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[tatar-l] The Volga Tatar Community of St. Petersburg

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  • SabirzyanB@aol.com
    The Volga Tatar Community of St. Petersburg. The city of St. Petersuburg has one of the largest urban Tatar communities in Russia. The streets and buildings
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 14, 1999
      The Volga Tatar Community of St. Petersburg.

      The city of St. Petersuburg has one of the largest urban Tatar communities in
      Russia. The streets and buildings of St. Petersuburg have many historical
      associations with the local Tatar diaspora. In the 18th century, Peter the
      Great brought many government-owned serfs to the site of the present city to
      start buidling a new capital for Russia, intended to become its "window to
      Europe." Many of these serfs wereTatars. Most of them died of hard work,
      exhaustion, starvation, or disease. Figuratively speaking, St. Petersburg is
      founded on Tatar sweat. blood, and bones.

      One place particularly associated with the local Tatar community is a modest
      buidling located at 22 Moika St. where, at the beginning of the 20th century,
      the Tatar newspaper Noor was published. At different times, this building was
      visited by such prominent Tatar cultural and public figures as Gabdula Tukai,
      Gayaz Iskhaki, Sadri Maksudi, and others. Last year, local Tatars decided to
      revive the newspaper under its original name. After a few issues, however,
      the paper was closed for lack of funds. During a meeting with representatives
      of the Second World Tatar Congress in 1997, the governor of St. Petersburg,
      Vladimir Yakovlev, prommised to allocate money for the newspaper in 1999. It
      is yet unclear whether he has kept his promise.

      Mr. Yakovlev made a second significant proomise to the Tatar communtity: He
      also promised to assist with the reconstruction of the St. Petersubrg mosque,
      one of the biggest in Eastern Europe. For those visiting St. Petersburg, the
      mosque is located at Kronversky Prospekt, 7. Metro station Gorkovskaya. Upon
      exiting the metro walk towards the river. Daily servidees are between 10 am
      and 7 p.m. The phone number is 7 (812) 233 98 19.

      So far, the Tatar communty of St. Petersburg does not have its own cultural
      center or a Tatar school. The chairman of the Tatar organization, Salim
      Hasanov, hopes that the future center will be located in a building that
      currently serves as the movie theatre Red Oktober. The building is located in
      the part of the city that used to be known as the Tatar neighborhood. In the
      meantime, the offical representation of Tatarstan in St. Petersburg is being
      regularly used as a venue for some cultural events. (The address is: 7/9
      Nevsky Prospekt, St. Petersburg, 191186 Russia. Chief of office: Shamil
      Akhmetshin. Tel.: 7 (812) 314 - 11 - 86 Fax: 7 (812) 312 - 97 - 77 )

      Tatar life St. Petersburg region is not limited to the city itself. Every
      year the village of Kuzmonovo outside St. Petersburg hosts Sabantui, which
      attracts many residents of St. Petersburg as well as local villagers.

      Source: Suyumbeka magazine, No. 6, July 1998; St. Petersburg Times, Dec. 30,
      1996

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