«БОЛЬШЕВИКАМ ПУСТЫНИ И ВЕСНЫ»: СОВЕТСКИЕ ПИСАТЕЛИ «ОТКРЫВАЮТ» СРЕДНЮЮ АЗИЮ (1930 г.)
This essay analyses the narratives of Soviet writers on Central Asia who travelled to Turkmenistan in 1930 at the height of the Cultural Revolution. By focusing on several semantic blocks (‘history’, ‘space’, ‘Islam’, ‘women’ and ‘exoticism’), the author tries to understand the ways and means Soviet writers used to incorporate Central Asia into the space of the Soviet socialist world. A few years after the Bolsheviks seized power in the region, filled with debates and struggles of various forces, Soviet Central Asia would emerge in place of Russian Turkestan. The «new-old» region had to be described and hence created through a new language. The role of literature in this process, given
the literary centrism of the emerging Soviet society and power, was difficult to overestimate. The new government should not only have separated Russian Turkestan from Soviet Central Asia as decisively as possible, but should also have displaced, or at least marginalized ideologies alternative to Soviet ideology — above all Pan-Islamism, Pan-Turkism and also Pan-Iranism. Although the writers who came to Central Asia saw their task primarily as one of overcoming the past, nature, the «old world» and establishing the «new» man and society, in many cases they described not so much the overcoming as the complex combination and coexistence of the «old» and «new», signs of which were evident not only in the transformed space, but also in the people.