Chuvashia: history and culture

Ivanov V. P. Chuvashia: history and culture. — Cheboksary, 1994.

Чăваш ен : история и культура = Чувашия = CHUVASHIA : [реклам. просп. ] / Минкультуры Чуваш. Респ.; [авт.-сост. В. Иванов; фот. П. Сымкин]. — [Чебоксары : Чувашия, 1994]. — 15 с.: цв. ил. — Текст парал. чуваш., рус., англ.

 

The Chuvash Republic is situated in the central part of Russia on the banks of the great river Volga. Its territory is not very large. It is just 18 300 km2 and stretches for 190 km from south to north fot 160 km from west to east and for 80 km — at the narrowest place.

The climate is temperately continental, the landscape is foreststeppe.

The population of Chuvashia is 1,353,000 including townspeople — 810,200 (60 per cent of total number). Chuvashia takes the 4th place in Russia in density of population — 73,800 people per square kilometre (in Russia — 8,700).

In Chuvashia there are nine towns: Cheboksary (population — 442,000), Novocheboksarsk (121,000), Kanash (57,000), Alatir (48,000), Shumerlya (43,000), Kozlovka (13,000), Mariinsky Posad (11,000), Tsivilsk (11,000), Yadrin (11,000). Besides 8 populated areas have a status of town-type settlements.

In Chuvashia there ary 21 administrative rural regions. Rural population live in 1721 settlements.

In the Republic there live more than 55 nationalities, the main of which are the Chuvashs — 67,8%, the Russians — 26,7%, the Tatars — 2,7%, the Mordvas — 1,4%. The population of Cheboksary, the capital of Chuvashia, consists in the main of the Chuvashs (61,6%) and the Russians (34,5%).

In tsarist Russia the territory of modem Chuvashia was a part of two provinces — Kazan and Simbirsk.

The Chuvash Autonomous region was formed on June 24, 1920. On April 21, 1925 it was reformed into the Chuvash Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (ChaSSR) and in 1992 — into the Chuvash Republic.

Chuvashia has its own Constitution, Emblem, Flag and Anthem.

Two languages, Chuvash and Russian, are declared to be national.

In the Chuvash Republic all necessary state and political structures have been established (the President of the Republic, the Cabinet of Ministers, the State Council, government bodies, public organizations, trade unions and political parties).

On January 21, 1994 the first President of the Chuvash Republic entered up his duties.

The Chuvash is one of the large people of Russia. It numbers 1,842,000 people and takes the 4th

4th place in Russia. 906,900 Chuvashs live. 49,2% of all numbers) live in the Chuvash Republic. The rest of them live compactly in Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, in Samara, Ulyanovsk, Orenburg regions and in some othe places.

The Chuvash ancestors are seminomadic trubes of ancient Bolgars and Suvars who lived in steppes of the North Caucasus in the 5th-8th centuries. In the 7th-8th centuries a part of Bolgars left for the Balkans and assimilated with the Slavs, another part moved to the Mid-Volga relion and made up the etnnic base of Chuvashs and Kazan Tatars.

The formation of the Chuvash into a single nation was going on the base of the rural Bolgarian population who did not adopt Islam and it was completed on the boun-dary of the 15th-16th centuries.

In 1551 the Chuvash became a part of Russia. The Chuvash peasants did not know serfdom. Till the 1930-s the form of social organization was community.

The Chuvash language belongs to the Bolgar subgroup of the Turkic group of the Altai family of languages. Their ancestors used the Runic script and at the Bolgar times-the Arabic script. The first ABC book with the Russian script was published in 1871.

Till the 18th century the Chuvash had a harmonious system of the ethnic (heathen) religion which included elements taken from Zoroastrism of ancient Iranians, from Judaism (through Hazars) and from Islam. During the period from the mid-18th century till the mid-19th century the Chuvash were forced to adopt orthdoxy.

Modern Chuvashia has а developed social and cultural infrastructure (the systems of secondary and technical secondary special education, of higher education, communication, medicine and services establishments, cultural institutions and mass media (teleradiocompany, publishing houses, dozens of newspapers and magazines), etc.

In Chuvashia there are the Art Unions of writers, painters, composers, theatre workers, architects, journalists and designers. In 1992 the Academy of Sciences of the Republic and the Chuvash National Academy were founded. In Chuvashia there are 4 higher schools: the University and three Institutes — Pedagogical, Agricultural and Commercial. In the Republic there are also 752 public libraries, 1113 clubs (cultural institutions), 974 cinema units, 11 museum. The most important of them are National, Art and Literature Museums in Cheboksary, the ethnopark in Ibresi, the Kosmos Museum in Shorsheli.

In Cheboksary there are 5 large national professional theatres, 3 concert organizations and the Philharmonic Society: the Chuvash Academic Drama Theatre (102 people), the Opera and Ballet Theatre (200), the Chuvash Youth Theatre (43), the Russian Drama Theatre (50), the Puppet-show Theatre (25), the Academic Song and Dance Company (60), the Academic Choir (65), the Camera Orchestra (26).

In Chuvashia there is a base for Music College named after Fyodor Pavlov (341 students), at the Art College (70), at the Culture College in Tsivilsk (475). Besides that in the Republic regions and towns there are 21 schools of arts, 17 art (drawing) schools and 26 music schools in which 1225 children are trained. In the sphere of culture and art there work many graduates of Art and Music Faculties of the Chuvash Pedagogical Institute and of the Chuvash Philology and Culture Faculties of the University.

 

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