How could we miss this guy? I once photographed an entire Tatarstan ASSR history book in search of Chirayliq candidates, even before this blog was created... and he wasn't there.
It's all Stalin's fault, of course. In this interesting speech from 1923 (source in German), Stalin accuses officials of the "national republics and areas" (mostly Turkestan) of both rightist and leftist leanings, the former being too nationalist, the latter too internationalist - implying that only certain great leaders are able to find the golden middle road, and everybody else better shut up.
Tatar Bolshevik Mirsäyet Xäydärğäli ulı Soltanğäliev (1892-1940?), aka Mirza Sultan-Galiev, was purged from the party in 1923 and finally executed in 1939 or 1940 for "nationalist tendencies". Today, Soltanğäliev's memory lives both in Tatarstan and Turkey, and some rare European socialists consider him a "forgotten precursor". Why this surge of attention? Well, I suppose it is his particular mix of socialism, Islam and national solidarity, sometimes called sultangalievism, which grew in the fertile soil of the jadidist movement of the 1800's in Bashkiria and Tataria (his parents were teachers). Already jadidism had sought to combine Islam, modernization and nationalization ("national revival") among the Muslim minorities of the Russian empire. Throughout most of Russia's history, religion, not ethnicity, was the defining category for most of the population. By promoting literacy, modern communications, and education, the jadidists wanted to reform Islam from the roots, while staying faithful to what they defined as core values of the Tatars and other Turkic peoples in Central Asia: freedom, social equality, diversity. Oppressed by the Tsarist regime, they turned to the Bolsheviks for support.
Soltanğäliev joined the Bolshevik Party in November 1917. At that time, he became a protégé of Stalin, as president of the Central Muslim Commissariat. He founded a Muslim Communist Party, and raised a military force of Tatars and other Muslims, which played a key role in the battles with Kolchak at the Volga. Interestingly, in the face of Russian opposition, he made public plans to create a Tatar-Bashkir Republic along the Middle Volga and the South Urals, with five to six million inhabitants. His view of Bolshevism was a worldwide anti-colonial struggle. (Source: Maxime Rodinson)
For Soltanğäliev, there was no contradiction in working for the advancement of Tatar and Bashkir culture while translating the works of Tolstoy into these languages and collaborating with people of other ethnicities for world revolution. It seems ironic that Dzhugashvili the Georgian, in the name of Great Russian supremacy, would crush Soltanğäliev the Tatar.