The threat of a Sovietized Islam
Ross presents a problem of “globally political significance: the linking of Islam and Bolshevism”.
From his vantage point in Baku, Azerbaijan, Ross contemplates the relationship between the Soviets and this Islamic Socialist Soviet Republic. As he will explain later in the book (See Moscow’s Ostpolitik as Continental Politics), Ross’s underlying concern is the rise of a continental Asia united under Soviet leadership and in competition with Europe for land (Lebensraum) and resources. Here, he interrogates the nature of the Soviet-Azerbaijani relationship. The republic has a great deal of autonomy—its own army, currency, and foreign embassies. What does this mean? Are the Soviets not strong enough to hold the republic in tighter proximity or, as Ross speculates, does this autonomy provide Moscow with an added degree of mobility? After all, the Persians are especially suspicious of the Bolsheviks, and, were Azerbaijan to be fully integrated into the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, Persia would likely shut down border traffic completely. A relatively autonomous Azerbaijan allows Moscow easier access to the Orient. The Soviet consolidation of the Asian continent is legible below surface appearances.
Colin Ross. Karl Marx unter dem Halbmond. In: Der Weg nach Osten: Reise durch Rußland, Ukraine, Transkaukasien, Persien, Buchara und Turkestan. 1. Aufl. Leipzig: F. A. Brockhaus; 1923; 74-77.