Bandits, Terrorists, and Revolutionaries: The Breakdown of Civil Authority in the Imperial Ferghana Valley, 1905-1914

Yulia F. Uryadova, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville


This dissertation examines the political, economic and social stresses of incorporating the newly established Ferghana Valley (1876) into the Russian Empire including the tensions engendered between the Russian and Central Asian populations and state and local authorities. Economic dislocation, land and tax issues, prostitution and alcoholism, and anti-Russian revolts plagued Russian authorities, who were in a precarious position in the region. The authorities' fears of possible revolt by the Muslim population intensified in the early twentieth century when the threat of Russian resistance to Russian autocracy, a resistance expressed through terrorism and banditry, came to the area as well. This dissertation argues that in the late imperial era, the Ferghana Valley was a restive area, burdened by economic and social tensions that resulted in an explosion of crimes, a rise in alcoholism and prostitution, in addition to revolutionary terrorism and banditry, which threatened the position of imperial rule in Russian Turkestan.

This dissertation focuses on the Ferghana Valley in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as an area of deep concern for Russian administrators in both Russia and Turkestan. The Ferghana Valley was considered especially fragile during the revolutionary period of 1905-1914, when hooliganism, banditry, and revolutionary terrorism escalated. This dissertation examines the first elections to the State Duma in the Ferghana Valley, in addition to disparate revolutionary groups and their role in destabilization of the region and demonstrates that bandits and terrorists were not groups to be ignored, but rather, these groups deserve further study for their contribution to revolutionary movements and to the change of the nature of Russian rule in Turkestan.