In Turkic and Russian press of the Eastern Transcaucasia at the end of the 19th century
Vardan A. Galstyan
Key words – Eastern Transcaucasia, Azerbaijan, Turkish-speaking people, Muslims, ethnic self-consciousness, “Ekindzhi”, “Keshkul”, “Terjuman” “Kaspiy”, Unsizade, Gasprinskiy, Shahtakhtinski.
In the end of the 19th century important changes took place in the life of Turkic speaking ethnic population of Eastern Transcaucasia. Due to literal activity of Mirza Fathali Akhundov and his followers, Turkic literary language and literature were formed. Under the influence of Turkic literature and western education a totally new class of intellectuals emerged. They studied in Russian, some of them in European educational centres, learned western languages and science. The next step of changes was the formation of Turkic press which eventually became the scene where new intellectuals shared their thoughts about ethnic consciousness of Turkic ethnos.
In this article are represented examples from Turkic and Russian press of the past quarter of the 19th century where Turkic speaking authors appeal to their ethnos. They called to refuse dominating religious self-identification of “muslims” and found the term “tatar” inaccurate as a name of Turkic ethnos of Transcaucasia. Under the influence of rising Panturkism in Russian empire they began to promote as ethnonym the artificial term “Azerbaijani” which was traditionally used for the region and people in the north of Iran.