Available in Russian
Author: Vladislav Tolstykh
Keywords: international legal policy; Central Asian integration; statehood; right of nations to self-determination; borders; enclaves; status of minorities; international disputes; the principle of uti possidetis juris
In 1924, the Soviet government carried out a very important measure — national delimitation. Its essence is the determination of dominant ethnic groups, territorial delimitation between them, state building, and development of the economy and national culture. The result of this delimitation was the creation of five Soviet Republics and the Karakalpak Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. Regardless of its overall effect, the delimitation created the prerequisites for interstate and internal conflicts related to territorial claims, the regime of enclaves, and protection of minorities’ rights. From a legal point of view, the results of national delimitation cannot be called into question later: in accordance with the principle of uti possidetis juris, the boundaries of successor states should follow the former administrative boundaries. The application of this principle, however, appears to be problematic: minorities which gravitate toward a neighboring state may challenge the results of delimitation, while the elites of new states often pursue a policy of national unification, i.e., position themselves as defenders of a national culture which is threatened by minorities. Applied to Central Asia, the principle of uti possidetis seems to be the preferred solution, generally accepted by all the states of the region. Some problems, however, do exist. The most acute of these is the problem of enclaves, which in relations between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan has become a chronic one. This problem should be solved by means of international law. There are several options: exchange of territories, establishment of easements, creation of a special zone, and establishment of institutional mechanisms for rapid response. The author contends that a bilateral format is insufficient and, therefore, settlements should be sought through the participation of third parties, conciliation commissions, and mediator states. The use of conciliation procedures would provide a qualified and objective assessment of the situation, allow the parties to “save face”, reduce the degree of confrontation, move the conflict into a procedural phase, and facilitate a settlement based not only on legal considerations. A common solution to the problems associated with delimitation (both present and future) could be interstate integration. There are a number of serious obstacles to such integration, but they do not seem insurmountable.
About the author: Vladislav Tolstykh – Doctor of Juridical Sciences, Professor, Department of International Law, MGIMO of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Moscow, Russia.
Citation: Tolstykh V. (2023) Natsional’no-gosudarstvennoe razmezhevanie 1924 goda i ego mezhdunarodno-pravovye posledstviya [The national-state demarcation of 1924 and its international legal consequences]. Sravnitel’noe konstitutsionnoe obozrenie, vol. 32, no. 2, pp. 13–32. (In Russian).
(1924) Na istoricheskom rubezhe: sbornik o natsional’no-gosudarstvennom razmezhevanii Sredney Azii [At the historical turn: A collection about the national state demarcation of Central Asia], Tashkent: Sredneaziatskoe byuro TsK RKP: Turkestanskaya pravda. (In Russian).
(2005) Dokladnaya zapiska zamestitelya predsedatelya Sredneaziatskogo byuro TsK RKP(b) R.I.Karklina v TsK RKP(b) o natsional’no-territorial’nom razmezhevanii respublik Sredney Azii [2 iyunya 1924 g.] [Memorandum of the Deputy Chairman of the Central Asian Bureau of the Central Committee of the RCP(b) R.I.Karklin in the Central Committee of the RCP(b) on the national-territorial delimitation of the republics of Central Asia [June 2, 1924]. In: Gatagova L.S., Kosheleva L.P., Rogovaya L.A. (eds.) TsK RKP(b)–VKP(b) i natsional’nyy vopros. Kn.1: 1918–1933 gg. [The Central Committee of the RCP(b)–the CPSU(b) and the national question. Book 1: 1918–1933.], Moscow: ROSSPEN, pp. 207–216. (In Russian).
Abakirova A.M., Amanaliev U.O., Abakirov K.K. (2018) Istoriko-pravovoy analiz stanovleniya i formirovaniya sovremennoy territorii i granits Kyrgyzstana [Historical and legal analysis of the making and formation of modern territory and borders of Kyrgyzstan]. Evraziyskiy yuridicheskiy zhurnal, no. 9, pp. 57–60. (In Russian).
Abashin S.N. (2008) Etnograficheskoe znanie i natsional’noe stroitel’stvo v Sredney Azii: “problema sartov” v XIX – nachale XXI v.: Avtoref. dis. … d-ra ist. nauk [Ethnographic knowledge and nation-building in Central Asia “the problem of the Sarts” in the XIX – early XXI century): Abstract of a dissertation … doctor of historical sciences], Мoscow. (In Russian).
Alamanov S.K. (2018) Anklavy v tsentral’noy Azii: istoriya voprosa i sovremennye problemy [Enclaves in Central Asia: background and actual problems]. Postsovetskie issledovaniya, no. 5, pp. 451–459. (In Russian).
Alimardonov M.U. (2013) Istoriya obrazovaniya Tadzhikskoy Sovetskoy Sotsialisticheskoy Respubliki: Avtoref. dis. … kand. ist. nauk [History of the formation of the Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic: Abstract of a dissertation … candidate of historical sciences], Мoscow. (In Russian).
Bartol’d V.V. (1964) Sochineniya. Tom 2. Chast’ 2 [Writings. Vol.2. Part 2], Moscow: Nauka. (In Russian).
Bochkareva I.B. (2019) Natsional’no-territorial’noe razmezhevanie v Sredney Azii v 1924 g.: prichiny i vliyanie na etnopoliticheskie protsessy v regione [National-territorial delimitation in Central Asia in 1924: causes and influence on ethnopolitical processes in the region]. Izvestiya Altayskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Istoricheskie nauki i arkheologiya, no. 2, pp. 22–26. (In Russian).
Brezhneva S.N. (2017) Narody Turkestana v sostave Rossiyskoy imperii [The peoples of Turkestan as part of the Russian Empire]. Rossiyskie regiony: vzglyad v budushchee, no. 2, pp. 1–24. (In Russian).
Catliff V. (2017) Discrimination on the Basis of Ethnicity and Language in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. In: Legacies of Division: Discrimination on the Basis of Religion and Ethnicity in Central Asia, London: Equal Rights Trust, pp. 68–95.
Chuev F.I. (1991) Sto sorok besed s Molotovym: iz dnevnika F.Chueva [140 conversations with Molotov: from the diary of F.Chuev], Moscow: Terra. (In Russian).
Gabdulhakov R. (2014) Geographical Enclaves of the Fergana Valley: Do Good Fences Make Good Neighbors? Available at: https://osce-academy.net/upload/Policy_briefs/Policy_Brief_14.pdf (accessed: 19.04.2023).
Khodorov I. (1925) Natsional’noe razmezhevanie Sredney Azii [National demarcation of Central Asia]. Novyy Vostok, no. 8–9, pp. 65–81. (In Russian).
Lalonde S. (2002) Determining Boundaries in a Conflicted World: The Role of Uti Possidetis, Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.
Lur’e S.V. (1995) Russkie v Sredney Azii i anglichane v Indii: dominanty imperskogo soznaniya i sposoby ikh realizatsii [Russians in Central Asia and the British in India: dominants of imperial consciousness and ways of their realization]. In: Erasov B.S. (ed.) Tsivilizatsii i kul’tury. Vypusk 2 [Civilizations and cultures. Issue 2], Moscow: Institut vostokovedenia RAN, pp. 252–273. (In Russian).
Mal’tsev D. (2017) Istoricheskie mify stran Sredney Azii [Historical myths of Central Asian countries]. Rossiya i musul’manskiy mir, no. 2, pp. 48–80. (In Russian).
Masov R. (1991) Istoriya topornogo razdeleniya [The history of the clumsy division], Dushanbe: Irfon. (In Russian).
Masov R. (1995) Tadzhiki: istoriya s grifom “sovershenno sekretno” [Tajiks: the story with the stamp “top secret”], Dushanbe: Tsentr izdaniya kul’turnogo naslediya. (In Russian).
Megoran N. (2012) Averting Violence in Kyrgyzstan: Understanding and Responding to Nationalism. Available at: https://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/default/files/public/Research/Russia%20and%20Eurasia/1212ppmegoran.pdf (accessed: 19.04.2023).
Niyazi A.Sh. (2022) Vorukh – territoriya tadzhiksko-kirgizskogo razdora. K voprosu o nachal’nom razmezhevanii sovetskogo perioda (Chast’ 1) [Vorukh – the territory of the Tajik-Kyrgyz discord. On the issue of the initial demarcation of the Soviet period (Part 1)]. Rossiya i musul’manskiy mir, no. 4, pp. 54–65. (In Russian).
Oppenheim L. (1949) Mezhdunarodnoe pravo. Tom II: Spory. Voyna. Polutom 1 [International law. Vol.II: Disputes. War. Subvolume 1], Ya.I.Retsker, A.A.Santalov (transl.), Moscow: Izdatel’stvo inostrannoy literatury. (In Russian).
D’Olivier Farran C. (1955) International Enclaves and the Question of State Servitudes. International and Comparative Law Quarterly, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 294–307.
Posokhov S.I. (2015) Metamorfozy istoricheskoy spravedlivosti [Metamorphoses of historical justice]. Lyudi i teksty. Istoricheskiy al’manakh, no. 7, pp. 120–135. (In Russian).
Radzhabov K.K. (2019) Deyatel’nost’ Sultanbeka Khodzhanova v Tashkente i ego ideya sozdaniya Sredneaziatskoy Federatsii v period razmezhevaniya v 1924 godu [Sultanbek Khodzhanov’s activities in Tashkent and his idea of creating a Central Asian Federation during the period of demarcation in 1924]. Qazaqtaný, no. 2, pp. 76–83. (In Russian).
Raton P. (1958) Les enclaves. Annuaire français de droit international, vol. 4, pp. 186–195.
Suteeva K.A. (2003) Russkie voennye istoriki XIX v. o prichinakh i motivakh dvizheniya Rossii na vostok (v Srednyuyu Aziyu i Yuzhnyy Kazakhstan) [Russian military historians of the XIX century on the reasons and motives of Russia’s movement to the East (to Central Asia and Southern Kazakhstan)]. In: Moiseev V.A. (ed.) Tsentral’naya Aziya i Sibir’. Pervye nauchnye chteniya pamyati E.M.Zalkinda: materialy konferentsii [Central Asia and Siberia. The first scientific readings in memory of E.M.Zalkind: conference materials], Barnaul: Azbuka, pp. 100–116. (In Russian).
Tal’skaya O.D. (2015) Natsional’noe razmezhevanie respublik Sredney Azii v deyatel’nosti Sredazbyuro [The national delimitation of the Republics of Central Asia in the activities of the Sredazburo]. Vlast’, no. 9, pp. 134–137. (In Russian).
Tal’skaya O.D. (2018) Fenomen natsional’no-territorial’nogo razmezhevaniya respublik Sredney Azii: politiko-tekstologicheskiy analiz [The phenomenon of national and territorial delimitation of the Republics of Central Asia: a politico-textual analysis]. Vestnik Moskovskogo universiteta. Seriya 12: Politicheskie nauki, no. 6, pp. 42–49. (In Russian).
Terent’eva N.V. (2009) Anglo-russkoe sopernichestvo i dvizhenie Rossii v Srednyuyu Aziyu v XIX v. (k istoriografii voprosa) [Anglo-Russian rivalry and Russia’s movement to Central Asia in the XIX century. (to the historiography of the question)]. Vestnik Tambovskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Gumanitarnye nauki, no. 2, pp. 134–142. (In Russian).
Vamberi A. (2003) Puteshestvie po Sredney Azii [Travel to Central Asia], Z.D.Golubeva (transl.), Moscow: Vostochnaya literatura. (In Russian).
Vinokurov E.Yu. (2007) Teoriya anklavov [Theory of enclaves], Kaliningrad: Terra Baltika. (In Russian).