The problem of preserving their national identity in a multicultural environment for Tatars living outside of their historical homeland, remains one of the most important. How not to be dissolved in a multinational environment, how to instill a love and respect for the mother tongue? Tatar community in the places struggled to find ways to address these issues, including in small Baltic towns.
Migration flows during the Soviet era in Estonia related to the growth of industry and the requirement of workers, led to the fact that by 1989 the population of the region is 4058 Tatars. I myself was sent to the Estonian town of Kohtla -Yarve as an intern after graduation in Bashkiria. After the restoration of Estonian independent state in the first half of the 90s, many Tatars left Estonia. And according to statistics in 2011 in Estonia had only 2,428 Tatars. Of these, in Ida-Virumaa – about 300 people.
Festival of national cuisines 2012-2013. Guzyal Garifullina presents guests chak-chak
We were a little bit, but as part of a multi-ethnic population of the county, we could not afford to dissolve in the total mass, the so-called Russian-speaking population. In cities with the highest number of Tatars – in Tallinn, Maardu, Narva and Kohtla-Jarve Tatar societies have appeared.
Our society, Ida-Virumaa Society of Tatar culture, was established in June 1995, when it included 45 Tatars. From the beginning we have set the task to unite fellows, create the conditions for dialogue in our native language and preserve our culture. Despite the fact that many of our families were multinational, they kept the Tatar language and national traditions.
Priorities in our work are: the restoration and preservation of the Tatar language, culture, traditions, the Muslim way of life. We maintain cultural ties with the Tatar community in Estonia and neighboring countries, as well as with communities of other nationalities living in our region.
Chairman of the society is Rinat Garifullin Tatar culture festival “National boiler”, September 2014.
Today in our society there are 144 people. Communication between our Tatars long gone beyond the general activities.
Make new acquaintances, which escalated into a real friendship, born new family.
The best reason for communication are joint celebration of national and religious holidays, such as “Uraza bairam”, “Kurban bairam ” and, of course, “Sabantuy.” Traditionally, our society holds “Eid al-Adha.” On holiday, we invite guests from the Tatar community of Tallinn, Maardu, Narva and other national organizations that maintain close friendships. And every year we go, and celebrate anniversaries in Tallinn, Narva and Maardu.
We pay special attention to young people. Several activities were organized to familiarize with peers from other companies of Tatar Estonia, Latvia, Finland, St. Petersburg. We maintain contact with the youth center “Idel” (Kazan). Joint activities of young people from other companies help our children to adapt to a different environment, while maintaining own identity.
Whenever possible, the representatives of our society accept invitations to participate in events that take place on our ethnic homeland. We participated in the World Congress of Tatars in different conferences. Each such visit Tatarstan enriches us with new information, literature, new ideas that we bring to the members of the society. I remember how surprised and touched was our delegation by surrounding people, when one of our women after a visit to the National Museum in Kazan in anticipation of the total collection suddenly started singing “Ramai.”
We remember! And we want our children and our grandchildren to remember who they are. To our beautiful language and to our traditional way of life remained unwritten law diaspora. We want to and strive to representatives of other nationalities living in our region, with respect perceive our culture.
And without false modesty, I can say we have succeeded. Society is represented in the roundtable of national organizations with Elder Ida-VirumaaCounty, on equal terms, we take part in various projects at the county level and throughout Estonia. And this: traditional annual festivals of national culture “Loomepada” – “Creative pot”; festival “of cuisine”; conferences related to development problems of the Estonian state, creating integration programs and much more. Our society is a recognized center of Tatar culture in Estonia, and we are proud of.
Gulzalina Zhekhtunova, Member of the Management Board of Tatar culture in Ida-Virumaa (Estonia)