RUSSIA AND AMERICA IN CENTRAL ASIA
(An Attempt at Comparative Analysis)

Vladimir PLASTUN


Vladimir Plastun, D.Sc. (Hist.), professor, Department of Oriental Studies, Novosibirsk State University (Novosibirsk, Russia)


At different times, the term Central Asia denoted different concepts depending on whether a geographer, politician, paleontologist, economist, historian, or linguist was using it. All of them, however, had to take into account the alignment of political forces responsible for the prevailing trends and developments. In the colonial period, Central Asia was known as Sredniaia Azia, a term which applied to certain areas within czarist Russia and to certain republics within the Soviet Unions borders.

At one time, General Andrei Snesarev, an outstanding explorer of the region, wrote: I regret to say that the very complicated developments in Central Asia were not investigated by scholars, impartial and sober interpreters of what they see, but primarily by politicians and nationalists who preferred to ignore objective reality and the way it affected the local context. They were looking for what they wanted to find, what was interpreted in their favor, and accepted their findings as the starting points for their political and military ventures. It was politics and political considerations that guided the studies of countries and people.

Indeed, as soon as England captured Hindustan, Central Asia became an area of Russian-English rivalry. The former expected the English to succumb to the temptation of conquering the..


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