The Silent Steppe: The Story of a Kazakh Nomad Under Stalin




Born into a family of nomadic Kazakh herdsmen in 1922, Mukhamet Shayakhmetov’s father was imprisoned as an ‘enemy of the people’ as Soviet rule spread across his people’s vast steppe-land in central Asia. In this book, Shayakhmetov recalls the scale of suffering in his homeland under Stalin’s rule.

While the devastating famine in Ukraine is fairly well-known, the death and displacement of millions of Kazakhs in the same period of Stalin’s reign is almost forgotten in the West. This first-hand account of a survivor tells the story of the bloody end to the nomadic lifestyle of Kazakhs. Besides a lesson in the history of 1920-1930’s Kazakhstan, it’s also a dignified and inspiring tale of survival against a cruel oppressor.

You are guaranteed to understand Kazakhs better after this read.


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