- Ljucian Klimovič: der ideologische Bluthund der sowjetischen Islamkunde und Zentralasienliteratur
- Asiatische Studien
- Volume | Issue number
- 63 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research (AIHR)
Liutsian Klimovich (1907―1989) published on Islam and literatures of the Muslim peoples of the USSR for over six decades, from 1927 to 1988. He assumed the function of an ideological watchdog: In his numerous books, articles and pamphlets Klimovich not only attacked Islam and its representatives but also calumniated many Soviet Orientalists and writers (among them the Kazakh Sandzhar Asfendiarov, Mikhail Tomara, Aleksandr Shami, Ignatsii Krachkovskii, Evgenii Bertel's, and Boris Zakhoder, as well as the Uzbek Ghafur Ghulom and the Tatar Galimjan Ibragimov). In the late 1940s Klimovich emerged as a leading specialist on the literatures of the Muslim peoples of the USSR; his anthologies defined what could be read at school. Trying to uncover the secret of Klimovich's astoundingly long career in a highly politicised environment, the present article studies his institutional affiliations, his changing interpretations of Islam and of Soviet Central Asian literature, as well as his personal attacks on colleagues, and correlates these with general changes in Soviet policies on religion and nationality, from Stalin to Gorbachev. It becomes clear that Klimovich's success was based on his quick adaptation to new developments in the Party line; he carried the political catchwords of the day (like "feudalism", "cosmopolitanism", "cult of personality", "internationalism") into the debate on Islam and literature. His personal attacks on others were cowardly: Most of the Soviet authors he vilified in the 1930s were already being harrassed by the system, and many of them later perished in the Stalinist persecutions. For generations of Soviet Orientalists, Klimovich remained a loathed figure.
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