Repression, Anpassung, Neuorientierung
How did Islam survive in the Soviet Union, and how did it develop since 1991? In four case studies and four longitudinal surveys, senior specialists from the area and two German scholars discuss the transformations of Islam in Tatarstan, Azerbaijan, Daghestan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
Several chapters analyze the Bolsheviks’ attack on Islam since the 1920s. Altay Göyüsov and Il’nur Minnullin demonstrate how the Soviets first attempted to draw some groups of Muslim scholars and intellectuals to their side, in Azerbaijan and Tatarstan, respectively. In the early 1930s collectivization and outright state terror made a nearly complete end to the Islamic infrastructure, including mosques and pious foundations, Muslim village courts (as shown by Vladimir Bobrovnikov for Daghestan), Islamic educational institutions (as documented by Aširbek Muminov for Uzbekistan), as well as the Muslim press (analyzed by Dilyara Usmanova for Tatarstan); also Sufi brotherhoods became a main target of violent repression (Šamil‘ Šixaliev, for Daghestan). Repression was followed by the establishment of a modus vivendi between state and religion in the post-war period (Muminov, Bobrovnikov, Šixaliev), and by the instrumentalization of religion for patriotic purposes in the post-Soviet Caucasus and Central Asia (Christine Hunner-Kreisel, Manja Stephan, both based on fieldwork). By the early 2000s Islam was almost everywhere back under full state control; the leading role of the state for defining „good“ and „bad“ Islam is largely taken for granted.
While similar forms of state pressure in all regions thus allow us to draw an overall picture of how Islamic traditions were repressed and reanimated, the „archival revolution“ of the early 1990s provides fascinating insights into the specific developments in the individual regions, and into the adaptation strategies of the Muslim scholars and intellectuals on the spot. Still, the Soviet heritage is still very palpable; also the attempts to leapfrog the Soviet period and to link up again with the individual local Islamic traditions from before 1917, and even the negation of the Soviet experience in the form of embracing Islamic trends from abroad, are often still couched in largely Soviet mental frameworks.