Jörn Happel
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Fears, rumours, violence
The tsarist regime and the revolt of the nomads in Central Asia, 1916
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The First World War threw tsarist Russia into a crisis of accelerated modernisation which eventually destroyed it. Imperial society was not able to conduct total war, especially at the peripheries. Different dynamics of friendship and enmity between the inhabitants of Russia are visible at the margins of the Empire. When examined with an eye to the protagonists these can shed some light on the challenges faced by the tsarist regime, which threatened to swamp it. Based on the experiences of individuals, this chapter explores how in the crisis of war the imperial cohesion of culturally diverse parts of Imperial Russia’s multiethnic society fell apart, focusing on the example of Central Asia and the revolt of 1916. It argues that in Central Asia friendship and enmity expressed themselves primarily through rumour, because the Russian and the native parts of the populations barely knew each other.

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The Central Asian Revolt of 1916

A collapsing empire in the age of war and revolution


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