Karpov Georgy Ivanovich

9 December 1890 (1890-12-09), Karavainka village, Saratov Governorate — 31 March 1947 (1947-04-01), Ashkhabad


Biography, education, career:

Georgy Karpov descends from the family of peasants. He studied at a parochial school and Kamyshin gymnasium (grammar school), or, according to other sources, at a four-grade city college. In 1905 he was expelled for his participation in revolutionary activities. In 1912 he went to Turkestan region to earn some money and learnt the Uzbek language there. That same year he was drafted and served in the Headquarters of Turkestan’s 7th Rifle Regiment. World War I broke out, he was off at the front. In 1918 he returned to his native village, where he fought for the establishment of the Soviet rule; he was Deputy Enlistment Officer, Head of the Department of Public Education, Chair of Karavainka Volost Committee. From 1920 he worked at Tsaritsyn Uyezd Executive Committee: first as a secretary, then as Head of the Management Board, and as Deputy Chair. In September 1920 he was sent to Tashkent where he served for the NKVD (Peoples’ Commissariat for Internal Affairs) of Turkestan ASSR. From 1922 he was Peoples’ Commissar for Internal Affairs of Turkestan ASSR in Ashkhabad. In 1922—1924 Karpov worked at the Executive Committee of Turkestan Region (as Chair and Deputy Chair), acted as Executive Secretary of Central Executive Committee and as Deputy Peoples’ Commissar for Internal Affairs of Turkestan ASSR. Up until 1929 Karpov was a member of the Presidium and Executive Secretary of Central Executive Committee of Turkestan ASSR; he headed the Commission for the Improvement of Life of Working Women and the Commission for Local History that he initiated at the Central Executive Committee. He learnt the Turkmen language during that period. Karpov was Head of the group responsible for the economic survey of the rural regions of Turkmen SSR and Head of the Commission for Administrative Territorial Subdivision of Turkmen SSR into Districts.

From 1923 Karpov headed the Circle of Students of History, Ethnography and Archaeology of Turkmenistan; published papers on history and ethnography, including his paperback on the tribal composition of Turkmens. In 1927 he created and headed (until 1932 г.) the first scientific research institution of Turkmenistan, Institute of Turkmen Culture (Turkmenkult). Here he initiated studies of Turkmen life and culture, mounted expeditions (Khaveran, Karakalinsk and other expeditions) aimed at gathering field material. In 1928—1929 he was editor-in-chief of the Turkmenovedeniye (Turkmen Studies) journal. In September 1932, when the Institute of Turkmen Culture was closed down, Karpov moved to Bayram-Ali, where he worked as Associate Professor at the Department of Social and Political Sciences and, later, was Director of Turkmen Institute of Agriculture (from 1933).

In 1934 he returned to Ashkhabad and took the position of Director of Turkmen State Scientific Research Institute (former Turkmenkult), which was transformed into Institute of History in 1935. From August августа 1937 he was Secretary of Central Executive Committee of Turkmen SSR. In Karpov was arrested for “cooperation with foreign intelligence” and spent nine months in prison. He was reinstated as Director of the Institute of History and remained in this position up until 1941. In 1941—1944 he was Deputy Chair of the Presidium of the newly established Turkmen Branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences. From 1944 Karpov occupied the position of Head of the Department of History, Institute of History, Language, and Literature.

In 1942 G. Karpov defended his Candidate’s Dissertation at Moscow State University. In October 1942 – February 1943 he participated in the ethnographic expedition across North Iran (Gorgan, Mazandaran, and Khorasan Provinces). In 1938—1940, together with Sh. Batyrov, he compiled a Russian-Turkmen Dictionary (about 20000 words), based on Cyrillic script, official in Turkmenistan from 1940. The Dictionary was published in 1948 (an edition of 15000 copies).

G. Karpov is the author of over 60 scientific and popular science papers on the ethnography and history of Turkmens. There are over 160 files in the manuscript collection of the Central Scientific Library of Turkmenistan Academy of Sciences, comprising unpublished materials, including those collected during the expedition across North Iran (14 files with 20 to 130 sheets). In 1934, together with N.V. Navrotskaya and D.V. Volzhin, G. Karpov wrote a satirical paly, Kel’ (Baldheaded), which was put on in Ashkhabad Drama Theatre.

Areas of expertise: History and ethnography of the peoples of Central Asia; Folklore studies; Ethnolinguistics; history and ethnography of Turkmens

Major scientific achievements:

G. Karpov was a facilitator of science and one of the founders of ethnographic studies of Turkmenistan. In his works, Karpov represented the history of the country and its people from ancient times to the 1940-s.

Awards and titles:

G. Karpov is the recipient of the Order of the Red Banner of Labour of Turkmen SSR; the Order of the Badge of Honour; recipient of the Medal ‘For Distinguished Labour’; Medal ‘For Labour Valour in the Great Patriotic War of 1941—1945’; recipient of Certificates of Merit from the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of Turkmen SSR. Georgy Karpov was awarded the title of Honorary Scientist of Turkmen SSR (1944).

Major publications:

• Племенной и родовой состав туркмен. Полторацк (Асхабад), 1925; [Tribal Composition of Turkmens. Poltoratsk (Askhabad), 1925];

• Туркмения и туркмены (историко-этнографический очерк) // Туркменоведение. 1929. № 10—11; [Turkmenia and Turkmens (A Historical and Ethnographic Sketch) // Turkmenovedeniye (Turkmen Studies). 1929. № 10—11];

• Хивинские туркмены и конец Кунгратской династии: Материалы по истории туркмен. Ашхабад, 1930 (совместно с Батцер А. М.); [The Turkmens of Khiva and the End of the Kungrat Dynasty: Materials on the History of Turkmens. Ashkhabad, 1930 (co-authored with A.M. Battser)];

• Восстание тедженских туркмен в 1916 году: (К изучению истории крестьянских восстаний в бывшей царской колонии). Ашхабад: Туркменгосиздат, 1935; [The Revolt of the Turkmens of Tejen in 1916 (Towards the History of Peasant Revolts in the Former Tsarist Colony). Asjkhabad: Turkmengosizdat, 1935];

• Творчество народов Туркменистана / Сост., пер. и прим. Г. И. Карпова и Н. Ф. Лебедева. — М.: Гослитиздат, 1936; [Arts and Crafts of the Peoples of Turkmenistan / Comp., trans. and comm. By G.I. Karpov, N.F. Lebedev. – Moscow: Goslitizdat, 1936];

• Гражданская война в Туркмении (1918—1920). Популярный очерк. Ашхабад: Туркменпартиздат, 1940; [Civil War in Turkmenia (1918-1920). A Popular Science Sketch. Ashkhabad: Turkmenpartizdat, 1940];

• Очерки по истории туркмен и туркменского народа. Ашхабад: Туркменгосиздат, 1940; [Sketches on the History of Turkmens and Turkmen Peoples. Ashkhabad: Turkmenpartizdat, 1940];

• Прошлое и настоящее туркменского народа. Ашхабад, 1942 (совместно с Курбановым Л.); [The Past and the Present of Turkmen People. Ashkhabad, 1942 (co-authored with L. Kurbanov)];

• Туркменская ССР. М.: Госполитиздат, 1945 (совместно со Школьниковым Е.); [Turkmen SSR. Moscow: Gospolitizdat, 1945 (co-authored with E. Shkolnikov)];

• Гиляки Мазандерана // Советская этнография. 1946. № 1; [The Gilyaks of Mazandaran // Sovetskaya Etnografiya (Soviet Ethnography). 1946. № 1];

• Этнографическая работа в Туркмении // Советская этнография. 1946. № 1; [Ethnographic Work in Turkmenia // Sovetskaya Etnografiya (Soviet Ethnography). 1946. № 1];

• К истории туркмен али-эли // Советская этнография. 1947. № 3; [Toward the History of Ali-Eli Turkmens // Sovetskaya Etnografiya (Soviet Ethnography). 1947. № 3].

About G. Karpov:

• Косвен М., Толстов С. Г. И. Карпов (1890—1947) // Советская этнография. 1947. № 3. С. 161—165; [Kosven, M., Tolstov, S. G.I. Karpov (1890-1947) // Sovetskaya Etnografiya (Soviet Ethnography). 1947. № 3. Pp. 161-165];

• Косаев М. Георгий Карпов // Эдебият ве сунгат. 1988, 15 июля; [Kosayev, M. Georgy Karpov // Edebiyat Ve Sungat. 15 Juky 1988];

Демидов С. Г. И. Карпов — историк, этнограф и общественный деятель Туркменистана // Вестник Евразии. 2001. № 3(14). С. 47—85; [Demidov, S. G.I. Karpov – Historian, Ethnographer, Public Figure of Turkmenistan // Bulletin of Eurasia. 2001. № 3. Pp. 47-85];

• Васильева Г. П. История этнографического изучения туркменского народа в отечественной науке. М., 2003. С. 76—78. [Vasilyeva, G.P. The History of Ethnographic Studies of Turkmen Peoples in Russia. Moscow, 2003. Pp. 76-78].

Author: P.M., ed.

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