Despite their military and technological superiority, the Russians were far from all-powerful in Turkestan, owing to lack of trained personnel, finance, and, perhaps most importantly, knowledge. Their paranoid fear of Islamic rebellion led to considerable administrative inertia, and the colonial regime was characterized by corruption, inefficiency, and a failure to modernize and reform. Although local clerical and aristocratic elites lost some of their power and significance, urban, mercantile, and village elites exploited Russian power for their own purposes, and controlled important elements of the administration. However, compared with India the regime was not particularly violent, and taxed very lightly, not least because, unlike their counterparts in India, Turkestan's peasants did not have to finance Imperial defence. Russian rule brought about a number of changes, but many were quite superficial, and few were on the rulers' terms.
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