‘Clan power’ stele celebrates Chuvash renaissance
As promised, patriotic activists erect the first traditional symbol of their ethnicity in Morgaushsky District. The aim is to revive the Turkic group’s culture and consciousness. Made of oak and linden wood, the structure represents both male and female principles, costing about a thousand dollars.
Moscow (AsiaNews) – In Morgaushsky District in the Russian republic of Chuvashia, local nationalists erected a wooden slab, known as a stele (or stela), to represent “clan power”, Ҫӳlti Khӑvat (Ҫӳлти Хӑват) in the Chuvash language.
This is the first time that the “Patriots of the Chuvash People”, an unregistered association erected a traditional symbol of their ethnicity. In order to avoid “political issues”, it has chosen to remain informal.
Speaking to the Middle Volga service (idelreal.org) of Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty, activist Galina-Ajpike Grigorieva said that the symbol reflects the name of the independent Chuvash nationalist organisation, which seeks to revive the culture and consciousness of this ancient Turkic ethnic group.
Once vassal to the Volga Bulgars, or perhaps the Scythians or the Huns, the Chuvash occupied the lands near the Urals even before the birth of Kievan Rus' and the invasion of the Tatar Horde in the 13th century.
“The Chuvash stele is called a jupa,” Grigorieva explained. “It was installed on land owned by a member of our association, Aleksander Taymasov. One of our compatriots from Kungur, Perm region, Alexei Isaev, made the symbol.”
The slab is made from oak wood, which represents the masculine principle among the Chuvash, as well as linden (basswood) which represents the feminine side.
For the Chuvash people, erecting a jupa has multiple meanings, like the changing lineage, union, and family.
“Clan power” can also become an element around which to celebrate the rites of Chuvashia’s original religion.
During the inauguration, the author of the wooden sculpture, Aleksander, was given the mystical name of Alipattӑr, Grigorieva explained.
The work cost about 600,000 roubles, or around a thousand dollars, with contributions from the patriots’ association.
In July, a memorial dedicated to the builders of the Sursky defensive line was also inaugurated.
Together with the Kazan defensive line, it was built in 1941 and 1942 to stop the Nazi armies that launched the invasion of Russia as part of Operation Barbarossa by which Hitler intended to occupy the whole of Russia.
More than 200,000 Chuvash built the Sursky line across more than 300 kilometres. Encouraged by Stalin himself, their national union based on ethnic spirit and religious memories was decisive in resisting the invader.
The memorial cost over 300 million roubles, an expense to which Chuvash patriots contributed a lot, and for this reason it was greatly criticised.
A KPRF (Communist) member of Chuvashia’s State Council, Aleksandr Andreev, called it a “bonfire of vanities at a time of the plague”.