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1 October 2010

Sergei Shoigu: To me, Tuva is a necklace of pearls

Alexander Filatenko, “Tuvinskaya Pravda”. Translated by Heda Jindrak

Sergei Shoigu: To me, Tuva is a necklace of pearls The co-chairman of the highest council of the “United Russia” party, the head of Ministry of emergencies of RF, Sergei Shoigu has become a laureate of the State Prize of Republic Tuva. Yet another prize has been added to Sergei Shoigu’s many awards – he has become a laureate of the State Prize of Republic Tuva for his great contribution to the development of his small native country. The award was presented on Monday, 27 September, by the head of the republic Sholban Kara-ool during a ceremonial presentation of the anthology “Uriangkhai. Tyva Depter.” (“Tuvan notebooks”), which took place in the building of the Theatre of Music and Drama, which just re-opened after a capital renovation.

- Sergei Kuzhugetovich is a real Tuvan patriot, - Sholban Kara-ool said as he was presenting the award. – He is a man who never lost touch with his native country, who is always fully repaying his filial debt. He is a man who does everything to help his small native country to get up from its knees.

As he received the prize, Sergei Kuzhugetovich immediately informed the gathering that the monetary part of the prize – 500 thousand rubles – will be donated to the funds of the republican pediatric and obstetric hospital in Chadan, where he was born 55 years ago.

Remember that the seven volumes of the anthology introduce the history of Uriangkhai nation, which is today’s Republic Tuva. The collected texts presented in the anthology – documents, illustrations, photographs, accounts of explorations by many prominent travelers and scholars, excerpts from artistic writings – all this makes this voluminous book (each volume consists of more than 500 pages) not just eminently readable, but also very absorbing.

Sergei Shoigu became not simply the initiator of this project, but also an author and editor of the book “Uriangkhai. Tyva Depter.” He personally wrote thematic introductions to the volumes, where he discusses problematic questions of history and ethnography of Tuvan nation, throws light on various moments of the history of origin of the heraldics (state symbols) of Tuvan monetary and postal insignia, the history of various archeological monuments, for example, the ancient fortress Por-Bazhyn, etc. Sergei Kuzhugetovich developed love for his nation and its history in childhood, when he participated, as an 11-year-old boy, in archeological expeditions as part of youth teams of the well-known Sayano-Tuvan expedition of AN SSSR.

- Over 80 years, the historical record has been extremely politicized, - Sergei Shoigu shared the history of the idea of the anthology, - everybody re-wrote it his own way. I had no wish to re-write it. This was a different task – to give everyone a chance to study the history of Tuva on their own, by reading what was written about our country in different centuries, by various historians and travelers. In the role of author and editor, I had learned many things about how our ancestors lived and worked, evaluating both the sensible and the senseless things that they had done. I found out, for example, that Tuvan family name Kara-Sal is of Russian origin. That is what Tuvans used to call the first Russian settlers – Kara-Sal means Black Beard.

As Sergei Shoigu admitted to his compatriots, his right hand, the chief helper and inspiration in the realization of this idea was his father – Kuzhuget Sergeyevich Shoigu. A lot of the material was collected from FSB archives, which were formerly closed, and were never published. Sergei Shoigu considers the material from the years 1930-1949 especially significant. These were the years of repressions, during which 76 Buddhist khurees were extirpated.

As the director of Tuvan Institute of Humanitarian Research, Kaadyr-ool Bicheldei admitted, the seven volumes have become not just a reference book for scholars, but also a basis for further scholarly research.

Minister of education, studies and youth politics of RT, Pyotr Morozov transmitted to the author-editor words of gratitude from pedagogues and students, among whom the anthology is especially in demand. Thanks to Sergei Kuzhugetovich’s personal initiative, now the anthology is in the collections of every school library, and works to engender patriotism in the growing generation.

Personally, the most interesting and significant period in Tuvan history Sergei Shoigu considers to be the beginning of the last century, the period of first appearance of an independent state, which began to form in 1907, and also the year 1914, when, in his words “bloodless” Russian protectorate over Tuva was realized.

- There are the first Tuvan stamps, the first monetary insignia and classifications…This is always interesting and absorbing.

Together with this, Sergei Shoigu remarked that the seven volumes of the anthology is in reality unfinished history. The work in the archives continues, and new, previously unknown material on Tuva is being discovered. One of such little known works was given to the anthology author by a veteran of the war and of labor, a prominent social activist of Tuva, Tamara Norbu.

- See if something could be done about a memorial for Lobsan Chamzy, the first lama of the Buddhist temple “Ustuu-Khuree”, - she requested. – He was one of the best educated Tuvans of his time, he knew five languages. Please do this, son. And take good care of yourself…

- Of course we will think about a memorial, and as far as the temple complex itself, the construction will be continued, - assured her Sergei Kuzhugetovich. – With friends, we have already collected 56 million rubles. It will be a huge educational center.

Sergei Shoigu also informed the gathering that he is preparing to publish the first photo album with commentaries about history of Tuva. He shared another interesting idea with his compatriots: to publish a series “Life of remarkable people of Tuva, and to dedicate the first book to the prominent Tuvan actor Maxim Munzuk, who played the title role in “Dersu Uzala”.

Sergei Shoigu also mentioned an unprecedented fact – the publication of pre-election program of the regional department of “United Russia” in Tuvan language, which was done for the very first time in history.

Commenting on this decision, he said:

- The publication of the pre-election program of the regional department of the party in Tuvan language is a very significant political step: Russia is a multi-national state, which respects the language, culture and customs of all the nations that live on the territory of the country. Tuvan language, to say it outright, is very beautiful, and I am glad that the voters of the region can read the program document in their own native language…This should become yet another confirmation of the fact that “United Russia” always does everything for the people.

Sergei Shoigu also visited the Ivan Yarygin sports-complex, where he met with students of Kyzyl colleges and with Tuvan athletes. The meeting took the form of an open discussion. The young people asked many questions – what are the qualities of a leader, how to become a rescue worker, and many, many others, and they received exhaustive answers.

One of the young athletes asked:

- Right now, the project “Nine Treasures” is in progress; what would you personally consider as one of the treasures?

- In my opinion, the entire Tuva is a necklace of pearls, - Sergei Kuzhugetovich answered. –River Khemchik is a real pearl, the fortress “Por-Bazhyn”, near which the first hydroelectric plant was built, is also such a treasure. Or take Ubsu-Nur depression. That is the only place in the world which is a watershed of rivers that flow into three of the world’s oceans – Indian, Pacific, and The Arctic. Where else can you find such a unique place on the earth’s globe? We, as a matter of fact, in the Geographic Society are thinking of working out tourist itineraries “In the footprints of Russian Scholars and Scientists”. And then, I am sure, another few dozen new treasures will be discovered.

Answering a question about the perspectives for development of mass sports, Sergei Shoigu, specifically noted:

- The “United Russia” party is now carrying out 17 different projects, including “500 swimming pools for colleges of the country”. Tuva is one of five regions where this project has already begun to be realized this year. All these projects are not just talk. They are all backed by realistic financial means.

In conclusion, Sergei Shoigu presented complete sets of hockey uniforms to Tuvan athletes who are in training at the universal sports-complex “Subedei”, which was also built thanks to Sergei Shoigu’s support.

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