The land-and-water reform that took place in the Uzbek SSR in the 1920s was intended to solve the agrarian question in sedentary areas. However, competition between several power agencies and the importance of technical expertise led to divergent views and inconsistencies in its implementation. This article presents an overview of its institutional history and crucial phases: preliminary land surveys, expropriation and redistribution of land and implements, and the formalisation of the rights on newly received land. Besides the Soviet ambition to politicise land ownership and bring it under control, the article emphasises the continued presence of Russian land settlement priorities, bureaucratic practices and former tsarist personnel in the reform, arguing that a stronger grasp on individual land ownership was, if not an explicit goal, one of the most useful by-products of the reform in the eyes of local administrative organs.
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