The “virtual reality” of colonial Turkestan
How Russian offi cials viewed and represented the participation of the local population in the 1916 revolt
in The Central Asian Revolt of 1916
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This chapter examines how different strata of colonial officials in Central Asia perceived the local population, or how they viewed, related to and understood the “natives”, whose affairs they were assigned to govern. By drawing on archival sources, it argues that their views on the local population’s lives, activities, motives and so on were based on stereotypes and were often very different from the actual situation. The revolt very much brought to the fore all the fears and stereotypes colonial officials in Turkestan had regarding the local population. As a result, instead of trying to understand the genuine reasons for the revolt, which often stemmed from the abuses and incompetence of the local authorities (both “native” and Russian), the colonial administration tried to comply with the tsar’s decree by any means possible.

The Central Asian Revolt of 1916

A collapsing empire in the age of war and revolution

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