Islam without borders: from Bulgar to Tver

27 January


On 21 January, the Interregional Scientific and Educational Conference “Islam without Borders: from Bulgar to Tver” was held in Tver. The major scientific event was attended by public and religious figures, historians from cities and towns of the region, as well as from Moscow. The event marks the 1100th anniversary of the adoption of Islam by Volga Bulgaria. The conference was organized by the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of the Russian Federation, the Spiritual Administration of the Tver Oblast and the Ministry of Culture of the Tver Oblast.

The guests of honour were Sergey Rogozin, Deputy Chairman of the Public Chamber of the Tver Oblast, Archpriest Nikolai Alexeev, Dean of Novotorzhsky Parish of the Russian Orthodox Church’s Tver and Kashin Diocese, and Priest Arshak Nazaryan, Rector of the Holy Resurrection Church of Tver Russian and New Nakhichevan Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

The presentations on the Golden Horde and post-Horde periods of Islam in Tver were made by specialists in history, local history and religious studies: Farit Batyrgareev, Dmitry Makarov, Marat Safarov and Galina Gadalova.

Sergey Rogozin, in his greetings on behalf of the Public Chamber of the Tver Oblast and him personally, stressed that ‘Russia is not a melting pot in the paradigm of which the formation of Russian national identity should follow the formula of ‘fusion’ and ‘blending’ of all peoples. Russia is a territory where it is possible to preserve one’s national authenticity. At the same time, people of all confessions respect each other and peacefully coexist, developing and strengthening our great motherland’.

On behalf of the Tver diocese, Archpriest Nikolai Alexeev, Dean of the Torzhoksky Church District, welcomed the conference participants as part of the inter-confessional cooperation. In his speech, he mentioned the longstanding cooperation between Muslims and Christians in 1812 and 1877, and during the Great Patriotic War. He wished ‘that this event will be another reminder of our unity for the prosperity of our common home – Russia’.

On behalf of Mufti Sheikh Ravil Gainutdin, the participants were welcomed and given letters of gratitude by Ilgizar Davletshin, Head of the Department for Science and Education, and Nail Shakirov, Head of the Department for Internal Affairs. Gratitude was granted for service to the religion and public to Mars Ibragimov, Chairman of the Autonomy of Tatars in the Tver Oblast, Vagif Magomedov, First Deputy Chairman of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of the Tver Oblast, Mahmadi Muzaffarov, Executive Officer of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of the Tver Oblast, and other leaders and activists of the community.

Responsible editor of the series of encyclopedic dictionaries “Islam in the Russian Federation”, historian Ahmad Makarov, spoke in his review about the legendary General of the Tsarist Army Gubaidullah Dzhangirovich Genghis Khan.

The name of this statesman is carved in the St. George’s Hall of the Kremlin in a list of commanders of all times and peoples who have been awarded the Order of St. George as well as golden weapons.

Gubaidullah Djangirovich was a direct descendant of Genghis Khan and the son of Djangir, the last Khan of the Bukeyev Horde.
After graduating with flying colors from the Imperial Corps of Pages, he entered military service, from which he resigned in 1894. During his brilliant service he had a prominent career, receiving many state honors, such as a golden sabre with the inscription “For Bravery”, the Serbian Grand Officer’s Cross, the Order of St Vladimir 3rd class with swords, and the Order of St Stanislav 1st class and the Montenegrin Gold Medal “For Bravery”.

‘Gubaidullah Djangirovich was an extraordinary person. As a Muslim, he advocated expansion of electoral rights of the followers of Islam, performed Hajj and contributed to the imperial permission for Muslims of the Russian Empire to continue visiting Mecca. And as a statesman, he faithfully served the Russian Empire,’ the historian said.

Galina Gadalova, Candidate of Historical Sciences, Chief Librarian at the Rare Books Department of the Scientific Library of the Tver State University, historian and local librarian, in her speech on “History of the Tver Principality and the Horde in the Miniatures of the Illuminated Compiled Chronicle” told about the history of Tver, as well as the maintenance of longstanding diplomatic relations of Tver princes with the Horde and its ambassadors, and with other principalities of feudal Russia.

‘If we look in the “Noble Genealogical Book of Tver Province”, we can see a large number of Tatar surnames whose ancestors owned estates and fiefdoms, as well as Tatar servants of Tver province,’ Farit Batyrgareev said.

The Muslim community in Tver, as we know it now, was formed in the late XIX and early XX centuries. In the middle of the XIX century, Tatars from Nizhniy Novgorod and Kasimov uyezd, Ryazan guberniya, came here to work. Interestingly enough, they compactly settled in the same sloboda - between Smolensky and Tatarsky lanes of Tver. This allows us to suppose that Tver at that time also had a remembrance of the times, when Muslims temporarily or permanently lived in the city. At the end of the century Muslim soldiers of the Grenadier and Dragoon regiments stationed in Tver also joined the community.

Marat Safarov, Candidate of Pedagogical Sciences, Moscow historian and radio presenter, spoke on “The Kasimov Roots of the Alyshev Family of Merchants and Benefactors”.

Also within the framework of the conference, an exhibition titled “Zhaubash - the Home Village of the Merchants and Benefactors of the Alyshevs” was organized, which was presented to the event participants by Renat Abyanov, Head of the Culture Department of the Russian Spiritual Administration of Muslims. It featured such exhibits as a prayer rug from the XIX century and a painting by artist Takanaev depicting the mosque of the Alyshev family’s home village.

At the end of the conference, Tair Sayfutdinov, Imam-Mukhtasib of Tver Oblast, thanked all the participants and guests of honor and wished that such scientific events would help to “build a correct world outlook and understanding of one’s place in this world”.



GSV "Russia - Islamic World"