Wikipedia: What is written about Kazakh writers and poets?

Abai Qunanbaiuli

Abay (Ibrahim) Qunanbayuli (Kazakh: Абай (Ибраһим) Құнанбайұлы (info)) (August 10, 1845 – July 6, 1904) was a great Kazakh poet, composer and philosopher. He was also a cultural reformer toward European and Russian cultures on the basis of enlightened Islam.

Early life and education

Abay was born in what is today the selo of Karauyl, in Abay District, East Kazakhstan Province; the son of Qunanbay and Uljan, Qunanbay's second wife, they named him Ibrahim, but because of his brightness, he soon was given the nickname "Abay" (meaning "careful"), a name that stuck for the rest of his life.

His father's economic status enabled the boy to attend a Russian school in his youth, but only after he had already spent some years studying at a madrasah under Mullah Ahmet Ryza.[citation needed] At his school in Semipalatinsk, Abay encountered the writings of Mikhail Lermontov and Alexander Pushkin.


Abay's main contribution to Kazakh culture and folklore lies in his poetry, which expresses great nationalism and grew out of Kazakh folk culture. Before him, most Kazakh poetry was oral, echoing the nomadic habits of the people of the Kazakh steppes. During Abay's lifetime, however, a number of important socio-political and socio-economic changes occurred. Russian influence continued to grow in Kazakhstan, resulting in greater educational possibilities as well as exposure to a number of different philosophies, whether Russian, Western or Asian. Abay Qunanbayuli steeped himself in the cultural and philosophical history of these newly opened geographies. In this sense, Abay's creative poetry affected the philosophical thinking of educated Kazakhs.


Post mark of Soviet Union honoring Abay The leaders of the Alash Orda movement saw him as their inspiration and spiritual predecessor. Contemporary Kazakh images of Abay generally depict him in full traditional dress holding a dombra (the Kazakh national instrument). Today, Kazakhs revere Abay as one of the first folk heroes to enter into the national consciousness of his people. Almaty State University is named after Abay, so is one of the main avenues in the city of Almaty. There are also public schools with his name. The Kazakh city of Abay is named after him. Among Abay's students was his nephew, a historian, philosopher, and poet Shakarim Qudayberdiuli (1858–1931). Statues of him have been erected in many cities of Kazakhstan, as well as in Moscow. A film on the life of Abay was made by Kazakhfilm in 1995, titled Abai. He is also the subject of two novels by Mukhtar Auezov, another Kazakhstani writer.

Ybyrai Altynsarin

Ybyrai (Ibrahim) Altynsarin (Kazakh: Ыбырай Алтынсарин; Russian: Ибрай Алтынсарин) (1841 – 1889) was a major figure in pre-Soviet Kazakh history. He was the most prominent Kazakh educator of the late 19th century, during the period of Russian colonization of and cultural influence in Kazakhstan. Altynsarin was born in the Araqaraghai region of Torghai oblast (now Kostanay Province), and in his early career was an inspector of Torghai schools. He is best known for introducing a Cyrillic alphabet for the Kazakh language, and was a proponent of teaching in the Western style. However, he opposed the teaching of Orthodox Christian doctrines to non-Russian Kazakhs, but at the same time urged resistance to Tatar language and culture, in favor of Russian and Western influences. As an educator, he opened numerous Kazakh-Russian boarding schools, technical schools and schools for girls. Altynsarin is also credited with authoring the first Kazakh grammar book, the first Kazakh-Russian newspaper, and with translation of a large number of textbooks and reference works. He was honored by the Imperial Russian government with numerous awards, including the title statski sovetnik (State Counsellor). A number of Kazakh institutions, including the Kazakh Academy of Education, Arkalyk State Pedagogical Institute and some streets, schools, and academic awards, are named after Altynsarin. There is an Altynsarin museum in Kostanay.

Mukhtar Auezov

Mukhtar Omarkhanuli Auezov (Kazakh: Мұхтар Омарханұлы Әуезов, Mukhtar Omarxanulı Äwezov, مۇحتار ومارحانۇلى اۋەزوۆ, Kazakh pronunciation: [mʊχtʰɑr uʊmɑrχɑ́nʊlə æwi̯ɘ́zəf]; Russian: Мухта́р Омарханович Ауэ́зов) (September 28, 1897 — June 27, 1961) was a Kazakh writer, a social activist, a Doctor of Philology, a professor and honored academic of the Soviet Union(1946). He was born on September 28, 1897 in the old town of Semei in Kaskabulak, where he spent all his childhood. He grew up under the spiritual influence of the poet Abai. His father and grandfather Omarkhan Auez both highly revered the poet, a neighbor and friend of the family. His grandfather was a storyteller of folk tales, and taught his grandson to read and write, he also instilled within Mukhtar a love of literature, and the poetry of Abai.[1]

Life and family

Auezov was born into a nomadic family from what is today Abay District, in East Kazakhstan Province. His grandfather taught him to read and write. Auezov was then educated at the Semipalatinsk Teacher's Seminary and Leningrad State University. Auezov is best known for his plays. The first play he authored was Enlik-Kebek, a story of two young lovers which bears a great resemblance to Romeo and Juliet. He authored more than twenty plays which dealt with issues relevant to Socialism in Kazakhstan. After writing plays, Auezov changed his focus to writing novels. Two novels - Abay and The Path of Abay - dealing with the life of Kazakh poet Abay Qunanbayuli were the product of the last twenty years of his life.[2] Auezov's other projects included drawing and translating literature into the Kazakh language. Some translations made by him include Nikolai Gogol's The Government Inspector and Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. Mukhtar first studied in Kaskabulak, then later a Muslim madrasa in Semipalatinsk. At age of eleven he moved to a nearby, five year grammar school. Mukhtar was extremely diligent and curious student who was respected by classmates and teachers. His father Omarkhan died in 1900, and his mother Nurzhamal in 1912. The young Mukhtar was raised by his uncle Kasymbek and his grandfather Auez and grandmother Dinas. In 1907, after a year of study in the madrasa, he was sent to the large Russian school in Semipalatinsk. Mukhtar Auezov attended the Semipalatinsk Pedagogical Seminary after graduating from the City College. In the 1912-1913 academic year, Mukhtar finished the first seminary class with an award, and went on to complete his studies at the Semipalatinsk Seminary in 1919. Around this time he began his acquaintance with Russian and other foreign classics of literature. At the same time Auezov wrotes short stories, poems and articles that are began to be published. "The young Auezov, according to the testimonies of the pedagogues, was marked for his impeccable attention, extraordinary gifts, slim build and aristocratic slef-belief. He was an extraordinary sportsman and represented “Yarysh F C”, which at the time was the best football team in the city." [3] Mukhtar Auezov joined the faculty of a large state school, and he also worked holding various positions in the local government in Semipalatinsk with the Kazakh Central Executive Committee and in Orenburg. In the summer of 1917 year Auezov married a 15-year-old girl named Raihan. Together they had a daughter born in 1918 who they named Mugamilya (she lived until 2009), and a year later in 1919 a son (who died in infancy). In 1920 Auezov divorced. In 1928 Mukhtar Auezov graduated from the Philological Faculty of Leningrad State University, and completed his PhD at the University of Tashkent. During the 1930s his fruitful activities as a professional writer began to take off. He traveled around the world, meeting new people, and exploring life. Mukhtar Auezov died during an operation in Moscow on 27 June 1961. He was buried in the Central Cemetery, Almaty on his grave there stands a bust created by Yevgeny Vuchetich. After his death in 1961, the Government of the Republic Kazakhstan decided to perpetuate the name of the writer. The Institute of Literature and Art of the Academy of Sciences, was renamed as the Auezov Institute of Literature and Art of the Academy of Sciences, Kazakh State Academic Drama Theatre also bears his name, and a literary memorial museum is named after him as are a school, a street and an urban area in Almaty.


Auezov with his creativity rose to the highest level within Kazakh literature. His writings belong to different genres, he wrote numerous essays, short stories, and plays (many translated into other languages,) published many informative articles and lectured at universities. In 1917 while he was studying at seminary he wrote “Enilik-Kebek" a play based on folk legends. The "Enilik-Kebek" play and the story "Korgansyzdyn kuni", which was written in 1921 demonstrated to the world his great talent as a writer. From 1923 he began to devote all his energy to the literary arts and to work productively. In the period 1923-1926 he authored stories such as "Okygan azamat", "Kyr suretteri", "Uilenu", "Eskilik kolenkesinde", "Kinamshil boizhetken", "Karaly sulu". During the period 1923–1928 years he studied and then graduated from Leningrad University in the Faculty of Language and Literature. During the last two years of his studis In Leningrad (St. Petersburg), he wrote two highly acclaimed novels: "Karash-karash" and "Kokserek". Auezov began to contemplate the themes of Kazakh history very deeply. His fixation with history is demonstrated in his works "Enilik-Kebek", "Khan Kene", "Kily zmaan", "Aiman - Sholpan", and "Karakypshak Kobylandy." For 20 years he devoted himself to prose and plays, which have become classics of Kazakh literature. In the thirties, he wrote a series of stories, such as: "Kasennin kubylystary", "Izder", "Shatkalan", "Kum men Askar", "Burtkiwi", and plays like" Aiman-Sholpan", "Tas tilek", "Shekarada", "Tungi saryn". In 1936 he published a piece of prose called "Tatiananyn kyrdagy ani" in the Kazakh press "Kazak adebieti", that was section from the future novel of the same name. Some years after that(around 1940), with the cooperation of Leonid Sobolev, he wrote the "Abai" tragedy . The great scientist and teacher, Auezov, worked on the history of Kazakhs literature, and the training of personnel. He was the founder of the Abai studies, and the principal author and editor of the multivolume "Kazak adebiet Tarihy". He also wrote a monograph on the Kyrgyz epic Manas. After the Abai Joly epic, he began writing a new, large-scale epic that described a new era in the future. His first book of that period is called "Osken orken" and was first published posthumously in 1962. A period of blooming of Kazakh drama is associated with the works of Auezov. He wrote over twenty plays, and translated such classic works of world and Russian drama as "The Inspector" by Gogol, Othello and The Taming of the Shrew 'by Shakespeare, Aristocrats by Nikolai Pogodin, Spring Love by Konstantin Trenyov, and Officer of the Navy by A. Kron. In 1960, together with a group of Soviet writers, he visited the USA. In the summer of 1960 he started work on the series of essays named “The American Impressions”. From mid-summer 1960, he began work on the novel named “The Young Tribe”. In March 1961, Auezov embarked on a visit to India that included participation in the work of the III International Congress for Peace in Delhi together with a delegation headed by Nikolai Tikhonov. In June of that same year he planned to visit England, the land of Shakespeare, but his untimely death meant that his wish to travel to England did not occur. On June 3, 1961 he travelled to Moscow for medical tests. On June 27, 1961 – his heart failed during a surgical operation.[4]

"Abai Zholy" (The path of Abai)

The first 20 years of life of M.Auezov resemble the childhood, adolescence and youth of his favorite poet and spiritual guide - Abai. Subsequently, in a famous epic, he described the same steppe, the same village, and the same social environment as experienced by Abai. In his formative years, Mukhtar listened to the memories of his grandfather that told of Abai and Kunanbay. The destiny of Mukhtar Auezov was linked by many threads to the life of Abai the hero great inspiration of his life. Abai himself graced family celebrations, arranged for Auez to mark the birth of his grandson. Nurganym, one of the wives of Kunanbai father of Abai, was the sister of Auez. Mukhtar later became friends with the son of Abai Turagulom and married Camille, granddaughter of the great poet, that is the daughter of Magauov. Auezov met Dilda, the first wife of Abai with whom he received a great deal of information. More information about Abai was forthcoming from Eigerim another of Abai’s life partners who survived her husband for more than a decade. Mukhtar Omarhanuly for 15 years wrote his famous four volume epic historical novel called "Abai Joly". It was translated into Russian. In 1949 two books of the novel "Abai" received the first level award of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. This epic, which ended with four books, was awarded the Lenin prize. was translated into 30 languages, and received rave reviews from readers all over the world. "Abai Zholy" is one of the most popular and valuable novels written by Mukhtar Auezov. The first book of the series was published in 1942 and after five years in 1947 “Abai” the second of the series was published, then came the third book in 1952 called “Abai aga” (Brother Abai). Finally fourth book was released in 1956. Later all of the books were repackaged and renamed as “Abai zholy” (The Path of Abai). First book and second books each have 7 chapters and one epilogue. Third book has 6 chapters as has the Fourth and one epilogue. The entire epic is divided into 20 short chapters each of which includes uniquely interesting situations. Each chapter’s name precisely demonstrates the psychological state of the events within the story. If we compare there is much more drama, tragedy, sadness and sorrow than positive and happy moments. In first book we can clearly see how the young and inexperienced boy grows up and in the end of the fourth book we see how he became an adult and changed and who ultimately fails.[5][7]

Bukhar-zhirau Kalmakanov

Bukhar-zhirau Kalkaman Uli (also: Bukhar-zhyrau Qalqamanuly, Kazakh: Бұқар жырау Қалқаманұлы; Russian: Буха́р жыра́у Калкама́нулы) (1693–1789) was a Kazakh poet at the court of the Middle Horde. His period of activity at the court lasted from 1711 until 1781, during the reign of the Abylay Khan. Although his primary activity was entertaining the court through poetry and singing, Kalmakanov also acted as an advisor to the Khan. Because of this, his poetry dealt with broader themes which included politics, the foreign policy of the horde, and the life of the Khan. Kalmakanov is not known to have written any epics.

Akhmet Baitursynov

Akhmet Baitursynov (Kazakh: Ахмет Байтұрсынұлы; Russian: Ахмет Байтурсынов) (January 28, 1873 — December 8, 1937) was a Kazakh intellectual who worked in the fields of politic, poetry, linguistics and education. Baitursynov was born in what is today Kostanay Province, and was educated at the Orenburg Teachers' School. After graduating in 1895, Baitursynov held teaching positions in a number of cities in Kazakhstan, including Aktobe, Kostanay and Karkaralinsk. The same year as his graduation, Baitursynov published his first article, "Kirgizskie primety i poslovitsy" ("Kazakh Omens and Proverbs") in a regional newspaper. While living in Ural city in 1905, he collaborated with other Kazakhs to form the Kazakh wing of the Constitutional Democrat Party. His involvement in politics probably led to his 1909 arrest and exile from the Steppe regions. After being exiled, he went to Orenburg. During his exile, he wrote articles for Ay Qap. He also served as the chief editor of Qazaq, the Kazakh newspaper there, and published "Qyryq Mysal" ("Forty Proverbs").[citation needed] His other significant publication of this time was a Kazakh translation of Ivan Krylov's fables. In 1911, Baytursinuli published his first work of a distinctly political nature — Masa ("Mosquito"). When the Russian Revolution of 1917 occurred, Baytursinuli returned to the steppes and began to work with the Alash Orda political party. With them, he fought for the Kazakhs to have an independent state. He began to work with the Bolsheviks in 1920 when they established their dominance over the region. He served as a Member of the Committee of Deputies of the Constituent Assembly and as Deputy Chairman of the Revolutionary Committee of the Kazakh Krai, as well as Commissioner of Enlightenment. In these capacities, he helped to reform education and to establish the first university in Kazakhstan. Another of Baitursynov's significant accomplishments was his adaptation of Arabic script for the Kazakh alphabet. However, in 1937, Baitursynov was arrested for hiding "bourgeois nationalist sentiments" and summarily executed. This had resulted in an outcry, which was quickly and bloodily silenced. To this day, he is held in great regard in Kazakhstan, but is viewed as somewhat tragic figure, signifying the extent of the numbers of authors, poets and thinkers who have perished due to the Soviet repressions. A museum in honour of Baitursynov was established in one of his former residences in Alma-Ata, and a number of streets were renamed in his memory across Kazakhstan. A statue of the thinker is also to be found in the town of Kostenay. Baitursynov's work is part of the curriculum for high school education system of Kazakhstan.

Alikhan Bukeikhanov

Alikhan Nurmukhameduly Bukeikhanov (Kazakh: Әлихан Нұрмұхамедұлы Бөкейханов; Russian: Алихан Нурмухамедович Букейханов; March 5, 1866 — September 27, 1937) was a Kazakh statesman, politician, publicist, teacher, writer and explorer who served as the Prime Minister of the Alash Autonomy from 1917 to 1920. He was leader and founder of the Alash Orda national liberation movement. He sided with the westernizers in the Kazakh political scene who were promoting the idea of the Western culture into the Kazakh steppe.[1] Alikhan Bukeikhanov was born March 5, 1866, in Karkaralinsky Uyezd, Semipalatinsk Oblast, Russian Empire. He was a great grandson of Barak Sultan, former khan of Bukey Horde.[2] He was educated at Russian-Kazakh School and Omsk Technical School (1890 graduate). He later studied at the Saint Petersburg Forestry Institute, where he graduated from the Faculty of Economics in 1894. During his youth, he is believed to have been influenced by socialists. Upon graduating, Bukeikhanov returned to Omsk and spent the next fourteen years there working. From 1895 to 1897, he worked as teacher of mathematic in Omsk school for Kazakh children.[3] He was a participant in the 1896 Shcherbina Expedition, which aimed to research and assess virtually every aspect of Russian-controlled Central Asia from the environment and resources to the culture and traditions of its inhabitants. This was the first of a few similar missions which Bukeikhanov accepted. Among his recorded contributions is "Ovtsevodstvo v stepnom krae" ("Sheep-Breeding in the Steppe Land"), which analyzed animal husbandry in Central Asia. Bukeikhanov was the first biographer of Abay Kunanbayev, publishing an obituary in Semipalatinsky listok in 1905. In 1909, he published collection of Kunanbayev's works.[4]

Political life

In 1905, Bukeikhanov's political activism began when he joined the Constitutional Democratic Party.[citation needed] In late 1905 at the Uralsk oblast party congress, he tried to create the Kazakh Democratic party but failed. As a result of this action, he was arrested and prohibited from living in the Steppe Oblasts. During his exile, he relocated to Samara. He was elected to the State Duma of the Russian Empire as a member of that party in 1906, and signed the Vyborg petition to protest the dissolution of the Duma by tsar. In 1908, he was arrested again an was exiled in Samara until 1917. While in Samara, he participated in the Samara Guberniya Committee of the People's Freedom party set up in 1915.

Akhmet Baitursynov, Alikhan Bukeikhanov and Mirzhakip Dulatov in Orenburg in 1913.

Bukeikhanov among Alash intelligentsia in Semipalatinsk in 1918.

In April 1917, Bukeikhanov, Akhmet Baitursynov and several other native political figures took the initiative to convening an All-Kazakh Congress in Orenburg.[5] In its resolution the Congress urged the return to the native population of all the lands confiscated from it by the previous regime, and the explusion of all the new settlers from the Kazakh-Kirghiz territories. Other resolutions demanded the transfer of the local schools into native hands, and the termination of the recruitment introduced in 1916. Within the group, Bukeikhanov sought to direct attention first to economic problems along with Russian liberals, chiefly the Kadets, whereas others sought to unite the Kazakhs with the other Turkic peoples of Russia.[6] Three month later another Kazakh-Kirghiz Congress met in Orenburg. There for the first time the idea of territorial autonomy emerged, and a national Kazakh-Kirghiz political party was formed Alash Autonomy.[7] Before the February Revolution, he collaborated with the Kadets in the hope of getting autonomous status for Kazakhs and contacted the head of the Russian Provisional Government Alexander Kerensky. Kerensky proceeded to make Bukeikhanov a comissar. On March 19, 1917, he was appointed as the Provisional Government Commissioner of Turgay Oblast. After the October Revolution, he was elected in 1917 as president of the Alash Orda government of Alash Autonomy. In 1920, after the establishment of Soviet hegemony, Bukeikhanov joined the Bolshevik party and returned to scientific life. His earlier political activities caused the authorities to view him with suspicion, leading to arrests in 1926 and 1928. In 1926, Bukeikhanov was arrested on the charge of counter-revolutionary activity and put into Butyrka prison in Moscow. But due to the lack of evidence in the criminal case against him, he was released from prison. In 1930, the authorities banished him to Moscow, where he was arrested a final time in 1937 and executed.[citation needed]

It was not until 1989 that the Soviet authorities rehabilitated him.


Bukeikhanov's major political publication was "Kirgizy" ("The Kazakhs") (1910), which was released in the Constitutional Democratic party book on nationalities edited by A. I. Kosteliansky. Bukeikhanov's other activities of this period include assisting in the creation of Qazaq, a Kazakh language newspaper and writing newspaper articles for newspapers including "Dala Walayatynyng Gazeti" (Omsk), "Orenburgskii Listok", "Semipalatinskii Listok", "Turkestanskie Vedomosti" (Tashkent), "Stepnoi Pioner" (Omsk) and "Sary-Arqa" (Semipalatinsk). He was also a contributor to Ay Qap and "Sibirskie Voprosy".

Mirjaqip Dulatuli

Mirjaqip Dulatuli (Kazakh: Міржақып Дулатұлы, Russian: Миржакып Дулатов (1885–1935) was a Kazakh poet, writer and one of leaders of Kazakh nationalist Alash Orda government. He also is known to have used the pen names Madiyar and Arghyn.[1] A common English transliteration of his name (through the Russian) is Mir Yakub Dulatov. Dulatuli was born on November 25, 1885 in the village of Sarikopa, Kostanay Province. He was from Middle jüz, Argin tribe. He lost his mother, Demesh, at the age of two and his father, Dulat, at the age of 12. He received early education in the traditional village school. In 1897, Dulatuli enrolled in a Kazakh-Russian high school and graduated in 1902 as a village teacher. In 1904, he joined Akhmet Baytursinuli and Alikhan Bokeikhanov in Karkaraly. Under the influence of these two leaders of emerging Kazakh reformist nationalist movement, he developed an anti-colonial, anti-Russian worldview. He moved to St. Petersburg in 1907 as a delegate of Kazakh Constitutional Democratic Party. In St. Petersburg, he published his first poem in the Kazakh journal "Serke", which ran only one issue. The poem was entitled Jastarga ("to the Youth"). He contributed another article, Bizdin Maksatimiz ("Our Objective"), to the second issue of the journal, which was never published.

Political activities

Mirjaqip's political formation was greatly maturated when he published his first poetry book, Oyan! Qazaq, "Wake up! Kazakh" in 1909.[2] The book was immediately confiscated. He republished Oyan! Qazaq in 1911 and returned to the Turgay oblast after the publication of the book. Meanwhile, Dulatuli published his first novel Baqitsiz Jamal, "Jamal the Unfortunate" in 1910. Baqitsiz Jamal has been the first novel in the contemporary Kazakh literature. The book narrates the story of oppressed Kazakh women. Thus, in early 1910s, Dulatuli emerges as a leader of emerging Kazakh reformism and nationalist movement. His publications puts him under Russian surveillance, investigations and intimidations. Under Tsarist Russian surveillance, Dulatuli could not have a steady job or settle down in a town for a long time. He was arrested in Semey in 1911 and served one and half years prison term. After his release, Dulatuli regularly contributed to Kazakh language journals Ayqap and Qazaq until 1918 when Qazaq was closed by the Kerensky government. In his essays and poems Dulatuli criticized socio-economic, political conditions of Kazakhs under imperial administration. He also published another poetry, Azamat, "Citizen" in 1913.[3] Dulatuli was one of the leaders of Alash Orda Government which was formed to promote Kazakh autonomy under the Menshevik government. Alash leaders, including Baytursunov and Dulatuli, aligned with the Whites, declared independence of Kazakhstan and fought against Bolsheviks between December 1917-May 1919. When the leader of the Whites, Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak, turned down requests of Alash leaders for help, the Kazakh nationalists realigned with the Bolsheviks expecting autonomy under Bolshevik government. In 1920, autonomous socialist republic was established and Alash leaders participated in local government. Dulatuli worked as an editor and teacher under Bolshevik government. In 1928, he was arrested on nationalism charges and died in Solovki labour camp in 1935.


Dulatuli was rehabilitated post-humously in 1988. He is considered to be one of the pioneers of modern Kazakh literature, and a leader of Kazakh nationalism. The first novel in Kazakh literature is "Miserable Jamal" ("Бақытсыз Жамал"). The author describes Jamal, a Kazakh girl, who becomes a victim of patriarchal- feudal traditions and customs, and exposing the fight between old traditions and new generation on this basis. The novel is celebrated for clear depiction of a feeling of equality, among rising young people of that time.[4]

Mukaghali Makatayev

Mukaghali Makatayev (Kazakh: Мұқағали Мақатаев (info), February 9, 1931 — March 27, 1976) — Kazakh Soviet poet, writer and translator. Mukaghali Makatayev was born on February 9, 1931 in Karasaz village in Narynkol (modern Raiymbek) district of Almaty Region. In 1948-1949 he studied at the Faculty of Philology of the Kazakh State University. In 1952—1969 he worked in a high school as a teacher of Russian language, a speaker on the Kazakh Radio, an executive secretary of "The Soviet border" (Kazakh: Советтік шекара) newspaper, a literary contributor to the newspapers "Socialist Kazakhstan" (Kazakh: Социалистік Қазақстан) and "Culture and Life" (Kazakh: Мәдениет және Тұрмыс) and "Star" (Kazakh: Жұлдыз) magazine. In 1970 he joined the Writers' Union of Kazakhstan. In 1973—1974 he studied in the Moscow Institute of Arts and Letters.[1][2] Mukaghali Makatayev’s poetic works were first published in 1948. He became famous with his poem «Appassionata» (Kazakh: Аппассионата, 1962). Poem "Lenin" (Kazakh: Ленин, 1964) and "The Moor" (Kazakh: Мавр, 1970) were devoted to Lenin and Marx. Poetry collections "Hello Friends" (Kazakh: Армысыңдар достар, 1966), "You came, my Swallow?" (Kazakh: Қарлығашым келдің бе?, 1968), "Alas, my heart" (Kazakh: Дариға жүрек, 1972), "When swans asleep" (Kazakh: Аққулар ұйықтағанда, 1974), "The warmth of life" (Kazakh: Шуағым менің, 1975), "Poem of Life" (Kazakh: Өмір-дастан, 1976), "River of Life" (Kazakh: Өмір-өзен, 1978), "Heart sings" (Kazakh: Жырлайды жүрек, 1-2 Books, 1982), "Sholpan" (Kazakh: Шолпан, 1984) and others entered the golden fund of the Kazakh national poetry. Prose works included in the collection entitled "Two Swallows" (Kazakh: Қос қарлығаш, 1988). A lot of Makatayev’s poems were turned into songs.[1] Makatayev translated into the Kazakh language sonnets of William Shakespeare (1970), poems of Walt Whitman (1969), Dante's "Divine Comedy" (1971) and some other literary works. Mukaghali Makatayev died in Almaty on March 27, 1976, at the age of 45. In 1999 Mukaghali Makatayev was posthumously awarded with the State Prize of the Republic of Kazakhstan for the collection of poems under the title «Amanat».[1]

Bauyrzhan Momyshuly

Bauyrzhan Momyshuly, also spelled Baurjan Momish-Uli[a 1] (Описание: About this sound [[:Media: |listen]] (help·[[:File: |info]]) Kazakh: Бауыржан Момышұлы, Russified: Бауыржан Момышулы; 24 December [O.S. 11 December] 1910 - 10 June 1982) was a Kazakh-Soviet military officer and author, posthumously awarded with the titles Hero of the Soviet Union and People's Hero of Kazakhstan.

Early life

Momyshuly was born in Orak Balga, a now abandoned Aul in the modern Zhualy District in southern Kazakhstan,[1] to a family of nomadic herders from the Dulat tribe. He lived with his relatives until the age of thirteen, but spent his teenage years in Soviet boarding schools.[2] After completing his secondary education in 1929, he worked as a teacher, a secretary of a district committee and as an assistant-prosecutor. He was later employed as a department chief in the Kazakh ASSR's Central Agency for Economic Planning.[3] In November 1932, Momyshuly was conscripted for a two-year service in the Red Army,[4] and posted as a cadet in the 14th Mountain Infantry Regiment. After his discharge, he studied a course in economics in the Leningrad Institute of Finance and worked in the Kazakh branch of the Commercial-Industrial Soviet State Bank.[5]

Military career

On 25 March 1936, Momyshuly was again called for military service, becoming a platoon commander in the Central Asian Military District's 315th Regiment. He remained in the military for the next two decades. In March 1937, the regiment was transferred to the Far Eastern Front in Siberia. While not subject to repression during the Great Purge, the remark "unreliable, with extreme nationalist views" was inscribed in his personal dossier in 1937. His biographer, Mekemtas Myrzakhmetov, believed this happened because Momyshuly was known to read the poetry of Magjan Jumabayev and works of other authors associated with the Alash Orda.[6] In 1939, Momyshuly was assigned to command the 105th Infantry Division's artillery. From February 1940, he headed the 202nd Independent Anti-Tank Battalion, based in Zhytomyr.[7] In January the following year, Lieutenant Momyshuly returned to Kazakhstan, serving in Alma-Ata's military commissariat. When Germany invaded the Soviet Union on 22 June, he was appointed a battalion commander - Kombat - in the 1073th Regiment of the newly formed 316th Rifle Division, headed by the military commissar of the Kyrgyz SSR, Major General Ivan Panfilov.[8]

World War II

In September 1941, the division was sent to the front in Malaya Vishera, at the vicinity of Leningrad.[9] During October, as the Wehrmacht advanced on Moscow, the 316th - now part of General Konstantin Rokossovsky's 16th Army - was transferred to the theater and tasked with defending the highway passing through the city of Volokolamsk and the surrounding area. Momyshuly's battalion was assigned an eight-kilometer-long sector along the Ruza River; Senior Lieutenant Momyshuly took part in 27 engagements during the defense of the Soviet capital. From the 16th to the 18th of November, he and his unit were cut off from the rest of the division in the village of Matryonino, yet managed to hold off the German forces and eventually broke out back to their lines. For its performances, the 316th was awarded the status of a Guards formation on 23 November, and named the Panfilov 8th Guards Rifle Division in honor of its fallen commander, who was killed in action on 18 November. In late November, Momyshuly was promoted to the rank of captain.[10] Momyshuly participated in the Soviet counter-offensive and was severely wounded on 5 December, though he declined to be evacuated to receive treatment.[11] In March 1942, war correspondent Alexander Bek arrived in the 8th Guards Division. During the spring of that year, Bek convinced Momyshuly, who was reluctant at first, to cooperate with him in writing a novel about the fighting in Volokolamsk, which would eventually be published in 1944 under the title Volokolamsk Highway. Momyshuly strongly disapproved of Bek's book, which he claimed to be an unrealistic depiction of events, and criticized the author relentlessly for the remainder of his life.[12] In April 1942, his commanding officer approved his promotion to the rank of major. In August 1942, his superiors had submitted a highly positive report on his conduct, and he was recommended to be awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union. The proposal was rejected.[13] The poet Mikhail Isinaliev, a friend of Momyshuly, wrote that a former political officer from the 8th Guards told him that this was due to his Kazakh patriotism, which was regarded as dangerous nationalism by the unit's commissars. Momyshuly joined the Communist Party during the same year. In October, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel. After eight months, he became a colonel.[14] During 1943, due to the effects of his old injury, he was forced to rest in a hospital for a prolonged period.[15] After being released from the hospital in March 1944, he underwent an advanced officers' course in the Voroshilov Academy. On 21 January 1945, Colonel Baurzhan Momyshuly was appointed as the commander of the 9th Guards Rifle Division, a unit of the 2nd Rifle Corps in the 1st Baltic Front's 6th Army. The 9th participated in the East Prussian Offensive, taking fifteen towns near the city of Priekule. After the war ended, Momyshuly was awarded the Order of Lenin.[16]

Post-war years

In 1946, Momyshuly entered the Voroshilov Academy again. On 16 June 1948, the Kazakh SSR's Council of Ministers appointed him as chief of the republic's Voluntary Society for Cooperation with the Armed Forces, while he still served in the military. In late 1948, he became deputy commander of the 49th Independent Infantry Brigade in the East Siberian Military District. From 1950, he served as a senior lecturer in the Red Army's Military Academy of Logistics and Transport. According to Myrzakhmetov, he was the only one of the 500 officers who graduated with him to never receive the rank of a General; the author claimed this was due to a political decision to deny Turkic people a high status in the Soviet Armed Forces.[17] In 1955, Colonel Momyshuly retired from the army due an illness. He turned to a literary career,[7] writing several novels as well as books about his wartime experiences. He was also a lecturer in the Kazakhstan Academy of Sciences.[18] Momyshuly was mainly known due his appearance in Bek's Volokolamsk Highway.[19] The author wrote two sequels, Several Days and General Panfilov's Reserve.[20] The series gained international, as well as Soviet, recognition: Published in Hebrew in 1946, Volokolamsk Highway "held an almost cult status in the Palmach and later in the Israeli Army" according to media researcher Yuval Shachal,[21] and became a standard tactical handbook in the Israeli Defense Forces.[22] Inspired by the novel, future Israeli Chief of the General Staff Motta Gur once held a "Panfilov Roll Call" for two soldiers who deserted from his company when he was a young officer, shaming them in front of the other troops; he wrote that it was a common practice in the IDF at the time.[23] During 2005, Ehud Barak told "we, as young officers, were raised on Momyshuly."[24] Volokolamsk Highway was popular in Cuba, as well.[25] Fidel Castro told Norberto Fuentes that "the idea to use the love of the Motherland for convincing people to support me, came to me after reading the novel."[26] The novel was well known among members of the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces;[27] In 1961, Raul Castro told a journalist that every regimental commander was "compelled to have a copy".[28] In Jesús Díaz's acclaimed 1987 novel Las iniciales de la tierra, the protagonist cites Bek's book as a major influence on his life.[29] The novel was also included in the list of "compulsory reading" for members of the Chinese Communist Party and People's Liberation Army personnel.[30] On 27 June 1963, the East German Ministry of National Defense issued its Order no. 50/63 - drafted on the initiative of Walter Ulbricht - which introduced Volokolamsk Highway as part of the political education program for the soldiers of the National People's Army.[31][32] In the official history of the NVA, historian Major General Reinhard Brühl had cited it as having a major influence of the soldiers.[33] Momyshuly's book about the 1941 battles in Volokolamsk, Moscow is Behind Us, was adapted to cinema during 1967.[34] In 1976, he won the Kazakh SSR's Abay Qunanbayuli State Prize for his autobiography, Our Family.[5] Momyshuly opposed the Brezhnevite establishment's exaltation of the battle of Malaya Zemlya; according to his son and biographer, Bahytzhan, his position made him powerful enemies in the state apparatus, and nullified his chances to receive the title Hero of the Soviet Union while alive.[35] When Isinaliev approached Dinmukhamed Konayev and requested him to arrange for Momyshuly to become one such, the First Secretary replied that as long as General Alexei Yepishev was the head of the Red Army's Main Political Directorate, the decoration would never be bestowed.[14] Bahytzhan also recalled that in his later years, his father - who was a "loosely practicing Muslim" all his life[36] - turned to Sufism.[37] Momyshuly died in 1982 and was buried in Alma Ata. Shortly before the collapse of the USSR, the chief of the Kazakh Supreme Soviet, Nursultan Nazarbayev, had managed to convince the authorities in Moscow to posthumously grant Momyshuly the country's highest military honor, and he was declared a Hero of the Soviet Union on 11 December 1990. After the republic became independent, he was also made a People's Hero of Kazakhstan. The capital of his native Zhualy District is named after him.[38]

Sabit Mukanov

Sabit Mukanov (April 26, 1900-18 April 1973) is a classic of Kazakh literature, a poet, a social activist, an academic, and a head of the Writers' Union of Kazakhstan. Sabit Mukanov was born in 1900 in Tauzar Volost of Akmola Gubernia (now North Kazakhstan Province). He was born into a family of cattle ranchers and took part in the civil war from 1918-1920. He studied in the Institute of Red Professorship from 1930 to 1935. Mukanov's earliest novels were Son of Bai (1928), Pure Love (1931), and Temirtas (Iron Stone) (1935). He is the author of several novels, such as Botagoz, Syrdaria, and the autobiographical trilogy School of life. Mukanov has studied the history and theory of literature, especially Kazakh literature of the 19th and 20th centuries, such as the works of Kazakh prose writers and poets Saken Seifullin, Mukhtar Auezov, Tair Zharokov, and Abdilda Tazhibayev. He also researched the scientific and literary heritage of Shokan Ualikhanov and Abay Qunanbayuli and was the first to expound the life and works of the great Kazakh poet Zhambyl Zhabayev. In 1974 his ethnographic work "National Heritage" was published posthumously, which included research about ancient folk traditions, shezhire, the economy and life of pre-revolutionary Kazakhs, and their material and spiritual life.

Gabit Musirepov

Gabit Makhmutuli Musirepov (Kazakh: Ғабит Махмұтұлы Мүсірепов; Russian: Габит Махмутович Мусрепов) (1902–1985) was a Soviet Kazakh writer, playwright and author of libretto to Kazakh opera Kyz-Zhibek. People's Writer of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, President of the Kazakhstan Union of Writers and member of the Kazakhstan Academy of Sciences.


Gabit Musirepov was born on 22 March 1902 (9 March according to the Julian calendar) in a village located in Kostanay region, then belonging to the Russian Empire. Between 1923 and 1926, he studied at the Faculty of Workers in Orenburg, and then at the agroeconomic institute at Omsk. He started his literary career in 1925, writing his first story, To the abyss (В пучине) in 1928, about events that occurred during the Russian Civil War, 1918-1920. In 1928, he collaborated at the literary journal Jana-Adabiet (Жана-Адабиет). Among his works stand out Kyz-Zhibek (Қыз Жібек), first libretto to a Kazakh opera, with music by Yevgeny Brusilovsky, and The tragedy of the poet (Трагедия поэта), written in 1958 (first version titled Ақан сері Ақтоқты, 1942), that dealt with the tragedy of Ajani, a Kazakh singer and composer of the 19th century. He was President to the Union of Kazakh Writers between 1956–1962 and 1964–1966, Secretary of the Union of Soviet Writers (1959) and member of the 5th Convocation of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union, deputy to the Supreme Soviet of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic. He died on 31 December 1985.

Saken Seifullin

Saken Seyfullin (Kazakh: Сәкен Сейфуллин) (15 October 1894 – 28 February 1939) was a pioneer of modern Kazakh literature, poet and writer, and national activist. Founder and first head of the Union of Writers of Kazakhstan, he was the author of controversial literature calling for greater independence of Kazakhs from Soviet and Russian power. He met repression and was executed in 1939. The Soviet government posthumously rehabilitated him during de-Stalinization.


Seyfullin was born 15 October 1894 in a nomadic settlement in what is today Karaganda Region.


From 1905 to 1908, Seyfullin studied in a Russian-Kazakh school in the Spassk brass works. He went on to study in Akmola in the primary parish school and the Akmola three-class city school. In addition, he taught Russian at a Muslim madrasah. On August 21 of 1913, Seifullin entered the Omsk teaching seminarium. His first article was published in the November edition of Ay Qap magazine. It was at this time that he began to be spied upon by the Omsk okhrana, the secret police. In 1914, Seyfullin became one of the heads of the first cultural and educational society of Kazakh youth, Birlik (Unity) in Omsk. His book of poetry (Past Days) was published that year. In 1916, he worked on a property census commission for the 12 volosts of Akmola Uezd. In that year he wrote the poem Volnenie (Unrest), dedicated to Central Asian unrest in 1916. From September 1 of 1916 he taught in Bugula school, which he had a hand in founding. On 9 March 1917 he moved to Akmola, where he wrote a welcoming poem for the February revolution, "Спешно собрались мы в поход". In April of that year, Seyfullin created a social-political and cultural society named Жас қазақ (Young Kazakh). In July, he conteibuted to an issue of Tirshilik (Life) newspaper. In September, Seyfullin began teaching three-month pedagogical courses in the new Russian-Kazakh school in Akmolinsk. Right after the Russian Revolution, Seyfullin wrote a poem, "А ну-ка, джигиты!", which is said to be the first work of Kazakh Soviet literature. On 27 December 1917, the Soviet regime was established in Akmolinsk. Seyfullin was elected a member of the Akmola Deputy Board and was appointed national commissar of education. In February, he was admitted to the Party. On 1 May 1918 his play, "Бақыт жолына" (On the Way of Happiness), was performed for the first time.

Civil War

When on June 4, 1918, the White Guard conducted a revolution, Seyfullin was arrested and sent to Petropavlovsk jail. He was put in a Death Carriage of Ataman Michael Annenkoff, where he spent 47 days. He broke out of Kolchak Prison and reached his village by July. After two months he was forced to flee for Taraz. Capture and execution Seyfullin was arrested by the agents of the NKVD from Moscow in February 1939 and executed in Almaty, Kazakh SSR, deemed a "threat to the society" and a "nationalist". However, since Independence, Saken Seyfullin is often considered one of the most influential Kazakh thinkers of the 21st century, a major contributor to Kazakh culture and literature, and a martyr for freedom.[citation needed]

Mağjan Jumabayev

Mağjan Jumabayev (Kazakh: Мағжан Бекенұлы Жұмабаев) was a prominent Qazaq writer and pedagogue, one of the modern Qazaq literature's founders.


From 1905 until 1910 Mağjan Jumabayev was studying in Petropavl madrasah, learning there Arabic, Persian and Turkish languages. 1910 and 1911 were the years when he was studying in Ufa madrasah, where one of the teachers was Galimjan İbragimov, the Volga Tatar classical writer. In 1912 his Qazaq poetry collected with the “Şolpan” name and written with Arabic alphabet was published and right away became popular among the Qazaq intellectuals. During the summer and winter of 1917 he has been taking part in the creation of Qazaq “Alaş” party and Alaş Orda Qazaq national government at both All-Qazaq congresses as delegate of Akmolinsk Oblast. Living later in Moscow he translated the works of Lermontov, Koltsov, Balmont, Merezhkovsky, Ivanov, Mamin-Sibiriak, Maksim Gorky, Alexander Blok, Goethe, Heine and other poets into Qazaq language. After the graduation in higher education there in 1927 he returned to Qazaqstan and had been working as teacher.


Because of the unfair accusation of being Pan-Turkist member of Alaş Orda and Japanese spy, Jumabayev was arrested in Petropavl and convicted for the 10-year deprivation of liberty. Until the court he had been staying in Butyrka prison, and later was sent to Karelia and Arkhangelsk Oblast. In 1934 Maksim Gorky and Peshkova received the letter from him and due to their intercession Mağjan Jumabayev was emancipated before the appointed time. However, just half a year later he was arrested in Almaty again and executed by shooting of NKVD on 19 March 1938.

Olzhas Suleimenov

Olzhas Omaruli Suleimenov (Kazakh: Олжас Омарұлы Сүлейменов; Russian: Олжа́с Ома́рович Сулейме́нов) is a Soviet poet, Kazakhstani politician, and Soviet anti-nuclear activist.


Suleimenov was born on 18 May 1936 in Alma-Ata. He graduated from Geological Sciences Department of Kazakh State University in 1959. Suleimenov also finished Gorkii Institute of Literature in 1961. Between 1962-1971, he worked at Kazakhskaya Pravda. Suleimenov was awarded Komsomol Prize for Kazakhstan in 1966. Between 1969 and 1989 he was a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. In 1981 he was a member of the jury at the 12th Moscow International Film Festival.[1] He became First Secretary of the Committee of the Kazakhstan's Writers Union in 1983. He is a Russophone writer.

Political activities

See also: Anti-nuclear movement in Kazakhstan and Semipalatinsk Test Site Suleimenov again became a worldwide name in 1989, when he led the establishment of the international environmental movement Nevada-Semipalatinsk. Nevada Semipalatinsk campaigned to close nuclear sites in Nevada and in the Semipalatinsk Province of Kazakhstan. After independence, Suleimenov established the Peoples' Congress Party in 1991 and served as the speaker of Parliament until 1994. While at the Parliament, he rose to the position of opposition leader, engaging in several political struggles with President Nursultan Nazarbaev. Many opposition leaders urged him to run as a candidate in the next presidential elections. In 1995, to preempt his potential candidacy, Nazarbayev brokered a deal, and Suleimenov was appointed as Kazakhstan's ambassador to Rome. From 2002 till now he serves as Kazakhstani ambassador at the UNESCO in Paris.

Sultanmahmut Toraygirov

Sultanmahmut Toraygirov (Kazakh: Сұлтанмахмұт Торайғыров, 29 October 1893 − 21 May 1920) was a prominent Kazakh writer and poet. He was born in Qyzyl Tau (near the city of Kokshetau) but moved to Bayanaul in the province of Pavlodar at the age of four. Toraygirov wrote his first poems when only 13 years old. From 1913 on, he was the sub-editor for the first Kazakh journal Aikap. In 1914 and 1915 he worked as a teacher in Bayanaul. In 1916 Toraygirov moved to Tomsk in Russia, but the next year the February Revolution made him return to Semey, in Kazakhstan. During this time he developed his style and wrote prolifically. Toraygirov released several poem collections and his novel Beauty Kamar, released posthumously in 1933, was one of the first Kazakh language novels. He was very active politically, advocating both Kazakh national interests and the new Soviet ideals. However, he died in 1920, at the age of only 26, and therefore couldn't witness the birth of the Soviet Union. The state university in Pavlodar is named after Toraygirov.

Shoqan Walikhanov

Shoqan Shynghysuly Walikhanov (Kazakh: Шоқан Шыңғысұлы Уәлиханұлы, Shoqan Shynghysuly Walikhanuly; Russian: Чокан Чингисович Валиханов), given name Muhammed Qanafiya (Kazakh: Мұхаммед Қанафия)[nb 1] (November 1835 — April 10, 1865) was a Kazakh scholar, ethnographer, historian and participant of The Great Game. He is regarded as the father of modern Kazakh historiography and ethnography. The Kazakh Academy of Sciences is named after him. His name is written Chokan Valikhanov in English based on the transliteration of the Russian spelling of his name, which he used himself. The Kazakh language variant of his name was written in the Arabic script, and was similar to the Russian version.[nb 2]


Shoqan in 1847, upon enrolling in the Omsk Military Academy He was born in November 1835 in the newly developed Aman-Karagai district within the Kushmurun fort in what is nowadays the Kostanay Province of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Shoqan was a fourth generation descendant of Ablai Khan, a khan of the Middle jüz. Shoqan's family was very respected by the government of the Russian Empire, and Walikhanov's father was awarded, during his life, six appointments as senior Sultan of Kushmurun okrug, a term as chief Kazakh advisor to the frontier board, a promotion to Colonel, and a separate term as senior Sultan in the Kokshetau okrug.[1] Shoqan spent his youth in his father’s traditional yurt. His father Chingis arranged his son’s early education, enrolling him in 1842 at age six in a small private school, or maktab, which provided a secular education. It was here that he began his studies of Arabic script and his native language Chagatai, which served as the lingua franca of Central Asia at that time. At an early age Shoqan moved from his father’s home to the estate of his paternal grandmother Aiganym, in Syrymbet. Shoqan was enrolled in the Siberian Cadet Corps by his grandmother. Walikhanov entered the military academy in Omsk in 1847. After graduating from the Omsk Cadet School, where he read not only Russian but also English language literature, Walikhanov traveled extensively in Central Asia in the late 1850s.[2] It was during his stay in Omsk that Walikhanov first made the acquaintance of Fyodor Dostoevsky.

Adult life

His work combined military intelligence and geographic exploration. His first successful expedition was his 1855-56 mission to the region of Issyq Köl. He was afterwards called to the capital in St. Petersburg in 1857 to report, and there he was elected to the Russian Geographical Society. On June 28, 1858, Walikhanov began the expedition that would lead him to instant fame throughout Europe and into the pages of history. Serving as a decoy to the geo-political intentions of the mission, Walikhanov embarked with a caravan of 43 men, 101 camels and 65 horses. Following his successful passage through the Chinese border without suspicion, the caravan arrived in Kashgar in early October of 1858. Over the course of a half-year, Walikhanov took meticulous notes regarding major towns, including maps, the goods in the bazaars, the languages spoken and the customs practiced.[3] The expedition ended following increased suspicions, and they left Kashgar in April 1859. Walikhanov returned to St. Petersburg and became a fixture of the intellectual and cultural life during his short stay (1860 - spring of 1861) in the capital. The young Walikhanov was a staunch proponent of Westernization and critical of the influence of Islam in his homeland. In the words of the ethnographer Yadrintsev, for Walikhanov European civilization represented "the new Quran of life."[2] In the spring of 1861 he became seriously ill with tuberculosis and had to leave St. Petersburg. He returned to his native steppe region in hopes of restoring his health. He never returned to St. Petersburg. However, frequent relapses in his health prevented advances in his career. In letters to his friend Dostoevsky, Walikhanov mentioned several unsuccessful plans to return to St. Petersburg. Walikhanov also mentioned campaigning for a political position in the West-Siberian Governor Generalship, centered in Tobolsk, like his father. In 1862, he successfully ran for senior Sultan, but Governor-General Alexander Duhamel ru:Дюгамель, Александр Осипович refused to confirm his position due to Walikhanov's health. Portrait of Shoqan Walikhanov made in St. Petersburg by I. A. Kardovsky Shoqan Walikhanov on a 1965 Soviet commemorative stamp. Walikhanov collected materials on Kazakh judicial practices in 1863. This was part of a government-backed project given by Duhamel, and led to the 1864 Memorandum on Judicial Reform. In 1864, Shoqan was assigned to help with Colonel Cherniaev's continued conquest of Central Asia. Cherniaev’s forces marched west from the fortress of Vernoe (modern-day Almaty). Chernaiev advanced towards the Khanate of Kokand, planning to attack the fort at Aulie-Ata (modern-day Taraz). Shoqan unsuccessfully pushed for a negotiated result without violence. Cherniaev won an easy victory and returned to Vernoe. Shoqan left Chernaiev after the events at Aulie-Ata and, after stopping Vernoe, moved to the village of Sultan Tezek on the Ili River north of Vernoe. Colonel Cherniaev, however, was not unhappy with Walikhanov's work, and recommended him for a promotion. Shoqan spent his last remaining months in the village of Sultan Tezek, eventually marrying Sultan Tezek’s sister, Aisary. During this time, letters of correspondence to General Kolpakovski, military governor of Semipalatinsk oblast, dated between November 1864 through February 1865, addressed Muslim revolts and rebel activity in nearby Qulja. Kolpakovski held such esteem for Shoqan that he offered Shoqan a position in his administration once his health was restored. Unfortunately, Walikhanov succumbed to his illness on April 10, 1865 at the age of 29. He was buried in the nearby cemetery of Kochen-Togan in present-day Almaty Province. N.I. Veselovskii, who in 1904 edited a collection of Walikhanov’s works, said that the short life of Walikhanov was a “meteor flashing across the field of oriental studies."[4]

Walikhanov and Dostoevsky

While still in Omsk, Dostoevsky had met Shoqan Walikhanov. In Dostoevsky's opinion, Walikhanov was a brilliant, intrepid person, a scholar and ethnographer, and a talented folklorist. In their correspondence, the two intellectuals admitted their great mutual love and admiration. When Dostoevsky served in Semipalatinsk, he met Walikhanov once again. The two men were also closely acquainted with renowned geographer Peter Semenov Tian-Shansky and Baron A. E. Wrangel, who came to Semipalatinsk from Petersburg in 1854 to serve as the new district prosecutor. Dostoyevsky wrote from Semipalatinsk on 14 December 1856 one of his most enthusiastic letters ever, addressed to his friend Walikhanov: You write me that you love me. I will tell you without ceremony that I have fallen in love with you. Never, to anybody, not even to my own brother, have I felt such attraction as I do to you, and God knows how this has come about. One could say much in explanation, but why should I praise you! And you will believe in my sincerity even without proof, my dear Vali-khan, and even if one were to write ten books on this theme, one would write nothing: feeling and attraction are inexplicable There is a statue of Walikhanov and Dostoevsky in the city of Semey, Kazakhstan, near the local Dostoevsky museum.

Khoja Akhmet Yassawi

Khoja Akhmed Yassawi (Uzbek: Xoja Ahmad Yasaviy; Kazakh: Қожа Ахмет Ясауи, Turkmen: Hoja Ahmet Ýasawy, Turkish: Hoca Ahmet Yesevi also spelled Ahmad Yasawi, Ahmet Yasevi, Ahmed Yesevi or Ata Yesevi) (born in Sayram in 1093, and died in 1166 in Hazrat-e Turkestan, both cities now in Kazakhstan), was a Turkic[1] poet and Sufi (Muslim mystic), an early mystic who exerted a powerful influence on the development of mystical orders throughout the Turkic-speaking world.[2] Yasavi is currently the earliest known Turkic poet who composed poetry in a Turkic dialect. Ahmed Yesevi was a pioneer of popular mysticism, founded the first Turkic tariqah (order), the Yasaviyya (Yeseviye), which very quickly spread over the Turkic-speaking areas.[3]


Yassawi was born to Sheykh Ibrahim. At age seven, when he was orphaned by the loss of his father, Yasawi was raised by another spiritual father, Arslan Baba. By age seven, Ahmad Yasawi had already advanced through a series of high spiritual stages and then, under the direction of Arslan Baba, the young Ahmad reached a high level of maturity and slowly began to win fame from every quarter. His father Shaikh Ibrahim had already been renowned in that region for performing countless feats and many legends were told of him. Consequently, it was recognized that, with respect to his lineage as well, this quiet and unassuming young boy, who always listened to his elder sister, held a spiritually important position.


Ahmed Yassawi later moved to Bukhara and followed his studies with the well known Yusuf Hamdani[4] (d. 1140). Yassawi made considerable efforts to spread Islam throughout Central Asia and had numerous students in the region. Yasawi's poems created a new genre of religious folk poetry in Central Asian Turkic literature and influenced many religious poets in the following countries.[5] Yassawi made the city of Yasi into the major centre of learning for the Kazakh steppes, then retired to a life of contemplation aged 63. He dug himself an underground cell where he spent the rest of his life. Turkish scholar Hasan Basri Çantay noted that "It was a Seljuk king who brought Rumi, the great Sufi poet, to Konya; and it was in Seljuq times that Ahmad Yesevi, another great Sufi, lived and taught. The influence of those two remarkable teachers has continued to the present."[6] Yasavi is also mentioned by Ernest Scott (pseudonym)[7] as a member of the Khwajagan Sufis.


A mausoleum [8] was later built on the site of his grave by Tamerlane the Great in the city (today called Türkistan). The Yasaviyya Tariqah which he founded continued to be influential for several centuries afterwards, with the Yasavi Sayyid Ata Sheikhs holding a prominent position at the court of Bukhara into the 19th century.[9] In the Yasaviyya Sufis one comes across the greatest number of the shamanistic elements compared to other Sufi Orders.[10] The first Kazakh-Turkish university, Ahmet Yesevi University,[11] and liceum, Hoca Ahmed Yesevi Lisesi,[12] were named in his honor. Naqshbandi Sufi Idries Shah mentions Ahmed Yasavi's lineage in his "The Book of the Book".[13] Yasavi Sufis are also present in Kashmir. They came to Kashmir from Turkistan via Silk Route with Hazrat Amir-e-Kabir Mir Syed Ali Hamdani. A historical background of the Yasavi order can be found in the book SILSLAY YASAVI, written by Peerzada Mohammad Shafi Yasavi, eldest member of the Yasavi family in Kashmir. The book is written in Urdu.