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Saints of Silk Road (Essay Sample)


The task required analyzing sources of information.In this case three articles were given.I analysed them and was able to give a detailed outline of Islamic religion in Russia. The sample is about Islam religion in the former USSR.IT is written through analysis of documents that detailed economic and social activities of people inter grated to the former soviet union yet they were Islam. The sample outlines the struggles of religion in a country that was known to be totally nonreligious.


Saints of Silk Road
Student’s Name
Saints of Silk Road
This paper offers a historical account of Islam during the rise of the Soviet Union and after its collapse. In this case, the paper will explore both the socioeconomic and political environments during this era, and how they impacted on the history of Soviet Muslims in years to come. The discussion on this history is based on three articles, which provide the intricate nature of how the Muslim communities living in the Soviet Union were affected by the economic and political policies during the Soviet epoch. While the articles seemingly relate to different periods, the contextual perspective in the accounts discussed provide a similar historical background on the experiences of the Soviet Muslims. The primary articles chosen for review are Paolo Sartori’s, Towards a History of the Muslims’ Soviet Union: A View from Central Asia, Devin Deweese’s, Islam And The Legacy Of Sovietology: A Review Essay On Yaacov Ro’i’s Islam In The Soviet Union, and Niccolò Pianciola’s, Famine In The Steppe: The collectivization of agriculture and the Kazak herdsmen 1928-1934.
In view of the literature provided by these articles, it is clear that the history of Islam in the Soviet Union present a stark image that is characterized by unfair treatment from the ruling political regimes during the Soviet era. It is therefore the view of this paper that, despite the apparent inequalities perpetrated against the Soviet Muslims during the Soviet Union era, their cultural identity and view of the Soviet Union as their traditional homeland has endured over the years without much ideological shifts. In the present case, the paper will seek to reassert this position based on the arguments presented in the three articles. An overview of the three articles will help in the understanding of the background context presumed by the articles.
Summary of the Articles
The first article is Niccolò Pianciola’s, Famine in the Steppe: The collectivization of agriculture and the Kazak herdsmen 1928-1934. In this article, Niccolò explores one of the social impacts of the Stalin regime on the nomadic communities including the Kazaks, Turkemen, Kirghizes and Buriat Mongols. From the article, we gather that Stalin’s philosophy of ‘revolution from above’ had varied impacts on these rural communities, who were particularly Muslims. The five year plan initiated by Stalin’s regime, which stretched between 1928 and 1934, is partially viewed as a contributing factor to the severe repercussions associated the drought that hit these rural regions. According to Pianciola (2004), the ‘sedentarization’ plan implemented by Stalin’s government entailed coercive measures that were intended to make these nomadic communities faithful subjects of the broader five year collectivization policy. The results were catastrophic since the nomadic communities could no longer fed for themselves under the collectivization policy. In the end, the famine left an estimated 1.5 million Kazaks dead as a result of the two year drought that devastated these regions.
With the Kazakhstan region being under the Soviet rule, the nomads who dominate these regions were subjected the policies enacted by the Stalin regime (Pianciola, 2004). Despite the assertions by the ruling party’s structures related to nativization, the native’s communities were largely ignored and their grievances were not considered in the distribution of land and other resources. Decolonization and other economic policies were in favor of the rural communities, which was later aggravated by the grain requisition crisis. The impacts of the economic polices clearly had adverse impacts on the rural communities that were under the Soviet Union but in the long term, these communities still felt that they were a part of the larger Soviet society.
Similarly, the article by Devin Deweese’s, Islam and the Legacy of Sovietology: A Review Essay On Yaacov Ro’i’s Islam In The Soviet Union, shares the same sentiments in view of the Islamic religion in the Soviet Union. The ideology of Sovietological Islamology highlighted in the article seeks to expound on the impact of the Soviet are on Islam in the larger Central Asia region, particularly Volga-Ural region, Siberia, Azerbaijan and North Caucusus. The article reviews the literature available on Soviet Islam and despite the lack of concrete data on the subject, it is still widely accepted that the Soviet Union had tremendous impacts on the view of Islam in these regions. The apparent misunderstanding of Islam by the Soviet Union is largely viewed as the factor that led to the inapplicability of the Soviet polices to Islamic religion.
Devin’s article is largely based on the work of Rio, who delves on the legal framework and how it affected the Islamic religion during and after the soviet era. To begin with, the crisis era in the 1940s is largely viewed to have resulted to the upheavals that adversely affected the institutional foundations of Islamic practices. According to Deweese (2002), the period is viewed as a crisis from an Islamic perspective since it was based on collectivization and coexistence among the communities under the Soviet regime. As a result, a clear commitment to the religion practices was greatly weakened and in some places, religion was seemingly disappearing. The formal structures in place recognized communal religiosity and only the representatives of the tolerated religions were recognized.
Deweese (2002) explains that, religions were categorized on the basis of the officially registered religions and the unregistered religions. The policies in place were largely included towards the disappearance of religion all the same, given the multiplicity of official attitudes towards religion. However, it is mentionable that there was no clear policy that promoted anti-religious views, and in extension, dealing with the minority religious groups was also not addressed through policy frameworks, despite there being a large monolithic public. This greatly affected the practice and growth of Islam during the Soviet Era, but those who were culturally grounded to the religion still continued with the practice in the midst of all these challenges.
The third article by Paolo Sartori’s, Towards a History of the Muslims’ Soviet Union: A View from Central Asia, is perhaps the most informative in regard to the history of Islamic religion and practice in the Soviet Union. The article focuses largely on the Muslim communities living in the Uzbek regions of the Soviet Union. From the article, we gather that during the First World War and after the Soviet revolution, most of the people were taken by the Soviet regime and relocated to collective farms. During the same era, the men were taken as soldiers to fight in Europe during the Third Reich. According to Sartori (2010), most of the property was confiscated by the government and the collective villages were mostly based on the ideology of collectivization while ignoring the religious practices of the populace.
From these articles, it is plausible to assert that, while it is indeed true that the Soviet Union was not an Islamic State, the political regime in place and the economic policies advanced in the era were not cognizant of the religious practices of the Muslim communities. On the other hand, the affected communities were tolerant and strived to cope with the Marxism and Leninism ideologies while at the same time maintain their religious practices intact. Indeed, the article suggests that Islam was the major cultural marker of the Muslims who inhabited the interwar Soviet Union as ordinary citizens. Prior to the period when collectivization was initiated, cultural diversity and religious tolerance characterized the larger section of the Soviet Union. Sartori (2010) asserts that the ideals of Marxism and Leninism were couched to the populace, including the Muslims who were strictly attached to Islamic teachings.
It is also undeniable that the Muslim communities constituted a considerable section of the population in the Soviet Union. As a result, it was sometimes problematic to recognize some of the important associated with the religion. For instance, observing the Ramadan perio...
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