Anniversary of Gabdulla Tuqay of 1938

Author Name(s): Enzhe M. Dusaeva
Author Email:


Memory, memory studies is one of the most urgent themes of modern society and social studies. Even the theme of anniversary, various celebrating events as a kind of cultural, history memory become relevant while forming new nations at the end of 19th century. This article tries to understand, interpret Tuqay´s anniversary of 1938 as cultural and ideological phenomena. The authors include it in wide historical and cultural context. The article examines the strategy of propaganda, the specific ways of image´s transformation. The Tuqay´s anniversary and several materials have been analyzed for the first time using memory studies. As a result of studying the problem, we can come to the conclusion that there were parallel processes of cultural, commemorative, ideological manners of poet´s appropriation by Soviet regime.


Gabdulla Tuqay is a famous Tatar poet. He was born in 1886 and lived before revolution (1917) in the Russian Empire. Tuqay was the favorite poet of the Tatars and as result had been called a national poet after his death in 1913. He was known as the founder of the modern Tatar literary language. His figure plays a great role in the construction of Tatar national identity.

The Soviet Tatar community focused on finding a proletarian spirit in Tuqay’s creativity. Soviet political system appropriated the poet who lived before the revolution and created a myth of Tatar national poet as a worker’s and peasant’s defender.

The 1930s is known as a period of industrialization and collectivization that changed people’s lives and whole country. Industrialization was accompanied by urbanization. The most of Tatars were rural, the rural people moved into town to build new factories and work here. The peak of Stalinist repression was at the end of 1930s. The Union of Tatar writers, Tatgosizdat, Radiocomitet suffered from mass repression. These organizations actively participated in the celebrations of the 25th years from Tuqay’s death. Its membership had been totally changed during 1937-1938. For example, the Radiocomitet had nine chairmen during the period 1934-1940 (Garipova, 2004). It is surprising that even at the peak of repression took place massive celebrations.

Our objective is investigation of the 25th years of Tuqay’s death in 1938 as ideological practice. This

study examines Soviet representations of Tuqay’s legacy. The German turkologist Michael Friedrich devoted a monograph to the transformation and sovietization of Tuqay’s image (Friedrich, 1998), but we focus on the Stalinist cultural politics of the 1930s and the jubilee as cultural, memorial, ideological practice.

A monograph of Jonathan Brooks Platt is devoted to Stalinist Cultural Politics, the author focused on Pushkin’s anniversary of 1937 (Platt, 2016). We are bound to acknowledge that there is no research about the anniversaries of Tuqay. Our investigation is the first analysis of commemorative practices of celebrations devoted to Tuqay’s death.


Tuqay’s jubilee of 1938 was the first great holiday of the poet and the last anniversary of his death that has been wide celebrated. The other holidays in general were the anniversaries of the birthday. The government of TASSR initiated all celebrating events. The majority of the projects hadn’t been realized and were embodied only in 1950s because of inner feelings of Tuqay’s memory. The main transmitters of the memory were the contemporaries of Tuqay. In the 1950s appeared necessity to fix, consolidate the memory materializing it. There were established first monuments to Tuqay, museum, needle on his grave.


The work is performed according to the Russian Government Program of Competitive Growth of Kazan Federal University.



  • “G. Tuqaj istәlegen mәņgelәştery turьnda”, Qьzьl Tatarstan, № 69, p. 4, 1938.
  • “Tatar xalьq şagire G.Tuqajnьņ ylyenә 25 yьl tulu kөnen ytkәry bujьnca xөkymәt komisiәseneņ qәrarь”, Sovet әdәbiatь, № 4, p. 3, 1938.
  • “Tuqaj buste”, Sovet әdәbiatь, № 5, pp. 69-72, 1938.
  • “Xalьq şagire G.Tuqajga bagьşlangan kicә”, Qьzьl Tatarstan, № 88, p. 3, 1938.
  • “Xalьq şagire G.Tuqajnь iskә alu”, Qьzьl Tatarstan, № 88, p. 3, 1938.
  • “Xalьq şagire Gaptulla Tuqaj kөnnәre aldьnnan”, Qьzьl Tatarstan, № 69, p. 4, 1938.
  • “Татарский энциклопедический словарь”, Казань: Институт Татарской энциклопедии АН РТ, 1999.
  • “Тукай. Сценарий фильма”, Kazan utlari, № 4, pp. 107-124, 1976.
  • Assman A. “Cultural Memory and Western Civilization: Functions, Media, Archives”. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.
  • Clark K. Petersburg: The Crucible of Cultural Revolution,
    Harvard University Press, 1998.
  • Dusaeva E. “Creating the national saint: verbal and visual strategies (St. Francis of Assisi)”, Strategies of visualization and verbalization of sociocultural practices. Collected articles / ed. by I.I. Lisovitch & V.S. Makarov, Kazan, 2012.
  • Friedrich M. “Ghabdulla Tuqaj (1886-1913). Ein hochgelobter Poet im Dienst von tatarischer Nation und sowjetischem Sozialismus”, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2011.
  • Fәjez Ә. “Tuqaj turьnda”, Sovet әdәbiatь, № 5, pp. 55-58, 1938.
  • Lazzerini E. J. Tatarovedenie and the «New Historiography» in the Sovet Union: Revising the Interpretation of the Tatar-Russian Relationship, Slavic Review, 40, № 4, pp. 625-635, 1981.
  • Platt J. B. “Greetings, Pushkin!: Stalinist Cultural Politics and the Russian National Bard (Pitt Russian East European)”, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016.
  • The archive of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Tatarstan. The passport is a monument of history and culture: Monument to G. Tuqay. 1956. Koshlawich.
  • Yoldyz, 7 April, 1913.
  • Гази И. Бөек рус культурасы һәм Тукай, Кызыл Татарстан, № 86, p. 3, 1938.
  • Garipova Z. G. Kazan: society, policy, culture (1917-1941), Kazan: Magarif, 2004.
  • Hisamova D. Gabdulla Tuqay’s image in a monumental sculpture, Tuqay’s Heritage in the context of national cultures. Materials of the international scientific and practical conference devoted to the 125 anniversary since the birth of G. Tuqay, Kazan, 2011.
  • Шамуков Г. “Тукай образын иҗат иткәндә”, Азат хатын, № 4, p. 8, 1976.

367 total views, 2 views today

Download PDF File

About the author: admin