Tajikistan: The History of an Ethnic State

An extensive history in English of the Tajiks, this text places special emphasis on their ethnogenesis, their painstaking efforts to preserve cultural identity during the long years of Turkic and Russian political dominance, and the ultimate failure of the nation-building project which led to a bloody civil war in 1992. Combining historical narrative with comparative political analysis and social anthropology, and providing a detailed depiction of key personalities, the volume offers a broad perspective on the interplay of the cultural and structural factors in politics; shifting alignments and rivalries in the elite; sovietization, pererstroika and war. The author seeks to demystify the role of Islam in Tajik politics, weigh the costs and benefits of Soviet rule, and critically review the policies of Mikhail Gorbachev which affected Tajikstan in the late 1980s and are still felt in the late 1990s. The text concludes with an outline of the process of national reconciliation and the inner workings of the incumbent regime.