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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

The Russian language in the Tien Shan was distributed with the help of KXan folk reading rooms 36 Daily News

The first is in Osh

The first library on the territory of Kyrgyzstan appeared in Osh. It was opened in the middle of the 19th century by Russian officers and civilian migrants from Russian regions. The main merit belongs to two captains of the tsarist army – Mikhail Ionov and Sergei Toporin.

The population was very religious and the inhabitants were wary of Russian literature. Immigrant families, on the contrary, donated their books to the library, but there were not so many of them – only about a hundred. To replenish the book fund, Sergei Toporin traveled to Tashkent. At that time, the first public library, the brainchild of Governor General Konstantin Kaufman, was already successfully operating there. It contained unique copies of books in Persian and Arabic, works of Islamic theologians and even a holy book for Muslims – the Quran, which once belonged to Tamerlane. The captain did not return to Osh empty-handed. With him were books shared by librarians from Tashkent.

To help the officer organize the library, his wife, Lidia Ernestovna, who worked at a local school as a teacher of Russian language and geography, undertook. With her meager salary, she subscribes to magazines and newspapers in Tashkent and St. Petersburg. In a letter to one of her friends, Lidia Toporina told about the library and asked for help in buying a collection of fairy tales from Bazhov to read to children in class. A friend contributed and sent several brightly illustrated copies. When Lidia Toporina first brought them to class, after the lesson the children did not go to recess, but began to look at the pictures in order to get acquainted with the “Mistress of the Copper Mountain”, “Silver Hoof” and “Malachite Box” better.

In memory of a friend

In May 1900, two Russian scholars Pyotr Kozlov and Vsevolod Roborovsky approached the Deputy Governor of the Semirechensk region, Pavel Ostashkin, asking him to perpetuate the memory of their friend, the famous traveler Nikolai Przhevalsky. They proposed to do this in a very unusual way for those times – to open a public library, accessible to everyone. The vice-governor supported the idea, donated several books and gave an order.

“The capital of the city treasury library should be allocated in the amount of 300 rubles, which should be used to purchase books, organize performances and pay employees,” the vice-governor’s order said. it is also necessary to attract sums of money and books.Important to make profitable the sale of tea in the tea room at the reading room and fundraising from concerts, shows, literary, musical and family evenings, readings public, organized with the right authorizations each time and in compliance with the laws and orders of the existing government on this subject.

The first contribution to the fund of the new library was made by the initiators of its opening – Petr Kozlov and Vsevolod Roborovsky. They sent 200 rubles to local historian Yaroslav Korolkov. The money transfer was accompanied by a letter in which the scientists asked Yaroslav Ivanovich to start collecting books and funds for the library.

Nikolai Barsov, then head of Karakol, approved the good intention. He ordered to open a special settlement account in the local treasury and to allocate 300 rubles annually from the city treasury, as prescribed by the vice-governor. After all the necessary orders were placed, Nikolai Barsov gave Yaroslav Korolkov 40 valuable folios commissioned by the head of St. Petersburg for his personal library.

The news that a public library was about to appear in Karakol quickly spread throughout the city. People started donating money for a good cause or bringing books. And to buy the complete works of Pushkin and Lermontov in St. Petersburg, several wives of officials even donated their gold jewelry.

A mansion at the intersection of Barsovskaya (now Boronbai Khan) and Preobrazhenskaya (Gebze) streets was turned into a public library. It received its first readers on May 27, 1902.

“A total of 560 copies of books were collected here. The upper office, open from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. every day except Saturday, was frequented by paying readers. Other readers were allowed on the lower floor once a week on Sundays and other holidays For free reading, they received 450 copies of books The library was visited by up to 100 people, while the paid department, designed for wealthy citizens, was visited only by 38 in the first year. The presence of works by Lermontov, Belinsky, Chernyshevsky in the fund allows locals to get acquainted with Russian classics, “wrote Yaroslav Korolkov.

From Moscow and St. Petersburg, the periodicals Vestnik Evropy, Historical Bulletin, Bulletin of Education, Russkoe Bogatstvo, Novoye Vremya, Siberian Bulletin and Turkestanskiye Vedomosti were sent to Karakol. Every Sunday, the so-called “noisy readings” were held in the library, which helped to spread the advanced ideas of Russian poets, writers, scientists and travelers among the inhabitants of the city. They became a favorite place of recreation not only for citizens, but also for villagers who, to listen to a book, came from distant villages tens of kilometers away.

Pushkin on jailoo

The boom of library development in the Tien Shan fell on the Soviet period. “Red yurts-reading rooms” were opened in each village. Some of them were opened especially for women. Literature in Russian was in great demand. Each yurt reading room had a director and a teacher, who were paid an average of 50 rubles a month by the Council of People’s Commissars of Education, as well as a health educator in charge of infection prevention.

In 1919, in order to eliminate the illiteracy of the local population as quickly as possible, the Soviet authorities decided to make the “red yurts” mobile. In the summer, along with books, newspapers and magazines, they were loaded onto horses and sent to the mountain pastures, where cattle herders migrated with their herds. 100 rubles were allocated for the purchase of an animal, and 245 rubles were allocated for its annual maintenance – the purchase of oats and hay, as well as payment for veterinary services. 80 rubles were allocated for the purchase of tables, chairs and other equipment.

In the “red yurts” they taught both the Russian language and arithmetic. For example, in only one of them, wandering in the Zhumgal region, 633 people learned to read and write and the Russian language in six months. Those who were learning or already knew how to read introduced their compatriots to the latest news printed in the newspapers. There were also heated discussions about politics, culture and social life, grain and fodder prices.

The “Red Yurt” also carried stationery: pencils, paper, notebooks. The authorities for their purchase provided five rubles a year for a yurt. Sometimes the yurt brought a gramophone, which was an extremely rare and joyful event not only for adult climbers, but also for children.


Today, one of the oldest libraries in Central Asia, the Samarkand Library and Information Center, bears the name of the great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin.

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