Mintimer Shaimiev: ''The decision to have separate institute of history was right''
The Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences of Tatarstan and its director celebrated the anniversary in the new building
For the first time, the Institute of History of Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tatarstan named after S. Mardzhani received guests in the building on Baturina Street. The scientists had two occasions to show their new ''headquarters'': the 20th anniversary of the Institute coincided with the 70th birthday of its director, Rafael Khakimov. At the anniversary evening, scholars and officials remembered how the Institute was established, for what it was necessary and how Khakimov came up with a way to entice the Pope to Kazan.
''Not just our Institute, but historians have been finally appreciated''
The only reminder that the building on Baturina Street, 7 until recently had housed the hospital was a slight smell of medicine at the entrance. But it was the only reminder: the rooms were freshly renovated, new furniture, portraits, sculptural compositions. But historians focused on the period when the building under the Kremlin was the Kazan transit prison: in the corridors, there are posters with information about the prison and its famous prisoners. By the way, along with the Decembrists, the futurist poet Velimir Khlebnikov, Vladimir Ulyanov as a student, in this series there also was, for example, a Tatar Robin Hood — Shakur karak.
The hall where the guests were welcomed, as well as the office of the director Rafael Khakimov, were on the second floor. As we were explained, previously this wing was occupied by the infirmary.
Khakimov, who this year celebrates his 70th anniversary, thanked the leadership of the Republic for the renovated building for the Institute. ''There are even curtains already,'' he noted.
''Our humanity scholars in Tatarstan regarded it as a step in their direction. Not just our Institute, but also historians have finally been appreciated, that historians also mean something. Indeed, history is not just an interesting science. This is another sign of the statehood, the justification of a state, it is the consciousness of the people who should be proud of their Republic,'' said Khakimov.
As for the latest achievements, Khakimov said that they completed the translation of the works History of the Tatars since Ancient Times and The Golden Horde in the World History — they will be presented in Oxford soon.
Nobody can rewrite the history of the Tatars
As it is known, the decree on the establishment of the Institute of History named after Mardzani was signed 20 years ago by the first RT President Mintimer Shaimiev, so it was symbolic that it is him who came to congratulate the Institute and its director with the anniversary. First, the state adviser thanked Rafael Khakimov, reminding that they have worked together for 18 years and called him ''a worthy son of his parents''. At the same time, Shaimiev noted what strong character the father of Raphael Khakimov had — a writer Sibgat Hakim — and remembered that her mother also was a poetess.
''Until she got married, she wrote poems a lot,'' said Mintimer Shaimiev. He added that it was the confession of the woman herself who devoted herself to children after marriage.
Shaimiev then moved to another anniversary — the Institute of History.
''The decision to have an independent Institute of History was absolutely right. It's been 20 years, and it's paid off. Speaking about our rights, we should devote ourselves to our history,'' said Mintimer Shaimiev.
According to him, now nobody can rewrite the history of the Tatars because it is recognised by the world scientific community. The proof can be that Bolgar is the object of cultural heritage of UNESCO.
How Rafael Khakimov went to Vatican
This day there were many words of congratulations and many presents. Rafael Khakimov and other members of the Institute received awards from the Minister of Education of the Republic of Tatarstan Engel Fattakhov, Minister of Culture Airat Sibagatullin, Secretary of Kazan City Duma Ludmila Andreyeva. In her lengthy speech, Andreyeva remembered how Rafael Khakimov participated in the preparations for the celebration of the 1000th anniversary of Kazan and said a few funny stories. According to her, Khakimov suggested, in the first place, returning to Kazan historical values, in particular, Our Lady of Kazan. But when the delegation arrived in Vatican, the question arose about how to invite the Pope to Kazan.
''One night, we were sitting on one of the streets of Vatican and thinking — how we would come next day, how we would invite the Pope to visit Kazan. Rafael Sibgatovich said, ''You know what — we will invite him, on behalf of Mufti of Tatarstan.'' Then we wrote a letter and called the mufti Gusman khazrat,'' recalled Andreyeva.
Besides, the Institute of History and its director were congratulated by Deputy Prime Minister Vasil Shaikhraziev, Minister of Labour Elmira Zaripova (by the way, she also was a member of the Institute of History), Consul General of Turkey in Kazan Turhan Dilmac, Deputy Chairman of the World Congress of the Tatars Danis Shakirov. He presented Rafael Khakimov the samovar from which ''they drink true Tatar tea''.