Two types of translation dominated the social sphere of the Bolshevik revolution and civil war at the beginning of the twentieth century: the translation of diverse languages in the multilingual empire and a Marxist-Leninist linguistic turn that emphasized the role of dialectical materialist philosophy in transforming systems of knowledge to create new forms of collective Soviet identity. By examining political speeches and propaganda on the Soviet periphery, this essay argues that the translation of communism across the Muslim national platform exposes the power of this Marxist-Leninist linguistic turn during the early twentieth century in generating fluid linkages among language, art, and Soviet political and cultural life. Analyzing the forms and practice of the translation of Muslim communism, this essay illustrates the ways that translation both reflected and refracted the language and art of Russian orientalism as it generated a vision of Soviet modernity in the former imperial territories.

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