Research Article

Literary-social Interpretations of the ‘Stagnation’ Period in 20th Century Uzbek Literature


  • Mirzaeva Zulkhumor Inomovna Professor of Tashkent State Uzbek Language and Literature University, named after Alisher Navai, Tashkent, Uzbekistan


The period from the 1960s to the 1980s under Brezhnev is stamped in history, both Soviet and Uzbek, as “stagnation.”  Particularly for Uzbekistan, this period is known for such stigmatized events as the “cotton” or “Uzbek” scandal – the investigation into Uzbek First Party Secretary Sharaf  Rashidov (1917-1983) for misrepresenting cotton harvest results during his twenty-four-year tenure – and the Afghan war (1979-1989). The experience of striving to save the nation from the aggressive system and stereotypes of society, from the "values" of slavery and subordination, is reflected in some examples of 20th-century Uzbek literature. The most prominent figures in XX Century’s Uzbek literary history, Said Ahmad (1920-2007) in his novel Silence (Jimjitlik, 1988)  and O‘tkir Hoshimov (1941-2013) in Lives Passed in Dream (Tushda kechgan umrlar, 1992)  fell apart from the literature written as the Soviet Union describes the events of this period through a prism of moral monikers. Their understanding of their place in the world has always been through their connection to the nation. Social anxiety for them is inextricably linked to artistic anxiety and vice versa. Writers took it upon themselves to unmask the sins associated with this period, such as “two-facedness” (qiyofasizlik), bribery, fraud, cruelty, and bloodthirstiness (in reference to the Afghan war). The novels focusing on the “stagnation” period played an important role in transforming these moral criticisms of Soviet rule into criticisms of Soviet rule as colonial exploitation and serve as an attempt to unmask the horrors and misdeeds behind Soviet officialdom that have long gone unnoticed. In this paper, I will examine some of those moral constructions and how they framed the period in the minds of post-Soviet Uzbeks. The literary interpretations of the problems in stagnation will be analyzed in the historical, cultural, political and literary context. I hope this paper contributes to the research carried out on  Central Asian studies, including Uzbek Literature Literary history, which is known very little worldwide.

Article information


International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation

Volume (Issue)

7 (4)





How to Cite

Inomovna, M. Z. (2024). Literary-social Interpretations of the ‘Stagnation’ Period in 20th Century Uzbek Literature. International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation, 7(4), 01–09.



Stagnation, mass repression, national identity, alienation, Uzbek literary politics, Afghan War