Grigoryev G. The Image of Najmuddin Gotsinskii (1859–1925) in the Historical Narratives of Modern Dagestanis
European University at Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation
ABSTRACT.The article is devoted to the historical memory of modern Dagestanis about Najmuddin Gotsinskii (1859–1925), an Avar political leader of the Russian Civil War period, who is known as the organizer of the anti-Bolshevik uprising in Dagestan (1920–1921). Nowadays, the historical role, biography, aims, and motivations of Najmuddin Gotsinskii are a matter of keen debate both in Dagestani academia and public sphere. The study is based on semi-structured interviews recorded in 2019 in Gotsob, the native village of Najmuddin, and other Dagestani towns and villages. The informants were 30–60-year-old men, who are rural and urban residents, cultural activists and professional historians. They are united by a desire to protect and preserve the memory of Najmuddin by telling the true, from their point of view, life story of this historical figure. The author analyzes the narratives of the informants on the basis of the theoretical assumption that the representations of the past created and circulating in a particular community (a) carry information about the social dynamics of this community and (b) are a valuable, limited and energetically applied power resource that is used by communities to achieve specific goals in the present. Ultimately, the analyzes of Dagestanis’ historical narratives of the events of the early twentieth century allows us to discover the narrators’ reflections on the political, religious, and ethnic conflicts of contemporary Dagestan.
KEYWORDS: Northern Caucasus, Dagestan, Russian Civil War, Najmuddin Gotsinskii, collective memory, oral history, nationalism
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