The Return of History, by Paul B. Henze and S. Enders Wimbush

No part of the ex-Soviet Union was more cut off from its historical past and isolated from its traditional links with the outer world than the southern periphery the countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus.  These regions, old crossroads of civilization, were locked into the Russian Empire during the 19th century and autocratically administered from distant St. Petersburg. They were colonies.  Their trade and cultural life were reoriented toward Russia, though as long as the tsars ruled they still retained many of their old links to outer world.
 
This changed quickly after the Bolsheviks seized power in 1917.  During the early years of Soviet Union their borders to the south were for all practical purposes sealed.  Bolshevik leaders in Moscow claimed to be champions of anti-colonialism, cultural liberation, and accelerated economic development.  In actuality they subjected the peoples of Central Asia and the Caucasus to a more pervasive form of colonial exploitation than they had known under the tsars or than any classic European colonial power still practiced.  Their economies were fully subordinated to Moscow.  They were turned into suppliers of raw materials and minerals for the Soviet economy and supplied a few specialized commodities that the Soviets would otherwise have had to import. They had no independent trade with the outer world. Their history was distorted to demonstrate that their destiny had inevitably led them to be absorbed by Russia.  Their languages and alphabets were manipulated to isolate them from kindred peoples across the Soviet borders.  They were given no training or experience in self-administration that could prepare them for independence.  Ancient religious connections were restricted with the intention of eventually eliminating all religion.

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