan's rivals, including the unitarists, may have contributed to this event. In the ensuing uncertainty among Bolsheviks, he could easily have been executed, save for the uprising staged by his followers to free him. During the night of 3-4 April he was freed. Quickly organizing his friends, Togan began a guerilla movement for the purpose of protecting Bashkurt population and property.
On 27 May 1918 the Czech Legions revolted against the Bolsheviks, joining with the Whites. Togan and his Bashkurt organization established contact with the Czechs. The Bashkurt government was reestablished in Cheliabinsk on 7 June and Bashkurt regiments were mobilized.26
Furthering cooperation with Western Siberia and the Kazakh Alash Orda27 Governments, Togan and his Bashkurt army units began engaging Red forces and succeeded in driving them out of Orenburg and traditional Bashkurt lands. An intelligence department, in collaboration with the Samara government, Ural Cossacks and the Kazakhs, was also established with representatives and contacts in various cities around Turkistan. One member of this organization and one time secretary to Togan was OOzbek Abdlhamid Suleyman, whose pen name is Cholpan, 28 often touted in Soviet historiography as a loyal Bolshevik.
Red units began exploiting the differences between Kadets and the Whites. At that time, a French unit, under the command of General Janin joined the fighting against the Reds. Reportedly, Gen. Janin simultaneously addressed the Russians with "You are all Russians; one side Red, the other White. Why are you fighting? Would it not be better for you to make-up and be reconciled?"
On 21 November Kolchak declared himself Supreme Ruler and began preparations to disband Bashkurt-Kazakh armies. Samara, a principal supply point of munitions to the Bashkurt army, having capitulated to Kolchak, logically ended the chances of Togan's forces to resist the Reds. After intercepting and reading the communications between Generals Janin, Dutov and Admiral Kolchak, the conditions became more clear. Having been left facing four different hostile forces from Samara and Aktbe Reds, Dutov and Kolchak, without supplies, it became obvious to Togan and his friends that they had to come to terms with Moscow in order to save their native population from further losses.
Upon announcement of the Western Allies' cease fire with Central Powers, Bashkurts and Kazakhs sent representatives to Bolsheviks to negotiate terms. Togan asked the aid of his old friends, Chaliapin (Feodor Ivanovitch, 1873-1938) and Gorkii, to establish contacts for the purpose with the Bolsheviks leadership, on the way to collaboration.
"Affiliation" with the Bolsheviks, especially after vigorously fighting them, demanded special care, secrecy and discipline. During the ensuing negotiations with the Bolsheviks, Mirsaid Sultangaliev29 was dispatched from Moscow to Ufa, in order to expedite the matters. Sultangaliev secured conditions favorable to the Bashkurt- Kazakh forces and their leadership. Finally on 18 February 1919, Togan officially entered into cooperation with Lenin and Stalin. This forced friendship was to last 15 months.
Lenin, Trotskii, Stalin and the rest of the Bolshevik leadership sorely needed the propaganda afforded them by this event, Bashkurts "joining" the Bolsheviks. In fact, Lenin immediately wrote an article on the "developments of the Eastern Question," published in the 2 March 1919 issue of Pravda. Hence Togan and his colleagues were relatively safe in Moscow and did not need to fear for their lives -- yet. The Bashkurt army was reconstituted under its previous leadership and some of its units were sent to the Western Front. However, differences of opinion among prominent Bolsheviks had already become open competition. Lenin ordered arms and ammunition to be provided to the Bashkurt Army. Stalin reversed the directive. Trotskii overruled Stalin's orders and provided the Bashkurt Army with ample war materiel.
The ensuing events concerning Togan's "collaboration" with Moscow constitutes a separate chapter. What is certain is that Togan, if he had not had prior reservations, quickly became disillusioned. More and more it became clear to Togan that the ethnic Russians did not intend to share power, despite all the promises. Talks with Trotskii, Plekhanov, Lenin, Stalin, Preobrazhinskii, Artium and a score of others did not produce a resolution in the direction of maintaining the union and autonomy of Bashkurt-Kazakh lands and populations. Instead, a Russian province was inserted between the Kazakhs and the Bashkurts.
On 25 February 1920, Bashkurt RevKom elected Togan Chairman, when the previous President of the same body, Haris Yumagulov was "called to Moscow." Shortly afterward, Togan, too, was called to Moscow. According to both Lenin and Stalin, he was to undertake "Soviet State- wide affairs" as opposed to "looking after such a small tribal matter as the Bashkurts." In Moscow, toward the end of May 1920, Togan came into contact with Jemal and Halil Pashas (of the Committee of Union and Progress),30 who were in Moscow. During a dinner given in honor of these individuals at the "Bashkurt House"31 in Moscow and probably to force the hand of the Russians, Togan suggested a Congress of the Peoples of the East of "Russia." Togan repeated that idea to Stalin and to the Party Secretariat. It was also relayed to Lenin and Stalin by Jemal and Halil Pashas.
Lenin personally entreated Togan to sit down with him to discuss the issues pertaining the Eastern Question and the "de-colonization" policies. Lenin insisted on receiving Togan's comments in writing. In this last meeting, Lenin rejected the requests and demands contained in the joint resolutions of the Turkistan leadership, submitted to him through Togan. Seemingly, this was the last of many incidents that caused Togan to break with the Bolsheviks and redouble his earlier efforts to devote himself to the affairs of the "Secret Organization."
The Break with the Bolsheviks
During March 1919, just after Bashkurt-Bolshevik alliance, Togan and the rest of the Turkistan leadership proposed to establish the Erk Party32 for the Central Asians. This party was intended to become a member of the Comintern directly [rather than through RKP(b)], to prevent Turkistan from coming under the total domination of the Russian Communist Party. The idea was vetoed by Stalin. Togan and the rest of the leadership then concentrated on introducing their members into the upper levels of the Communist Parties already being established in Central Asia. Most probably, the Intelligence Department of the Bashkurt Government was heavily involved in this effort. This amalgam must be the "Secret Organization" Togan references from that point on. Following the last rebuff of the national aspirations at the hands of Lenin in Spring 1920, Togan moved to implement his plans and to join the Basmachi movement already in progress in Central Asia. On 29 June 1920 he left Moscow.
Togan spent the summer months on the Central Asian bozkir (literally, pale pasture; the prairie), planning the next phase of his group's activities. Between 1-5 September 1920, he "attended" the Congress of the Toilers of the East in Baku. Though his presence was carefully concealed from the organizers and majority of the attendees, Togan was kept fully informed of the proceedings through carefully chosen intermediaries. He "participated" through motions and resolutions he wrote and relayed via the same channels. During the Conference, a resolution of the Comintern, meeting after Togan had left Moscow, reached him. It was prepared by the Commissariat of Foreign Affairs under the guidance of Middle Eastern Specialist of the Comintern, Pavlovich. Intended for the Bolshevik operatives designated to work in the Middle East and Central Asia, it was not distributed to the representatives of the indigenous populations. The copy in question was handed to Togan's Organization by a sympathetic Polish delegate.33 In summary, the resolution stated:
"Since class differentiation among the Arab, Turk, Iranian and Afghan populations of the Near East are almost non-existent, as is the case also with capitalism, it is necessary to exploit other cleavages already in place. It will be useful to keep alive tarikat and sectarian differences, competition among rival commercial interests and merchants, even after elimination of those among their brethren. These rivalries ought to be supplemented through the use of differentiated languages, as the educated strata among the target populations is a thin one and that it would not be difficult to break the population free of their influence."
This was significant, because: a) it was addressing the Russian Bolsheviks, behind the backs of the indigenous delegates; b) outlined the same tactics already used against the tsarists c) presumed control of Turkistan and now planning to expand policies toward that end. Togan arrived in Petrovsk and sent the following letter to Lenin, Stalin, Trotskii and Rykov, dated 12 September 1920:
"It is apparent from the policies of the Central Committee of RKP(b), which is currently being implemented, you, like Artium and his friends, have accepted the Russian national chauvinist thoughts as the basis of your policy towards Eastern nationalities. Actually comrade Trotskii elaborated on this while he was investigating these matters in Ufa, he pronounced the activities of aforementioned as a provocation sequence. Undoubtedly, he also made the same statement to the CC. Despite that, the Russian imperialism remained as the policy. In the same session held after I and Ryskulov had departed, comrades Frunze and Kubyshev --like Trotskii-- stressed that this policy of the CC was nothing but hypocrisy and deceit. In the same Turkkomisia (Turkistan Komisia) sessions, those members of the party who wish to perpetuate Russian imperialism behind a mask, openly stated their objectives; that of fanning the fires of artificial class distinctions among the Turkistan populations; to declare such nationalists as Ryskulov and Validov as the enemies of the laborers; to create loyal servants among the local educated under the category of "Octoberists," to crush us with their help. On the other hand, you must know that we cannot become the artificial class enemies of the local farmers and cannot allow ourselves to become the target of general mocking. You can find the required sacrificial lambs. But we cannot be those victims. The Congress of the Toilers of the East has clearly shown our fellow-countrymen in attendance that the attacks on the rights of Turkistanis is not simply the machinations of the local Russian communists, but consists of the policies of the CC. The attitude of the CC representatives, towards the Easterners in attendance, is the same as those commissars at the beginning of the 1917 revolution toward the peasant congresses, whose members were regarded ignorant. The CC Representatives not only prevented, by shouting down, those resolutions prepared by the delegates at their homelands, but also utilized the Red Guard soldiers in silencing them. The delegates were forced to accept only those resolutions written in Moscow and sent for the purpose. The fact that the CC regards the Eastern Nationality issues principally as a matter of land disputes, a peasant problem, indicates that the CC has taken a wrong turn. The CC can keep alive this artificial class differentiation among the Eastern peasants only by the force of terror. Our comments written in relation to these theses of comrade Lenin, before he addressed the Comintern on the colonialism issues, stressed that the social revolution in the East could not be confined to stratification (rassloenie); that this is a more complex matter. Since the European capitalist and laborers of the East are going to act jointly as the rulers of the colony, then the Eastern peasant will have to join forces with the wealthy Easterner. When you determine that the stratification is not taking place among the indigenous population, you will blame the local educated and declare a portion of the latter "class enemy petty bourgeois" and the remainder as left Octoberists "class enemy," and liquidate them. In their stead, you will conjure new left Octoberists. Finally, you will be left solely with the illiterate peasant who is only familiar with his donkey, ox and spade. I do not believe that you can alter your distrust toward the native educated of Turkistan. You can at least allow the educated Turkistan elite the opportunity to renovate and populate the Soviet Bukhara, whose Emir has fled."
Togan sent another letter from Petrovsk, this time to Kretinskii and Preobrazhinskii, both secretaries of the CC and members of the Politburo:
"Though you and I had our differences in our understanding of socialism and nationalism, we cannot reconcile our positions with regard to the application of socialism in the development of great nations; as a person wishing to remain honorable, I have been honest with you two and many other Party members. I did not deceive you while I took the path of fighting against the Soviets and Communism. Those I have deceived are the likes of Stalin and other state officials who have deceived me. Those friends complaining of the masked Dictator's ridiculing the dignity and the self- determination of humans, inform me of the severe terror that is yet to come within the party. Like them, I fear that one day your heads may fly. I did not wait for my head to fall. Even if I were to die, I must do so while engaged in open struggle."
Togan adds, as a post script, that Kretinskii and Preobrazhinskii were tortured and after making "confessions" executed, during 1937.
Between 12 September and 31 December 1920, Togan traversed the lands separating Petrovks and Bukhara. Along the way, travelling incognito, he investigated historical sites, made contacts with local leadership and further studied the terrain and its inhabitants. He notes that up to a certain location in Karakorum, he was also reading the memoirs of Babur34 and Marx's Das Kapital which he carried along with his field glasses. Prior to his arrival in Kongrat, he finally had to give up those items in order not to attract attention.
III. Basmachi Togan
Upon arriving in Bukhara,35 Togan met with other members of the Society as previously been arranged. Their first task was to establish a Bukhara National Army, to bring the representatives from Khiva, Turkmenistan and Kazakistan to establish the Turkistan National Union. The educated Kazakhs and individuals from other Turkistan locations who have been sent to contact all groups in Kazakistan, returned to join Togan after establishing channels with the Japanese and the prominent Basmachi leaders operating in Ferghana. A number of the officers from the Bashkurt Army were appointed to command garrisons in Karshi, Shehrisebz, Nur, Guzar, Kermin. Their objective was to accomplish what the Russians were preventing; i.e. autonomy. In addition to these "undercover" efforts, there were other officers working openly in "legal" positions known to the Bolsheviks. Although a Bukhara government was in existence in name, most affairs of state were in the hands of the Revolutionary Committee (presumably comprising the Russians) a portion of it operating as the Central Committee. Togan describes the complexity of political spectrum during the last stages of the Bukhara Emirate:
"There were three types of Basmachi: "Emirists;" "somewhat Emirists;" and "anti-Emirists." The political spectrum of the Basmachi did not end there. Jemal Pasha wished to manage the problems of Turkistan and the Basmachi from Kabul. Enver Pasha, on the other hand was conducting pro-Bolshevik "Union of Islam" propaganda from Moscow. This had some effect. There were also others who tried to insinuate themselves, seemingly eager to join us..... Further, there was necessity to establish contacts with the Russian parties who were struggling against the Bolsheviks. In Bukhara and Khiva the government was passing into the hands of those nationalist friends whose administration, though temporary, was moving away from "communism" toward "populism." It was necessary to formulate the economic and social theories of all. The political spectrum had earlier stratified as a) Kadimists36 b) Jadids c) Socialists, and showed a propensity to crystallize around Jadids and Socialists after the disappearance of the Emir. However, thoughts were scrambled. During the first week of January 1921, the matter of the programs were debated. Primarily, individuals from "Islamic Unionists" and the Bukharan Jadids were involved. Populist socialism was represented by Abdulhamid Arif37 and myself. Since there was no previously prepared program before the general assembly, the Socialist Party Program was presented. It was first read in Bashkurdistan during 1919, then in Moscow during 1920 and finally in the 1920 Baku Congress. Few of those in attendance were prepared to accept it. A few days later, Mirza Abdulkadir Muheddinoglu, representing the majority among those present, proposed a program comprising 19 statutes. These pertained to the retention of the women's veil, continuation of the Sharia kad s, reverence for religion, application to the League of Nations.38 However, these were not acceptable to the other side."
Both groups only agreed upon: 1. The necessity of the Secret Organization, 2. Elimination of the Emir absolutely and establishing the machinery of national government 3. Establishment of central ministry of defense, local defense commissariats and the formation of a national army, 4. The necessity of modern education. As a result of their discussions, the two sides were able to agree upon the seven point platform listed below. Subsequently, the two parties engaged in these talks developed their own party platforms. The contents of this seven-point program was further discussed and refined at the 2921 September-October Samarkand and September 1922 Tashkent Congresses. These seven items are as follows:
1. The Society's aim is to have a free Turkistan, and that the Turkistanis to take charge of their own destiny.
2. Free Turkistan's form of government is a democratic republic.
3. Freedom can only be obtained through a national army. National government can only be based on a national army.
4. Turkistan's freedom is dependent on economic freedom. Turkistanis must have control over the decisions concerning: the general outlines of the economic policy; deciding the balance of vocational and agricultural training and the level of importance to be accorded to each; designating the locations and the directions of future railroads and irrigation channels.
5. Contemporary and professional education must prevail. The acquaintance with the European civilization should be undertaken directly and not through Russians.
6. Nationality issues and the exploitation of the nation's natural resources will be organized according to census and prevailing proportions.
7. There will be freedom of religion. There will be no mixing of religious and state affairs.
As it can be noted, this program is primarily non- religious in character, and demonstrates religious tolerance. Shortly afterwards, the effort was expanded. According to Togan, the aim was to accommodate a full spectrum of political views then prevailing in Turkistan under a single umbrella, which, in today's terms, would be akin to a Popular Front. During this period, the Sosyalist Tude (party) was formed39, later changing its name to Erk Party, and its program was shortened from 27 statutes to 9:
Erk Party Program
1. On the economic plane: In order to accomplish socialism; land, water and mineral wealth must be nationalized and village life collectivized.
2. To adapt, in a planned manner, the labor organizations of industrial countries to Turkistan. The farmers must also be regarded, from an organizational point, as laborers.
3. Turkistan must free itself from colonizers and become self-governing. This is the first and fundamental step for stratification and the acquisition by the farmers of means to fight for their own rights.
4. The government in free Turkistan will be the democratic system supporting the farmers and those supporting self-renewal without barriers. Turkistan parliament, provincial and city councils will be established and elected by the general population directly.
5. Establishment of the national army will aid the governance and the application of socialism.
6. In Turkistan, the nationality and minority affairs are governed according to census figures and in representative proportions.
7. On the educational plane: Affairs are to be arranged such that, the native population will have direct control of the country's governance; the national government will undertake all contemporary governmental services, modern transportation, railroads, post and telegraph, agricultural and industrial organization. Cultural affairs must be organized to reflect the strong national local culture, to remove foreign, meaning Russian influences. To establish business and trade schools, effect general education are among the principal objectives of education.
8. Religious affairs are kept totally separate from the affairs of the government.
9. Turkistan Socialist Party can participate in an "International," provided that such a gathering is composed, in principle, of parties like itself, for the purpose of fighting for the freedom of oppressed nations.40
Counterbalancing the socialists, there were also "modernists" in Central Asia. The origins of those can be traced to the movement known as "Jadidizm," from Shihabaddin Marjani (1815-1889)41 and Kayyum Nasiri (1825- 1902),42 to Gaspirali Ismail Bey (1854-1914). Gaspirali supported and spread the movement through the newspaper he published, and the schools he had established.43
Jadid Terakkiperver Party Program44
1. To live as an independent nation, based on native culture, is the principle precept of life. This is the ideal of all nations. We aim to have an independent Turkistan with a national government. Nationality is based on the unity of language, religion, tradition, literature and custom.
2. The nature of government in free Turkistan is republic. Sovereignty is in the hands of the national assembly, councils for the provinces and cities, elected according to democratic precepts.
3. Members of the central government are appointed by the President, with the approval of the national assembly. Governors of the provinces are appointed by the central government. Chairmen of the provincial and city councils are elected by the members of those assemblies. The regulations governing the election of the members of the provincial councils are established by the first kurultay (congress) of independent Turkistan.
4. In Turkistan, non-Turk minority communities will have full civil rights. Turk elements must work rigorously and collectively to preserve the Turkistan culture.
5. Turkistan national government will depend on its national soldiers. Military service is mandatory.
6. Provincial governments will establish local police forces, which will be under the jurisdiction of the national defense organization.
7. There will be freedom of religion in the country. The State guarantees the freedom of the performance of religious rights. Foreign (religious) missions will not be permitted to operate in the country.
8. Freedom of the press and publication and the personal freedoms will be secured through the constitution.
9. Taxes will be proportional to income. So will the inheritance taxes. In Turkistan, taxes that are the remnants of medieval times will be abolished.
10. Principles of land ownership will be based on the fact that water, land and the mineral wealth under and on the land, and the forests belong to the state. Land will be given to villagers as private property.
11. Private persons cannot engage in directly buying and selling of water and land with each other. These transactions can only be enacted through the state. Laws pertaining to ownership are determined by local custom and jurisprudence.
12. Turkistan's freedom can only be ensured with economic independence. In this vein, Turkistan will strive to establish and develop modern economic relations with neighboring countries.
13. The principal issue of land in Turkistan requires that the whole nation work with all its might to irrigate and expand cultivation. Water management must be handled with great care.
14. In Turkistan, especially Kazak, Kirgiz, and Turkmen provinces, the most important issue is the transition from nomadic to settled life. This problem can be solved by irrigating regions alongside large rivers. No immigrants can be brought to Turkistan other than ethnic Turks and Moslems.
15. The solution to the problem of workers in Turkistan is dependent on the development of industry. Working conditions of the workers, working hours, rights of child and women laborers are determined according to methods prevailing in developed countries.
16. Equal justice for everyone shall prevail. This will be accomplished, without regard to differences in religion and sect, by accepting and applying modern laws.
17. General free education is to be striven for. Citizens can establish private educational institutions, provided that they are not against the interests of the state.
18. Importance shall be attached especially to the establishment of trade schools and to sending students to Europe.
19. Turkistan being the hearth of an ancient civilization, those monuments of civilization accumulated throughout centuries will be preserved, organized to serve the development of the national civilization.
" It must be categorically stated that the proposed future administration of Turkistan by two parties, one radical national and other socialist, was not influenced by any outside thought. This developed due to local conditions and in 1921 through consultations with the educated leadership representing the local population of Turkistan. The Alash Orda was added to others to form a three party system. At the time, during deliberations, Turkistan nationals were not aware of the existence of the two party systems in England and in the USA."
The Society and the Basmachi
Until the establishment of the Society, and while the Emirate of Bukhara was still in existence, the educated Turkistani were not in contact with the Basmachi. Basmachi units (parties) were largely based on the Kadimist ulama and the elements of the fanatic Ozbek bourgeoisie. During the 1917 Representative Council elections, the educated were on List Number Four. The ulama, opposing the educated, thus labelled them dorduncu (4th) and engaged in violent anti-Dorduncu propaganda. As a result, the majority of the younger generation did not trust the Drdnc during 1918-1919, particularly since the educated were siding with the soviets.45 As the hopes of the educated were dashed by the Bolsheviks during 1920, they joined the ranks of the Society. The abolition of the Bukhara Emirate eliminated the reasons preventing the youth from any action. Collectively, these developments diminished the influence of the ulama on the Basmachi. The Society established contacts without any hesitation with the Basmachi in Samarkand, Khiva and Ferghana. The objective was to shape it into a real national movement infused with spirit, coupled with modern organization, to form military units under the command of educated individuals. To this end, educated advisors and some instructor officers were sent to them. The Emir of Bukhara regarded the Bolsheviks as "Russia" until his last days and attempted to remain "loyal." The Emir had disarmed Osipov's military unit in Shehrisebz, where it had sought protection within his domains. When Shirmehmet and his friends of Ferghana sent an embassy seeking a united front with the Bukhara Emirate, the Bashvezir (Chief Minister) Nizamettin Kushbeghi had responded with : Are you not aware of our friendship with the Russians," and tearing up Shirmehmet's letter, trampled upon it. The members of the embassy were jailed, only to be released seven months later upon intervention of the Afghans. Shirmehmet relates these events in his memoirs, regarding the incident as a manifestation of the Emir's extraordinary ignorance and heedlessness. For that reason, a portion of the Basmachi were not at all affected by the lapse of the Emirate. Even some Basmachi, such as Mahkem Haji and Toychi Korbashi,46 made peace with the Bolsheviks, participating in the occupation of Bukhara alongside the Bolshevik forces. After the Fall of Bukhara, they returned to the ranks of Basmachi, but were killed by Shirmehmet.
Shirmehmet and Rahmankul themselves sought to establish contacts with the Society. Shirmehmet sent two of his men, who were working within the Bolshevik apparatus, to the Baku Congress. Through them, Togan wrote:
"A very interesting rumor pertaining to the Bolshevik policies concerning the East began to spread. Shirmehmet relates: "The information arriving from Baku suggested that the Russians wished to kill fourteen and a half million of the inhabitants, only to retain two million under their rule. In the Baku Congress, the Turkistani decided not to lay down their arms and sent word to intensify the struggle. At the end of the Baku Congress, Basmachi Movement caught fire."47
Togan also points to the Red Army's use of the Russians living in Turkistan:
"On 12 September Bolsheviks began serious attacks from all directions. This was an extraordinarily difficult time. Bolsheviks inducted into the Red Army those Russians from Central Russia who were starving, in order for them to loot the population for bread (in Turkistan). Hence, volunteer Russian numbers swelled. These were fighting seriously, since they would have died of starvation if discharged from the army.
The atrocities of the Russians were increasing the resolve of the Society and the Basmachi:
"In the village of Sufiyan, near Dushanbe, Russians found a Russian soldier with burns on his face. Because of that, Russians killed all Ozbek villagers they found in the vicinity. Meanwhile, Bolsheviks, instigated by a communist woman in their army, tied up seven Ozbek soldiers, mutilating them with knives and swords so as not to kill them. Afterwards, placing these soldiers in the wheat heaps, set fire and burnt them alive. A Basmachi, Mustafa Shahkul observed: "This communist woman was so ugly and despicable that any man swearing off all women because of her would not have been unjustified."48
Togan includes his discussions of the relationships between Enver and Jemal Pashas and the Society:
"Even before I became the Chairman of the Central Committee of the Turkistan National Unity (The Society), I was a member of that body. Therefore, it is necessary to delve into the relations between Enver and Jemal Pashas and the Society. They sought to join forces with the Bolsheviks by forming the "Islamic Revolutionary Society," for the purpose of liberating the Islamic world from European imperialism. First Halil and Jemal, later Enver Pashas arrived in Moscow with this aim and began their propaganda. We49 spoke with Halil and Jemal during June 1920 in Moscow. Jemal Pasha explained his ideas and urged us to work with him, but we left Moscow. On 20 August, Jemal Pasha arrived in Tashkent. His aim was to secure the environs of Punjab and to establish an Islamic state there. He was going to prepare in Afghanistan. With 15-20 Ottoman officers in his retinue, he left for Afghanistan. In the meantime, Halil Pasha and Haji Sami50 thought of establishing a truce with the Bolsheviks, to cross over to Eastern Turkistan via Yedisu and Narin (rivers). But neither could they trust the Bolsheviks, nor could the Bolsheviks trust them. Finally, they returned to Moscow. Jemal Pasha told the Bolsheviks that he could use the Basmachi for a campaign to overthrow the British regime in India. But the Bolsheviks did not believe him in the least. We knew all this and the real intentions of the Russians through our friends working within the Communist Central Committees of Moscow and Tashkent. The Russians thought that Jemal Pasha was actually preparing an organization to control Turkistan, and wanted to keep the Pasha between the Indian and Afghanistan borders as a last resort for their own policies."
The personal representatives of Jemal Pasha, sent to enter into discussions with various Basmachi groups, were arrested by the Bolsheviks. This event, notes Togan:
"Showed that Jemal Pasha did not have influence among the Bolsheviks.... Jemal Pasha's advice to the Basmachi was rather strange: "make peace with the Bolsheviks, without giving up your arms, or dissolving your organizations." Although the Bolsheviks had previously tried that method on many occasions, we were now strictly against it."
On 25 January 1921, Central Committee of the Turkistan National Unity (TNU) sent a letter to Jemal Pasha, then at Kabul, via a courier of the Bukhara Foreign Ministry. The said letter summarized the objectives (as noted above) of the Organization, and continued:
" ....We ask that your Middle East policies be drawn so as not to sacrifice the future of this old Turkistan to plans in preparation for the deliverance of the Islamic world. It is to the benefit of all concerned, that all initiatives concerning Turkistan be entered into via the (TNU) Central Committee, including contacts with the Basmachi. Likewise, no aid should be extended to the Emir of Bukhara, currently in Eastern Bukhara. Any support given to the Emir (by the Afghan government) will be taken as enmity towards our Committee. Even if we were to accept, for a moment, that the Bolsheviks remain sincere to their avowed position of liberating the colonies from European imperialists, Turkistan cannot subsume its future to the as yet unknown outcome of forthcoming struggle between capitalism and socialism. Thus, policies pertaining to Turkistan must be based on these principles."
Togan comments on this letter:
"With these words, it was requested from Jemal Pasha that he not seek to utilize the political and military resources of Turkistan for the dreamed of purpose of liberating India from the English. The Pasha did not like this. [Meanwhile] the Society steadily worked towards its goals, despite the paucity of politically experienced personnel among its ranks. Active elements of the Moslem communists were channeled into the activities of the Society. In all of these provinces, members of the Society entered into the Soviet Congresses, Communist Party meetings. Everywhere, the police (militsia) organizations and administrative organs were under the influence of the Society. The labor organizations of Bukhara, Tashkent, Samarkand and Kokand were under the influence of the members of the Socialist Tde (the Erk Party?) branch of the Society. This was a monumental success and promise for the future of Turkistan and her inhabitants, who were relatively inexperienced in such matters. Although the individuals working within the government and party machinery of Khiva, Tashkent and Orenburg were not members of the Society, they were completely cooperating. For that matter, they were not aware of the details. Such success of the Secret Organization could not have been dreamed, for example, during 1917."
Togan relates details of other matters weighing on the minds of the Central Committee members:
"The national Flag was decided upon, having been earlier debated and reconstructed from historical elements, emblems and colors, at the Samarkand sessions... teachers were sent in the retinue of each Korbashi... ten mounted troops were requested from in each Korbashi in Ferghana, Samarkand; to be sent to the Ferghana and Samarkand Commands. The purpose was to conduct preliminary preparations for the formation of a Turkistan-wide unified military command; experiment with military operations... All existing disagreements between tribal units were resolved... those battalions in the barracks of the Bolsheviks were arriving the order to emerge as the units of the Turkistan forces. The Society was in constant contact with those high-level Russians who were against the Bolsheviks, supplying the Society with critical intelligence, thus preventing Bolshevik surprise attacks. In sum, the Central Committee of the Turkistan National Unity was taking all precautions for a Turkistan-wide general and final assault. The final stage would have been accomplished by establishing military superiority, through disrupting traffic and communications of the opposition with their center. The Moslem reactionaries (mrteci- recidivist),51 as usual, were those Emirists and the ulama that have not yet lost complete credibility. These were still propagandizing against all our efforts. The hope was to reform them in a year or two. The arrival of Enver Pasha in Turkistan at year's end and the attitude of the Emirists recidivists toward him turned all precautions upside-down.
Togan and Enver Pasha 52
"Enver Pasha arrived in Bukhara and sent word that he wished to speak with me. On 2 October 1921, I met him for the first time, and upon his request provided him with the details of the circumstances in Turkistan, especially the status of the Society. Since he was particularly concerned with the conditions in Eastern Bukhara, I related to him the difficulties we were facing there, and the lack of progress due to the remnants of the Emirists. He indicated that he was aware of those conditions, that it would take an inordinate time to standardize the general organization through the Society, and this would be a waste of time. He stated that he was directly going to Eastern Bukhara and then to Ferghana with the intention of giving a different form to the Basmachi movement; he had made preparations to that end, had obtained horses and equipment, and had brought officers with him for the purpose; he would be leaving Bukhara on the pretext of a hunting expedition. Enver Pasha's arrival in Bukhara, especially his plans, were a totally unexpected development for us. A few months ago this person was engaged in propaganda through the pamphlets of "Union of Islam" and others, in connection with Jemal Pasha, advocating cooperation with the Bolsheviks against imperialism. He was now not only taking a position against the Bolsheviks, but actually had brought plans to attack them... Enver Pasha told me that he had been in Soviet Russia for over a year now; [he had seen] that the Bolsheviks were despicable people and he had come to the conclusion that it was necessary to liberate the Moslems from Red Imperialism before any other Imperialism.... But his joining the Basmachi or even his going to Eastern Bukhara was not acceptable. I stressed that point during our first meeting. He asked me what he could do to be of service to Turkistan. Truthfully, he appeared bewildered. We could not meet every day, since he was under Bolshevik surveillance. I wrote down 14 reasons why he should not join the Basmachi, and sent it to him. Main points were: The Russians are about to wash their hands of external matters. Henceforth they can concentrate all their resources in Turkistan. Our organization, in proportion to its duties, is very weak. This year Turkistan is suffering from a great famine. Ferghana is experiencing a crisis in its attempts to feed the Basmachi . After joining the Basmachi, you would want to fight with regular fronts. At present, it is not feasible to keep a standing army larger than five-six thousand strong. It is only possible to conduct guerilla warfare. As for the Basmachi in Eastern Bukhara, it is not possible to cooperate with them unless agreements are entered into with the Afghans and the Emir will not allow you to be recognized (as a leader). Hence, they (Eastern Bukhara Basmachi) will not accept you as such. Until today, the Turkistan question, Basmachi movement and the secret political activity has remained an internal issue of Russia... If you join this struggle, the Turkistan movement may assume a Pan-Islamist character... This can cause the Russians resident in Turkistan to unite with the Bolsheviks, for their national objectives, against us. The best course of action available for you to cross over to Afghanistan and aid the Turkistan movement from there... Pasha was consulting with others on the topic. Some individuals, whose names it would not be prudent to reveal as yet, received Pasha's joining the Basmachi with a positive attitude. Haji Sami was another who was advocating this course."
Togan describes Enver's consultations and vacillation over many days, and finally his decision (possibly on 28 October):
"On the night of the following day, he sent word asking me to meet him. He indicated that he was going to Eastern Bukhara, to convene a congress of the Basmachi and the educated. He asked me to send men to Khiva, the Kazakhs, Ferghana, Turkmen for the purpose of relaying his decisions in the name of the Society and invite representatives. I again objected and reminded him that his crossing over to Afghanistan would be the most suitable path. He was most annoyed. I gathered that Enver Pasha was not at all fond of objections. Apparently he was not going to change his mind. The next night five or ten of us met in someone's home. Enver Pasha related his decision in careful phrases. Tears were streaming down his face. Others were somber as well... He was wearing German-made sports boots. He was giving the impression of a sportsman ready to jump into competition. He related his most sincere thoughts... That day I learned that this person was a great idealist, who had not squared himself with events and life, and he had not equipped himself with the geography and the statistics of Turkistan even from the Russian and the European publications... Ten days later a special courier brought a verbal message from Enver Pasha in Bukhara: "Decided to go to Eastern Bukhara. we will be Ghazi if we win, martyr if we do not. Let the Turkmens (of Burdal k) not await our arrival."
Togan records Enver's imprisonment by the "frighteningly bigoted" Ibrahim53 of the Emirist Lakay clan. The hasty attack induced by Ibrahim of the Lakays upset carefully laid plans by the Society. Further, Enver caused the premature emergence of a Turkistan army unit, an orderly force of 600 rifles, that has been under "Bolshevik" cover. The skirmish was lost to the Bolsheviks, who were openly aided by the Emirist Lakays. Enver Pasha and a few of his followers crossed over to Afghanistan. By May, Enver Pasha had 7000 troops. Volunteers from Afghanistan had turned the tide. But, he was not without opposition. Togan relates an assessment meeting after the latest event:
"Enver Pasha was a fait accompli to the Society. The Central Committee met in the vicinity of Samarkand, discussing the state of affairs. It was decided to regard this development as specific to Bukhara border regions, not to change the rest of the plans, not to declare uprising in the name of the Society, to continue guerilla warfare as before, to provide support for Enver Pasha. But the early failures of Enver's each initiative had a negative effect. This was also true of Enver's propaganda."
Togan proceeds with the details of his war preparations, listing the units, commands, commanders, troop strengths, armaments under the Society auspices. He quotes from the memoirs of other combatants, members of the Society and participants in compiling this section.54 Togan also states that between April and July of the same year he participated in the battles against the Bolsheviks:
" Between April-June, people and combatants of Turkistan were cheerful and the Bolsheviks were unable to leave the railroad lines. Comrades of Stalin, Ilvaya and Ordzhonikidze, arrived from Moscow in May. They could visit the Ulugh Bey observatory55, two kilometers from Samarkand, only in the company of a strong Bolshevik military detachment. For that matter, if they had not taken extreme precautions, they could have been thrashed by the Basmachi who were waiting in ambush."
The Beginning of the End
During mid-March, Feyzullah Hoja brought a secret order from Moscow Communist Party headquarters, consisting of a few articles, about "serious struggle against Enver Pasha and Validov (Togan) Group." Stalin himself published an article in Pravda, under the title of "Validovshchina," seeking to mobilize the nationalist youth against us. The Red Army's first action, after settling in Bukhara, was to employ the Emirists. The Red Army charged a high level official of the Emir, one Nusreddin Aghal k, who had killed Mahmud Hoja Behbubi on 25 March 1919, with the administration of the Karshi province. Since this man was also in contact with the Emirist rebels, he was in a position competently to quash all our undertakings. As soon as he arrived in Karshi, Aghal k detained some individuals who would have been instrumental in carrying out the rebellion of Shehrisebz, Guzar and Karshi garrisons. These preparations were set and prepared for 23 March, by War Commissar Abdlmamid Arif. Those of our essentially lax Jadid friends of Bukhara, who were in contact with the military organization in Karshi, became needlessly frightened and stated: Nureddin Aghal k has heard of our intentions... I personally travelled for two weeks between Karshi, Shehrisebz, Katta Kurgan, but was unable to break the "Nureddin Aghal k" bands. In Kashan and other regions, some troops, fourteen educated Tatars and officers, Kashanl Behram Bek, Jure Ishan and others were able to join the Basmachi, but they could not carry with them the stockpiled rifles and the ammunition. Molla Mushtak, a chieftain under Molla Kahhar, approached the Bashkurt army officers who were under the direction of Heybetullah Suyunduk. Disguised as Basmachi, Mushtak killed twelve men during a rest period on 10 April.
Togan proceeds to answer a question oft misunderstood both in and out of the region:
"Now, let me illustrate the complexity of the Turkistan question and the impossibility of conducting these affairs only on the basis of Turkism or of Islam, as Enver sought to, by way of an incident in Samarkand: A group of Russians, SR's, working in the cooperatives and food distribution administration, and some officers under their influence, were in contact with the society, providing us with ammunition. One individual, occupying the highest positions in the General Staff (in the Turkistan Military District) rendering us help. On 10 May, I met with an officer representing this group in Bag-i Bala of Samarkand. This group was seriously frightened of Enver Pasha's operations. A friend accompanying me stressed that Enver Pasha was in Turkistan temporarily, but the officer could not be persuaded. On that day I spoke with an educated local Turk who had arrived from Tashkent, in a garden near Ab-Rahmet. Although an intellectually committed communist, he was rendering important aid to the national movement through the agency in which he was employed. He and his friends were frightened by the documents reaching their hands, signed by Enver Pasha as "Deputy of Bukhara Emir, Son-in-Law of the Caliph of Moslems, Seyyid Enver" and the news that Enver was cooperating with the Emir. I told this man: "Enver Pasha cannot serve the Emir. He is not a monarchist either. No one in the Society will be permitted to lean towards monarchy. You can relay this to your friends. The same day, Yusuf Ziya Bey of Azerbaijan arrived from the side of Enver Pasha with the title of "Commander-in-Chief of the Northwest Front." He further claimed to bring a verbal order from Enver Pasha, to the effect that: "The Society should not be involved in military affairs, but ought to confine its efforts to propaganda. Yusuf had the seeming intention of derailing the Zarafshan Basmachi movement, which had been reorganized only by the efforts of the Society. The next day, the young man from Tashkent (I referred to above) saw Yusuf Ziya Bey in Kanigul. Though Yusuf Ziya Bey continued at length on the necessity of having an autocrat for the martially inclined Turks and that it would be very beneficial for such a person also to be a "seyyid." Next, he related that he had heard from Enver Pasha that there were 30 million Turks in Western Turkistan and another 25 million in Eastern Turkistan. On the issue of Kazakistan, Yusuf Ziya Bey rejected the proposals we put before him, which were done in cooperation with the young man. Yusuf Ziya's words and behavior entirely negated the guarantees I gave to this young man the day before. The young man was seriously grieved. In the letters we received from Enver Pasha after that incident, we found no confirmation of the words spoken by Yusuf Ziya. Nonetheless, it was clear that the statement of Yusuf Ziya, who had no idea of the spirit of this generation educated in the colonial psychology of Russian schools, was going to leave a negative impression on this young man and his cohorts. And so it was.
Those of us noting the actions of the Emirists and their intentions thought that the Society was in a difficult position. Two days later, we convened the Central Committee at a location outside the city to discuss the developments in detail. We regretfully observed that some Basmachi groups were attempting to enter into separate peace agreements with the Bolsheviks due to the crisis at hand. To prevent the united front from dissolving and to preserve the Society, we decided to take immediate action. In our opinion, the only solution to save the national armies from being routed and exterminated was to gather those Basmachi leaders in difficulty and Enver Pasha in Bukhara, to have them cross over to Afghanistan freely. Troops were to give their arms to those going to Afghanistan and they were to be sent back to their villages. To this end, we decided to write two letters: one to Enver Pasha, to persuade him to cross over to Afghanistan and to facilitate his opening communications with the Russian Commander-in-Chief, general Kamenev, who was expected to arrive in Bukhara. The other was to be signed by me, as Chairman of the Central Committee, to the Moscow Soviet government, containing the conditions of peace, on 12 May. Both were to be sent via special couriers. The letter we sent to Moscow was delayed due to the mistakes of our friends in Tashkent. Enver Pasha, rather than accepting our suggestion (perhaps before our courier arrived), sent an ultimatum to the Russians demanding that they withdraw from Turkistan, Bukhara and Khiva. He signed it "Commander-in-Chief of Turkistan, Bukhara and Khiva National Armies."
A disciple of Enver Pasha arrives, visiting Togan's at the headquarters of Achil Bey:
"The Akhund was a Shii theologian. He liked to talk on that topic. Akhund lectured the new arrivals on the necessity of fortifying the national movement from the religious aspect, and that they must provide information to the troops on the politics of Islam. He also looked around, on the way to preparing for namaz, as if to imply that everyone should be following him. But, only some individuals regularly performed namaz in the retinue of Achil Bey, and none could pressure the others to do so. After the event, I told the Akhund: "Among Samarkand Ozbeks, the traditions of Timur is still dominant. Beys will not consult with the ulama and the sheyks, even those they greatly respect, on affairs of religion and military. The hoja and the sheyks do not even think of requesting such. Beys will go to namaz once a week, on Fridays. If I and my Bashkurt officers feel like it, we will perform namaz If we do not, nobody will question us. Therefore, while you are in Samarkand, in the retinue of Achil Bey, it would be very commendable for you to be attentive to these matters." Akhund Yusuf Talibzade, who had the objective of uniting the Turks with other Moslems on the basis of Islamic political plane, did not like my words. On another occasion, my friend Kaari Kamil brought kimiz.56 It was plentiful. The spirit of the ensuing conversations were based on the dastans of Koroglu and Yusuf Ahmet. In the afternoon, an Ozbek played the ney (a wood-wind instrument), I recited a couplet in Persian. Kaari Kamil and other friends repeated in Ozbek. Akhund said: "There is ney but no mey (wine)" and I responded "In this land of ours, kimiz is consumed during summer. Your not being satisfied with kimiz and asking for wine, though you are an educated Islamic scholar, will not be received well in this society, because we do not prefer wine to kimiz. Akhund asked: "Do you not drink wine?" I said: "Why not? But that is not the issue. Since you are a representative of Enver Pasha, there may be those in these yaylaks (summer pastures) who might disapprove of your drinking wine instead of kimiz. Kaari Kamil added: "We know you as a religious scholar, a Koranic Commentator," and prevented wine being offered to the Akhund.
After these events, Togan chronicles the battles in which he took part. He provides political and military repercussions of each, as well as details. He was receiving intelligence from Moscow to the effect that large formations of Bolshevik troops from the Western front were on their way to Turkistan. There were attempts on his life. After numerous meetings of the Central Committee, a decision was made to fall back and regroup. The "above ground" members of the Society were being pursued by Russian military formations. They dispersed, preparing to cross the Russian unit lines incognito, to meet in Tashkent. Togan, along with two of his friends chose a mountainous route. After much difficulty, they arrived in Tashkent. According to the decisions taken in a series of further meetings, Togan was to leave Turkistan. He left, after sending a final letter to Lenin:
20 February 1923
Dear Vladimir Ilich,
Due to your illness, it is possible that you might have been prevented from reading this letter or it might not have reached you. But since I sent copies of it to some other friends, it is now a historical document. Comrade Stalin ostensibly stated that under Comrade Rudzutak's auspices I could return to the Party. In other words they (Party) would disregard the letter I sent to the Central Committee from Baku in 1920, outlining my opposition to and initiatives against Moscow by joining the Rebellion. However, who can believe that and return? Especially since you have abrogated the 20 March 1919 agreement which was signed by you, Stalin, myself and my friends; by your order of 19 May 1920 signed only by you and Stalin? When I personally protested that latter order, you had characterized our 20 March 1919 agreement "only a piece of paper." However, that agreement announced that Bashkurts would retain the right of maintaining their own army and that army was going to be under the command of Soviet Headquarters without intermediary stages. With your 19 May 1920 order, you have deprived the Bashkurt army of those provisions, assigning it to the trans-Volga army, disbursing the Bashkurt units as the trans-Volga Headquarters saw fit among its formations. Indeed, that is what happened and today there is no physical Bashkurt army. Similarly, in the same order what was deceivingly termed "attaching Ufa to Bashkurdistan" turned out to be the reverse, attaching Bashkurdistan to the Ufa province. Consequently, what was conceded to the "Russian moslems" on 20 December 1917, "the right to secede from Russia," should they choose, has been destroyed from its foundations by your order of May 1920. From now on, following the defeat of Bashkurts, Kazakhs and the Turkistanis in the South-West and my departure from Soviet Russia as of tomorrow, a ne era shall begin in their history; that is, rather than seeking their legal equality with the Russians (in the Russian context), that experimentation having failed, the transition to the international arena (for seeking those rights) is being made. My task will be to familiarize the world with the history of those struggles.57 The Veklikiirus nation has already decided on the specific policy to be applied to the captive nations and tribes they are holding, not only in economic and social matters, but also in cultural affairs. The "Eastern University" which you established last year is operating as a center for these policies. A specialized "eastern affairs" group, comprised of Velikiirus personnel around the Central Committee has also been formed. The CC has brought in certain individuals of the eastern nationalities of the Soviet domains, charged with the specific duty of preparing material for these "eastern specialists." Those eastern nationals even published certain books and pamphlets. But, the topics they are to work on are assigned by your Velikiirus. These non-Russian intellectuals are not even being admitted into the debates on the "constitutions" which are being prepared to govern them. Today, the main task on which the CC Eastern Affairs Specialists are working is to prepare separate alphabets and literary languages for each nationality and tribe, based on the extant local "phonetic" differences between them. In principle, the non_russian communists are said to be serving only as consultants in this endeavor. In the latest issue of the journal Kizil Shark, published by the members of the Eastern University, contained a commentary by one mer Aliyev of Daghestan. According to him, should the Cyrillic alphabet be accepted for the Northern Caucasus Turkish dialects, this would lead to Christianization. Further, he has reportedly said, it would be necessary to borrow the Latin alphabet in use in Azerbaijan (sic).58 It is imperative that the issues of Alphabet and literary language (according to Aliyev) not require Russian help, but the aid of those governments formed on the basis of national political freedom, and should be accomplished by native scholars. These writings and efforts of the Azerbaijanis to gather the intellectual communist of the Turk tribes around Kizil Shark and one literary language is said to be making the Velikiirus specialists nervous, angry. When Shahtahtinskii and Jelal Guliev of Azerbaijan defended a single alphabet based on Latin, Prof. Polivanov and other Russians are said to have stated that even if the Latin alphabet is accepted, this would be replaced by the cyrillic and a special sub-set will be created for Turkish dialects, whose number was approaching forty. Shahtahtinskii retorted that the aim of Russians was not to allow standard literary language to live. It is now understood that, when you Velikiirus friends begin playing with the language and the syntax of a people, you will not let their collars free until they, too, become complete Russians. It is not possible not to be surprised to observe the differences between your current policies and your writings in "Against the Tide" and in your other writings, where you state that ideally, the rights of nations should be placed in their hands. Your representative comrade Zeretskii gave numerous conferences to our people, during the summer of 1919 while we were refurbishing our army in Saransk, to the effect that the Soviet government was the first in history to base the freedoms of captive nations on their own national armies. I myself published an article in Pravda in the same vein. It has not been four years since those events and it appears that your policies will be developing in the opposite direction. RKP may continue to claim, in Asia and the countries far away from Russia, such as Africa, that it will liberate them. The truth is, your Velikiirus become angry when people such as Gregori Safarov display the colonial policies of the tsar in Turkistan. Those Velikiirus enjoy hearing the native communists liken themselves to small fish being eaten by the whale, better if that argument were presented as a proverb. When comrade Artium was visiting us, he used to state his belief that except for China and India, the Soviet Russian culture would become dominant in all of Asia. Those native languages and cultures attempting to prevent this would not be worth dwelling upon, since they are only going to be used to spread communism. These and similar words were repeated elsewhere. Without a doubt, this will be carried-out and as a result all those nations who wish to retain their independence but have become your prisoners will view Soviet Russia as their foremost enemy. I mentioned these matters to you while you and I were discussing your theses on "Colonialism and the Nationality Question." Later, I read your aforementioned theses in Kommunisticheskii Internatsional journal (No. 11) once more. You have suggested that even after the establishment of the worldwide dictatorship of the proletariat, "it would be obligatory for the vanguard nationalities to actively participate in the establishment of socialist regimes in the less developed countries." This translates into perpetuating the colonial regimes in India by the British, in Turkistan by Russia, in Africa by French and the Belgium through their labor organizations. When I spoke with you and your friends in Ufa during 1919, never was there a mention of the use of terror to destroy the human self-determination. What happened? Wa that the object of those revolutions? Piatokov was correct when he directed this question to you while debating the "labor unions" issues. You were beseeched not to take away those revolutions from the labor unions whose sweat and blood were spilled for it. It is said that even Rosa Luxembourg was of the opinion that no good would come of socialism, should it become a prisoner of imperialist traditions serving great nations. If Russia has not descended into the lows of becoming the prisoner of imperial traditions, what business did it have concocting literary languages and alphabets from the regional vernaculars? If you are alive, perhaps you can personally correct some of these errors. I have but one request: I ask that permission be given to my wife Nefise to meet me in Germany; she could not accompany me tomorrow on the way to Iran, due to her pregnancy.
Ahmet Zeki Validov.
1. Speech at the Fourth Conference of the Central Committee of the RKP(b) with the responsible Workers of the National Republics and Regions, 10 June 1923. "The Sultan Galiev Case." J. V. Stalin, Works. (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1953). Vol. 5, 1921-1923. Pp. 308-319. For a reprint of this speech, see A. Bennigsen and S. E. Wimbush, Moslem National Communism (Chicago, 1979).
2. As he refers to himself in his writings.
3. H. B. Paksoy, "Basmachi" Modern Encyclopedia of Religions in Russia and the Soviet Union (FL: Academic International Press, 1991). Vol 4, Pp. 5-20.
4. Z. V. Togan, Hatiralar. (Istanbul, 1969). Introduction.
5. Z. V. Togan's Turkili Turkistan was first printed in Cairo 1928-1939, although it was not widely distributed due to the prevailing conditions. The first Latin alphabet printing was effected during 1947 in Istanbul. It was reprinted, effectively the third time, in Istanbul, in 1981 (696 Pp.), although it carries the designation of 2nd Edition. Turkili is primarily a history text. Togan's Hatiralar, on the other hand, contains more personal observations on his involvement.
6. Most of the quotations are taken from Pp. 399-474 of Turkili (1981 edition) and Pp. 365-463 of Hatiralar. Biographical material is primarily from the earlier pages of the latter work. Therefore, extensive page references shall not be given.
7. See H. B. Paksoy, Central Asian Monuments. (Istanbul: Isis Press, 1992). Introduction, for a bibliography of readily accessible versions. According to Ottoman archival material (in Bashbakanlik Arshivi), it appears that Kro lu was a real person living in the c. 16th century, around Bolu province in Asia Minor.
8. See the short biography of Akchura by David S. Thomas in H. B. Paksoy, Central Asian Monuments.
9. Given the date of original writing, these references are to the respective liberation movements.
10. Turkili, Pp. 486-526.
11. Although Togan's Memoirs cover the period up to and including the year 1925, as a consummate professional historian, he often provides information on the resolution of many an event, down to the days during which he was writing the memoirs themselves. On the other hand, Togan does not introduce new issues after 1925.
12. Olaf Caroe, Soviet Empire and the Turks of Central Asia (London, 1953). Indeed, Caroe acknowledges his indebtedness to Togan.
13. Togan's spellings.
14. For discussion of religious terms, see M. G. S. Hodgson, The Venture of Islam (Chicago, 1974). 3 Vols.
15. Despite their names, neither was Russian, but both had been Baptized. Togan calls Katanov a Sagay-Turk from the Altai region and Ashmarin, a Chuvash-Turk.
16. See Uli Schamiloglu, "The Formation of a Tatar Historical Consciousness: Shihabeddin Marcani and the Image of the Golden Horde" Central Asian Survey. Vol. 9, No. 2; 1990. Pp. 39-49.
17. Another prominent Orientalist of the era.
18. It was translated into English: V. V. Barthold, Four Studies on the History of Central Asia (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1963). Volume II, Ulugh-Beg.
19. A German born and trained compiler of Turkish materials.
20. See H. B. Paksoy, "Basmachi" Modern Encyclopedia of Religions in Russia and Soviet Union (FL: Academic International Press, 1991). Vol. 4, Pp. 5-20.
21. See Edward J. Lazzerini, "Ismail Bey Gasprinskii's Perevodchik/Tercman: A Clarion of Modernism. H. B. Paksoy, Editor, Central Asian Monuments (Istanbul, Isis Press, 1992) and the sources quoted.
22. For the last two, see Audrey L. Altstadt, The Azerbaijani Turks (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1992).
23. See Fen-Edebiyat Fakultesi Arastirma Dergisi, Ataturk Universitesi, Erzurum. Say 13, 1985. This source contains some biographical material, especially on the post 1925 period, not found in Turkili or Hatiralar.
24. Ulama in the khanates of Bukhara or Khiva were not part of this official structure, The Spiritual Board. As Togan describes however, the Kadimist/Emirist ulama in these khanates were also siding with the Russians. The ulama hoped to eliminate the challenge to their own authority, presented by the reformist Jadids, by liquidating the latter with the aid of the Russians.
25. According to the handlist of his papers, Togan also completed a history of the Bashkurts and the Bashkurt Army. This work remains unpublished. In Hatiralar there are extended references to the past of the Bashkurt Army and its operations. R. Baumann, in his "Subject Nationalities in the Military Service of Imperial Russia: The Case of Bashkirs" Slavic Review Fall/Winter 1987, argues that "...Bashkirs have parallels among Apache Scouts in the US, the Gurkhas in India, the Philippine Scouts, or the Natal Native Contingent in Africa." Baumann's account ends at 1914.
26. Togan relates that secret agents of Bolsheviks, trying to win over the Bashkurt troops, were being killed by the latter on the spot. As a result, he reports "such elements stopped coming even near the barracks."
27. See Society for Central Asian Studies, Programmnie dokumenti musulmanskih politicheskih partii 1917-1920 gg. Reprint Series, No. 2. (Oxford, 1985).
28. A biography is published: Naim Karimov, Cholpan (Tashkent: Fan, 1991). Cf. Naim Karimov, "Exposing the Murderer of Alpamysh;" translated by Shawn T. Lyons, from Shark Yulduzi (Tashkent) 12:1992, in H. B. Paksoy, Ed., Central Asia Reader (NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1994).
29. In Russian language Sources "Sultan Galiev." For his and other Central Asians referenced by Togan, see Moslem National Communism. For a more recent treatment, see Masayuki YAMAUCHI, The Dream of Sultangaliev (Tokyo, 1986), in Japanese. Also the sources cited by YAMAUCHI in his "One Aspect of Democratization in Tatarstan: The Dream of Sultangaliev Revisited" presented to the Conference on Islam and Democratization in Central Asia, held at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 26-27 September 1992.
30. For the two personages and the organization, See S. Shaw & E. Shaw, History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey (Cambridge University Press, 1977).
31. Provided to the Bashkurt RevKom by the Bolsheviks, along with several automobiles; confiscated from foreign missions.
32. Translation of its platform is below.
33. Togan notes that a copy of this letter was later brought to Berlin in 1923.
34. Zahiruddin Muhammad Babur Padishah Ghazi was a direct descendant of Timur (d. 1405), and the founder of the Moghul dynasty in India. Babur's memoirs were widely known. They were published in facsimile under the title Babar-Nama by Anette S. Beveridge (Leiden-London, 1905). An English translation was also made by Beveridge (London, 1922); reprinted at least once, in 1969.
35. For the Russian/Bolshevik period, see Seymour Becker, Russia's Protectorates in Central Asia: Bukhara and Khiva, 1865-1924 (Cambridge, MA., 1968). For the earlier period, see R. N. Frye, The History of Bukhara (Cambridge, MA., 1954).
36. See the Kadimist ulama above.
37. Who was the first Minister of Interior, and later, of Defense. Earlier, Arif was Togan's military aide in the Bashkurt Movement.
38. Togan provides the details of intellectual currents "that might have effected the thoughts of the individuals preparing this program" in Turkili Pp. 415-416.
39. Program in Togan, Turkili Turkistan, Pp. 410-411.
40. Togan notes that this program was expanded and republished in Prague during 1926 in a bilingual edition. See Togan, Turkili Turkistan, Pp. 411-414.
41. Uli Schamiloglu, "The Formation of a Tatar Historical Consciousness: Shihabeddin Marcani and the Image of the Golden Horde" Central Asian Survey (London) Vol. 9, No. 2, 1990.
42. Chantal Lemercier-Quelquejay, "Abdul Kayum Al-Nasyri: A Tatar Reformer of the 19th Century" Central Asian Survey (Oxford) Vol. 1, No. 4, 1983.
43. See Edward J. Lazzerini, Ismail Bey Gasprinskii's Perevodchik/Tercuman: A Clarion of Modernism" H. B. Paksoy, Editor, Central Asian Monuments (Istanbul: Isis Press, 1992) and the sources cited therein.
44. Togan, Turkili Turkistan, Pp. 416-418.
45. A particular perspective on the Drdnc, from the Kirghiz side, can be found in H. B. Paksoy, "Observations Among Kirghiz Refugees from the Pamirs of Afghanistan Settled in the Turkish Republic" Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford Vol. XVI, No. 1, Hilary, 1985.
46. Korbashi is the title of preference of the Basmachi leaders, origins of which explained as "Commander of Defense Troops" in Mahmut Kashgarli's 11th c. work Compendium of Turkic Dialects.
47. Togan, Turkili, Pp. 419-421.
48. Togan, Turkili P. 427.
49. The Bashkurt Movement leadership. See above.
50. Glenda Fraser, in her "Haci Sami and the Turkestan Federation 1922-3" Asian Affairs (London). Vol. XVII (Old Series Vol. 74) Part I, February 1987, follows Haji Sami tied to Enver's path.
51. It must be remembered that Murteci has a much stronger meaning than just "reactionary." Togan is remarkably restrained in his reference.
52. See S. S. Aydemir for a biography of Enver, Makedonya'dan Orta Asya'ya Enver Pa a (Istanbul, 1972) 3 Vols. Aydemir himself was one of the early students at KUTVA, in Moscow. He met Enver in the Caucasus during the First World War, and later in Moscow. Aydemir subsequently worked to propagate Bolshevism in the newly established Turkish Republic (which had waged a similar and successful war of independence, 1919-1924, in Asia Minor), was jailed. After his release, Aydemir entered the Turkish Republic government service. See also Azade-Ayse Rorlich, "Fellow Travelers: Enver Pasha and the Bolshevik Government 1918-1920)" Asian Affairs (London) Vol. XIII (old Series Vol. 69) Part III. October 1982).
53. Togan knew this individual well, having met him during his earlier trip sponsored by the Imperial Academy of Sciences.
54. It appears that the referenced memoirs were kept very much in the tradition of the bitikchi of earlier eras. It is well known that military units of the Turks always employed such recorders on the battlefields for the purpose of keeping tabs on the performance of individual troops. After the termination of fighting, rewards and promotions or punishment and demotions were dispensed accordingly.
55. See Kevin Krisciunas, "Legacy of Ulugh Beg." H. B. Paksoy, Editor, Central Asian Monuments (Istanbul: Isis Press, 1992).
56. See H. B. Paksoy, "Sun is also Fire" Central Asian Monuments, footnote 106.
57. The text in the rest of this paragraph is garbled at the typesetter, Hatiralar, P. 461.
58. See Altstadt, The Azerbaijani Turks for the alphabet issues in Azerbaijan.