Muslims of the Soviet East

Soviet Propaganda Journal on the Role of Muslims in the USSR

The journal was quarterly published by the “Muslim Religious Board for Central Asia and Kazakhstan” from 1974 – 1990.

This archive of the English edition provides researchers from a variety of disciplines a unique insight into the life of Soviet Muslims, regardless of the journal’s obvious propagandist bias.

To the archiv

The database has a full-text search function. Single articles can be downloaded in their original layout as PDFs.

The collection is available free of charge in Germany and in German research institutions abroad via national licence. Please ask your librarian for registration of this licence if you cannot yet access it.

About the Archive


Established in 1968 by the “Muslim Religious Board for Central Asia and Kazakhstan”, Muslims of the Soviet East was the only Islamic periodical carrying the official seal of approval of the Soviet government. Published originally in Uzbek, the journal expanded its linguistic base in the following years, adding Arabic (1969), French and English (1974), Farsi (1980), and Dari (1984). A Russian version would come along surprisingly late, only in 1990, one year before its closure.

As with many foreign language publications in the Soviet Union, the target audience of the journal was not its citizens but readers abroad. Consequently, the original Uzbek language edition was exclusively in the traditional Arabic script known as the Yana Imla, a disappearing writing form in Soviet Central Asia, but in use in Uzbek communities in places like Afghanistan.

If the publication of the journal in Arabic, Farsi, and Dari was meant to familiarize readers in those countries with the life of their coreligionists in the Soviet Union, the introduction of the journal in “Western” languages served an additional propaganda purpose, i.e., to counter the notion prevalent in the West that the USSR was thoroughly and intractably anti-religious.

Consisting of multiple sections, Muslims of the Soviet East contains a mix of sermons exhorting Islamic piety from notable Central Asian clerics, discussions of regional Islamic history, and the role of Soviet Muslims in the cultural and political life of the USSR.

(Source: East View Information Services)


The archive contains the most complete collection available for this title in English. It comprises 57 issues, 860 articles and nearly 2,000 pages. However, the following 9 issues are missing:

  • 1974 2
  • 1975 1
  • 1978 1–4
  • 1979 3
  • 1980 1
  • 1988 2


The licensing was arranged in cooperation with the Specialized Information Service Russian, East and Southeast European Studies.