Welcome to my first blog post! My name is Jessica and I’m a history major and a senior here at Virginia Tech. Throughout my career at Virginia Tech I have admittedly never had much of an interest in Russian history. However, this past summer I started learning a lot about Central Asian History and I stumbled across some interesting texts about the relationship between Central Asians and Russians. It helped me realize the highly complex history of Russia and how the country was a larger member of the making of history than I had initially realized.
Because of my interest in both Central Asian history and my new-found interest in Russian history I chose this image of the Emir of Bukhara, Alim Khan taken by Prokudin-Gorskii. Alim Khan was the last known emir of the Manghit dynasty before the abolition of the dynasty by the Bolsheviks as well as the last emir of Bukhara, which is now the country known as Uzbekistan. Alim Khan is such a wonderful example of the shift from a purely Muslim Central Asian nation to one ruled and greatly influenced by Russian and Soviet control.
Alim Khan, born on January 3, 1880 was the son of Sayed Abd al-Ahad who sent Alim to live and study in St. Petersburg as a cadet at the Nikolaievsky Military Academy. Because he spent much of his childhood in Russia, Alim ignored Bukhara for long stretches of time while he visited what he felt was his motherland. He was warmly received by the Romanovs who showered him with expensive gifts during his visit, however, his luck quickly changed as the Bolsheviks chose to hunt him down instead after his refusal to step down as the emir. Alim Khan fled Bukhara in September 1920 to Kabul, Afghanistan.
It is fascinating to me to know about a place like Bukhara which was heavily influenced by the religion of Islam came under the control of Alim Khan who associated himself with an Eastern-Orthodox nation which had completely different values and traditions as his homeland. His education in Russia is so indicative of Bukhara becoming less inclined towards Central Asian customs and Islamic traditions and more inclined towards Russian attitudes.
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