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Uzbek SSR

Page history last edited by Michael 2 years, 6 months ago

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Geography

 

It's a dry, landlocked province of the Soviet Union; none of its rivers lead to the sea. It has an area of 92,814 square miles. The Kyzyl Kum desert makes up 80% of the terrain, along with high mountains in the southeast for another 10%. Earthquakes are common. Essentially no rain falls between July and September.

 

Population and Ethnicity

 

Prior to the Revolution, this area was all part of the (much-larger) Turkmenistan province of the Russian Empire. It was a predominantly-Turkic, Islamic area; but many ethnic Russians have been settled in the urban areas. Russians who aren't involved in the military or government are often exiles due to subversive behavior. The total population was 4,447,600 persons as of 1926, the vast majority of whom are Muslims.

 

The locals speak Uzbek (currently written in the Latin script, but was in Arabic script up until 1928), a Turkic language. A Turkish speaker and an Uzbek speaker could probably understand each other, with difficulty. Up until about 1933, the Soviet Union encouraged schools of the Central Asian republics to teach in the local languages; but just recently a vigorous program to replace and suppress local languages has begun. Adult literacy is increasing, but is certainly still below 75%.

 

Local foods usually include breads or noodles; rice pilaf is typical.

 

Cities

 

The capital and largest city, Tashkent, has about 200,000 residents; 20% of them are ethnic Russians. There's a 16-mile long medieval wall around the city, but by now there are also many paved streets, electric trolleys, and an airfield. In fact, the Soviet government has been busily pulling down old, historic buildings.

 

The second-largest city is Samarkand (population about 70,000), noted for its central position on the Silk Road between China and the West, and for being an Islamic center for scholarly study. Alexander the Great conquered the city, known as Marakanda, in 332 BC. In the 14th century it became the capital of the empire of Tamerlane and is the site of his mausoleum (the Gur-e Amir). "In 1897 the population numbered 40,000 in the native city, and 15,000 in the new Russian town, inclusive of the military (80% Russians). The total population was 58,194 in 1900, and of these only 23,194 were women." In the early 18th Century it had almost no inhabitants, and was controlled by the Chinese Empire. From 1911:   "The bazaars of Samarkand are more animated and kept with much greater cleanliness than those of Tashkent and Namangan. The trade is very brisk, the chief items being cotton, silk, wheat and rice, horses, asses, fruits and cutlery. Wheat, rice and silk are exported chiefly to Bokhara; cotton to Russia, via Tashkent. Silk wares and excellent fruits are imported from Bokhara, and rock-salt from Hissar."

 

"Of the Graeco-Armenian library said to have been brought to Samarkand by Tamerlane no traces have been discovered, and Vambery regards the legend as invented by the Armenians."

 

Termez (pop. about 10,000) is an important port city, on the Amu Darya river.

 

Transport

 

There are Aeroflot flights from Tashkent every couple of days, both to the Tuzbek SSR and towards more important locations; that city has the only established airfield (with fuel, hangars, etc.). A rail line runs from Tashkent into the Soviet Union, and further outwards towards Frunze. Another line is being built towards Osh in the Kirgiz ASSR.

 

Government

 

Since 1925, Fayzulla Khodzhayev has been chairman of the Council of People's Commissars.

 

Military

 

The Uzbek SSR is part of the Central Asian Military District, with headquarters in Tashkent; the district covers the Turkmen, Uzbek, Tadjik, Kigiz and Kazakh ASSRs. Component Red Army units include 3 divisions of cavalry, a motorized division of armored cars and truck-mounted infantry, and the 58th Rifle Corps (three mountain rifle divisions - the 68th, 83rd at Ashkabad, and 194th up to 1935) -- these are spread all over the military district, of course. There are a couple of air regiments which move around between Kharkov, Frunze, Tashkent and Stalinabad; their aircraft include Polikarpov R-5 reconnaissance bombers, ANT-9 transports, and Polikarpov Po-2 utility aircraft. Russian military aircraft of this period do not include oxygen equipment; if high-altitude flights must be made, oxygen bottles attached with surgical tubing to pipe-stems are used as a primitive system.

 

There are military garrisons at Tashkent, ...

 

Three regiments (the 14th, 15th, and 66th; each with 1500 men) of NKVD (so-called since 1934) troops guard the borders of the four ASSRs, internal and external; and operate some forced-labor camps at gold mines, lumber camps, hydroelectric dam projects, etc.. A couple of NKVD armored rail battalions guard the rail lines.

 

I'll fill out the details later ... Michael

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