Soviet Frunze 1926-1991
Петров, В.Г. Фрунзе Советский, 1926-1991. Бишкек: Литературный Кыргызстан, 2008, 100c.

Petrov, V. G. Frunze Sovetskii, 1926-1991. Bishkek: Literaturnyĭ Kyrgyzstan, 2008, 100pp.


Soviet Frunze 1926-1991

Фрунзе Советский, 1926-1991

V. G. Petrov’s Frunze Sovetskii: 1926-1991, published in 2008, is an artistic narrative of the history of Bishkek, a city previously known as Jul, Pishpek, and Frunze.

Petrov’s research concerns the Soviet past of the Kyrgyz Republic’s capital city. The publication should not only be of interest to historians and architects, but also to a wide readership interested in modern history. In the text the author quite comprehensively describes the central events affecting domestic life and industrial development in Soviet-era Bishkek. Looked at broadly, it is a unique exploration of the Soviet past.

Petrov’s is one of those original publications where both historical and artistic elements are seamlessly intertwined within a narrative: the value of this book does not, therefore, only consist in its original narrative but also in its grounding in documentary evidence. In particular the detailed description of both the historical and current layout of Bishkek and its buildings, with references to the names of their architects and the years of their construction, makes this book especially intriguing for the reader.

Petrov makes use of materials from the Central State Archive of the Kyrgyz Republic, old photos from his personal collection, and also photographs from his friends’ archives. The author in this way presents his personal archives through a series of historical snapshots, beginning in the 1930s and ending in the 1990s.

The work is not however devoid of shortcomings. Notably, sources are not cited (there is no bibliography) and this immediately weakens the credibility of the work. Further, Petrov only mentions in passing representatives of the Kyrgyz intelligentsia living and working in Soviet Frunze, and does not pay sufficient attention to their contribution to the development of the city.

Khadicha Shambetalieva 
Translated by Morgan Stark
Shambetalieva, Khadicha. '"English abstract of 'Soviet Frunze 1926-1991'". Translated by Morgan Stark. In Cities as Built and Lived Environments: Scholarship from Muslim Contexts, 1875 to 2011, by Aptin Khanbaghi, 43. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014.
Muslim Civilisations Abstracts - The Aga Khan University
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