Fomin I. Orientalist Discourse in Early Soviet Fiction about Central Asia

Ilya Fomin
Lomonosov Moscow State University
Moscow, Russian Federation
ORCID: 0000-0001-7038-4394


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ABSTRACT. The article consists of an introductory part and sections “Combating Negative Stereotypes”, “Establishing a New Class Dichotomy and Proletarian Unity”, and “The Civilizing Mission”. The introduction provides a brief overview of the conceptual framework of the study. Drawing on articles by Maxim Gorky, the author analyzes the tasks that the Soviet Government set for fiction: the need to form a new image of the “Eastern peoples” of the Soviet Union as part of a single proletarian front for the socialist construction, and the establishment of a class dichotomy “Proletariat—Bourgeoisie” instead of the Orientalist dichotomy “Orient—Occident”. Further, looking into the works of the participants of the writers brigades deliberately organized by the Soviet Government, the author analyzes their methods of fighting the Orientalist discourse, ways of establishing the new class dichotomy, and the continuity of the writers’ ideas with the imperial period. Despite the fact that the writers launched active efforts to combat negative stereotypes, those are still present on the pages of their works. However, it is impossible to draw a clear conclusion about the Orientalism of the Soviet Government: first of all, the civilizing idea, which was based on anti-colonialism, was transmitted through fiction. Furthermore, the anti-colonial slogans of the Soviet government led to the writers’ reflection on the expediency of the ongoing modernization in the region and, in the future, could develop into a criticism of the Soviet Government in fiction. 


KEYWORDS: Orientalism, socialist realism, writers brigades, fiction, Turkmenistan


DOI 10.31250/2618-8619-2021-4(14)-37-51
УДК 82.02



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