Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic

Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic

Infobox SSR
name = Turkmen SSR
rus-name = Туркменская Советская Социалистическая Республика
loc-name = Түркменистан Совет Социалистик Республикасы
full-name = Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic
year_start = 1921
year_end = 1991
p1 = Khorezm People's Soviet Republic
flag_p1 = Flag of Khiva 1920-1923.svg
p2 = Bukharan People's Soviet Republic
flag_p2 = Flag of the Bukharan People's Soviet Republic.svg
p3 = Russian SFSR
flag_p3 = Flag RSFSR 1918.svg
s1 = Turkmenistan
flag_s1 = Flag of Turkmenistan 1992.png

arms = Coat of arms of Turkmen SSR.png

capital = Ashgabat
language = Turkmen and Russian
Lang-ISO = tk
established = August 7 1921
ussr-start = May 13 1925
ussr-end = October 27 1991
area-rank = 4th
area = 488,100
water = 4.9%
pop-rank = 12th
pop = 3,522,700 (1989)
density = 7.2
time-zone = + 5
anthem = Anthem of Turkmen SSR
medals =

The Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic ( _tk. Түркменистан Совет Социалистик Республикасы "Türkmenistan Sovet Sotsialistik Respublikasy"; _ru. Туркменская Советская Социалистическая Республика "Turkmenskaya Sovetskaya Sotsialisticheskaya Respublika"), also known as the Turkmen SSR for short, was one of republics that made up the Soviet Union (in Central Asia). It was initially established on August 7 1921 as "Turkmen Oblast" of the Turkestan ASSR. On May 13 1925 it was transformed into "Turkmen SSR" and became a separate republic of the USSR. In 1991, the Turkmen SSR became independent and was renamed "Turkmenistan."


Annexation to Russia

Russian attempts to encroach upon Turkmen territory began in earnest in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Of all the Central Asian peoples, the Turkmen put up the stiffest resistance against Russian expansion. In 1869 the Russian Empire established a foothold in present-day Turkmenistan with the foundation of the Caspian Sea port of Krasnovodsk (now Turkmenbashy). From there and other points, they marched on and subdued the Khiva Khanate in 1873. Because Turkmen tribes, most notably the Yomud, were in the military service of the Khivan khan, Russian forces undertook punitive raids against the Turkmen of Khorazm, in the process slaughtering hundreds and destroying their settlements. In 1881 the Russians under General Mikhail Skobelev besieged and captured Gokdepe, one of the last Turkmen strongholds, northwest of Ashgabat. With the Turkmen defeat (which is now marked by the Turkmen as a national day of mourning and a symbol of national pride), the annexation of what is present-day Turkmenistan met with only weak resistance. Later the same year, the Russians signed an agreement with the Persians and established what essentially remains the current border between Turkmenistan and Iran. In 1897 a similar agreement was signed between the Russians and Afghans.Curtis (1996). " [http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+tm0015) Turkmenistan: Incorporation into Russia] ".]

Following annexation to Russia, the area was administered as the Trans-Caspian District by corrupt and malfeasant military officers and officials appointed by the Guberniya (Governorate General) of Turkestan. In the 1880s, a railroad line was built from Krasnovodsk to Ashgabat and later extended to Tashkent. Urban areas began to develop along the railway. Although the Trans-Caspian region essentially was a colony of Russia, it remained a backwater, except for Russian concerns with British colonialist intentions in the region and with possible uprisings by the Turkmen.

Creation of a SSR

Because the Turkmen generally were indifferent to the advent of Soviet rule in 1917, little revolutionary activity occurred in the region in the years that followed. However, the years immediately preceding the revolution had been marked by sporadic Turkmen uprisings against Russian rule, most prominently the anti-tsarist revolt of 1916 that swept through the whole of Turkestan. Their armed resistance to Soviet rule was part of the larger Basmachi Rebellion throughout Central Asia from the 1920s into the early 1930s. Although Soviet sources describe this struggle as a minor chapter in the republic's history, it is clear that opposition was fierce and resulted in the death of large numbers of Turkmen.Curtis (1996). " [http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+tm0016) Turkmenistan: Soviet Turkmenistan] ".]

In October 1924, when Central Asia was divided into distinct political entities, the Trans-Caspian District and Turkmen Oblast of the Turkestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic became the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic. During the forced collectivization and other extreme socioeconomic changes of the first decades of Soviet rule, pastoral nomadism ceased to be an economic alternative in Turkmenistan, and by the late 1930s the majority of Turkmen had become sedentary. Efforts by the Soviet state to undermine the traditional Turkmen way of life resulted in significant changes in familial and political relationships, religious and cultural observances, and intellectual developments. Significant numbers of Russians and other Slavs, as well as groups from various nationalities mainly from the Caucasus, migrated to urban areas. Modest industrial capabilities were developed, and limited exploitation of Turkmenistan's natural resources was initiated.

Under Soviet rule, all religious beliefs were attacked by the communist authorities as superstition and "vestiges of the past." Most religious schooling and religious observance were banned, and the vast majority of mosques were closed. An official Muslim Board of Central Asia with a headquarters in Tashkent was established during World War II to supervise Islam in Central Asia. For the most part, the Muslim Board functioned as an instrument of propaganda whose activities did little to enhance the Muslim cause. Atheist indoctrination stifled religious development and contributed to the isolation of the Turkmen from the international Muslim community. Some religious customs, such as Muslim burial and male circumcision, continued to be practiced throughout the Soviet period, but most religious belief, knowledge, and customs were preserved only in rural areas in "folk form" as a kind of unofficial Islam not sanctioned by the state-run Spiritual Directorate. [Curtis (1996). " [http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+tm0030) Turkmenistan: History and Structure] ".]


Beginning in the 1930s, Moscow kept the republic under firm control. The nationalities policy of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) fostered the development of a Turkmen political elite and promoted Russification. Slavs, both in Moscow and Turkmenistan, closely supervised the national cadre of government officials and bureaucrats; generally, the Turkmen leadership staunchly supported Soviet policies. Moscow initiated nearly all political activity in the republic, and, except for a corruption scandal in the mid-1980s, Turkmenistan remained a quiet Soviet republic. Mikhail S. Gorbachev's policies of glasnost and perestroika did not have a significant impact on Turkmenistan. The republic found itself rather unprepared for the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the independence that followed in 1991.Curtis (1996). " [http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+tm0017) Turkmenistan: Sovereignty and Independence] ".]

When other constituent republics of the Soviet Union advanced claims to sovereignty in 1988 and 1989, Turkmenistan's leadership also began to criticize Moscow's economic and political policies as exploitative and detrimental to the well-being and pride of the Turkmen. By a unanimous vote of its Supreme Soviet, Turkmenistan declared its sovereignty in August 1990. After the August 1991 coup attempt against the Gorbachev regime in Moscow, Turkmenistan's communist leader Saparmyrat Niyazov called for a popular referendum on independence. The official result of the referendum was 94 percent in favor of independence. The republic's Supreme Soviet had little choice other than to declare Turkmenistan's independence from the Soviet Union and the establishment of the Republic of Turkmenistan on October 27, 1991.

See also

* Communist Party of the Turkmen SSR



*cite book|last=Curtis|first=Glenn E.|url=http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/tmtoc.html|title=Turkmenistan: A Country Study|series=Library of Congress Country Studies|publisher=United States Government Printing Office|location=Washington|date=1996|oclc=45380435

External links

* [http://www.archive.org/details/TurkmeniaManMastersTheDesert "Turkmenia: Man Masters the Desert"] by Balysh Ovezov

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