The Visualization of Imperial Space: the Experience of the Central Asian Region of Russia

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The present study investigates the visualization of the imperial space with examples of meetings of the population with representatives of the ruling house of the Russian Empire. The focus is on meetings of the indigenous people of Russian Central Asia with the Turkestan Governor General and the heir to the throne. The article is based on memories of eyewitnesses as well as on publications from that time. Public appearances verbally and nonverbally influenced the population. The present study is based on an array of methods, including the analysis of the sources to identify the components of the ceremonies, synchronous and diachronous methods, comparative analysis, content analysis, as well as discourse analysis. This research methodology and the rich source base from which we quote here elucidate the basic techniques for visualizing the presence of power on the outskirts of the state. The article analyzes the meetings of the Turkestan Governor General with the population at different time periods as well as the measures organized for the heir to the throne during his travels in the Far East and Siberia in 1891. For establishing a connection with propaganda activities of the first years of the Soviet regime, the authors highlight the fundamental components of these ceremonies in the Russian Empire. Such representations of power were aimed at demonstrating the unity of society and monarchy, in a display of strength and greatness. All these events conform to the state ideology “autocracy - orthodoxy - nationality,” with just a minor adaptation in relation to Turkestan. There, the authorities adhered to the tactics of ignoring Islam and limiting Orthodox proselytism, with the result that the role of the central element of the triad was minimized.

About the authors

Dmitry V. Vasilyev

Moscow City University

Author for correspondence.

Doktor Istoricheskikh Nauk [Dr. habil. hist.], Professor of the Department of Russian History

4, 2nd Selskohozyaistvenny Dr., Moscow, 129226, Russia

Aleksandr V. Ryabov

Saint Petersburg University of State Fire Service of Emercom of Russia


Kandidat Kul'turologii [Ph.D. in Cultural], Head of the Department of Philosophy and Social Sciences

149, Moskovskiy Av., Saint-Petersburg, 196105, Russia


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Copyright (c) 2020 Vasilyev D.V., Ryabov A.V.

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