Rustam Minnikhanov meets with the Tatar community of Finland
December 03, 2018
President of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov is on a two-day working visit to Helsinki (Finland). Deputy Prime Minister of Tatarstan, the Chairman of the National Council of the World Tatar Congress, Vasil Shaikhrasiyev is also present in the delegation of Tatarstan. The President in Helsinki today has already participated in a number of events and held several meetings. And, as you know, every trip of the President of Tatarstan is certainly accompanied by a meeting with the local Tatar community. And this time, Rustam Minnikhanov found time in his close work schedule to meet with compatriots.
About 150 people gathered for a meeting with the president. The meeting was held in an informal setting, at the tea table.
Tatars in Finland appeared about 200 years ago. In 1809, as a result of the Russian-Swedish war (1808-1809), Finland was annexed to the Russian Empire. Tatars were sent to the military garrisons of the Russian army to build military fortresses on the Aland Islands and islands near Helsinki.
The relocation of Tatars to Finland took place exclusively from the villages of the Volga region from the 1870s to the mid-1920s, due to the arrival of relatives of those who settled here before. That is why even now the Tatars of Finland live in the closest connection with each other.
Currently about 950 Tatars live in Finland. Most live in Helsinki (about 500), the rest – in Tampere, Turku, Kotka, Rauma and Vassa, Järvinpaa. Until recently, the Tatars were united in several Tatar societies.
The meeting, moderated by Vasil Shaykhraziyev, was opened by Chairman of the Islamic Society of Finland, Golten Bedretdin. She spoke about the society she leads.
In the 1970s, there was the “Gabdulla Tukai Society”, headed by professor at the University of Helsinki, Gumar Daher. The Islamia Society was headed by Osman Ali, a fur trader. Currently, both organizations have merged and form a single Diaspora in Finland. For many years, the leader of the Tatar Diaspora in Finland was a prominent scholar, a lawyer of international class, a teacher at the University of Helsinki, Okan Daher – the son of Gumar Daher. Further, chairman was Atik Ali. Today the company is led by Golten Bedretdin.
Atik Ali, a member of the board of the Islamic Society of Finland, told about the place of the Tatars, which they occupy in the world, and dwelt on historical landmarks.
Varol Abdurahim, Deputy Chairman of the Finnish Islamic Society for Culture, told about Tatar cultural events held in Finland. The average mahalla representative comes to the community meetings twice a month. The main goal of the so-called “chich kyce”, that is, tea drinking, is spiritual communication and exchange of opinions. Amateur ensembles of songs and dances, a small theater troupe prepare cultural programs with poetry reading, comic sketches, performances by professional and non-professional performers.
For the Finnish Tatars, the careful preservation of everything related to national history, culture, language and customs is characteristic. Thanks to the efforts of the Tatars of Finland, the Tatar language was included in the official list of minority languages of Europe. The President thanked the Finnish Tatars for such a contribution to the preservation of the Tatar language.
You keep our language, our religion, our traditions and customs. You are the backbone of our nation. and this is a big thanks to you, – the President said, completing the official part of the event.
The meeting continued with musical performances by Dina Shakir, Batu Alkara and Betul Khayretdin, and an ensemble of Tatar girls of the society also performed.
At the end of the meeting, Chairman of the Islamic Society of Finland Golten Bedretdin was awarded the Gratitude of the President of the Republic of Tatarstan.