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Title: Islam in Soviet Tajikistan : state policy, religious figures and the practice of religion (1950-1985)
Author: Aksakolov, Sultonbek
ISNI:       0000 0004 5346 7130
Awarding Body: SOAS, University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis explores the history of religious life among Muslim communities in Soviet Tajikistan from 1950 to 1985. The analysis of the history of religious life of the Muslim population during this period is contextualised within the background of changing Soviet religious policy and its implementation in Tajikistan. The thesis seeks to explain how and why the interactions between the various actors in the field of religious policy affected the implementation of unionwide decrees and decisions in the distinct religious context of the Soviet peripheral regions. In so doing, it also examines how Muslim religious figures functioned and how the communities in Soviet Tajikistan practiced their religion in the context of continuous administrative pressure and atheist propaganda. With the formation of special councils and various commissions under the local government, the Soviet state succeeded in creating a bureaucratic system for the analysis, monitoring and regulation of religious activity. Nevertheless, the findings of this thesis suggest that in the specific local context, the implementation of Soviet religious policy was dependent on how the officials representing the state and the religious figures representing religion understood and carried out this policy. The practice of obligatory religious rituals by both state officials and ordinary people in turn blurred the dividing line between the strata of population defined as Muslim believers, the clergy and Soviet officials. The thesis reveals that religious practices and activity evolved in various ways in the context of continuous surveillance by the state. Muslim religious figures in Tajikistan like their fellow clergy in other parts of Soviet Union used different strategies to integrate and adapt themselves to the changing state religious policy and social transformations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral