The Third World Peoples of Soviet Central Asia
Most of the fifty million Third World peoples of the Soviet Union live in Central Asia, a large area north of Iran and east of the Caspian Sea. These are Muslims (Turks and Iranians) who fell under Russian rule over a century ago. In striking contrast to other Third World peoples, who have been ruled by Europeans and who by now enjoy independence, the Central Asians are still governed from Moscow. In order to concentrate on Third World peoples, this chapter ignores the equally important Russian expansion westwards into Europe. Central Asians do not constitute all the Third World peoples in the Soviet Union by any means, but they are the largest in number and the most important of them. The Russians insisted on using their own language, despised local customs and culture, especially Islam, and held attitudes characteristic of all European colonizers in the Third World.