Kyrgyzstan Builds a National Myth on Russian Bones

On October 26, Almazbek Atambaev, the outgoing President of Kyrgyzstan, signed a decree replacing the November 7 celebrations of the October revolution with a “Day of History and Remembrance.”

The “history” and “remembrance” in question refers to the Urkun, the Kyrgyz name for their 1916 revolt against Tsarist Russia.

Here is an extract from the decree:

The development of history in the past few years and its de-ideologization has allowed researchers to work out new approaches to studying Kyrgyz history… Our people, with their 3,000 year history, having created the Kyrgyz Khanate in the 9th century, has maintained the idea of statehood for many centuries… Generation to generation, the dream of independence moved on. …

The will of the people towards freedom and independence was the main driving force of the events of 1916. The harsh suppression of the uprising by Tsarist punitive batallions, multiple incidences of bloodthirsty reprisals against civilizations, and their forced exile into foreign lands put the Kyrgyz people on the brink of extinction. According to the archives, the most dramatic events and the highest numbers of human casualties during the Urkun took place in autumn 1916.

So what’s left unmentioned in this story?


Source: Sputnik i Pogrom. Map of Turkestan – epicenter of the rebellion is in the red square.

First, and most important, it was a bit more than just an ordinary uprising. What began as a campaign of assassination against local officials soon escalated to full-scale ethnic cleansing, with thousand-strong bands of Kyrgyz horsemen despoiling defenseless Russian villages which had been largely stripped of their fighting age men by conscription for World War I. All told, around 3,000 Russians were murdered, the vast majority of them women and children, as well as the monks of Przhevalsk Cathedral and the Holy Trinity Monastery of Issyk-Kul.

Writes Father Evstafi Malakhovsky, the abbot of Pokrovsky Church, located 35 versts from Przhevalsk (now Karakol):

On August 11, [the Kyrgyz] attacked the settlements, started to beat the residents and burn houses… No mercy was shown to the Russians: They were cut up and beaten, sparing neither women nor children. There were beheadings, impalements, noses and ears were cut off, children were cut in half, women were raped, maidens and young girls were taken prisoner.

There are many even grislier accounts compiled by the local clergy.

As the ethnic cleansing wore on, Russians started to congregate in larger villages, such as Preobrazhensky. There, a 200-strong militia with rifles, shotguns, and a jerry-rigged cannon held off a 10,000-strong Kyrgyz horde for a month before Army reinforcements arrived and drove them away. Observing the scenes of devastation, the local militias and soldiers were not particularly inclined to show mercy as they pursued the bands into the mountains.

The Kyrgyz historian Shairgul Batyrbaev in a 2013 interview:

The suppression was indeed brutal. But one has to keep the context in mind. When the punitive batallions arrived to pacify the rebellion, they saw the heads of Russian women and children mounted on pikes, and their reaction was understandable.

Officially, 347 people in Semirechie were executed in summary military trials. The direct victims of the pacification campaign numbered 4,000 according to Batyrbaev’s calculations.

The official Kyrgyz narrative, as affirmed by a 2016 commision, is that the Tsarist suppression of the revolt was genocide. RFERL helpfully notes that it is “believed that between 100,000 and 270,000 ethnic Kyrgyz were killed by Tsarist Russia’s punitive battalions.” However, these estimates seem most unlikely, considering that the Kyrgyz population in the territories affected by the rebellion increased from 278,900 in 1897 to 324,000 by 1917. Based on natality and mortality trends, Batyrbaev estinmates there “should have been” 357,600 Kyrgyz by that time, implying total demographic losses of around 35,000.

That includes emigration. For the Kyrgyz, the most tragic episode of the Urkun was the flight of 30,000 Kyrgyz into China. Many thousands died in the high passes, and many of the rest were enslaved by the Uyghurs in China – a traditional practice in Central Asia, before the Russian Empire illegalized it in Russian Turkestan in 1861 and stamped it out over the next few decades.

Now this is not to unequivocally condemn the Kyrgyz, or justify the policies of the Russian Empire.


Source: Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky (1911). Photograph of Russian settlers on the shores of Lake Issyk-Kul.

The Kyrgyz had real grievances. The influx of landless Russian settlers (one such family is shown in the photograph above) in the wake of Stolypin’s agrarian reforms impinged on the traditional land use patterns of the nomadic Kazakhs and Kyrgyz, who needed vast tracts of land for grazing their cattle. The Russian colonists formed growing islands of European civilization that didn’t mix with the locals, stoking resentment amongsts the natives (this is, of course, a familiar pattern the world over). The influence of the mullahs, who occupied a privileged position in Kyrgyz society, was reduced – they lost administrative power to state bureaucrats, and the traditional madrassas had to compete with growing numbers of secular schools. Finally, the local bureaucrats that staffed the lower administrative rungs were fantastically corrupt – there are accounts of them continuing to sell exemptions from mobilization to young Kyrgyz men even as more and more of their fellows were lynched by the enraged mobs of the metastasizing rebellion.

This brings us to the fuse that set off the entire thing – an edict from Interior Minister Boris Stürmer calling for the mobilization of 80,000 men from the steppe region of Turkestan. This was a drop in the bucket relative to the more than 12 million men mobilized by the Russian Empire during World War I, and in any case, the Central Asians were only going to be used for non-military duties. (In the end, only slightly more than 100,000 Central Asians ended up being mobilized during the war). But the scope of these plans grew rapidly in the telling, in what was still a predominantly illiterate society; the call for 80,000 labor conscripts soon turned into an evil Russian plot to kill off the entire Kyrgyz male population in the fields and trenches in a place far away and in a war that few of them understood. This was helped along not just by the usual suspects – German and Turkish intelligence helped fan the rumors – but also by venal Kyrgyz bureaucrats, who saw the horror stories as a good way to increase their earnings from selling exemptions. Finally, the linguistic and cultural gap between the lower Kyrgyz and upper Russian administrative rungs hampered attempts to stiffle the rebellion in its cradle, and delayed a serious response from the central authorities.

But the language of the recent Kyrgyz decree – with its language of “Russian colonizers,” “Russia’s orbit,” “uprising of national liberation,” “cruel suppression by Tsarist punitive batallions,” the “millennial history” through which the Kyrgyz people carried its “idea of “statehood” – has nothing to do with history and everything to do with politics.

And there’s nothing better than genocide myths for nation-building, historical details and nuance be damned.
There are a couple of further factors that underline the significance of this event.

First, Almazbek Atambaev belongs to the ruling Social Democrats, whose candidate won the recent Presidential elections. This is a moderate, comparatively pro-Russian party that supports keeping Russian as an official language. Deputies from the main opposition party, Respublika-Ata Zhurt (an alliance of pro-Western liberals and nationalists; not an uncommon combination in the post-Soviet space), have taken a much harder line; in 2012, they called for financial documentation, technical documents, and parliamentary debates to all happen in Kyrgyz. Further to the right, Nurlan Motuev, leader of the People’s Patriotic Movement of Kyrgyzstan and of the True Muslims of Kyrgyzstan, demanded that Russia recognize the Urkun as a genocide and pay them $100 billion in compensation. To be fair, Motuev is a marginal figure whose projects only ever got tiny single digit shares of the vote, and the man himself has since been sentenced to 7 years in jail for praising Islamic State in the media.

However, less hardcore versions of these anti-Russian sentiments are increasingly prevalent amongst Kyrgyz youth and the Kyrgyz intelligentsia.

(All too predictably, the US is also involved. The National Democratic Institute, amongst its other projects in Kyrgyzstan, financed the TV show “New Trends” (Zhana Bashat), which regularly features all sorts of eccentric guests, such as Dastan Sapygulov, a Tengriist and a supporter of Kyrgyz as the dominant language. The Turks are also busy projecting their pan-Turkic vision, financing the University of Manas, where education is exclusively in the Turkish and Kyrgyz languages.)

Not only are the Social Democrats the main pro-Russian party in Kyrgyzstan, but the country itself is probably Russia’s closest “friend” in Central Asia. They are members of both the CSTO security alliance and the Eurasian Economic Community. Consequently, there are fewer barriers for a Kyrgyz seeking work in Russia than for a humanitarian refugee from the Donbass. Kyrgyz driving licenses are recognized in Russia, and Russia recently forgave a $240 million debt to the impoverished Central Asian nation. Remittances from Kyrgyz Gasterbeiters – most of them of them in Russia – constitute 30.4% of Kyrgyzstan’s GDP, which is the second highest indicator in the world after Nepal.

And yet despite all that, its authorities feel entitled to spit in Russia’s face.

All in all, it is hard to think of a single development that best represents the retreat of Russian influence from Central Asia.

This is, of course, hardly a singular affair. Kazakhstan is moving to the Latin alphabet by 2025. Tajikistan banned this year’s Immortal Regiments march on the grounds that it is non-Islamic (though it was not enforced). Uzbekistan has been particularly hostile, removing Europeans from important state positions, dismantling World War II monuments, and leaving both the CSTO and Eurasian Economic Community around 2010. Russia’s response? Mayor Sergey Sobyanin is going to use city funds to install a monument to the late Uzbek President for Life Islam Karimov in the center of Moscow.

And there are no signs that this is going to come to a stop anytime soon. As a rule, the Central Asians are ruled by Soviet relicts with strong cultural ties to (if not exactly sympathy for) Eurasia’s other post-Soviet elites. These are people whom the likes of Putin understand and are comfortable with. But as they age and die off, these countries are going to drift farther and farther away from Russia as the ethnic draw of Turkey, the religious draw of the Islamic ummah, the economic preponderance of China, and the cultural preponderance of America make themselves fully felt on the youngest generations and on the intelligentsia. This is already happening and there is no absolutely no reason to expect that Russia’s alternative, the Great Patriotic War victory cult – in which Central Asians played a marginal role anyway – is going to be a competitive one.

The future of Central Asia is nationalist and Islamic – probably, more of the former in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, and more of the latter in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

This shouldn’t translate into any feelings of blame or bitterness. For all the Eurasianists’ efforts to argue otherwise, Russia and Turkestan are separate civilizations that don’t have much more in common than France and its African colonies. As such, it is pointless for Russians to begrudge them their efforts to establish their own “identity”; that it comes at Russia’s expense is only to be expected. It does, however, means that a rational and hard-headed Russian government should start dealing with them as the truly independent, nezalezhnye entities that they so earnestly appear to want to be.

At a minimum, this would mean an immediate end to Central Asian autocrats offloading their surplus labor and drugs onto Russia via open borders, an end to Russian taxpayer-subsidized loans and their inevitable write-offs, and certainly an end to even any discussions about statues to their Great Leaders in the Russian capital.

But it is hard to imagine Putin ceasing to support and subsidize the Soviet fossils with whom he so strongly identifies with. Besides, the cheap labor is good for business, the bodies are good for bolstering attendance at pro-regime demonstrations, and the drugs help keep masses of venal siloviks employed. And so in all likelihood this will continue until the next round of color revolutions drives what remains of Russia’s influence out of Central Asia.

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. In light of Server Crash: Part Deux, I am reprinting my replies to the lost comments on this article, and where my memory doesn’t fail me, identifying who I was replying to.

    @ Philip Owen,

    Russia is doomed to be the villain of these myths. It needs a counter offer based on what remains of shared legacy. Law would be a good place to start. Education another.

    Well, it provides the WW2 Victory cult, but it doesn’t seem there are many takers for it outside the Russian World.

    Even the Georgians (who remain proud of their “son” Stalin while simultaneously condemning Russia for their “subjugation” by the USSR, even though they were not subject to particularly harsh repressions during his reign) blew up their main WW2 memorial during Saakashvili’s tenure. It is probably just a matter of time before the Kazakhs, who do have a legitimate reason to hate Stalin (like Ukrainians and Russians), go down the same path.

    @ German_reader,

    Re-colonial sense of noblesse oblige.
    My impression is that:

    1. The 1960s/70s immigration was largely driven by “colonial reflux” in France/Britain that German_reader describes; more purely economic considerations in Germany.
    2. I don’t think the colonial legacy has any application to the current wave of immigration (except to the extent that postmodernist hacks in the universities talk about colonialism as intrinsic white supremacy, that all whites are racially guilty of and need to atone for by “decolonizing” their own countries).

    Re-Russians in Central Asia.

    Didn’t some pretty bad stuff happen in Central Asia in the early 1990s as well? I have a vague impression that Russians and other Europeans like the ethnic Germans who had been exiled to Kazakhstan during WW2 were made to leave in sometimes quite unpleasant ways, but this isn’t a subject well-known in the West.

    Not on the level of the outright pogroms that you saw in Chechnya throughout the 1990s – virtually entire Russian population ethnically cleansed, including traditionally Russian land north of the Terek; several thousand dead, and (to a much lesser extent) in Tuva during the early 1990s – vast majority of Russians left, around 200 dead.

    This mainly took the role of various legal and unofficial regulations, e.g. injunctions to promote locals instead of Russians into high positions (especially in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan). However, Russians remained physically safe, for the most part. Economics, living standards, and just the desire to rejoin their people was the main spur to Russia emigration out of Central Asia.

    Moreover, many of the Russians who came to Central Asia during the Soviet period were engineers, teachers, etc. who were ordered there by diktat. Those who were more able, younger, and had more resources and/or contacts in Russia were more likely to move back. The most drastic fall occurred in Tajikistan, but that was on account of the civil war there in the 1990s which killed 100,000 instead of anything specifically anti-Russian.

    @ Parbes (?),

    If you got it from a Central Asian jihadi-supporting Western MSM outlet…

    As I recall that allegation originated with Craig Murray, a “Western dissident” sort of figure who was dismissed by the British government for his comments, precisely because Karimov was hard on jihadists and amenable to Western interests.

    … and maintained friendly relations with Russia.

    By drawing out of EurAsEc and the CSTO?

    … who refused to toe the “U.S. vassal” line, kicked out U.S. troops from his country

    That was more about him throwing a hissy fit over State Department lectures about the Andijan massacre.

  2. Verymuchalive says

    You did agree with me ( paraphrasing Solzhenitsyn ) that the loss of Kazakhstan is inevitable, but losing it on its Soviet Era boundaries would be a tragedy.
    This was an unsubtle hint on my part that you hadn’t written anything specifically on Kazakhstan for quite some time. In fact, I don’t think you’ve written anything since you’ve returned to Russia.
    Any chance of one soon ?

  3. Well yes, sure, if news developments warrant it. But right now my priority is to get my Russia book out of the way.

  4. Verymuchalive says

    Does the book have a title ( working or otherwise ) yet?

  5. It used to be Dark Lord of the Kremlin, though I’m thinking of changing it (“Quantified Russia?”).

  6. The Big Red Scary says

    Who is the intended audience?

    Topics like this are originally what got me interested in your blog. Before moving to Russia, I needed a dose of reality in order to overcome anti-Russian bias that I had absorbed over the course of my life. My own banal and biased observation, after having lived in Russia for a few years, is that while there are still many problems, and despite the recent recession, various aspects of life get incrementally better and the improvement is noticeable even in my own daily life. The big unknown is what happens at the end of Putin’s next term.

  7. I don’t know why its Soviet-era boundaries are a tragedy. Look at a topographical map. Steppe transforms into Siberian forest in the general area of the border. Post-Soviet borders are usually illogical, but in the case of the RF-Kaz one, it’s as good a place as anywhere else for a border.

  8. Hey TBRS,

    The big unknown is what happens at the end of Putin’s next term.

    If he’s doing well, and the people like what he’s done, wouldn’t he just encourage them to vote for a successor? I would imagine his endorsement would be help boost that person in the polls.

    The other thing to consider; why should it end? It’s been exactly 100 years since the last Tsar, right? Time for a national referendum?

    Possible coronation get-up?


  9. The Big Red Scary says

    At the end of another six-year term, Putin will be seventy-one. At that point, either the constitution has to be amended so that he can have yet another term, or he has to sit out another six years until he is seventy-seven. Probably Putin will try to anoint a successor. People speculate about whom. Maybe this will become clearer if a new prime minister is selected.

    As for reinstituting the monarchy, I don’t see this happening any time soon. So far as I can tell, this is simply not a popular position. I myself feel that constitutional monarchy has some advantages. You can be patriotic by honoring the monarch while still saying the monarch’s prime minister is a dirty scoundrel.

    Anyway, I don’t follow Russian (or any other) politics very closely, but this is a matter of concern, since there is not much precedent, and I’m interested to hear what more knowledgeable people think.

    As for the coronation get up, are you suggesting Russia bring back the Golden Horde?

  10. I was wondering why neocon flagship The Times had an editorial eulogising Kyrgyzstan.

  11. Verymuchalive says

    The northern quarter or third of Kazakhstan has been solidly Russian since the C18th at least. The present Russian-Kazakh border does not conform to the steppe-forest transition. Rather, it’s steppe on both sides.
    I will leave Master Anatoly’s Russian commenters to skewer the rest of your ignorance.

  12. Thanks for the details.

    are you suggesting Russia bring back the Golden Horde?

    No way – that’s crazy business! I thought that was Kievan Rus style.


  13. I believe as we speak that there are some border counties where there is a Russian plurality.

    The dimensions of the Russian minority in Central Asia have plummeted in the last 4 decades. In 1979, about a quarter of Kyrgyzstan’s population was Russia and the ratio of Russians to Kyrgyz was 0.53. Now just 7% is Russian and the ratio of Russians to Kyrgyz is 0.11. Russians are now a low-single-digit minority in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan.

    Outmigration and fertility differentials have had a less dramatic effect in Kazakhstan, but the basic story is the same. In 1979, 40% of the population was Russian and another 10% Ukrainian or German. Kazakhs formed 36%. Kazakhs are now 2/3 of the remaining population and outnumber Russians 3-to-1; Ukrainians, Germans, &c make up less than 4% of the population.

  14. Verymuchalive says

    According to the last census, in 2009, Russian still constituted 23.7% of the population. It may be higher, since Muslim states routinely under enumerate non-Muslims, eg as in Egypt.
    Large numbers of Russians have indeed emigrated since the start of the 1990s, which makes it imperative that annexation of historic Russian areas in northern Kazakhstan is done as soon as possible.
    Putin has been fortunate so far. Ukrainian nationalists have been very inept at opposing him. Had they maintained good relations, whilst promoting movement of Ukrainians into the Crimea, then maybe 25-30 years from now the Crimea may have become majority Ukrainian. Crimea would have been lost to Russia forever.
    Obviously, at the break up of the USSR, Russia should have had a stronger, more pragmatic leader, who would only have permitted break up on borders much more beneficial to Russia. Instead, it had Yeltsin.
    Putin may not be remembered as the leader who recovered Crimea, if he loses northern Kazakhstan.

  15. That’s similar to how I see it in that the border should ideally be somewhere around the middle of country, which is where the drainage divide is, i.e. the Ural and the Arctic-flowing rivers basin goes to Russia is what should have happened.

  16. Why is it so imperative? Sorry to be so argumentative, but i don’t see any problem. Russia hasn’t been kicked out of Baykonur. Kazakhstan hasn’t made any overtures to the West; I’m sure NATO would love a base in KZ like they have at Manas. I personally am not aware of any irredentism among ethnic Russians, although of course that could change in the future.

    Also, I’m afraid you overestimate the historic Russian population of the area)) We all have yandex and google, so you can find the information yourself.

    And I don’t think Putin will be remembered for losing northern Kazakhstan. This part of the former USSR never had the meaning to Russians that other parts of the empire did and still do. In the future, children will learn about what is now the Ukraine and Crimea in history class, and they will learn about the Causasus in literature class. Dostoevsky and Solzhenitsyn lived here for years, yet it never captured their imagjnations as, for example, the Caucasus captured Lermontov’s. Unless followers of Dugin come to power, why will future Russians miss the Kazakh Steppe?

  17. who do have a legitimate reason to hate Stalin

    Uh, I think just about everyone has legitimate reasons to hate Stalin. For example, I would say that I, Millennial American, have many legitimate reasons for hating Stalin.

    blew up their main WW2 memorial

    Well there’s the thing, it’s not really “their” memorial. c.f.

    IMO the Soviet apologists don’t really have a leg to stand on complaints-wise. At least this time no 14th-century monasteries were razed.

    Like all commie art and architecture their monuments were bleeping hideous eyesores. Which doesn’t exactly help their popularity. Not that being aesthetically-pleasing is doing much good for the Confederates. The monument in question resembled demonic Hell architecture from Doom or whatever

    not that the replacement, the new Georgian parliament building, which resembles a super-magnified fruit fly head, is much better.

    It wasn’t really the “main” WWII monument in Georgia either. Some of them even manage not to be ugly!

  18. Peter Hitchens reproduced some newswire stories from the time that had the Russians protesting regarding the Donbass as well as Crimea, reality is there was little they could do about it. I am no expert but I have also read Bush senior opposed the break up of the USSR because he was worried about unleashing a series of border wars, the neocons hated Bush senior.

  19. Verymuchalive says

    “Why is it so imperative ? Sorry to be so argumentative, but I don’t see any problem.”

    Because things may change very quickly. There may not be such an opportunity in the future. It was only the ineptness of Ukrainian nationalists that permitted Russia to recover the Crimea. You can’t rely on your opponents’ being stupid all the time ( which sadly seems to be a characteristic of Ukrainian nationalists )
    Secondly, it is necessary to shore up the remaining Russian population, a large part of which has left since 1990. Those who have left are very largely newer Russian immigrants and their offspring. Those remaining are very likely descendants of C18th and C19th settlers. They are in Kazakhstan only because of the arbitrary borders decided by the Bolsheviks in 1922-24.

    “Why will future Russians miss the Kazakh Steppe ? ‘

    For the same that White Texans will miss Texas once they are expelled from it by the Mexican hordes. It was their home. Their ancestors may not have settled it as long as the Russians. It may not be very scenic ( the parts of Texas I’ve seen ). But it was their home.
    Oops, reply to 17 Joe D

  20. Resistance against empire is often brutal… because empire-building itself is brutal.

    Tragic, yes. But hardly exceptional.

    Diversity is the product of empire.

  21. AK, while I usually post negative comments on your work, this was a great article, instructive and well written.

    How big a threat is Muslim immigration to Russia in your view?

    Would the return of Russians in central asia to Russia be a demographic boost to Russia, or have basically all the working age and employable Russians already left?

  22. jilles dykstra says

    Any country writes a better history than it was, only Germany does the opposite.

  23. Sergey Krieger says

    I did not know about that uprising but after living 20 years in Central Asia this does not surprise me a bit.
    Regarding modern Russian “elites” behavior in this regard it always comes to my mind. If one does not respect oneself, nobody will.
    Same goes for USA taking over Russian embassies. It calls for termination of diplomatic relation leaving only red hot lines of communication in place just in case. not for tit for tat adequate measures.
    I wonder, is there some pipe which is under plans and going to run via Tajikistan and Kirghistan?
    It would make things clear.

  24. War for Blair Mountain says

    Larger issue:

    The tax $$$$ of Native Born White Christian Americans is being used to attack Christian Russia on the periphery…with the intent to crack Christian Russia wide open for Neocon+MEGA CEO gang rape.

    If only there were protests in the street every Saturday and Sunday in the fall…instead of hours…weeks….years….enjoying NFL NEGRO BALL….

    The tax $$$$=billions and billions(say it with a Carl Sagan accent)….that could otherwise be used for Space Exploration and free college education for millions of Native Born White American Christian Youth. This is War for Blair Mountain’s anti-cannon fodder program for Native Born White Christian America.


  25. War for Blair Mountain says

    There has been an anti-war vigil 100 yards down from Renaissance Technologies…Robert Mercer these days…..since Oct 2001 at the start of the bombing of Afghanistan…nonpartisan. Across the street, the mentally retarded Patriotards who stand next to their life-size carboard Trump icons wave the flag….A screaming across the street:”SUPPORT THE TROOPS!!!”

    On Nov 3 2020…the destabilization of Christian Russia will continue apace when Hindu-Jamaican POTUS Kamala Harris is coronated as our Dear Leader. Willie Brown’s girlfriend will be very enthusiastic about using Working Class Native Born White Christian American Teenage Males as cannon fodder on Christian Russia’s border….Will Native Born White Christian America go along with this? POTUS Kamala Harris’s Russophobic Hindu Attorney General Preet Bharara will use Police State Power to crack down on Native White Resistance to War with Christian Russia.

    So what comes next?…A THERMONUCLEAR NUCLEAR SCREAMING ACROSS THE SKY…to paraphrase an American Novelist from Oyster Bay…

    This is the larger context-TOPOS-for understanding the War on Christian Russia on Christian Russia’s periphery……..

  26. Hapalong Cassidy says

    The Kyrgyz also place great historical significance on the 8th century Battle of Talas River, in which they defeated China and forever halted their westward expansion. It’s what has kept them from the fate of the Uyghurs, and why over the centuries geopolitics in Central Asia have been more about Islam and Russian expansion than China.

  27. I am no expert but I have also read Bush senior opposed the break up of the USSR because he was worried about unleashing a series of border wars, the neocons hated Bush senior.

    The only consequential conflicts over frontiers have been the war in the Donbass, a Russian initiative which began 23 years after the Soviet Union dissolved, the expulsion of ethnic Georgians from Abkhazia, and the episodic pitched battles over the Transdniester zone. In no case would the level of violence have justified an attempt at keeping a clanking multi-ethnic mess like the Soviet Union intact. I suppose you could add the Chechen insurrection, not that that was a fine example of effort well-invested.

    It was a matter of no consequence that Norman Podhoretz did not much care for George Bush the Elder and it remains a matter of no consequence. Podhoretz almost certainly could not be bothered to ‘hate’ him. That’s the alt-right mind projecting on normies.

  28. Michael Kenny says

    With the collpase of the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation became the last European colonial empire. Putin’s apparent dream of re-establishing the Soviet empire is on the wrong side of history and is doomed to failure. That applies as much to former Soviet Republics like Kyrgyzstan or Ukraine as it does to the autonomous entities within the Russian Federation (Chechnya, Sakha …). The Chinese are busily undermining Putin with their Silk Road railway-building projects, disenclaving the Central Asian republics by linking them to, for example, Chinese, Iranian and even European ports, thereby breaking Russia’s starnglehold on their trade and communications. There’s no stopping the march of history! A riend of mine once compared the process to rowing a boat accross a river. If you row with the current, you keep some control over where you’re going. If you try to row against the current, you just get swept along. Putin’s (and Trump’s!) mistake is to try to row against the current of the times.

  29. Jus' Sayin'... says

    Thank you, Mr. Karlin, for another informative and balanced article.

  30. Why were there Russians, who are eastern European Slavs, in Central Asia at all?

  31. On Nov 3 2020…the destabilization of Christian Russia will continue apace when Hindu-Jamaican POTUS Kamala Harris is coronated as our Dear Leader.

    Looking forward to it! Soon your national religion is going to be a mixture of voodoo and Tantra.

  32. With the collpase of the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation became the last European colonial empire.

    Russia has ethnic minorities of a certain dimension (about 19% of the population). So does Roumania. What it doesn’t have are concentrated assemblages of them which have each of the following properties:

    1. Located on the external frontier
    2. Endowed with a total population and primary settlement characteristic of a successful and free-standing society: one where you don’t need to go abroad to float equity issues, trade in futures and options, land a position at a research university, or receive sophisticated medical care.

    3. Suitable as a political vehicle for a discrete ethnos.

    The Caucasus territories are on the frontier, as is Tuva. With an exception set have populations characteristic of English counties. The one which doesn’t is Daghestan, which is a multi-ethnic jumble. The only ones with populations you’d expect to see a small but functionally independent country to have (think New Zealand or Singapore or Norway) would be Bashkorotstan and Tatarstan. Both are completely enveloped by Russian territory and both are an ethnic jumble (though less so than Daghestan). No segment of the population has a majority in Bashkorotstan and the Tatar majority has just over 1/2 of Tatarstans population.

    You could complain that the Baltic states did not meet these criteria in 1990. The thing is, all three were more affluent than the Russian mean, all three had a coastline and ready opportunities to seek a patron in nearby countries which were better endowed (Finland and Poland to name two), and, with qualificaitons re Latvia, all three had a pre-eminent ethnos. You could complain Moldova did not meet the criteria either; the thing is, incorporating Moldova into Roumania is a ready solution.

    Local autonomy and voucher-funded community schools are the solution for Russia’s internal minorities, not more fragmentation of sovereignty.

  33. It’s ok to be Slav!!

    Interesting article. More grievance politics, around the world.

  34. {Why were there Russians, who are eastern European Slavs, in Central Asia at all?}

    Why are Anglo-Saxons, or more specifically “English speaking peoples”, as Churchill called them, who are from the British Isles, in: Canada, America, Australia, New Zealand?

    Pretty much the same reason.

    Except in the case of Imperial Russia, it expanded – principally Eastward and Southward – from its origins as Kievan Rus’, The Grand Duchy of Muscovy, etc in response to continuous invasions and raids from those parts. To put a stop to endless invasions from lawless lands.

    For example, Imperial Russia took Crimea, because Tatars.Turks from East Asia who had established a Khanate there kept raiding Russians lands and abducting Slavs to be sold as slaves. Over centuries an estimated couple of million Slavs were abducted by savage Tatar nomads and sold into slavery. Finally, Russians had had enough and had become powerful enough to clear out the brigands from Crimea and annex to the Russian Empire.

    And everybody lived happily ever after.

  35. Anatoly,

    Thank you for the map. At times, I’m confused about where the “stans” are, although I take it for granted they are in the middle of nowhere. From Wiki, I understand that Kyrgyzstan is mountainous, the “Switzerland of Central Asia” with a population of 5.7 million … similar to that of Wisconsin.

    From the map, it looks like Kyrgyzstan will be a whistle-stop on the Chinese “One Belt”, the new Silk Road en route to Iran and Turkey and from there possibly on to Southern Europe. From a geopolitical perspective, it appears inevitable that China will be the major influence in Kyrgyzstan as part of the Chinese “near abroad”.

    This should not bother the Russians. The days are over for Russia pressing south across the Asian wastelands in the hope of eventually reaching a warm water port on the Arabian Sea. Russia’s future will more likely involve controlling the input points for “One Belt” rail transit en route from China to Europe via a more northerly route through Kazakhstan. This will also lessen the danger of ethnic and religious conflict in Russia to avoid the mess similar to what is brewing in Western Europe and North America with massive immigration from alien cultures and religions.

    As enlightened self-interest, Russia should let Kyrgyzstan and their Asian/Islamic “near abroad” go … good riddance.

  36. War for Blair Mountain says

    The US will cease to exist in a few years…three years to be exact=November 3 2020. I am quite certain that Putin and his advisors understand this very obvious point. Dead parrot sketch…..

    Dorothy:”Toto….I don’t think we are in Kansas anymore…..”

  37. This is probably just another anti-Russian narrative cooked up in Western capitals in an attempt to throw a monkey wrench in the process of Eurasian integration. Informed Kyrgyz know that their future prosperity is with Russia and China and the New Silk Road and not with the West.

  38. War for Blair Mountain says

    Russia should have enforced its borders in the parts of Central Asia where Christian Russians were numerous. But this could only be possible if the Native Born White Christian American Population showed a very deep interest in the Universe outside of NEGRO NFL WORSHIP…for then..I believe…the post-Cold War destabilization of Christian Russia’s periphery would not be tolerated, and both Hillary Clinton..Barack Obama…and..Donald Trump would all be indicted for War Crimes….

  39. It’s a shame P C Roberts doesn’t allow comments, which would drive readers to his postings.

    This one looks important:

    USA is collecting DNA from Russia, perhaps for the purpose of producing a Russia-specific biological weapon

  40. War for Blair Mountain says

    I gotta got this in:Why isn’t Caroline Orr..RWONK…married…..pregnant…with at least 4 Native Born White American Christian Children in tow…..and married to a Native Born White Christian Man?

    Caroline Orr seems to be working on her career as a professional Cat Lady who votes enthusiastically for the OLD FARTING HAIRY LESBIAN WAR CRIMINAL HILLARY CLINTON….and agitating for the thermonuclear mass murder…for this is the policy consequence of “PUTIN ATTACKED OUR DEMOCRACY!!!”…of Conservative Christian Russia’s Children…..

    Childless Cat Ladys as War Criminals…

  41. War for Blair Mountain says

    Because, Donald Trump….General Mattis…and General Kelly…and the Ukranian cockroach Sebastian Gorka…..are fucking WAR CRIMINALS….

  42. Grandpa Charlie says

    Interesting how ignorant I am — as a plain old American, i.e., White and here going back a little more than two centuries.

    Anyway, when I saw something about Kyrgyzstan, my automatic association was with gold, because you really need to know about Kyrgyzstan only because of the influence of that huge gold mine there on the price of gold — at least theoretically, although the price of gold seems not to be subject to rational analysis.

    So who knew there were people there, with history and all?

    And not one mention of ‘gold’ in the article or in the comments!

  43. Astuteobservor II says

    russia should just do it like the chinese and kick all NGOs out of russia.

  44. Beefcake the Mighty says


  45. This bullshit can be stopped in a matter of two days, simply by rounding up kyrgyz gastarbeiters and removing them from Russia(or even ovrag option if you know what I mean, nobody cares). Alas, it will never happen in the RF, it only ever opresses the founding stock.

  46. Why would Putin want those areas? Kazakhstan is a friend…

    I hope you don’t think the events of Ukraine have anything to do with ethnicity? It had to do with politics.

  47. There is no such as an informed Kyrgyz. If they do exist they know they are Kyrgyz and not Russian serfs.

    It’s not to say that they are anti-Russia or anything, just that they value their independence. Don’t know why you think the West have anything to do with what happens there. If anything I’d watch out for the Muslim world, especially the Turks.

  48. Perspective says

    Lot, it’s great to see you posting again. To partially answer your question, Russian TFR’s have generally been trending upward from 1.16 in 1999 to 1.762 in 2016. There was a slight dip from 2015 to 2016, most likely due to economic conditions. Fortunately, Putin at least appears to realize that demography is destiny:

    Vladimir Putin recently held a meeting about economic issues at the Kremlin in which national demographic policy were reported to be the main items on the agenda. He argues that “preserving our people and supporting child birth are among the greatest priorities for our work”. Here are some of the more interesting reported excerpts from the Russian president:

  49. In related news, Poland complains that Russia celebrates as holiday treacherous massacre of innocent Poles and builts its myth on Polish bones.

    On 7 November, the Polish soldiers withdrew from Moscow. Although the Commonwealth negotiated a safe passage, the Russian forces massacred half of the former Kremlin garrison forces as they left the fortress.[1]:564 Thus, the Russian army recaptured Moscow.

  50. massacre of innocent Poles

    These innocent poles were cannibals. Literally cannibals – they (while in siege) cut the Russian prisoners of war, salted the meat in barrels and eat it.

    The assertion that the November 4

    “Russia celebrates as holiday massacre”

    which happened on November 7 is the blatant chutzpah

  51. Cannibalism was SOP in European warfare of the time – read some contemporary reports from the Thirty Years War, Northern War, Cromwell’s war in Ireland and more. 17th century Europe was like real life zombie apocalypse.

    Józef Budziło, the Polish officer, who was in the besieged Moscow Kremlin, described it in detail. Soldiers killed each other to eat. Lieutenant of Polish infantry, Truskowski, ate 2 his sons. Some haiduk (the Polish infantryman) ate his son too. Another haiduk ate his mother. Some comrade of Polish cavalry ate his servant…
    Budziło described also some ‘tribunal’, where the rotamaster Lenicki, had to pass judgement, who could eat died soldier from his infantry unit. Either fellows from the same unit or some relative of died soldier, who was from another unit.

    Cannibalism was seen at the time as act of desperation, more shocking to the contemporaries was that Poles threatened to destroy the cathedral, holy icons and relics of saints to force Russians to promise them safe passage.