THE GENERAL REPORT
'The problems and perspectives of the development of the Kryashen nation'
I am grateful that the leaders of the Kryashen movement through the Interregional Union have set just me to do this report. This is great honour and huge responsibility. That, what will be said in this report, only partly reflect my own feelings and thoughts. The main part of the theses - this is the fruit of collective grasping the meaning of the modern condition of the Kryashens and the perspectives of the development of the Kryashen ethnos.
A number of measures preceded today's conference, which has pre-congress character. In that number the scientific conference, been on 7 December of 2000, the works of which have been edited and given you, some report-elected republican and regional conferences and meetings. The huge work was carried out and the legality of the present meeting is beyond doubt. 80 delegates are attending with us today this is 100 % presence of the elected delegates. This is the first measure of such kind and we're waiting important decisions of it.
The Kryashens are in hard condition today and, maybe, some more many emotional words will be said about it. But I would like to beware all us of revealing sudden longing, of easy way to find a cause of all our misfortunes somewhere on the side, in a person of other nationality or other faith. We are not able, we have no right to throw stones at our Turkic brothers or at our brothers by faith - the Russians. They have their own problems, which they have to decide. And it's necessary to be said, that and the Tatars and the Russians, taking care of their language, culture, traditions, faith, give us a wonderful example of selfless service to own people. We have to learn it. And we begin this difficult way to the own self- determination. May be this way will not be deprived of mistakes. They learn by mistakes. It is only necessary for us to avoid of two evils-nationalism and self- isolationism. Otherwise we will be able to find ourselves in civilized dead lock. We don't want this. Indeed the Kryashens are the most important clue link of chains of intercivilized intercourse between two great ethnoses - the Russians and the Tatars. The Kryashens - by will of Lord - have Turkic blood, what makes us brothers of the Tatars and Orthodox faith, what makes us close to the Russians. Who knows, maybe, just thanks to the Kryashen nation, the original civilized buffer, the relationships have arranged between the Tatar and Russian peoples so quickly and relatively painlessly. We hope, that and Russian and Tatar peoples will understand us, will value our historical mission and won't blame us for that, that we aspire to the self determination.
I want to note at once that I won't talk about that, why we consider that the Kryashens are the individual people. This question was decided for us, the Kryashens, long ago. All the more that we will talk not about some new status, but about the restoration of historical justice, i.e. about the return of previous independence our people had had and which we deprived by force in the Stalin epoch. Besides it isn't a scientific conference here, and I won't talk about the Kryashens ethnogenesis, history et.c. I won't appeal to scientific authorities and discuss with scientific opponents. I, by commission of my colleagues, will talk about the present problems and perspectives of development of the Kryashen people. I'll talk about that, about what the Kryashens have been speaking in the lobbies for a long time but about what they hadn't been speaking for a long time, fearing to offend somebody or to be not understood. We are happy that democratic multinational Russia and multinational Tatarstan are ready to hear the voice of the Kryashens today and as we hope, to understand the Kryashens and to help them. You see we have common motherland and we are also the natives of this land like and other peoples.
I beforehand beg forgiveness of the participants of the conference that I'll often talk about problems just of the Kryashens of Tatarstan and not of the Kryashens in general. Firstly, the main part of the Kryashens lives in Tatarstan - about 200 thousand out of 320 thousand of the Kryashens. Secondly, our brothers-Kryashens from Udmurtiya will talk themselves about condition of affairs in their region.
The condition of the Kryashen ethnos at present time, on the whole, should be acknowledged cheerless. The city Kryashens are put to necessity to assimilate with other ethnoses, in environment of the village Kryashens reign mass unemployment. In the places of compact living of the Kryashens, the local administration often don't reflect interests of the Kryashen majority, they are not occupied with the problems of the Kryashens. The cases of open discrimination of the Kryashens have place to be, when the addresses and requests concerning to work, education, culture, social questions, spiritual enlightenment are ignored.
For us, as for the law-obedient citizens of Tatarstan and Russia,it is very sorrowfully to talk about that, but in spite of repeated addresses of the Kryashen intelligentsia and the leaders of the Kryashen national movement to the social and state structures, nothing was done for decision of the numerous problems of the Kryashen ethnos. There wasn't found means neither for financing of the Kryashen folklore collective, nor for supporting of edition of the Kryashen newspaper 'Керешен сузе', nor for building at least one Kryashen temple in the republic.
When we are said that we have to be together with the Tatars, we ask why we, as for 'Tatars', aren't allotted money for edition of books, for development of our language, culture, for building of temples? Here, more than 1000 mosques were built for the brothers-Tatars, and we have nothing. Is it just? It comes out, that the Tatars have 1 mosque for 1500 people, and we have a temple for 50 thousand people. May be, haven't the Kryashens addressed with requests? They have. In one Kryashen village they have built a mosque, but they have refused to village people in a simple request to build up a chapel, not even a temple and only a chapel! Is it just?
Nothing is done and for the impartial study of the history and ethnogenesis of the Kryashens.The legal and repeated appeals of Kryashen organizations to the city (Kazan) and republic authorities about the transference of the Central Kryashen-Tatar school, opposite of the Arsk cemetery of Kazan city, have been completely ignored. Moreover, this historical building was sold to a commercial organization. And this despite that, that the building was a memorial of history and culture of republic meaning. The building, in spite of all legal acts, has been rebuilt and changed to unrecognizable state, at present time. But indeed, this building presents the precious object venerated by the faithful for the Russia Kryashens and it's inseparably linked with the time of happy development of the Kryashen ethnos and with the names of the great Kryashen enlighteners in the historical memory of the Kryashen people. The condition of the Kryashens also has discrimination in sphere of letting them possibilities in mass media. The ether television time and radio ether are not proportional and too little for the Kryashen broadcasts.
At the same time the materials, which had insulting character for the Kryashens, have been repeatedly published and demonstrated in the republic mass media. Many journalists and public benefactors have admitted provocative sayings into the Kryashens' address, what have made inferiority complex of the Kryashens; and also the feeling of bitterness for that, that being law-obedient and peaceful citizens of Russia & Tatarstan, the Kryashens find themselves deprived of civil rights and being infringed on the own historical motherland. Those, who come out with provocative role, maybe, don't understand themselves, that they kindle international enmity.
But if such provocative publications are continued, we will be forced to apply to the court, to the corresponding instances with the requirement to deprive such mass media of license. And I assure you we'll get this. We live in the legal state. Moreover, don't understand these people, that they shake the image of Tatarstan? And maybe this is deliberate work by discredit of our common motherland, our republic, and the guidance of our republic? It's necessary to muse on this. The publications against Kryashens-this is the work for the foes of Tatarstan, for the foes of the president; this is a burst of international tranquility. Either nationalists or intriguers are able to come out against the Kryashens.
For example, how can be valued today the slogans, which some journalists and Tatar public benefactors apply to the Kryashens that it is necessary for the Kryashens to adopt Islam. What is it: stupidity or provocation? What wrong have we done to our brothers, the Tatars? Do we call them to adopt Christianity? How would the Tatars value such slogan? Haven't we lived in good neighbourhood for so many centuries in order to give in to such provocative articles and slogans today?
You know we have wonderful relationships with the Tatars, the Russians, the Bashkirs,the Udmurts, the Chuvashs in a way of life level; these relationships have been going for many centuries of peaceful co-existence. We know that the majority of the ordinary Tatars and Russians have sympathetic attitude to the hard condition of the Kryashens, having neither own schools, nor own true history. Many Russians and Tatars with understanding welcome the aspiration of the Kryashens to get back themselves the status of independent people, that status, of which the Kryashens were deprived by force in the years of the Stalin national policy. You know the Tatars themselves have recently fought for the rights of a sovereign people, have written about the problems of the Tatar language, culture etc. I especially want to note, that at the last time our rushes to the self-determination find bases in the environment of responsible scientific opinion, confirming by their research the originality of the Kryashen ethnos, and also find sympathy among some public and government structures.
The Orenburg people in their telegram, being addressed the Conference, have appealed to pay attention to the question about the census of the population of 2002. Yes, we all are waiting this census, because just it will show real number of the Kryashens. We are getting ready for this census with responsibility. By census of 192: there were: of the Kryashen people, today by approximate appraisals there are 320 thousand people. We hope that the census will confirm justice of this appraisal.
It's the very important question about the national-cultural autonomy and self-determination of the Kryashens. We discussed this question with the leaders of republican and regional organizations of the Kryashens. It's obviously today that only the self-determination, independent way and independent responsibility are able to take the Kryashens out of the condition of national depression. The forms of this self-determination, its rich in content part - it will be discussed in the Congress of the Kryashens but and before the congress we'll discuss this with interested persons and organizations.
We have different possibilities for realization of the status of independent people; they are necessary to be discussed and thought over. In accordance with the Russia's legislation, we can work at the creation of national-cultural autonomy right now; the Kryashens have absolute right for this according to the 'Conception of the state national policy of the Russian Federation' (confirmed 15.06.1996) and the Federal law 'About national-cultural autonomy' (adopted by State Duma of the Russian Federation on 22 May 1996, approved by Soviet of Federation of the Russian Federation on 5 June 1996)
But it's obviously today that the possibilities of National-cultural autonomies don't completely correspond to the wishes of the Kryashen people. It's necessary to talk about local self-government of the Kryashens, about participation of the Kryashens in the state government, particularly on the territories of compact living of the Kryashen population. At last, it ought to get the representation of the Kryashens in the legislative meetings of the Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Udmurtia republics, i.e. in that subjects of R.F. where compact livings of the Kryashens have place to be. The leadership of different republican organizations of the Kryashens have one consolidation opinion in these questions. Moreover, in Udmurtia and Bashkortostan the Kryashens have their representatives in authority structures, in the person of deputies-Kryashens from the places of compact living of the Kryashens.
The problems of language. The condition with the Kryashen language causes particular anxiety today. It's the mother language correlatively with the Tatar language. The Tatar philologists call the Kryashen language a dialect, but for us - this is our native Kryashen language. And what's more, the language keeping itself in purity at mode of life level in advantage, and in village locality on the whole, in the places of compact living of the Kryashens. The urgent measures are necessary today in order to develop and keep the Kryashen language.
According to the 'Declaration about the languages of the nations of Russia' (from 25 October 1991) the Kryashens ought to have the right to 'equal possibilities for keeping, studying and developing' of own language. It's confirmed in that Declaration that the government have to pay special attention to the nations 'not having their own national-state and national-territorial formations'. In this relationship the Kryashens have the legal right to the government's assistance in development, studying and preservation of own language traditions.
In connection of coming conversion of the Tatar people into the Latin alphabet, being widely discussed in society, the Kryashens of Tatarstan and other regions have got the following opinion after discussion: the Cyril alphabet is only acceptable for the Kryashens as one possible for the normal functioning and development of the Kryashen language, as traditional and more corresponding to the cultural and confessional peculiarities of the Kryashen ethnos.
At the same time the question about use of the pre-revolutional or modern orthography of the Kryashen language requires further study. It should be acknowledged at the given step that the Kryashen language in pre-revolutional orthography is the language relating to divine worship, liturgy language first of all. Together with it, just relating to divine worship literature in pre-revolutional orthography had been promoting to the preservation of national and religious self-awareness of the Kryashens in the Soviet time. The authority of the pre-revolutional Kryashen alphabet, elaborated by N.I. Ilminsky and father Vasiliy Timofeev, is too high and it has important cultural and historical meaning.
At the same time the most part of the Kryashens being studied in Tatar and Russian schools has got used to the modern Tatar alphabet. This fact also should be taken into consideration in working out of strategy of the development of the Kryashen language. The scientific philologic analysis, sensible and serious approach to the problem of the Kryashen language is necessary. It should be set and decided the task by working out of a government program of researching, preservation and development of the Kryashen language. The effective measures by the research of philologic and phonetic peculiarities of the Kryashen language, by elaboration and scientific edition of the Kryashen dictionary should be worked out in framework of this program. The philologic expeditions should be carried out into the places of compact living of the Kryashens for the fixation of peculiarities of different Kryashen dialects and replenishment of the Kryashen vocabulary. At last, the problem of the Kryashen orthography should be discussed and the Kryashen intelligentsia, clergy and philologists in corresponding scientific forums, conferences and round tables should adopt consolidation decision on this question. All this work should be done at the closest time in order to after that to begin the edition of educational and methodic literature in the Kryashen language for secondary schools and higher educational institutions.
Education is some more one sharp problem. Everybody knows that we haven't got Kryashen schools, we haven't got Kryashen higher educational institutional and pedagogical education. Meanwhile, in accordance with the law of R.F. 'About education' (from 10 July 1992) the Kryashens have right for 'receiving of basic common education in native language and also they have right to choose the language of training in framework of possibilities, being presented by the system of education'. The right of the Kryashens for receiving of education in the native language should be provided (as it is fixed in the Law) with way of 'creation of necessary number of corresponding educational institutions, classes, groups and also conditions for their functioning'.
So, the creation of Kryashen schools in the places of compact living of the Kryashens, where the teaching would be trained in Kryashen language with introduction into educational plans of the national-cultural component, is the top-priority task of the development of the Kryashen ethnos in sphere of education.
The most important task is recreation of Central Kryashen school, which could be methodic and intellectual center in sphere of the development of the Kryashen education. So far as the historical building of Central Kryashen-Tatar school has been sold to a commercial organization, it is necessary to get coming back to the Kryashens of the building, being found near the Tikhvin church of Kazan and been a church house before. After the building will have got back, the Central Kryashen school which would have state financing, is necessarily be created in this building.
The opening of the Kryashens' schools is necessary and in the places of compact living of the Kryashens. The state program by development of the Kryashen education and network of the Kryashen schools should be adopted, what corresponds to article 12 of the Law of R.F. 'About national-cultural autonomy.' It should be created one system of the Kryashen upbringing and education out of childish preschool upbringing to higher educational institution education in perspective. The realization of this program would be the best evidence that before discrimination policy has changed with reference to the Kryashens.
Religion and spiritual enlightenment.
It's impossible to exaggerate the role of religious factor in the history and the ethno-genesis of the Kryashens. One of the versions of the origin of the ethnonym 'the Kryashens'- this is the religious history of the Kryashens. Father Pavel, maybe, will tell us about that, what the Kryashens had had before revolution in religious relation. I'll only note that the catechization of the Kryashens and building of temples are necessary, and what's more we ought to find mutual understanding with local administration here, with government, which ought to meet native population half-way in their legal requirements. The peculiar question, which is set to the Kryashen society - this is care of preparing of Kryashen priests. We hope for help of Russian Orthodox Church here, for help of the Naberejni-Chelny branch of Moscow Saint -Tikhvin Theological institute. Of course, we hope for understanding of priest-leadership of the Kazan diocese - Vladyka Anastasiy.
The Kryashen mass media.
The numerous publications in the local mass media, admitting statements of insulting character to the Kryashens, force to muse on necessity of more active position of the Kryashens in sphere of cooperation with available mass media and in sphere of creation own mass media.
The Kryashen should be allowed possibilities for creation of the broadcasts, devoting to the history and culture of the Kryashen ethnos, in state mass media. It should strive for a constant Kryashen television broadcast with regularity not less than I time a week and duration not less than 20 minutes at the state telechannel of Tatarstan. By this it's sensible to require the creation of Kryashen editorial office at the state channel. The same situation should be presented at the state radio channel: the creation of Kryashen editorial office and constant acting radio programs.
The newspaper 'Kereshen suze' is one of the best non-Russian language newspapers in the Tatarstan Republic according to polygraphy and quality of journalistic materials. But the Kryashen newspaper has been editing for many years by means of the Kryashens themselves. The state investitions should be found as it does, for example, to numerous Tatar editions. Besides, it should be acknowledged necessary the edition of 'Kereshen suze' (Kryashen word) both in Kryashen and Tatar and in Russian languages; the circulation, periodicality of this edition should be enlarged; the edition should be done within everyone's Kryashen newspaper.
The information internet-editions are becoming the most important resource at the modern stage of development of civil society. The public opening and readiness to work with new humanitarian spaces are important for the development of the Kryashen ethnos. Because of it we have aspiration to make powerful Kryashen internet-server KRYASHEN.RU, where the news of the Kryashen community, materials of history, ethno-genesis, musical and artistic culture, language, literature, the ethnography of the Kryashens etc would be placed. It's necessary to make such internet-resource poly-functional and multilingual (in Kryashen, Russian and English language). The work is already going in this direction. The Kryashen Kazan Society has won the grant for creation of the server.
The Kryashen intelligentsia and the Kryashen youth.
The Kryashen intelligentsia appeared in the end of the XIX century thanks to Christian enlightenment activity of N.I. Ilminsky and Kryashen-priest Vasiliy Timofeev. The Central Kryashen-Tatar school and Kazan teaching Seminary played the most important role in formation of the Kryashen intelligentsia. The role of the Kryashen intelligentsia is so high today, that it may be said and it's to be said not even about the role, but about the mission of the Kryashen intelligentsia. You know just intelligentsia is forced to restore Kryashen schools, prepare new pedagogic basic personnel, study the history of their people, ethnography etc. The village intelligentsia has special mission: it closer to the sources of people's language, traditions, culture. Because of it we are waiting out of the village intelligentsia coming into common work.
We have little forces but our belief strengthens us. Our intelligentsia have been in careless state too long or they have been occupied with vain complaints of fate and oppression from other nations. This time has gone. We should confess ourselves that we are guilty ourselves in everything. And the situation can be only corrected by us ourselves. We get confidence in that, that the wonderful youth grow up - they are hot, brave, sacrificed, loving their people, ready for the tedious work on recreation of the Kryashen culture. We'll see and hear these boys today.
Our intelligentsia has to help the youth. We have to bring up own young scientists, educational specialists. It's necessary to get the opening of faculty of the Kryashen language, history, and ethnography by one of the Tatar higher educational institutions and what's more the Kryashen youth should be attracted to the research of the Kryashen history, language, literature and ethnography. The training of young post-graduates and scientists out of a number of the Kryashens, whose scientific specialization would be in the context of the Kryashen scientific problematics, is the most important task.
The decision of the problems of the village youth is also should be the priority task of the national Kryashen movement. It's necessary to organize new work places and form social infrastructure in the places of compact living of the Kryashens, first of all paying attention to the problems of the youth.
This will permit to take off strain related to unemployment and young people's suicide in the Kryashen locality. At the same time it's necessary to join the village Kryashen youth to the computer and Internet technologies, it should to think of distance education. But this is the remote perspective.
The work with the government.
The separate and very important and even paramount task - this is work with the government bodies. We have to find understanding, have to work together on welfare of Tatarstan and Russia. It's necessary to work with local administration, the Kryashens have to have the representation in government bodies in that number in legislative meetings.
Here you are those questions briefly, about what I was asked to talk. These are those problems simultaneously, which have to find their reflection in a Conception of the preservation and development of the Kryashen people. In that Conception, which have to be elaborated and adopted at being waited Congress of the Kryashens.
At the end of my report I would like to thank those Tatars and Russian who understand us, who support us. We are grateful them, we don't forget them in our prayers. We are glad to everyone who is ready with frank soul to work together with us on common welfare of our common motherland, Russia and Tatarstan. We are opened to the collaboration with all positive public forces, with government, with local administration. And we have had such positive experience. Some leaders of administration are rusting us half-way, we are thankful them for that.
Beginning independent way, we feel common political responsibility for the future of Tatarstan and Russia. We haven't to allow political irresponsibility of intrigue people and dirty politicians. We haven't to allow that, that hard, but I believe, being corrected condition of the Kryashens would become small coin of someone political speculations and insinuations.
We wish nobody evil, and we hope that so pure the hearts of our Tatar and Russian brothers. We nowhere to run: our motherland, the tombs of our fathers, our holy places - everything, what is dearly and piously for us, finds here, on this land. And we are ready, as and our great-grandfathers, together with Turkic brothers, the Tatars, and our same faith brothers, the Russians, live peacefully, together work on this land, grow up children for whom, I believe, all we only wish peace and the happy future independently of faith and nationality.