Libmonster ID: U.S.-1521
Author(s) of the publication: S. S. MIKHAILOV

Moscow Assyrians are a dispersed ethnic group living in our capital. The diaspora, whose history in Moscow dates back to the end of the first quarter of the XX century, organically joined the urban multinational environment and played a significant role in the urban culture of Moscow (now, unfortunately, this role is almost completely lost). The history and culture of the Moscow Assyrian diaspora - one of the largest in the former USSR - has not yet been studied .

The purpose of the article is to try to tell about Kunaya, a local group of Moscow Assyrians, on the basis of field material. For this purpose, we used the stories of old-timers both about their Moscow life and about places of traditional residence, information about which they received in their time from older generations. The difficulty in collecting field information and writing this work was the complete absence of any sources (other than field sources) concerning this group, with the exception of a brief mention in the article published in 1931. Skorobogatov's "Icebergs in the USSR" 2 , in which kunaya is called "konai".

Information about the Moscow Assyrians-Kunaya was mainly collected by the author with the help of representatives of this group Mikhail (Shebovich) Avdysho (born in 1930) and Nina (Barutovna) Zavzu (born in 1931), who at one time received information from the generation of Kunai, who came to Russia from places of traditional residence. The article also uses the results of a study of the history of the Moscow Assyrian community, conducted by the author in 1992-1993.

Kunaya (along with Jilvaya, Diznaya, and Gyavarnaya) is one of the most numerous Assyrian groups that settled in the capital by the mid-1920s. This group is a unique case (apart from the small local village group Shaveta, which numbered only two dozen families in 1914), when all the inhabitants of the same village who survived the exodus from Turkey settled in one city, and did not disperse to different regions of the country, as was the case with representatives of other Assyrian groups. The Kunaya are considered one of the oldest Moscow Assyrian groups, which played a significant role in the life of the metropolitan diaspora.

The Kunaya formerly belonged to the so-called dependent Assyrians-the Raya from the village of Kon, located in the mountains of the Hakkari Sanjak in the south of the Van vilayet of Turkey .3 Kon was a fairly rich village, with good pastures and herds. The village was located near the lands of the independent, or ashirite, Assyrians of the Malik kingdom of Thuma (thumnaya) and Assyrians-raya of the Talan district, or, as it is more often called in literature - Tal (talnaya). Kunai's stories about his neighbors mostly mention representatives of these groups. Assyrian-kunaya M. Avdysho, based on the information that he learned from conversations with some representatives of the Assyrian intelligentsia who know the location of Assyrian villages in the Hakkari mountains, claims that the Con was located on the territory of the administrative center of the city of Hakkari.-

(c) 2003

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under the authority of the Ashir Malik kingdom of Lower Tyari. However, its inhabitants were not bi-Ashirat (i.e., ashiret, or independent Assyrians) and were not identified as one of the local Assyrian - Tyaraya groups.

The Moscow-based Assyrian ethnologist Iosif Zaya, in a conversation with the author, claimed that c. Kon was located near the lands of the Malik counties of Tyari and Thum, subordinate to the malik of one of them. By the way, when in the 1930s a part of Kunai left the USSR via Iran and ended up for some time in Syria, where a compact area inhabited by Turkish Assyrians appeared on the Khabur River, they were settled not in the place where the Talnai lived, but in the place of immigrants from Tyari.

According to I. Zai, the Kunaya were different from the main population of the first two tribes-Malik-in appearance: they had large noses, while the Tyaraya and Thumnaya had small ones. According to informants, in addition to the territorial proximity and the same social status, Kunai shared the same spoken dialect with Talnai, but the Kunai were considered not one of the Talnai divisions, but an independent group.

The population of the village of Kon was divided into tribal groups (ojahs). A resident of Moscow, N. Zavzu, who received information from older members of her family who were born in this village and left it as adults, names such groups as Be-Baruta (Be - from the Aramaic bne-son), Be-Stapo, Be-Merza, Be-Kemaya, Be-Biru, Be- Akubra, Be-Shallu, etc. She could not specify the exact number of families or houses (farms) in the village: she only knows that the village was large. M. Avdysho claims that there were 125 houses in the village. Nina Zavzu is a representative of the Be-Baruta family, and Mikhail Avdysho is a Be - Stapo.

The village was headed by a semi-elected Malik-rais, who came from the Be-Barut family. On the eve of the events of 1914-1918, which caused the exodus of Assyrians from their native places, he was Zavzu, the maternal uncle of N. Zavzu, whose name was already taken as a surname by her family when receiving passports in Russia. From the mountain that towered over the village, where the houses and plots of residents were clearly visible, he watched the work of fellow villagers. However, he never took part in it. In case of unsatisfactory work of any of the villagers, Malik-rais called the offender and conducted an educational conversation with him.

According to M. Avdysho, the Kunai grew mainly corn and rye; N. Zavzu heard from her parents about some gardens and knows that her uncle had walnuts in his yard. The main occupation of the villagers was cattle breeding. They bred exclusively sheep, which provided milk and wool-raw materials needed both in their own subsistence economy and for exchange with the inhabitants of the plains. The inhabitants of the village of Kon, as already noted, owned good mountain pastures, to which, in addition to them, the Assyrians from Thuma brought their cattle from time to time.

Together with the shepherds, a woman always went from each house to pasture, milked the sheep and processed the milk into long-term fermented milk products (cheeses, etc.). Then they were put in large clay jugs and sent home, where they were consumed later throughout the winter. Sheep wool was used to make clothing, blankets, etc. Some of the products were exchanged for salt and other products necessary for the village. They also exchanged fabrics from which women's dresses were made. The Assyrian costume, according to informants, was practically no different from the Kurdish one, and Assyrian women, being Christians, as well as Muslim women, wore woolen trousers.

By the beginning of the XX century. the Assyrians who lived in Turkey had another source of income-otkhodnichestvo to Russia and other countries, one of the important auxiliary crafts for all groups that inhabited the south of the Van vilayet. So, a relative of N. Za-

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The VSU, Gevargiz, knew Russia very well by 1906-1907 and visited it several times, bringing home the money he earned. What exactly he was doing there, Gevargiz did not tell anyone. Often Assyrians collected donations ostensibly for the needs of Orthodox churches in the Middle East, the construction of churches, etc. While some pretended to be priests. Collectors appropriated funds for themselves. This activity was called khochogohstvo.

Houses in the village of Kon were built of stone. Judging by the fact that N. Zavzu's parents, recalling their former home, mentioned bi-lai - "bottom" and bi-hta - "top", the houses were two-story. The room was divided into rooms, exactly how many-now no one remembers. The decor was very simple: in the middle of the room there was an earthen hearth-a cabin, where food was cooked, heated with its help, and around it people slept, spreading wool blankets on the floor.

In the village there was a church of St. George (Mar-Gevargiz). According to M. Avdysho, its last priest was Avdysho, who later came to Moscow with fellow villagers and lived until his death in the 1930s on the Arbat. No one could say anything about the external appearance of the church. Most likely, it was a typical Assyrian mountain village square building with a flat roof. Regarding the interior decoration, according to the stories of N. Zavzu's parents, it is known that the walls were hung with canvases called paruvi. The most revered church holidays were Christmas and Easter, as well as the patronal feast of the temple - shara d-Map-Geevarghiz. These holidays were actively celebrated before and after their exodus to Russia.

Kurds lived near Kon, with whom the villagers maintained good neighborly relations: they went to each other's weddings, holidays, etc.At the same time, Kurds living in other places often raided Kon, mainly for the purpose of stealing livestock. It was stolen not only by Kurds, but also by Ashir Assyrians. N. Zavzu's parents told about an incident that took place in the early 1910s, when Assyrians from the Malik Diz (diznaya) tried to steal sheep belonging to the Kunai, but the latter, not having any weapons other than sticks (Assyrians-Raya, unlike Ashir, did not have the right to own weapons), recaptured their cattle and put their captors, armed with guns and daggers, to flight. Later, in Moscow, when the Kunaya came to visit the traditionally celebrated Mar-Shalyta holiday on October 1, they met the hapless thieves of their cattle, who also settled with their families in Moscow. Participants in the long-standing conflict, humorously recalling the past, reconciled.

Kunai marriages were concluded mainly in their own environment, and marriage unions between second cousins were allowed: N. Zavzu's parents were precisely in this degree of kinship. Her mother had married within her own family, from a rich family to a rich family. Boys were wooed at the age of 14-15, girls-at the age of 12-13. N. Zavzu told an episode that took place around the 1890s. A resident of the village of Mazrya from the Malik county of Thuma during a fight in his village, without calculating his strength, killed a fellow villager and, fearing blood feud, was forced to flee with his family. They came to Kon, where they asked for shelter. Malik-rais, then not Zavzu, but his father, was afraid to refuse the ashirite Assyrian, and he and his family stayed in the village. When the fugitive's two daughters grew up (one of them was N. Zavzu's grandmother), they were married to Kunai. And the youngest son brought his wife from the village of Mazrya. Unfortunately, it was not possible to obtain information about marriages with Assyrians of other tribal groups.

With the outbreak of World War I, the genocide of the local Christian population, including the Assyrians, began in eastern Turkey. After the statement in 1915 of the spiritual and secular head of the Assyrians, Patriarch Mar-Shimun Benjamin, about the appearance of his people on the side of Russia and England against the Turks to the Assyrian population

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The Van Vilayet, abandoned by the Allies to the mercy of fate, had to leave through Iran to the territory of the Russian Empire. According to M. Avdysho, the inhabitants of the village who left their native mountains together with other Assyrians. They reached the Russian Transcaucasia in 1916 and were placed by the tsarist authorities in one of the refugee camps in Batumi. They remained there until the end of the war in 1918.

N. Zavzu says that after the war, the Assyrians decided to try to go back, and a small group of villagers crossed the Turkish border. The return was successful, but the next group was discovered by the Turks and destroyed. The hope of returning to Kon was finally buried, the Kunai left Batumi and moved to Pyatigorsk. During two trips to the Assyrians of the Krasnodar Region in 1995, I heard local residents mention the presence of Kunai in the North Caucasus, and one of the respondents, an elderly Assyrian talnaya from Krasnodar, was sure that the Kunai still live in the region. However, the Moscow kunai deny this.

From the North Caucasus, the Kunai gradually moved deeper into Russia: in 1919, the first Kunai appeared in Moscow, and in 1920, the bulk of the former inhabitants of the village of Kon already lived in Petrograd. In the northern capital of Kunai, they were in the midst of a famine, which could not but affect the level of morbidity and mortality of emaciated people. In 1923, most of the Kunai moved from Petrograd to Moscow, and the last families arrived in the capital in 1924.

All the survivors of the exodus from the village of Kon - about 50 families-settled in the center of Moscow. The author has already written about the initial settlement of the Assyrians-Kunai 4 . These are Tverskaya Street (Gorky Street) and adjacent alleys, Arbat, Smolenskaya Square. Patriarchal ponds. It is necessary to add the recently identified places of settlement of one family on Kalyaevskaya Street and several families near other Assyrians in Tabachny Lane. In a number of places, the Kunai lived side by side with representatives of other Assyrian tribal groups.

As a result of the depopulation caused by the hardships of the camps and hunger strikes in the early 1920s, the most numerous genera (ojahs) of the Kunai were the Be-Baruta and Be-Stapo. The first ones settled on Vozdvizhenka Street, Bolshaya Nikitskaya Street, Nemirovich-Danchenko Street, Tabachny Lane. The latter lived on Nemirovich-Dan-chenko and Stanislavsky streets, near the Palashevsky market. On Arbat and Smolenskaya Square, the Be-Shallu settled. From other families, only a few families reached Moscow: Be-Merza (one family on Kalyaevskaya Street), Be-Biru (next to Baruta on Bolshaya Nikitskaya Street), Be-Kemaya (Tverskaya Street), etc. In the 1930s, due to the demolition of houses for new construction on Gorky Street, several Kunai families were resettled in the then Moscow suburb of Khovrino. In the 1960s and 1970s, during the settlement of central Moscow and the relocation of Muscovites to "sleeping" areas, all the small colonies of Kunai, as well as other Moscow Assyrians, were scattered throughout the city.

Like almost all of Moscow's Assyrians, who came from Turkey, Kunaya specialized in shoe cleaning, being always in full view of Muscovites and being an integral part of the urban landscape of the 1920s and 1960s. This occupation, according to M. Avdysho, was preceded by the work of the men of kunai on paving streets and laying tram tracks. But this job was temporary, and after finishing it, Kunaya had to go clean shoes to earn a living. According to some informants, the Assyrians were taught how to properly clean their shoes by a Jewish cleaner who worked on one of the Moscow boulevards. Chistilytsikov-kun's places of work were located in the center of Moscow, from Neglinnaya Street to Arbat and Smolenskaya Square, and all along Tverskaya Street to Mayakovsky Square. As a rule, the area where the places of work were located coincided with the area of residence of a particular group

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Assyrians, including Kunai. In the past, the cleaners ' parking lots were located in almost all alleys, but over time, their number gradually decreased as the Assyrians mastered new activities. In 1999, in the center of Moscow, one could count about 10 shoe tents, in which Assyrians-Kunaya worked.

In the first years of the Assyrians ' stay in Moscow, when the appearance of new parking lots for shoe cleaners was spontaneous and disorganized, Assyrians of various associations often clashed over places on the most crowded streets. The "war" over the parking lots on Tverskaya Street, which broke out in 1923 between Kunaya and Gyavarnaya armed with daggers and metal bars and the mounted militia dispersed with difficulty, is mentioned by V. Skorobogatov 5 . According to him, this did not happen again. However, according to the information received by the author of this article from old-timers from many Assyrian tribal groups, regular fights of cleaners occurred later, especially in the area of the Smolensky market. Representatives of various Assyrian groups, including Kunai, often fought here. However, more often fights occurred between direct contenders for the place, without the intervention of tribesmen.

N. Zavzu gave her aunt's story about the events of 1925, about a fight that arose as a result of an attempt by two Assyrians-natives of the Malik Tyari and Thuma counties-to take advantage of their former position as honorary Assyrians and take away one of the parking lots at Kunai on Tverskoy Boulevard. The result of the fight was the death of thumnaya and one of the kunai, who had nothing to do with the subject of the conflict. The death of an ashirite Assyrian, Thumny, at the hands of the Assyrians, Raya, who were Kunaya, could have had very serious consequences for the latter. Although there were only a few families of Thuma and Tyari natives in Moscow, the death of an ashiret Assyrian at the hands of Raya greatly angered numerous Moscow ashiret Assyrians from the Diznaya and Jilvaya tribes. The latter gathered in the courtyard of the house where the victim lived, arranging a kind of rally, at which they expressed their intention to cut out all the kunai. Murders among Assyrians were fairly common, but the killing of bi-ashirat by non-ashirite Assyrians was something out of the ordinary. The Ashirite Assyrians were encouraged to take decisive action by the relatives of the murdered Thumnai, who came from Tula after learning about the incident.

It is not known how events would have developed further, but the Moscow gyavars, the largest association of non - Ashir Assyrians in the city, intervened in the conflict. Their armed representatives (in 1925, a part of the population still had a lot of weapons acquired during the civil war) came to the scene of the conflict, threatening to take the side of Kunai if it continued. In this case, instead of the massacre of bi-ashirat with Kunaya, a real war would have taken place with non-ashirat Assyrians, represented by two of the largest tribal groups in Moscow, which could also be supported by smaller ones. Bi-ashirat had to give in. Intervention in the confrontation described above by the Gyavarni, who two years earlier had been at war with Kunaya over parking lots, in my opinion, should be considered as a counteraction of non-ashirite Assyrian associations to the strengthening of the Ashirites, which would inevitably follow if they defeated one of the largest Assyrian groups in the city-the Raya.

This story was also confirmed by information received by the author from the Moscow Assyrians-gyavars-descendants of the participants in those events. At that time, the Assyrians from Gyavar were led by Iramiya Shmovel, a native of the village of Mamikin, who was the leader of this tribal group in the city until 1936. In the future, the relations of the Assyrians-Kunai with Jilvai and dizna were normalized. Some time after settling in Moscow, representatives of various Assyrian tribal associations gradually overcame their previous isolation. Deya contributed a lot to this-

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the Khoyad-Atur Assyrian Union (later Khayadta), Assyrian primary schools, the Assyrian Club, and other cultural and educational institutions that operated in Moscow in the 1920s and 1930s.

In the early 1920s, all Assyrians who were refugees on the territory of the Soviet state received Iranian passports instead of the Tatyanin Committee 6 refugee certificates issued by the tsarist government and considered invalid by the new authorities. At first, they did not want to receive Soviet citizenship, hoping to return over time. Turkey refused them, while Iran, having views on the Turkish border territories previously inhabited by Assyrians, gave the latter its citizenship. N. Zavzu said that it was at this time that her family took the name of her uncle Malik as a surname. Her male grandfather's name, which her parents were going to use as a surname for their passport, was Mandu. However, the official who was engaged in issuing passports advised them not to do this, saying that in Russia with such a surname there would be only problems. Then their relative Gevargiz, who had previously visited Russia several times, knew Russian and therefore helped his fellow villagers solve various issues with the authorities in the first years of emigration, advised them to take a surname in honor of their then-deceased relative Malik. This was done.

The exchange of Iranian passports for Soviet ones among Assyrians began in the late 1920s. Many Assyrian families, including Kunaya, did not receive Soviet passports, but, using the status of Iranian citizens, left for Iran. The main migration of the Kunai to Iran occurred in 1930-1932, while the most active part of the group left. From Iran, they quickly moved to Syria, which was under the French mandate, from where they later left for the West. Now their descendants live in Germany, Sweden, Australia and the United States.

The kunai who remained in Moscow initially continued to preserve their traditions brought from their homeland. Religious holidays continued to be celebrated: Christmas, Easter, and the patronal feast day of the Mar Geevarghiz Church in Kon. The last one occurred on the first Monday after November 13, i.e. on the first Monday of November in the old style. Unlike other Moscow Assyrian groups, whose holidays fell on the warm season, which allowed them to hold feasts and festive dances in the courtyards, Kunaya had to be content only with their apartments. Especially in the first years of their stay in Moscow, they did not have enough money to rent large premises. In the apartment, tables were set, women were engaged in arranging meals, having previously brought pre-prepared dishes with them. Until 1947-1948, no money was collected for the holiday, but they brought ready-made treats, having previously agreed who should cook what and how much. This custom, according to informants, was called shahar-kotel. It was also observed at weddings and funerals. Since the late 1940s, it has been replaced by a preliminary collection of money.

Men, meanwhile, went in groups to the houses of their fellow tribesmen in the morning and congratulated their inhabitants on the holiday. We started our rounds from the house of the most respected person. Then everyone gathered in the apartment where the celebration was being prepared. There was a feast, music was played (zurna and drum), the audience sang Assyrian songs and communicated with each other. At the head of the table were always old people and guests of honor. Assyrians of other groups came to the festival. In this case, the hosts always gave up their seats to the guests, and they themselves stood near the walls, waiting for the newcomers to eat.

Until the late 1940s, vodka was not put on the table for holidays, weddings, or funerals: this was considered a sin. In 1947, in view of the fact that Assyrian men who were already familiar with this drink began to come "under the heat" or specifically leave the holiday for this purpose, it was decided to "legalize" the presence of vodka on the table.

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Until 1932, the holiday of Mar-Geevargiz kunaya was celebrated, as a rule, in the house No. 6 on Nemirovich-Danchenko Street. Since that year, due to the departure from the USSR of the family that organized the holiday, which owned the apartment (most of the kunai were huddled in basements), until 1962, the holiday was not publicly celebrated. In addition to the lack of suitable premises, people were afraid to gather because of the beginning of repression and celebrated Mar-Gevargiz only in the family circle. In 1962, the holiday was again celebrated by gathering everyone together. This time the celebration took place at No. 33 Bolshaya Nikitskaya Street. Since 1972, when it became impossible to gather in the designated place, the celebration again stopped. One of the main reasons for this is that Kunai does not have an active leader who can organize his fellow tribesmen. Other groups of Moscow Assyrians did not stop celebrating their holidays throughout the entire period of their life in Moscow: first in the courtyards of the houses where they lived, and then in rented premises. In addition, in 1993, one of the Jilvaya Assyrians in Moscow, during our conversation about the tribal groups living in the capital, called the Kunai "the poorest" of the Moscow Assyrians. Thus, it is possible that the lack of funds for renting a room could also be the reason for a long break in the public organization of a traditional holiday. In the mid-1990s, the Mar Geevargiz holiday, which is common to Kunai, was again celebrated. Celebrations are organized by M. Avdysh. In November 1999, a space was rented for the celebration in Elektricheskiy Pereulok, not far from Belorussky Railway Station.

The wedding rites of the Kunai also changed after their relocation to Moscow. So, in the village of Kon, according to N. Zavzu, weddings lasted "seven days and seven nights", but in Moscow it was impossible. Here, weddings were held for two or three days. Traditionally, the bride's dowry was not given by the family; almost all wedding expenses, including even the purchase of a wedding dress and underwear, were borne by the groom's family; the bride left her relatives in what she was wearing. Now wedding expenses are already borne by both families, a dowry has appeared. Thus, the wedding ceremony of kunai was influenced by the surrounding Russian environment.

Initially, the Assyrian traditions of Kunai in Moscow were based on old people, who were respectfully called khvar dykna (in other Assyrian dialects - dykna khvara ) - "white beard". Their authority was unshakable: they reconciled fellow villagers in case of quarrels, resolved disputes and conflict situations, monitored the observance of customs, church fasts, etc.According to data obtained from M. Avdysho, in the 1920s and 1930s, Zumaev Barkhael, Mushel and Barcho performed this role in the Kunai group. They also knew very well the rich Assyrian folklore, about which very few of the present Moscow Assyrians have even a fragmentary idea. After the old people passed away, by the 1940s, kunai gradually began to move away from the old traditions. However, some of them continue to exist. For example, the customs associated with nepotism (karyvuta) are generally preserved to this day. Hereditary godparents (karyve) still continue to perform their functions at christenings, weddings, funerals. They are still invited from families that have been associated with Kunai nepotism since they lived in Kon Village.

Like all Assyrians, the Kunai, even during the years of persecution of religion in the Soviet period, zealously professed Christianity and tried to make sure to baptize babies,marry young people and bury the dead. After the death of priest Avdysho, the clergy of Russian churches began to apply for the fulfillment of church requirements. We went to churches nearby. N. Zavzu, for example, was baptized in the Church of the Small Ascension even before it was closed. Subsequently, the Church of the Resurrection on Nezhdanova Street remained the only functioning church in the places of Kunai's residence. They say that such a zealous attitude to the faith of the Assyrians

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it was very popular with Orthodox priests, who often said:: "Our Russians have forgotten about their churches, but you, well done, go to them, support them." Kunai's dead were buried and continue to be buried near the burial sites of Jilvai at the Vagankovo cemetery. In September 1998, the Mart-Maryam Church of the Assyrian Church of the East, to which the Assyrians-Kunaya-belonged before the exodus from Turkey, was consecrated in Moscow. Some of the most active believers from the older generation began to attend it. Some continue to go to Russian churches.

Since the Kunai lived and worked as shoe cleaners in the very center of Moscow, rich in theaters and houses where the creative theater elite lived, they had to constantly come into contact with its representatives. Kunai's children played in the courtyards with the children of famous actors. The latter instilled in Assyrian youth a love of visiting theaters, which was clearly manifested in the post-war years.

The clients of the cleaners-kunai were many famous people in their time. According to N. Zavzu, in the first half of the 1950s, S. V. Mikhalkov, who lived on Gorky Street, cleaned shoes only at her brother Andrey Zavzu, whose parking lot was located opposite the Central Telegraph Office. M. Avdysho's maternal uncle, Gevargiz Veniaminov, worked near the service entrance to the Bolshoi Theater, and all the "stars" passed through it. He was especially well acquainted with S. Ya. Lemeshev, whom he regularly helped to get away from annoying female fans. In general, the contacts of Moscow cleaners-kunai with representatives of the creative elite is a topic of special research.

Since the 1920s, one of the favorite places of leisure of Assyrians-Kunai was Tverskoy Boulevard, where on Sundays and public holidays they went for a walk with whole families. They always dressed for this as if for a holiday: women - in nice dresses, men - in Circassians, breeches, etc. Here they discussed current events, politics, got acquainted, looked for marriage partners for children. Kunaya, especially young people, often attended Assyrian church festivals, which were organized by representatives of other Moscow Assyrian groups. Most often, they went to Jilvai on Mart - Maryam on August 27 and Shara d-Marese on September 26, who lived in the Presni and Tishinka areas, as well as to diznaya on October 1 on Mar-Shalyta on Samoteka, where one of the four-story houses was inhabited only by Assyrians and where all Assyrian Moscow gathered on that day.

In addition to historical memory and traditional culture, including festive ones, Kunai's group identity was also based on a sense of pride in the authoritative representatives of the group. D. Isupov, who was secretary of the USSR Embassy in Syria for five years in the 1970s, and 0.3. Mikhailov-about the same time Vremya is the head of the Mechanical Engineering Department of the All-Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. Daniil (Danya) Isupov was especially respected by kunai as a person who had reached a very high position, and, most importantly, for his personal qualities. He always sat at the table, despite his relatively young age, among the elders. One Muscovite who knew D. personally. Isupov, told me that when the Assyrian cleaners he interviewed went to clean their shoes and found out that their client knew Dania Isupov, they refused to take money from him.

The Kunai were the first Moscow Assyrians to marry Russians. Back in the 1920s, young Kunai, in the absence of their tribeswomen of marriageable age, married Russian girls who came to Moscow to work from the villages. Representatives of the Russian peasantry could not have been better suited to the patriarchal Assyrian Eastern Christian environment. Many Kunai intermarried with Assyrians from other groups, especially in the courtyards where they lived nearby. Many marriages were performed with jilvaya, to whom the Kunaya constantly went on holidays. As a result of assimilation, as well as the emerging low birth rate of the Kunai generation, who were born in Moscow in the pre-war years, there was a large group of people who were born in the Soviet Union.-

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Currently, it has been greatly reduced and has no more than 20 families scattered throughout the city. Of the previous numerous Kunai ancestral groups, only the Be-Stapo and a much smaller number of the Be-Baruta are currently preserved. Only one person of the Be-Shallu family is still alive. The remaining tribal groups have almost disappeared due to the assimilation of the Kunai by the Russians and Assyrians of other groups.

Before the exodus from Turkey, Kunai, like other Assyrians, had families with many children. According to M. Avdysho, in the village of Kon there were at least three or four children in a family, and the maximum number of children reached ten or more. The generation born in places of traditional residence, having settled in Moscow, also tried to create large large families: they had an average of five or six children. This was due to the fact that the unfavorable sanitary living conditions of the majority of Moscow Assyrians (damp basements teeming with bedbugs, cockroaches and rodents) caused a rather high mortality rate among children. However, the generation of my informants has lost the attitude to having many children and has an average of two or three children. Only one of the families had five children. In this respect, the Kunaya are an exception among the large Moscow Assyrian groups, since, for example, the Jilvai and Diznaya had a high birth rate in the post-war decades and often there were families with five or six children each. Younger generations of kunai have only one child in their families, less often two.

The current older generation of kunai still remembers and partially observes the old traditions, while the younger generations have already lost them. So, only the older generation knows the language. The youth are largely assimilated, remaining only nominally Assyrians. Unfortunately, young people are not particularly interested in the past of their group and its culture. Young Assyrians, when they begin to take an interest in the history of their people, first try to acquire and study literature on ancient Assyria, almost always ignoring what happened after its fall.

In the 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a significant number of Assyrians moved from the former Transcaucasian republics to Moscow. The reasons for this relocation were the difficult economic situation on the ground, the policy of the new authorities and national elites towards minorities, etc. It should be noted that the migration of Assyrians to Moscow from other regions took place in previous periods, as a result of which the Assyrian community in the city is constantly replenished from the outside. In comparison with the old Muscovite Assyrians, the Transcaucasians have preserved their identity (in some cases even tribal), language, and customs to a much greater extent. On the one hand, this contributes to the fact that now with the revival of the community, the center of which is the newly built Mart-Maryam temple, there are noticeably more native speakers, keepers of Assyrian traditions, and not only older ones. On the other hand, in the Moscow community, due to the influx from outside, the percentage of native Moscow Assyrians who are descendants of settlers in the 1920s is decreasing. If during the 1989 census in Moscow, 3196 Assyrians were recorded, and according to estimates, at least five to six thousand of them lived in the city during this period. Now, according to estimates, there are already at least eight thousand of them, and according to some sources, even ten thousand. In the late 1980s, native Moscow Assyrians accounted for between two-thirds and three-quarters of the total number of representatives of this people living in Moscow. Now their share is much smaller.

A significant part of the young indigenous Assyrians of Moscow do not show any interest in the past of their urban community, in that original culture

page 44

Moscow Assyrians, which was formed and existed in the 1920s-1960s, during the life in the old Moscow courtyards, regularly arranged in them Assyrian "patronal" holidays, during the existence of numerous parking lots of cleaners, etc. From some representatives of the Moscow Assyrian intelligentsia, I have heard the opinion that this occupation should be forgotten as soon as possible, since the previous specialization humiliates their ancient people.

In this regard, there is a danger that with the departure of the current older generation of Moscow Assyrians-old-timers, the memory of the old Assyrian Moscow will also disappear, which organically fit into the former urban culture, which existed next to Russian Moscow, Tatar Moscow, Jewish Moscow, etc.and, unfortunately, has already been destroyed at the moment. An important component of the Moscow of Assyria was also the Assyrians-Kunaya-natives of one of the many now defunct Assyrian villages in the south-east of modern Turkey. At present, this group is only a disappearing remnant of a once large and cohesive community, which is further eroded under the influence of various external factors.


1 This gap was partially filled by field research, which was started by the author of this work in 1992 and continues to this day, which is accompanied by searches for materials in the Moscow archives. See: Mikhailov S. S. Formation of the Assyrian community in Moscow in 1918-early 1920s / / Ethnographic Review. 1995. N 4. pp. 137-144; onk. The Assyrian community in Moscow in the 1920s// East (Oriens). 1997. N 5.

Skorobogatov V. 2 Aisory v SSSR [Icebreakers in the USSR] / / Prosveshchenie natsionalnostey [Education of Nationalities], Moscow, 1931, No. 1.

3 Most researchers divide the Assyrian tribal groups of the Van vilayet of the Ottoman Empire into independent, or ashirite, representatives of six tribes-malikstv: Jilu, Thuma, Baz, Diz, Upper and Lower Tyari - and those who are completely subordinate to the Turkish authorities and the Kurdish beks of Raya, which include all the others (see, for example: Sargizov L. M. Assyrians of the countries of the Near and Middle East. The first quarter of the 20th century Yerevan, 1979, p. 9). K. P. Matveev, following R. Termen, divides the latter category into "dependent" and "semi-dependent" tribes. He refers to the" semi-dependent " population of the Assyrian regions, who lived in the mountains near the lands of independent Assyrians and depended more on their authoritative neighbors than on the Turkish authorities, and often did not come into contact with the latter at all ( Matveev K. P., Mar-Yuhanna I. M. The Assyrian question during and after the First World War., 1978. pp. 28-32; Termen R. Report on a trip to the Sanjak of Hekkiari of Van Vilayet in 1906. Tiflis, 1910). According to the latter classification, the Kunaya are typical representatives of semi-independent Assyrians.

Mikhailov S. S. 4 Formirovanie assyriiskoi obshchestva [Formation of the Assyrian community] ... p. 141.

Skorobogatov V. 5 Decree. soch. P. 68.

6 The Tatiana Committee was a charitable organization headed by Grand Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna, which helped refugees during the First World War.


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