Division and Alliance: Mass Politics within Muslim Communities after 1905

James Meyer, Montana State University


It has become axiomatic to observe that the Russian Revolution of 1905 did not attract the participation of the empire's Muslim communities. While it is true that Muslims did not participate widely in anti-government demonstrations and strikes taking place in 1904 and 1905, it was also the case that the revolution of 1905 precipitated a series of "mini-revolutions" taking place inside Muslim communities across the empire. Muslim communities in Russia reacted to the onset of parliamentary rule in a variety of ways, and it is possible to detect important regional differences pertaining to the types of issues which emerged as salient within Muslim communities in the months and years which followed the revolution. While the historiography of Muslim political activity in late imperial Russia tends to emphasize "Muslim" political opposition to "Russian" rule, in fact Muslims were often divided against themselves, and indeed sometimes sought political alliances with non-Muslim organizations and groupings.

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