chapter  6
40 Pages

Islam and opposition: the 1970s and 1980s

The picture of Soviet Islam that had developed by the end of the 1960s remained largely unchanged until Gorbachev’s accession to power. Islam separated Central Asians from other Soviet citizens, preventing their integration into the Soviet whole. Islam was sustained by underground Sufi groups, which permeated society. At the same time, demographic trends in Central Asia were seen as tilting the balance of power away from the Russians in the Muslims’ favour and providing the conditions for ethnic unrest in Muslim regions.