Cotton republic Tajikistan?
Between central planning and local society.

The aim of the Oral-History-Archive is to document the social and economic transformation of Tajikistan in late Soviet and post-Soviet periods. Along with the description of the general Soviet and post-Soviet developments, the interviews allow insights into living environments of Tajikistan’s population. So far, local worldviews and traditional strategies of cooperation were barely taken into account while analyzing economic developments in the Soviet and post-Soviet periphery.

The project attempted to document and preserve knowledge available about the Soviet Union and the period of transition. We felt the time pressure to collect eye witness accounts as the collapse of the Soviet Union today dates back to already more than twenty years. This need is especially pressing in regions such as Khatlon, the southern region of Tajikistan that was the epicenter of the Tajik Civil War that lasted from 1992 till 1997. Given that the extensive archival deposits of the important regional archive in Kurgan-Tiube were destroyed during the civil war, we hope to fill in the documented knowledge gap.

The life history conversations with eye witnesses provide an authentic impression of the complex, multisided and contradictory realities of Tajikistan. On the one hand, the narratives support the general assumption of the integration of the local population into the Soviet administrative command economy structures and in the modernized system of collectivized agrarian economy. On the other hand, the interview clearly point to the co-existence of subsistence economy such as peasant home production and other traditionally inherited economic practices (reciprocal neighbors’ provision of services, individual handicraft production, semi-nomadic pasture farming). In addition, the interview collection provides material for the study of such issues as ethnic identity, social networks and the everyday life under the conditions of socialism.

For our digital collection we collected 60 interviews in various regions of Tajikistan. The interviews were recorded in various languages. The interviews were collected by 3 Tajik researchers (project partners) and one German researcher (project coordinator).

We welcome you to use of our oral history online archive. Please cite the material accordingly.

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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Philosophische Fakultät I

Institut für Geschichtswissenschaften
Lehrstuhl Geschichte Osteuropas
Lehrstuhlinhaber Prof. Dr. Jörg Baberowski
Projektbearbeiterin Beate Giehler
Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin