Alikhan Bukeikhanov

Alikhan Bokeikhan

Alikhan Bukeikhanov in 1906.
Prime Minister of Alash Autonomy
In office
December 13, 1917  March 5, 1920
Preceded by Office established
Succeeded by Office disestablished
Personal details
Born (1866-03-05)March 5, 1866
Karkaralinsky Uyezd, Semipalatinsk Oblast, Russian Empire
Died September 27, 1937(1937-09-27) (aged 71)
Moscow, Soviet Union
Nationality Kazakh
Political party Constitutional Democratic Party
Alash Party
Spouse(s) Yelena Sevostyanova
Alma mater Omsk Technical School
Saint Petersburg Forestry Institute
Occupation Politician, writer, environmental scientist
Religion Sunni Islam

Alikhan Nurmukhameduly Bukeikhan (Kazakh: Әлихан Нұрмұхамедұлы Бөкейхан; Älïxan Nurmuxamedulı Bökeyxan; Russian: Алихан Нурмухамедович Букейханов; March 5, 1866 — September 27, 1937) was a Kazakh statesman, politician, publicist, teacher, writer and environmental scientist who served as the Prime Minister of the Alash Autonomy from 1917 to 1920. He was leader and founder of the Alash Orda national liberation movement. He sided with the westernizers in the Kazakh political scene who were promoting the idea of the Western culture into the Kazakh steppe.[1]

Early life

Alikhan Bukeikhanov was born March 5, 1866, in Karkaralinsky Uyezd, Semipalatinsk Oblast, Russian Empire. He was a great grandson of Barak Sultan, former khan of Bukey Horde.[2] He graduated from the Russian-Kazakh School and Omsk Technical School in 1890. He later studied at the Saint Petersburg Forestry Institute, where he graduated from the Faculty of Economics in 1894. During his youth, he is believed to have been influenced by socialists.

Upon graduating, Bukeikhanov returned to Omsk and spent the next fourteen years there working. From 1895 to 1897, he worked as teacher of mathematic in Omsk school for Kazakh children.[3] He was a participant in the 1896 Shcherbina Expedition, which aimed to research and assess virtually every aspect of Russian-controlled Central Asia from the environment and resources to the culture and traditions of its inhabitants. This was the first of a few similar missions which Bukeikhanov accepted. Among his recorded contributions is "Ovtsevodstvo v stepnom krae" ("Sheep-Breeding in the Steppe Land"), which analyzed animal husbandry in Central Asia. Bukeikhanov was the first biographer of Abay Kunanbayev, publishing an obituary in Semipalatinsky listok in 1905. In 1909, he published collection of Kunanbayev's works.[4]

Political life

In 1905, Bukeikhanov's political activism began when he joined the Constitutional Democratic Party. In late 1905 at the Uralsk oblast party congress, he tried to create the Kazakh Democratic party but failed. As a result of this action, he was arrested and prohibited from living in the Steppe Oblasts. During his exile, he relocated to Samara. He was elected to the State Duma of the Russian Empire as a member of that party in 1906, and signed the Vyborg petition to protest the dissolution of the Duma by tsar. In 1908, he was arrested again and was exiled in Samara until 1917. While in Samara, he participated in the Samara Guberniya Committee of the People's Freedom party set up in 1915.

Akhmet Baitursynov, Alikhan Bukeikhanov and Mirzhakip Dulatov in Orenburg in 1913.
Bukeikhanov among Alash intelligentsia in Semipalatinsk in 1918.

In April 1917, Bukeikhanov, Akhmet Baitursynov and several other native political figures took the initiative to convening an All-Kazakh Congress in Orenburg.[5] In its resolution the Congress urged the return to the native population of all the lands confiscated from it by the previous regime, and the explusion of all the new settlers from the Kazakh-Kirghiz territories. Other resolutions demanded the transfer of the local schools into native hands, and the termination of the recruitment introduced in 1916. Within the group, Bukeikhanov sought to direct attention first to economic problems along with Russian liberals, chiefly the Kadets, whereas others sought to unite the Kazakhs with the other Turkic peoples of Russia.[6] Three month later another Kazakh-Kirghiz Congress met in Orenburg. There for the first time the idea of territorial autonomy emerged, and a national Kazakh-Kirghiz political party was formed Alash Autonomy.[7] Before the February Revolution, he collaborated with the Kadets in the hope of getting autonomous status for Kazakhs and contacted the head of the Russian Provisional Government Alexander Kerensky. Kerensky proceeded to make Bukeikhanov a comissar. On March 19, 1917, he was appointed as the Provisional Government Commissioner of Turgay Oblast. After the October Revolution, he was elected in 1917 as president of the Alash Orda government of Alash Autonomy.

In 1920, after the establishment of Soviet hegemony, Bukeikhanov joined the Bolshevik party and returned to scientific life. His earlier political activities caused the authorities to view him with suspicion, leading to arrests in 1926 and 1928. In 1926, Bukeikhanov was arrested on the charge of counter-revolutionary activity and put into Butyrka prison in Moscow. But due to the lack of evidence in the criminal case against him, he was released from prison. In 1930, the authorities banished him to Moscow, where he was arrested a final time in 1937 and executed.

It was not until 1989 that the Soviet authorities rehabilitated him.


Bukeikhanov's major political publication was "Kirgizy" ("The Kazakhs") (1910), which was released in the Constitutional Democratic party book on nationalities edited by A. I. Kosteliansky. Bukeikhanov's other activities of this period include assisting in the creation of Qazaq, a Kazakh language newspaper and writing newspaper articles for newspapers including "Dala Walayatynyng Gazeti" (Omsk), "Orenburgskii Listok", "Semipalatinskii Listok", "Turkestanskie Vedomosti" (Tashkent), "Stepnoi Pioner" (Omsk) and "Sary-Arqa" (Semipalatinsk). He was also a contributor to Ay Qap and "Sibirskie Voprosy".


  1. David Galick (March 29, 2014). "The rise of Alash Orda and Kazakh nationalism". The School of Russian and Asian Studies. Retrieved January 31, 2015.
  2. Sultan-Khan Akkuly (December 2014). "Childhood and boyhood of the future leader of the nation: Alikhan was born different" (PDF). Retrieved January 31, 2015.
  3. Sultan-Khan Akkuly (October 21, 2014). "Alikhan Bokeikhan: prison epopee". Retrieved January 31, 2015.
  4. Aigul Bidanova (August 21, 2013). "Ethnic Costumes in 1902 Exhibition Came From Abai". The Astana Times. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
  5. Pipes 1997, p. 84.
  6. Pierce 1960, p. 260.
  7. Pipes 1997, p. 85.


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Political offices
New title
State founded
Prime Minister of Alash Autonomy
December 13, 1917 – March 5, 1920
Succeeded by
Formation destroyed
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