Posts tagged Stolypin reforms

Eleven GREAT Kazakhstani students!!!

Kazakhstani students





If you have been following my students’ narrative essays you will have learned more about Kazakhstan’s recent history during the former Soviet Union. They are in reverse order starting on June 28:

 1. “Thirty Minute Shoes in Exchange for a Suit” by Olga – whimsical story about her mother and father’s courtship during the former USSR days.

2. “A Taste of Warmth” by Irina – about her Korean father who was saved from starvation by Kazakhs.


3. “Grandmother is Our Bright Star” by Gulnar – her husbands family were highly regarded in Uzbekistan but they lost much.


4. “Time We Remember” by Yuliya – Her grandmother lived through the starvation period of the 1930s in Kazakhstan.


5. “Strong Belief” by Nurganym – Her father-in-law talks of his family living in China and what happened to their family in Beijing.


6. “Time Will Not Turn Back Again” by Maya – Her family came from Russia to Kazakhstan during the Stolypin reforms.


7. “Shell that Saved Lives” by Dinara – about her grandfather who fought in WWII against the Germans alongside an Uzbek comrade.


8. “Despite Anything” by Yelena – her Korean ancestors and what they endured through the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s.


9. “One Tragedy in One Family” by Elvira – Her great grandfather was one of the many victims of Stalin’s purges.


10.  “Kazakh Grandmother” by Kanat – he came from a rich and noble Kazakh family who were dispossessed of their accumulated wealth, his grandmother threw a gold belt into the fire.

11. “Russian Grandmother” by Alexandr – his grandmother came from the Siberian village and survived much hardship and were forced to move to Uzbekistan.

Read these accounts of each student and find out what a rich heritage they have inherited from each of their families.  Imagine what a rich classroom experience I had learning from them in these short narrative essays.  What other stories are being left unwritten?  I want to find out more while their grandparents are still alive to tell their stories.


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“Time Will Not Turn Back Again” Maya’s narrative

My grand grandmother was born in 1906 year and died in 1992. This period covers different types of life that includes Stolypin reforms in 1920s, when people live as private farmers, collectivism, when people was forced to put all they had earned to village farm that was in common usage, and Soviet Union with its ideas of communism and socialism. Her most favorite memories concerned 1920-1930 years old, she told that it was the most interesting life.  She told many stories every time she came to visit us. One of her story said about why she had migrated to Kazakhstan from Russia and what aspects the life of early 20-30s was preferable to our modern life.

She was born in Russia, but they moved to Kazakhstan in the 1920s because Russian government conducting Stolypin reforms issued Decree saying that Russian peasants are given lands for free in Kazakhstan for farming. Among those who so desired were my grand grandmother and her family, because there was land shortage in territory where they live and in Kazakhstan they would receive their own area of land to work on. The family of my grand grandmother consists besides her of 12 brothers and her mother and father. The living in big families was partly stipulated by the necessity of that life. They have to produce all that they need by themselves including food, clothes, and instruments for farming.

She said that people then lived longer and were much healthier than today. She lived 86 years and I can bravely say that she was long-lived person taking into account our statistics that said that the average life expectancy in our country is about 65 years old. Firstly, that was because their life required harsh discipline and much physical work. Farmers got up at 4 o’clock in order to fulfill necessary work. In spring all her 12 brothers and her father went to field to plough the soil, sow the seed of wheat and flax until the twilight. She and her mother got up at 4 o’clock too. They prepared leavened dough; while it was getting ready they feed their cattle which include caws, horses, goats, and also hens, cocks, gooses, ducks. After coping with their livestock they began to bake bread, pies from wheat that they grew by themselves. Secondly, since they cooked all by themselves and from wheat they grew up without pesticides, they eat healthy products. The bread and pies were incredibly tasty, rich with natural elements and without any harmful flavoring, food coloring and stabilizers that today’s pies and bread are full of. They prepared only soups and borsches, boiled not fried meat that also was nutritious and wholesome. As a result people were very healthy, lived longer than modern people. For example, women gave birth to their new-born just right in the fields and after childbirth mothers laid their babies under the trees next to each other and return to mow. There were no hospitals and medical centers, and people do not feel necessity for them.

Since their life was full of work, they celebrate all holidays, in those times holidays were religious and every Sunday they also took a rest from field work. They celebrated holidays by the whole village, people were cheerful, people like to sing songs, they do not have TV, radio, and they were happy without it. However, she also said that only one modern development that she wish had been in her early life is the light, because in the long evening in winter they sat under candles before spinning-wheel and spin woolen or linen yarn.

In conclusion, although life of my grand grandmother was full of hard everyday work, she said that she would not have changed her life had she received such opportunity, because it was life in clean economic environment with healthy products and open and cheerful people, not spoiled by TV and others modern developments. I think she was very hard-working woman sustaining job of any intensity and the model of real woman I want to follow.

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