First, the Day of the History and Memory of the Ancestors is established in memory of the uprising against the Russian Empire, which began in 1916, when the country participated in the First World War. Secondly, for Kyrgyzstan, oddly enough, November 7 is a much more symbolic day than for Russia. After all, it was thanks to the October Revolution that Kyrgyzstan gained its statehood - first as autonomy, then as a union republic, and now as a sovereign country.
The famous 1916 uprising of the year broke out in Central Asia due to a number of factors. The formal reason for the uprising was the decision of the tsarist government to mobilize the native population to carry out rear works in the front line. Prior to this, the overwhelming majority of Central Asian residents were not involved in military service in the Russian army. Naturally, this decision caused a storm of discontent among the residents of Turkestan, who were not going to go to distant lands for hard work, abandoning their own families, land and farming.
Do not forget about the social background. Large plots of land in Central Asia were allocated to Russian settlers and Cossacks, which also caused discontent among local residents. Between the Cossacks and the settlers on the one hand, the native population on the other has always existed hidden tension. But until Russia entered the war, the relative order was maintained by the impressive forces of the Cossacks and military units. Since the beginning of the war, most of the Cossacks were sent from Central Asia to the front, which reduced the level of security in the region. Russian villages and Cossack villages remained virtually without a male population, which immediately increased their vulnerability to criminal attacks from the side of insurgents, and just criminals.
Protest sentiments were skillfully fueled by part of the local elite — feudal lords and clergy. It is not a secret that many representatives of the Turkestan elite, formally demonstrating their loyalty to the Russian authorities, in fact secretly hated Russia and dreamed of returning to the times that preceded the Russian conquest of Central Asia. Religious fundamentalist sentiments were also widespread, especially among the Sarts (sedentary Uzbeks and Tajiks). Plus, we should not forget that by the year of 1916, the Russian Empire was firmly bogged down in the First World War, and Turkish agents worked hard in Central Asia.
It was the guides of Turkish influence that promoted the spread of pan-Turkic and anti-Russian sentiments among the Central Asian elite, and that, in turn, transmitted it to the masses. Already in 1914, proclamations began to spread in Central Asia that the sultan of the Ottoman Empire, who bore the title of Caliph of Muslims, announced a jihad to the Entente and Russia, including all Orthodox believers to join it. In neighboring East Turkestan (Xinjiang Province of China), Germanic and Turkish agents acted who established secret deliveries. weapons through the poorly protected due to the landscape of the area and the length of the Russian-Chinese border. Preparations for the uprising was under way.
Unrest began on July 4, 1916, in Khojent, and by August, 1916, overwhelmed most of Turkestan, including the Seven Rivers. On the territory of modern Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as in the Fergana Valley, the uprising reached its greatest scope. The victims of the rebels were, first of all, civilians - settlers, Cossack families. Russian villages, Cossack villages and farms were cut with incredible cruelty. Today, Kazakh and Kyrgyz politicians like to argue that the tsarist government very harshly suppressed the national liberation uprising in the region, forgetting about the atrocities committed by the rebels against the civilian population. What was the fault of Russian women, children, old people? They did not take decisions on the mobilization of the native population, did not call on the natives for front-line work. But they paid with their lives for the policies of the tsarist government. The rebels did not spare the civilian population - they killed, raped, robbed, burned houses. Many books and articles have been written about how the “heroes” of the national-liberation movement dealt with the peaceful Russian population, so it’s not worth going into a more detailed description. It was the peaceful Russian population that took the brunt of the rebels, and not the regular troops, who had not yet arrived in time. As soon as the Russian troops entered Turkestan, the uprising was quickly suppressed. Its individual foci flared up to the 1917 year, but on a much smaller scale.
Today, when in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, considered the closest allies and partners of Russia in Central Asia, are honoring the memory of the participants in the uprising against Russia, this causes confusion only at first glance. In fact, this is a completely logical continuation of those installations that were formed during the Soviet era. Already in the 1920-ies the uprising in Turkestan was proclaimed national liberation, while the atrocities against the local Russian and Cossack population in the Soviet literature are not covered. In Soviet times, any uprisings and speeches against the Russian Empire were considered fair, and the state itself was called nothing other than the “prison of nations.” The interests and destinies of the Russian and Cossack population were preferred not to be remembered. Sadly, the same paradigm has been preserved in post-Soviet Russia.
This is not surprising, since the post-Soviet Russian state was headed either by representatives of the same party nomenklatura, or the younger cadres already educated by them. They view Russia primarily as a continuation of the Soviet Union, respectively, and the Soviet national policy meets with their understanding and approval. Hence the attitude to the Russian population outside of Russia itself. If Hungary immediately defended the Hungarians living in Transcarpathia and was ready to go against the entire European Union, supporting the Kiev regime, for thirty years Russia is limited to only protest notes against Latvia, where the Russian population is even deprived of citizenship status in violation of international law only on the basis of the fact of nationality.
In turn, the leadership of Kyrgyzstan, like other post-Soviet states of Central Asia, needs to strengthen its national identity. To accomplish this task, it is necessary to create and implant in the public consciousness numerous national myths and symbols. Considering that the economic situation in the republics of Central Asia leaves much to be desired, the level of corruption is very high, religious-fundamentalist ideas are spreading, creating an image of the enemy remains an ideal way to construct and strengthen national identity and ensure the so-called national unity. The entire identity of all post-Soviet states is built on the opposition of Russia to itself. National history is presented as the history of the endless resistance of the freedom-loving peoples of the Russian aggression, and then to the Russian (and Soviet) oppression. Therefore, for more than twenty years, numerous anti-Russian attacks of a very different nature have taken place - from the introduction of the status of “non-citizens” in Latvia to the struggle with monuments, the transition from Cyrillic to Latin and so on. In addition, the elites of the post-Soviet republics are counting on some support from the United States and the West, who are interested in the final weakening of Russian positions in the post-Soviet space.
The republics of Central Asia themselves are now maneuvering between Russia, the West, and China, while at the same time establishing links with Turkey and other Islamic countries. The main problem is the complete economic fiasco of almost all republics except Kazakhstan. But it is intelligible to explain to the population why it lives in poverty, and, moreover, to try to rectify the situation, having adjusted the economy, the authorities of the republics are not able to. Therefore, it is much easier for them to continue to cultivate the image of an external enemy in the face of the “wrong historical Russia” that conquered and conquered highly cultured and politically stable societies and the state of Turkestan in the XVIII-XIX centuries. Stressing the friendly disposition towards Russia of today, the authorities of the post-Soviet republics cannot refrain from once again stabbing historical Russia (including the Soviet Union).
At the same time, the majority of the post-Soviet states cannot refuse to cooperate with Russia. For example, from the same Kyrgyzstan a huge number of men and women left for work in Russia. Citizens of this and other republics are in Russia for years, earn money here, send them back to their homeland, thereby solving the socio-economic problems of their countries that are not able to solve the elite. A schizophrenic situation is created when in the republics of Central Asia they are demonstratively switching to the Latin alphabet, they minimize the study of the Russian language in schools, but at the same time millions of labor migrants go to Russia and earn money in Russia. Would knowledge of the Russian language and culture really harm them to make money in Russia?
The second major contradiction is the attitude to the Soviet power. For the post-Soviet states, the Soviet Union is a continuation of the Russian empire, respectively, the USSR’s policy is also evaluated negatively. But after all, the statehood of the same republics of Central Asia was created precisely because of the October Revolution and the national policy of the Soviet Union. The process of creating nations and national republics in many regions of Central Asia was stimulated "from above" by the Soviet authorities. Republican leaders who grew up and were raised in Soviet times cannot but know this. But the political situation requires them to abandon all Russian, Russian, and hence the Soviet. From the same series - the demolition of monuments of the Soviet era in the Baltic States and Ukraine.
By the way, in the decree of the President of Kyrgyzstan, in addition to renaming 7 in November, it also contains a recommendation to the country's parliament to consider renaming Pick Lenin to Manas Peak. How is this better than the demonstrative demolition of monuments to Lenin in Ukraine after Euromaidan? After all, it was Lenin who laid the prerequisites for modern Kyrgyz statehood. Already in the year of Lenin's death from the southern part of the Dzhetysu and north-eastern parts of the Fergana region of the former Turkestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, the Kara-Kyrgyz Autonomous Region was created, in 1925, renamed the Kyrgyz Autonomous Region of the RSFSR. Subsequently, the Kyrgyz Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was created on its basis, on the basis of which, in turn, the Kyrgyz SSR appeared in 1936, already in the status of a union republic.
Of course, in Russia itself there are many supporters of the renaming of cities, streets, squares, named after Soviet party leaders. We will not now go into political discussions on this issue. The fact is that “deideologization” in Russia and in the post-Soviet republics has a completely different nature. If in Russia the rejection of some Soviet names is based on the rejection of the communist ideology, in the post-Soviet republics the main reason for this refusal is the desire to get rid of any Russian presence. Here Lenin is not Vladimir Ilyich, but Russia.
All of these processes, the Russian leadership looks very neutral. Not so long ago, in June 2017, the finance ministers of Russia and Kyrgyzstan signed a document stipulating the cancellation of loan debts in the amount of $ 240 million to Bishkek. This is a huge amount of money that could well be in demand in Russia. But Russia went to the meeting of the Central Asian Republic, given its difficult economic and social situation. And this is not the first debt relief. Over the past eleven years, Russia has written off more than 703 million dollars of external debt to Kyrgyzstan. As you can see, the attitude of these broad gestures does not get better. The East is a delicate matter, and such “gifts” can be understood here as a manifestation of weakness.