Making political rebellion “primitive”
The 1916 rebellion in the Kazakh steppe in long-term perspective (c. 1840–1930)
in The Central Asian Revolt of 1916
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This chapter offers a longue durée account of the most successful rebellion against Russian rule in 1916, that in the northern Kazakh steppe in the province of Turgai, led by Abdigapar Zhanbosynov (1870–1919). It shows how notions of political leadership in the region had changed since the defeat of the last Chinggisid leader to claim the title of khan in the region, Kenesary Kasymov (1802–1947). Under Russian colonial rule, the khan was replaced by the batyr, or warrior, as the key political figure, something which can be partly understood within the framework of Eric Hobsbawm’s “Social Banditry”. The chapter explores how the leadership of Zhanbosynov and his lieutenants played out in 1916 and early 1917, as they fought against Russian garrisons and punitive expeditions.

The Central Asian Revolt of 1916

A collapsing empire in the age of war and revolution

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