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The national movement of the Crimean Tatars can be divided into several stages. The first began after the annexation of Crimea to the Russian Empire and ended around the 1880s, the second stage covered the period from 1890 to 1905-1907, the third began after the events of the Ottoman Revolution of 1908.
The first stage was characterized by spontaneity due to the lack of a common goal, ideological and political centers and general leadership. All Tatar demonstrations were spontaneous, they fought for survival in a hostile colonial environment.
The second stage was the birth of the Crimean Tatar intelligentsia and its search for a single idea for all. This was the idea of the Young Turk movement, which originated in the Ottoman Empire. Since many members of the Crimean Tatar intelligentsia studied in Istanbul (and some even took part in the Ottoman Revolution of 1908), after returning to the Crimea they promoted new ideas and tried to implement their goal: to achieve a qualitative growth of culture and education of Crimean Tatars, to unite them into a single cultural community with all the civilizational achievements of the world’s Muslims. This movement can be called the Young Tatar movement. It was he who later played a significant role in the history of the national liberation movement of the Crimean Tatars. Young Tatars did not put forward such radical revolutionary ideas as Young Turks.Their first goal was to improve education.
Ismail Gasprinsky (1851-1914) was the exponent of Young Tatar ideas. He was born in Bakhchisarai in the family of a military officer, a nobleman Mustafa Gasprinsky. Ismail was educated in Moscow and in the cadet corps in Voronezh. In 1871 he moved to study in Istanbul, and then continued his studies at the Sorbonne in Paris. After graduation he worked as a secretary to the writer I. Turgenev. Gasprinsky himself was also an outstanding writer, wrote several novels and short stories (“The Rising Sun”, “The Lioness”, “The Land of Eternal Bliss”, etc.), as well as many essays and articles. In 1877 he returned to Bakhchisarai, where he was elected mayor.
In 1883, Gasprinsky began publishing the newspaper Terdzhiman (The Translator), in which he published information about the economic and chauvinistic arbitrariness of the Russian government in the Crimea, promoted the national values of the Tatar people, and exposed attempts to discredit them. Gasprinsky’s newspaper inspired readers to improve education in the national spirit. According to I. Firdevs, ” appearing in 1883, this newspaper lasted until 1917, giving way to the newspaper” Millet “, won world fame and supporters in all corners of the globe, where there were Muslim nations and states, becoming to the mouthpiece of the national liberation movement in the East . “
Gasprinsky’s contribution to the cause of public education was enormous. Under the influence of measures of the tsarist government aimed at the extermination of the Tatars and their culture, the level of education gradually but steadily deteriorated. A contemporary testified: “ Crimean madrassas are a bad copy of Turkish ones. They study theology, philosophy, jurisprudence, but all this in a kind of theological interpretation. Madrasa students live in dormitories, which are (with a few exceptions) a concentration of unhygienic conditions. Teachers are quite uneducated . ” Finally, I. Gasprinsky himself noted: “ The program of the modern Tatar madrasa is Arabic literary language, theology and scholasticism. Teaching method – digging and notching .
In 1884, Gasprinsky opened the first Crimean Tatar school “usul jadid mektebe” (“new method of teaching”) in Bakhchisarai. Hence the new enlightenment movement began to be called Jadidism with a new method of sound teaching material (following the example of European schools). The training lasted three years, in the “new school” was taught not only the ability to interpret the Qur’an, but also languages, writing, geography, arithmetic. To improve the learning process, Gasprinsky published his textbook “Hodja i-subyan” (“Teacher of Children”).
Soon, in a broader sense, the term “new school” began to mean the path to moral renewal. The new direction provided, according to Gasprinsky’s plans, reform of confessional educational institutions, creation and further development of the national press, solution of “women’s question” proceeding from needs of a modern civilization, development of preconditions for creation of uniform Turkic language, strengthening of cooperation in cultural, economic and social spheres. between all Turkic ethnic groups, the formation of their own national intelligentsia, the modernization of the Muslim way of life, the establishment of friendly relations with Russian representatives of culture and education, the establishment of cooperation with the Russian government, the creation of charitable and philanthropic societies.
New schools spread both in the Crimea and abroad. Dozens of young mullahs began to come to Bakhchisarai from Kazan, Ufa, and other provinces of the Russian Empire to study the new method of teaching. Bakhchisaray school began to play the role of the first seminary for teachers. After gaining experience, these teachers returned home and began to organize schools according to Gasprinsky’s method. They brought up teachers, journalists, doctors and people of other professions, which then representatives of Gasprinsky’s group tried to send to improve education in Istanbul.
The efforts of Gasprinsky and his followers brought a significant and visible result to the naked eye. Twelve years later, the number of Crimean Tatar schools has tripled, and the number of students has quadrupled. If in 1881 there were 190 Crimean Tatar traditional schools in the province with 3,722 students, in 1892 there were already more than 500 schools with 13,600 students – both traditional and “new”. This state of affairs persisted.
In the early twentieth century. in the Tavriya province there were already: Crimean Tatar educational institutions – 535, mektebs and madrassas of the Department of Foreign Religions – 505, urban and rural ministries of public education – 21, literacy schools – 4, Friday schools for adults – 2 and evening schools for adults – 3 The influence of the new schools became so great that the Crimean authorities came to their senses and in 1910 ordered them to close and return to traditional education.
I. Gasprinsky’s group initiated the emergence of other associations of Crimean Tatar educators. Such a group was headed by the son of a peasant Reshid (Abdureshid) Mediev (1880-1912). This teacher from Karasubazar, at the beginning of his political career in 1900, disowned Gasprinsky and stated that he was “on a polarly opposite point of view with him on socio-economic issues.”
R. Mediev’s program defended the interests of artisans, artisans and the poorest peasants. His followers did not consider education to be the most important thing to pay full attention to, although they also supported the idea of creating their own Tatar newspaper. Thus, in 1906 in Karasubazar Mediev and his associates began to publish the newspaper “Vatan Hadimi” (“Service to the Fatherland”). In its pages, he tried to cover the urgent needs of the Crimean Tatars, especially the provision of Tatar peasants with land. Other figures of the Crimean Tatar movement of a more “left” than Gasprinsky orientation began to gather around the newspaper. S. Idrisov, O. Zaatov, A. Dzhemilev, Arabsky, D. Seidamet, A.-S. Aivazov, S. Memetov, H. Chapchakchi and others.
Much later, the Bolshevik I. Firdevs wrote: ” While Tatar teachers who were educated in Turkey in their native language were grouped and dominated in the newspaper around Terjiman, in the newspaper” Vatan Hadimi “the leading role belonged to teachers who received qualified education in Russian. language in Russia “. According to I. Firdevs, this was the difference between the two groups that emerged in the Crimean Tatar movement in the late nineteenth century: the focus on the eastern essence of education and, accordingly, the eastern system of civilizational values in the first and the European direction of education (hence the mentality). – in others.
An important event in the Muslim life of the Crimea was the creation in 1897 of the “Crimean Charitable Society in Simferopol to help the needy Tatars.” I. Mufti-zade headed the society and headed it for many years. After some time, similar societies were established in other cities, as well as outside the Crimea: in St. Petersburg, Astrakhan, Kazan, Kasimov, Semipalatinsk and other cities of compact residence of the Muslim population. In the early twentieth century. there were more than 40 charitable societies throughout the empire, and directly in the Crimea – 6.
The national liberation movement of the Crimean Tatars became noticeably more active after the events of the 1905-1907 revolution. However, not surprisingly, it began with a complete disregard for the events of the revolution itself. Tatars – artisans and artisans of cities – did not accept the revolution. Even further from it were the Crimean Tatar peasants.
In 1905, a political organization was established on the peninsula, which tried to unite all the Muslims of the Russian Empire. Because of this, it received the famous name “Butyunrusie ittifak muslimanlarnen” (“All-Russian Union of Muslims”). She stood on a liberal platform and gradually leaned toward the Cadets and Octobrists. The most active members of this organization were I. Gasprinsky, I. Mufti-zade (later elected deputy of the State Duma of the third convocation – from the Octoberist faction), I. Lemanov, S. Khattatov, R. Akhundov, M. Kipchaksky, R. Mediev, A. -WITH. Айвазов.
In the same year, several more national parties and circles emerged. Thus, a group of Crimean Tatar socialists appeared in Simferopol, led by the teacher of the Simferopol Crimean Tatar school Appaz-Murza Shirinsky. A Crimean Tatar group was formed in Alupka under the leadership of teacher Asan Sabri Aivazov. By the way, it was A.-S. Aivazov who became the editor of the newspaper “Terjiman” after I. Gasprinsky’s death in 1914.
Thus, during this period, the Crimean Tatar national movement was small and was just beginning to take active action. Despite the active efforts of all-Russian radical organizations to campaign among the Tatars, it did not yield significant results. The number of Tatars in these organizations was considered units (mostly among the SRs), and their activities were inconspicuous.
In 1908, the Crimean Tatar organizations “Kirim Talebe Jemieti” (“Society of Crimean Tatar Youth Students”) and “Jemiet Hayrie” (“Charitable Society”) were established in Istanbul. These organizations brought together students who came here to study. Thus, the basis of these organizations was the young Crimean Tatar intelligentsia, which was born in those days. However, these societies soon disintegrated, and on their basis in 1909 another organization was formed – “Vetan Jemieti” (“Society of the Motherland”).
Its representatives saw their task in printing and transporting leaflets and proclamations to the Crimea, their further secret distribution among the Crimean Tatars. The most active members of this organization were Jafer Seydamet (1889-1960) and Chelebi Chelebiyev (Noman Chelebijihan) (1885-1918), who soon became leaders of the Crimean Tatar national movement. They headed two of his divisions, the spiritual and the secular: Chelebiyev became the first democratically elected mufti and head of the national government, and Seidamet was the first Minister of War and then headed the Crimean Tatar government instead of Chelebiyev. Thanks to their activities, the Crimean Tatar movement acquired an organizational structure and began to play an important role in the further development of events.
With the beginning of the First World War, the Tavriya province was considered a frontline. Everyone whom the authorities considered “unreliable” (especially the Germans and Tatars) began to suffer all kinds of oppression. The repressive policy of the tsarist government politicized the Crimean Tatar environment. If before many contemporaries spoke about the specific Tatar apolitical nature, now not only intellectuals but also peasants began to take an active interest in politics. More and more representatives of the Crimean Tatar people began to look closely at the events taking place in the Ottoman Empire. After all, after the revolution of 1908, it was considered by the Crimean Tatars to be more progressive than the Russian one.Two factors – the rejection of the chauvinistic actions of the tsarist government and the attractiveness of Turkey – led to the growth of separatist sentiment on the peninsula.And the events of the Russian Revolution pushed them to intensify.