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Empire and Belonging in the Eurasian Borderlands

Empire and Belonging in the Eurasian Borderlands

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Empire and Belonging in the Eurasian Borderlands

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Apr 15, 2019


Empire and Belonging in the Eurasian Borderlands engages with the evolving historiography around the concept of belonging in the Russian and Ottoman empires. The contributors to this book argue that the popular notion that empires do not care about belonging is simplistic and wrong.

Chapters address numerous and varied dimensions of belonging in multiethnic territories of the Ottoman Empire, Imperial Russia, and the Soviet Union, from the mid-nineteenth to the late twentieth centuries. They illustrate both the mutability and the durability of imperial belonging in Eurasian borderlands.

Contributors to this volume pay attention to state authorities but also to the voices and experiences of teachers, linguists, humanitarian officials, refugees, deportees, soldiers, nomads, and those left behind. Through those voices the authors interrogate the mutual shaping of empire and nation, noting the persistence and frequency of coercive measures that imposed belonging or denied it to specific populations deemed inconvenient or incapable of fitting in. The collective conclusion that editors Krista A. Goff and Lewis H. Siegelbaum provide is that nations must take ownership of their behaviors, irrespective of whether they emerged from disintegrating empires or enjoyed autonomy and power within them.

Apr 15, 2019

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Empire and Belonging in the Eurasian Borderlands - Cornell University Press




Ithaca and London



List of Illustrations


1. Making Minorities in the Eurasian Borderlands


2. Bloody Belonging

3. The Armenian Genocide of 1915

4. Do You Want Me to Exterminate All of Them or Just the Ones Who Oppose Us?

5. What Are They Doing? After All, We’re Not Germans


6. Developing a Soviet Armenian Nation

7. Reforming the Language of Our Nation

8. Speaking Soviet with an Armenian Accent


9. Making a Home for the Soviet People

10. Dismantling Georgia’s Spiritual Mission

11. New Borders, New Belongings in Central Asia






This volume on the production of affinities and antipathies within the empires and nations on either side of the Russian-Turkish border extending eastward into Central Asia originated as a conference to honor the work of Ronald Grigor Suny, the William H. Sewell Jr. Distinguished University Professor of History at the University of Michigan, emeritus professor of political science and history at the University of Chicago, and senior researcher at the National Research University—Higher School of Economics in St. Petersburg, Russia. The conference, held on October 7–8, 2016 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, brought together Ron’s students, his colleagues, and his friends who, in many cases, tended to be in all three categories. Suffused with love for the man who inspired the event, the conference focused on the serious topics of nationalism, revolution, and genocide, provoking discussions that were lively and occasionally heated.

But they did not necessarily cohere. In assuming editorial responsibilities, we recognized that the majority of the papers addressed—in one way or another—how supervening state authorities related to the different peoples inhabiting the Eurasian borderlands and how they related to each other or, in other words, what belonging meant in this part of the world in the modern era, and why and how it was inculcated in some circumstances and denied in others. To round out the collection, we recruited contributions from an additional five scholars whose work complemented this theme and asked Ron to write the conclusion. We suggested from one draft to the next that the authors familiarize themselves with one another’s contributions and the result, we are convinced, is a thought-provoking volume relevant to scholars of Eurasia and other regions.

We are indebted to the following people who either contributed papers to or served as discussants at Ronfest: Golfo Alexopoulos, Marc Baer, Stephen Bittner, David Brandenberger, Nicholas Breyfogle, Geoff Eley, Joshua First, Fatma Müge Göçek, Yoshiko Herrera and Helen Cho, Matthew Lenoe, Peter Linebaugh, Douglas Northrop, Susan Pattie, Joshua Sanborn, Alexander Semyonov, William Sewell, Anoush Suni, Kiril Tomoff, Erik van Ree, and Rwei-Ren Wu. We also are deeply grateful to Val Kivelson who came up with the idea for the conference, helped organize it, and raised funds for it as well as for the publication of this book; to the masterful cartographer Bill Nelson for constructing the two maps; to the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress for fellowships that allowed Krista to focus on completing this book; to the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Miami for supporting Krista’s leave at the Kennan Institute and Kluge Center; and to the Department of History at Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Miami for their generosity in helping to offset the cost of the book’s publication.



Figure 8.1. Handwritten letter from refugee boy reprinted in The Record of the Save the Children Fund

Figure 8.2. Diagram of women’s reproductive organs with new Soviet terms

Figure 9.1. Izvestiia, July 6, 1935

Figure 9.2. Soviet people in Pravda and Izvestiia, 1925–1991

Figure 9.3. Enemy of the People, class enemy, Soviet people, 1918–1953

Figure 10.1. Icon of Saint Ilia Chavchavadze brandishing the cross of Saint Nino

Figure 10.2. Georgian postage stamps (2002) commemorating the first European

Figure 10.3. Georgia—Europe started here

Figure 10.4. Medieval fresco of King Davit II, Gelati

Figure 10.5. King of kings ║ Giorgi son of Dimitri ║ Sword of the Messiah

Figures 10.6a and 10.6b. Two modern images of the hero-king Vakhtang Gorgasali


Map 1. Late Imperial Russian Central Asia

Map 2. Soviet South Caucasus—Republic of Turkey, late 1920s

Map 1. Late Imperial Russian Central Asia

Map 2. Soviet South Caucasus—Republic of Turkey, late 1920s


Belonging in the Eurasian Borderlands:

Interrogating Empire and Nation


Preoccupied with the question of belonging, imperial officials have relied on a variety of approaches to enforce their authority over subordinated peoples and territories, including assimilation and acculturation, rule through difference, delegation, and eradication. Valerie Kivelson and Ronald Suny interpret this challenge—ruling variegated populations—as a definitional component of empires.¹ At the same time, nations also often rule variegated populations and engage in imperial practices such as the physical destruction, deportation, and forced assimilation of peoples even while striving for national homogeneity.² What then are the differences between imperial and national ways of inculcating a sense of belonging and enforcing its limits?

The overlap in the management of differentiated populations raises another question: How does belonging function in a nation as compared with its function in an empire? This might seem like an odd question given the massive historiography devoted to demonstrating the differences between empires and nations.³ Empires according to standard definitions are about hierarchy, differentiation, and subordination;⁴ nations, meanwhile, are characterized by competing impulses of horizontality, standardization, and equality.⁵ The relationship between nations and empires is also frequently rendered as fraught. Whereas in nationalist discourse the nation is primordial and predates any empires that have attempted to suppress or rule it, scholars have emphasized the creation of nations within and sometimes thanks to empires as well as the role of nationalism in imperial destruction.⁶

This volume builds on debates about national and imperial frameworks of analysis in the Eurasian borderlands of the Russian/Ottoman empires and Soviet/Turkish states extending to the east and north into Central Asia and Tatarstan. It approaches this vast region as an indeterminate one, intertwined politically, ethno-culturally, demographically, and otherwise, rather than as a space divided by hard geopolitical borders. In so doing, it engages with an evolving historiography interested in the transnational networks and circularity of influence, governance, ideas, peoples, and economies among the Russian and Ottoman Empires. Much of this work focuses on Jadids and other elites, but it has also considered the experiences of Circassians, Crimean Tatars, and other Muslims who fled to the Ottoman Empire, and the butchers and bakers, craftsmen and students who traveled through Istanbul Sufi lodges while on the hajj to Mecca.⁷ Yet another literature focuses on the two world wars, shifting political borders and affiliations, and associated catastrophes (and their aftermaths) visited on the ethnically defined populations situated in these contested borderlands. Identified some years ago as bloodlands, these regions more recently and more capaciously have been termed a shatterzone of empires.⁸ Central authorities tend to constitute the main historical agents in such works, although lower level intermediaries, fighting forces, and interethnic jostling receive some attention as well.⁹

Not ignoring imperial and state authorities, the contributors to our book also turn their attention to the voices and experiences of teachers, linguists, humanitarian officials, refugees, deportees, soldiers, nomads, and those left behind when others are taken away, pushed out, or killed in the multiethnic, bounded—and yet entangled—political spaces of the Russian and Ottoman Empires from the late nineteenth century through World War I, and thereafter, the Soviet Union up through its dissolution. This radical expansion of historical personae demonstrates how a broad range of antipathies and affiliations among mutually constituted peoples were enacted (often in circumstances of heightened insecurity and even existential threat). By attending to these actors, by taking seriously their subjectivities, our authors shed new light on the emotional component of imperial and national projects. These two large Eurasian formations—and their successor states—were in touch with one another for so long and in such complicated and significant ways that how they structured relationships with their constituent peoples produced examples or models that the other was bound to consider, adopt, or otherwise take into account. Most obviously, state officials worried about losing control over subjugated territories and populations especially when the other side appeared to be a better fit or offer a better deal. Belonging thus emerges as a complicated process—not simply mandated or imposed but also inculcated, in certain circumstances negotiated, and in others, flatly denied.

While focused on the Eurasian region, this volume offers comparisons with and insights into other parts of the world where national and imperial belongings were generated and negated. Representations of conquered peoples and the wars that subordinated them had their individual particularities, but, as Ian Campbell indicates in his contribution, the way Russians depicted Tekke Turkmen bore striking similarities with how defeated Native Americans, Algerians, and the inhabitants of the northwestern frontier of British India were mythologized by U.S., French, and British imperialists. Beyond conquest, the forced sedentarization and dispossession of the conquered Kirgiz discussed by Matthew Payne in some ways resembled processes and violence imposed, for example, on Plains Indians. As Payne shows, Russian peasant colonists’ attitudes toward Kirgiz also mimicked the blatant racism of other white settler communities. The most extensive comparisons in our volume concern the Armenian Genocide, the subject of Norman Naimark’s essay. Each instance of genocide has had its specificities, its long and short histories. Naimark analyzes the Armenian Genocide as a prototype that can help us understand commonalities across genocides and ultimately further attempts to anticipate and interdict them.

In this volume we speak of borderlands rather than borders not only to highlight the frequent shifts in the drawing of lines by respective imperial and state authorities, but to emphasize the ways that ethnic, national, and imperial identities formed and reformed in relation to each other. Geographic, topographic, and economic circumstances—mountains and valleys, steppe grasslands, proximity to or remoteness from maritime and land-based commercial routes—also helped shaped these identities. Borderlands or, as Charles Maier recently noted, frontiers at the edge of an expanding empire were thus zonal, not linear—more regions of cultural and ethnic osmosis than firm barriers.¹⁰

Empire is the most contentious term in our title, particularly in relation to the Soviet Union. The preponderance of specialists now view the Soviet Union as having comprised an empire, an anti-imperialist state that nonetheless exhibited imperial qualities. In earlier iterations, the Soviet Union was a prison filled with primordial nations that would one day realize their destiny as independent nation-states. It was an empire dominated by Russians who perpetuated old imperial hierachies, exposing the emptiness and artificiality of Soviet nationhood and brotherly love.¹¹ In 1993, Ronald Suny intervened in this literature to recast the USSR in a different role. To Suny, the Soviet Union was still an empire, but it was one that had fostered nations and in so doing brought about its own demise.¹² In a Soviet Union where empire and nation co-existed and mutually reinforced one another for so long, Mikhail Gorbachev’s radical attempt to redefine Soviet politics and society snapped the ties that bound Soviet nations to the larger project.

Not all have seen it this way.¹³ In relation to Soviet Central Asia, scholars have debated not only the nature of imperial rule, but whether the category of empire is at all applicable. As Adeeb Khalid writes, Colonialism indeed lies at the center of debate in the post-Soviet historiography of Central Asia.¹⁴ In this region, tsarist rule came late and was characterized by significant differentiation between metropole and periphery. In what was then known as Turkestan, it was further marked by a colonial form of imperialism more similar in many ways to western overseas colonies than to the rest of the empire.¹⁵ Several scholars have extended colonial (and postcolonial) theorizing to the Soviet era.¹⁶ In his study of Soviet unveiling campaigns in Uzbekistan, for example, Douglas Northrop places early Soviet Central Asia in conversation with European overseas colonialism. He identifies a paradox in the unveiling campaign; Soviet authorities expressed colonial power and applied cultural coercion to reinscribe colonial differences, while simultaneously battling the legacy of tsarist colonialism. Northrop further juxtaposes Soviet authorities’ integrative and civilizing policies with the differentiated approach of British officials in India.¹⁷ Adeeb Khalid, meanwhile, has been more skeptical about the saliency of empire and colonialism as categories of analysis in early Soviet Central Asia. He has argued that the USSR embodied a different kind of modern polity, the activist, interventionist, mobilizational state that seeks to sculpt its citizenry in an ideal image. To Khalid, Soviet officials’ modernizing cultural agenda was more akin to the Republic of Turkey than to British India.¹⁸

Others similarly suggest that the Turkish comparison is key for understanding the character of nationhood and empire in the Soviet context. Adrienne Edgar, for example, draws parallels with Kemalist Turkey—but also Iran and Afghanistan—in the early Soviet design and enactment of emancipation politics in Central Asia. She finds that, at least in this realm, the Soviet authorities aimed to create a modern, homogeneous, and mobilized population and acted as representatives of a nation-state rather than a colonial empire. But, as with Northrop, she leaves room for thinking about the Soviet Union as an empire in broad terms and, more specifically, as a colonial empire—with Central Asia more akin to European colonies in the Middle East and North Africa—when it comes to the dynamic that developed in reaction to this emancipatory agenda.¹⁹ Ultimately, Edgar concludes that the Soviet Union was neither an empire nor a unitary state but had features of both.²⁰ This ambivalent approach to Soviet colonialism remains the norm in the field, according to Moritz Florin. While he proposes that the foreignness of the Soviet system to the indigenous majority most clearly links it to colonial paradigms, he also concludes that recent scholarship, remind[s] us of the futility of any attempt to accept or deny unequivocally the colonial nature of Soviet rule in Central Asia.²¹

Our contributors’ attention to Anatolia, the Caucasus, Tatarstan, and Central Asia enables us to include an additional dimension of belonging and its contestation, namely, how Europe figured not just as a physical presence but as an imagined one. The idea of Europe provided a standard by which people judged their own and others’ behavior. As imperial expansion came to define the European civilizational world, elites on the edge of that sphere—in both the Ottoman and Russian Empires—considered their imperial pursuits to be qualifying components of their Europeanness. This influence extended into multiple sociocultural and political spheres as European standards and practices permeated both the arts and sciences (including military science as practiced either on another European country or indigenous peoples far from Europe). Even when nationalist-tinged reactions or later Soviet claims of superiority complicated identification with Europe, the implicit standard remained European for many people.

Large state formations generally encompass smaller delineations of peoples and territories defined in religious, national, ethnic, geographic, class, or other terms, producing many possibilities for belonging. Some of these can be mutually reinforcing, some antagonistic, and some generative of new affinities. What made belongings in the Eurasian borderlands of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries even more complicated were the revolutions that disrupted old loyalties and produced new ones, often creating fateful divisions among families and generations. Working both sides of the revolutionary divide, several chapters in this book track corresponding shifts in affinities. In the Soviet context, for example, class functioned as a newly ascribed—and in the case of the working class, privileged—identification that could enable people to escape from anterior and less advantageous associations. Belongings and exclusions multiplied even further as collectivities developed their own internal divisions, but also built connections across categories and scales. Once considered part of the Eastern Question and subjected to Europeans’ Orientalist gaze, the peoples on either side of the Russian/Soviet and Ottoman/Turkish borders are shown to have had their own longings and identifications. Their capacity to push back against but also selectively absorb imperial and national initiatives is part of what makes them complicated subjects of belonging.

It turns out that in compiling a collection of essays about belonging in Eurasia, we have produced a book that privileges its negative aspects and consequences. Although unintentional, this finding perhaps should not be surprising. That minority populations and categories were produced, suppressed, and excised is well-known. Further, the so-called dark side of empires and nations has attracted increasing attention in recent years. What this book emphasizes are the ways that belongings were mutable, durable, and shaped across revolutionary divides, geopolitical borders, and political configurations. Careful not to assume an a priori dichotomy, the authors interrogate the mutual shaping of empire and nation, indeed, the ways one inscribed itself in the other. They note the persistence and frequency of coercive measures that imposed belonging or denied it to populations deemed inconvenient or incapable of fitting in. To label such techniques imperial even when enacted in the national context draws attention to overlapping features of these phenomena, but at the same time can obscure one of the most essential characteristics of nations and nationhood. Nations must take ownership of their own behaviors, irrespective of whether they emerged from disintegrating empires or enjoyed autonomy and power within them.

The prominence of violence (or at least conflict) in relation to how these empires and nations handled matters of belonging reflects the volume’s temporal parameters—from the late 1870s to the early 1990s. This period starts well before Eric Hobsbawm’s short twentieth century, including as it does, predatory claims to Ottoman lands and revolutionary upheaval. Had we included essays on earlier eras, they undoubtedly would have stressed greater autonomy among borderland inhabitants, looser borders, and different ways of conceptualizing and managing ethno-confessional differences in those spaces. As for the terminal date, it remains to be seen what will happen to the nation-state option that emerged from the Soviet Union’s breakup given persistent neo-imperial predation and rival ethno-national territorial claims.

Turning to the chapters themselves, part of the process of producing minorities, as Janet Klein underscores in chapter 1, was to conceptualize difference in new ways. Diversity of ethnicity, language, and religion, accommodated in earlier centuries by the granting (or acceptance) of autonomous institutions, did not entail formalization of minority status. That came fatefully in the nineteenth century with a more modern conception of the state and international relations. We have placed Klein’s chapter first because it prefigures in so many ways the double-sidedness of imperial and national belongings analyzed in virtually all the other chapters. Klein, for instance, follows Eric Weitz in tracing how the discourse of minorities lent itself to intricate and contradictory connections between minority protection and forced deportation, becoming, as Weitz puts it, two sides of the same coin … an entirely new way of conceiving of politics focused on discrete populations and the ideal of national homogeneity under the state.²² Before violence could be done to a people, they had to be identified as such and their loyalties questioned. Klein defines this as minoritization. The protections offered and sought from abroad could serve, especially in times of war, to increase antipathy toward now-suspect peoples.

Klein’s chapter is animated by a desire for historians to be more conscious of the historicity of the terms they use. As she points out, both the Ottoman and Russian Empires had their own specificities in how they came to identify and administer constituent peoples as minorities, but both empires’ population politics were driven by greater anxiety about whether those peoples belonged. The growing concern on the part of Russian authorities with loyalty and threat, and sorting out which groups could ultimately be incorporated (i.e., assimilated) into the Russian nation-in-the-making had its parallel among the Young Turks. As Russian and Turkish nationalisms intensified along with international tensions, so did the markedness of the marked citizens, a term of Gyanendra Pandey’s invention that Klein recommends for adoption in these contexts. Klein concludes by noting that the new states erected on the ruins of these empires defined themselves—and therefore their constituent elements—differently: the Soviet Union’s state of nations versus Republican Turkey’s nation-state. Yet minoritization persisted in both cases with nontitular peoples pressured, on pain of assimilation, expulsion, or other forms of violence to accommodate to the processes of national consolidation via standardization and mythmaking.

The chapters in part 1 build on Klein’s theorizing of minoritization by tackling the negation of belonging, the ways in which a variety of actors—national and imperial officials, military officers and soldiers, and colonizing settlers—have decided that others do not belong to their nation, empire, republic, or territory and enacted these exclusionary visions through mass killing, genocide, terror, erasure, and forced deportation. Although these acts of violence and excision are distinguished by their extremity, they do not stand alone but rather exist in a continuum of other practices. As the chapters in this section show, groups, identifications, and categories have been constructed, counted, reified, and ascribed not only to build communities and belongings but also to determine who is formally and informally excluded from those collectivities and through those exclusions further define and sustain the in group. The stories that perpetrators tell are an integral part of the processes of elimination and erasure. Targeted peoples are conceptualized as dangerous and incompatible with the nation or the empire, and very often conflated with enemy others at the same time that they are constructed as enemies themselves. And, contrary to some expectations or stereotypes of the Eurasian region and its various political formations, the impetus for and enactment of elimination has been multinodal rather than emanating only from the center.²³ This is the case not only for the implementation of policy but for the generation of those policies and practices.

Ian W. Campbell (chapter 2) first turns our attention to the conquest of the Tekke Turkmen and the seizure of their lands by the Russian Empire in the late nineteenth century. Placing Tekkes in a comparative global context, Campbell theorizes the discourses that enabled their conquest and brutalization by Russian soldiers and, more passively, the Russian public. Tekkes were conceptualized as a dangerous, potentially treasonous borderland force whose superhuman strength and indifference to normal human suffering demanded that the Russians be bold and decisive in their attack. Yet this was not a genocidal offensive wherein the Russians sought to eliminate Tekke Turkmen in whole, or even in part, as a people. Rather, they sought to punish rather than exterminate, to shape events in a direction conducive to maintaining unequal multiethnic rule on the borderlands.

Indeed, there was a place reserved in the empire for Tekkes who submitted and accepted the mercy descended to them from the tsar and his agents. Those who did not belong were the ones whose elimination was required to teach the remaining Tekke this lesson, and those who refused to accept the tsar’s grace by submitting to the empire. This enactment of violence helped the empire to expand, but it was also an act of self-definition. After a series of military setbacks, Russian tsarist officers and others hoped that this victory over Asiatics would fortify the Russian Empire’s place in European civilization.

Whereas Campbell explores the physical and conceptual violence of the Tekkes’ conquest and mass murder, Norman M. Naimark (chapter 3) and Matthew J. Payne (chapter 4) tackle that practice of excision that aspires to or results in the elimination of a people through mass killing and other practices—genocide. The applicability of this specific crime to Russian and Soviet history is open to debate. In the early modern and imperial periods, various peoples experienced massacres; the destruction of nomadic, mountain, and other lifestyles and economies incompatible with imperial prerogatives; pogroms; forced resettlements and expulsions; ethnic cleansing; and other forms of violence. Yet the crime of genocide is rarely applied to these periods of Russian history, and many books and articles where you would expect to see a discussion or conceptualization of genocide or genocidal violence remain awkwardly silent on the matter.²⁴ Robert Geraci, one of the few scholars who takes on this question, identifies genocidal ideas and fantasies in imperial Russia, but also notes that genocidal impulses or fantasies are certainly not tantamount to crimes. Were there also cases of genocidal violence and erasure in this political space?²⁵ He locates the most convincing case for genocide in the Jewish experience, finding that it would seem to constitute genocide according to [Raphael] Lemkin’s definition.²⁶

The question of genocide in the Soviet context has played out more contentiously. On the one side are those who adopt a more capacious definition of genocide dependent on Lemkin’s original vision, and, on the other, those who believe that genocide is a specific legal crime defined by rigorous parameters. In the latter’s view, ethnic cleansing, war crimes, massacres, political purges, and other forms of mass killing and cultural destruction are distinct crimes that do not need the label of genocide in order to be condemned. In his book on the Armenian Genocide, for example, Ronald Suny argues that genocide might more accurately be referred to as ‘ethnocide’ because Genocide is not the murder of people but the murder of a people.²⁷ The 1932–33 famine in Ukraine during collectivization has sparked perhaps the most developed arguments in this debate, but viewing this case in conjunction with simultaneous famines in the Volga region, North Caucasus, and Kazakhstan (where a greater proportion of the population died) complicates the argument that Soviet government actions resulted in or were crafted to achieve the extermination of the Ukrainian people as a people.²⁸

Naimark and Payne analyze incidents of mass killing carried out in neighboring Eurasian empires—Ottoman and Russian—that would soon be replaced by the modern Turkish state and Soviet Union. World War I occupies a particular role here as it harbored an explosive quality that helped to destroy imperial forms of belonging and radicalize relationships and behaviors that culminated in mass murder in the broader region. As Naimark shows, the Armenian Genocide is a good example of how historical events extend beyond imperially and nationally bounded narratives in this region. Russia certainly played a role in this story as the empire positioned itself as a political, conceptual, and military threat to Ottoman sovereignty in the eastern borderlands. The Ottoman Armenians’ close proximity to the Russian Empire (including Russian Armenians), as well as Russian incursions into the region and Ottoman Armenians’ appeals to the international community, increased the threat perception among Ottoman authorities and contributed to the gradual construction of the Armenian people as an ungrateful and disloyal enemy other in the Ottoman Empire. The violence of the genocide also extended into the Russian Caucasus as the mass flow of Armenian refugees and, later, Russian imperial collapse disrupted the region’s already sensitive demographic, political, and social balance.

In chapter 3, Naimark is preoccupied with one of the most disturbing and key aspects of mass murder: What accounts for the devolution into extreme—and often intimate—violence?²⁹ He sees this as a question of bloodlust, which he explains as the welling up of murderous behavior on the part of the perpetrators, unleashed, in virtually all cases, by political leaderships, yet prompting normal men and women to pursue their victims beyond what has been ordered or is necessary. In the case of the Armenian Genocide, he recognizes what Suny has termed affective disposition, but also cold and brutal calculation that leads him to the disturbing conclusion that under certain circumstances, human beings, all human beings, are capable of horrible acts against their fellows.

Payne’s contribution in chapter 4 intersects significantly with Naimark’s in its attempt to unravel and understand the gratuitous and excessive degeneration to mass killing and torture in the Semirech’e region of colonial Turkestan during and after the 1916 rebellion. Yet again, the question of belonging is at the heart of this narrative as Kirgiz, government representatives, and Russian settlers jockeyed over the lands and bodies of the native inorodtsy Kirgiz population.³⁰ Who had a legitimate attachment or belonging to the land and to the tsar? For Payne, what happened in Semirech’e was similarly triggered by war, but also reflected a particular form of violence found in other settler colonial societies.

Governmental and settler interests, actions, and aims diverged from one another in this borderland region. Throughout the suppression of the rebellion, the imperial government continued to view Kirgiz through an imperial lens. They belonged to and had utility for the empire and thus the state sought to cure them of their rebellious ways in a punitive rather than exterminatory manner. Not dissimilar to their treatment of Tekkes, imperial authorities pursued, in Payne’s words, devastating collective punishment but not genocide. These imperial agents, however, were blind to the emerging civil war ethos among the peasant colonists and in collaborating with them to suppress the Kirgiz people ultimately "empowered génocidaires and enslavers." As the imperial state crumbled, settlers, garrison troops, and Cossacks who had been armed to put down the rebellion seized control of the emergent soviets in the region and used this newfound power to abuse and kill the local Turkestani population until the Bolshevik leadership in Moscow reasserted control and, once again, reshaped the local landscape of violence and belonging.

The final chapter from this grouping on excision (chapter 5) comes from Claire P. Kaiser, who explores a different type of expulsion, one that resulted in massive displacement, trauma, and sociocultural disruption but not the mass death and killing that marked the previous chapters. Kaiser is interested specifically in Operation Volna, the post–World War II forced exile of accused Dashnaks; Turkish citizens, stateless Turks, and former Turkish subjects with Soviet citizenship; as well as Greek subjects, stateless Greeks, and former Greek subjects with Soviet citizenship from the South Caucasus. These peoples were deported into the interior of the Soviet Union not for perceived or real wartime betrayals, but because their type no longer belonged in a once multiethnic borderland region that was increasingly homogenizing under the aegis of Soviet nation-building.

As with other contributors, Kaiser delves into the interconnectedness of the Ottoman/Turkish and Russian/Soviet experiences. For several years, Georgian and other Soviet authorities pursued deportation as a means to cleanse the Soviet-Turkish border region of nationalities stereotyped as threats to Soviet state security. These populations were essentialized in ways that made them suspect and potentially disloyal, showing that the securitized physical border between the two states continued to be a conceptually insecure space and that state policies continuously reinforced the primordialization of nationalities and identifications in the USSR. As in other cases explicated in this volume, Kaiser finds that local agents went above and beyond what the center demanded of them. Local, titular officials played an outsized role in deportations as they lobbied for, embraced, and helped to enact and sustain these expulsions and cleansings of the republican populations.

The chapters in part 2 cluster around the theme of standardization. Processes of standardization figure as significant features of late nineteenth and early twentieth-century cultural and economic history. Let us recall that international recognition of the Greenwich meridian marking both zero degrees longitude and Greenwich Mean Time date from an international convention held in Washington, D.C., in 1884. Inspired by technological advances in telegraphy and both nautical and railroad transportation, the convention was one of many to standardize hitherto local and protean practices. Successive congresses held in Paris between 1881 and 1900 adopted standard units in electrical current (ohm, volt, ampere, joule, etc.).³¹ Additional standardization efforts bore fruit at the national level. The founding in 1901 of the National Bureau of Standards by an act of the United States Congress followed German and British examples. Soon, Frederick Winslow Taylor was promoting the standardization of workplace procedures with his principles of

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