Soviet Motive in Central Asia

Northrop describes in Chapter 1 the view European Imperialists had on Central Asia. Northrop uses a quote from Hungarian scholar Arminius Vambery to describe this, “‘In a country where pillage and murder, anarchy and lawlessness, are the rule, not the exception, a sovereign has to maintain his authority by inspiring his subjects with the utmost dread and almost superstitious terror for his person…'” (page 35). It seems as though early soviets had a similar disdain for Uzbek culture. Northrop describes the soviet perspective, writing “If anyone in Central Asia had to change, it was clear who it would be: European practices were the (modern) model to which (backward, primitive) Uzbeks had to adjust” (page 59). Northrop then goes on the explain the reasons for this view, describing the terrible effects poor hygiene and isolation in harems has on the women of the area and citing a study that found “more than 45% of local women (9,772 of 21,626) to be seriously ill” (page 61). So, my question is, from the soviet point of view, is there an obligation to try to change the culture (if so to what extent) or would that be somewhat imperialistic and imposing their culture on a less developed people?

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