Review: “Soviets in Central Asia” – W. P. and Zelda Coates

“Soviets in Central Asia” by W. P. and Zelda Coates confirmed my expectation of a broad, Marxist overview of the socialist transformation of Russian Turkestan and the emirates of Bukhara and Khiva. I enjoy the Coates’ work on the USSR, although most people would criticize them for being too ‘Stalinist.’ While there is an element of truth in that criticism, I find their Marxist-Leninist analyses of Soviet subjects informative and enjoyable to read. However, unlike their book on the Stalin Constitution, which was brilliant, “Soviets in Central Asia” didn’t offer anything I haven’t read elsewhere. It provides a valuable but broad outline of the formation of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan and the socialist development in these five republics. Eventually, the chapters become repetitive and less interesting as you read—a good book, but best suited for those unlearning bourgeois falsifications of socialist development in Central Asia.

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