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Caught between Nationalism and Socialism: The Kazak Alash Orda Movement in Continuity

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2007
Gürbüz, Yunus Emre
This dissertation aims to discuss the incorporation of the “nationalist” Kazak intellectuals of Alash Orda to the Soviet Socialist Republics and their role in the establishment of the Kazak ASSR. In the course of events they acted first together with Russian liberal democrats, then they sought to establish a national government and fought against the Bolsheviks, but after 1920 they chose to stay in the USSR and join the modernization process of their homeland alongside the Bolsheviks. In the mainstream academic discourse the local leaders in the republics of the USSR are generally considered as passive victims of the Soviet policies. The members of the Kazak national movement of Alash Orda are also neglected as weak political figures after they had accepted the Soviet rule. But they continued their struggle for enlightening the Kazak people in 1920s. Their collaboration with the Bolsheviks was concomitant to their motives of modernizing the Kazaks. Their role in the Soviet Kazakstan did not come to an end after their acceptance of the Soviet sovereignty but it continued. My argument is that the struggle of the members of Alash Orda was in continuity with their program before the revolution, and their cooperation with the Bolsheviks was a way to realize their objectives, and it opened a sphere for them to have a role in the formation of the Kazak ASSR.