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Ethnic Groups of Donechchyna

Donbass is the native home for representatives of different ethnic groups. Today the representatives of over 100 nations and nationalities live in Donbass. The majority of them have found here a new Fatherland in this multinational region. Intellectual potential of every ethnic group is extremely rich and unique. Mosaic of ethnic cultures forms common cultural background of this miners' territory. Friendly relations of Donbass inhabitants became the norm for our society.

Democratic changes in the state contributed to the growth of ethnic self-awareness, provided creation of national and cultural unities.

According to the data of the Department on Affairs of Nationalities and Migrations of the Donetsk regional state administration, 92 national and cultural formations are registered and operate in Donechchyna. In their ranks they unite Greeks, Jews, Spaniards, Poles, Germans, Armenians, Russians, Tatars, representatives of Dagestan peoples, total number being over 70 000 persons.

Today national and cultural unities appear to be the leaders of renaissance and development of languages, customs, traditions, cultural and art achievements of national minorities.

On their initiative new educational institutions are opened. Say, the Faculty of New Greek Language and Literature was opened at the Mariupol Humanitarian Institute, where 160 students study. 1340 students of other faculties study New Greek Language as the second specialty.

The Donetsk National University opened a laboratory for studying Jewish culture, philosophy, history and Jewish/Hebrew language. Some young teachers of the university are getting prepared to defend their Candidate of Science Dissertations on these topics. This will allow opening Jewish Chair in the Donetsk National University in the future.

At the university there is a college with the New Greek language of studying. In the Donetsk regional center of culture "Deuche Quelle" there is a lecturing bureau in history of Germans of Ukraine being attended by 60 persons.

In 1999 the Islamic university was opened.

In the territory of the region 17 Sunday schools work with different languages of studying, i.e. New Greek, German, Armenian, Arab, Georgian, Jewish, etc.

The New Greek language as a subject is studied by 605 students, German language - by 690 ones; over 700 persons study their native languages optionally.

Some pre-school institutions are opened for children of representatives of national minorities: Jewish kindergarten in Donetsk, 2 Greek kindergartens in Velykonovoselkivsky district and 3 ones in Mariupol.

Educational, methodical, bibliographic and fiction literature is published, the authors being representatives of national minorities of the Donetsk region. During the recent years over 10 books were published in New Greek language: "Kobzar" by T. Shevchenko, "Across Three Seas" by L. Kiryakova, "Legends of Priazovie Greeks" and "Hellenes of Priazovie" by A. Baldgie, Ukrainian and Greek phrase-book, etc.

The regional department of the Association "Ukraine - Israel" held several creative and jubilee sittings: for the poet V. Avtsen, the physician and poet E. Gurevich, the teacher G. Shtein, the dramatic critic N.Heintsler, the Honored Actress of Ukraine L. Borodytska.

Since 1993 the Donetsk Department of International Association of Germans "Vidergeburt" organizes historical, cultural, folklore and ethnographical expeditions about the Donetsk region aiming at studying history, ethnography, religion and culture of ethnic groups inhabiting Donbas.

The Regional Department of the Association "Ukraine - Israel" created a historical club doing researches in history and Jews' contribution to the development of the region.

To satisfy cultural needs of representatives of ethnic minorities national holidays and festivals are organized, the Days of national independence, memorable days of nations, religious holidays. Holding the festival of Priazovie Greeks "Mega Yurty" became a tradition: Russian, Greek and Ukrainian creative groups take part in it regularly. For several years festivals of Jewish, German, Spanish, Greek cultures give representatives of the minorities the feeling of meeting with their historical Motherlands. Every holiday of this kind appears to be a bright page of cultural life of Donetsk region.

National cultural associations include several dozens of amateur artistic groups. The most famous of them are: Greek folklore companies "Spartansky samotsvity" and "Illyus", dancing group "Tanair", singing one "Astery", people's choreographic company "Taifa", children's theatre "Anayanisy"; Jewish variety choreographic company "Chocolate"; German folklore company "Edelweiss", youth's theatrical group "Deuche Quelle"; Polish dancing group "Radost (Joy)"; Tatar folklore singing and dancing company.

In the cities of Artemovsk, Donetsk, Mariupol, and in Starobeshevsky, Telmanovsky, Velykonovoselkivsky districts local museums regularly hold expeditions and exhibitions on history and spiritual legacy of ethnic groups of Donechchyna.

In the region over 300 monuments of German spiritual culture were installed. With the help of Federation of Ukrainian Greeks' Associations in Priazovie the monuments to the Metropolitan Ignatii and to the poet Bakhtarov were erected. The Donetsk regional Tatar cultural center shot a film about the Tatar Diaspora "My native land".

During the recent years new forms of national associations appeared: youth's, sport, educational, medical centers at the associations of national minorities.

National cultural associations regularly take care about poor and socially unprotected people, purchasing medicines, food, cloths for them. For example, the Charitable Fund "Hesed Tsdaka" (the association "Ukraine-Israel") takes care about 6 000 people. The International Department of Germans "Vidergeburt" with the help of Red Cross of Germany assisted the Germans having been Trudarmeitsy (Labor Army members). Numerous donations are sent from the International Council of Greeks Abroad, from International organization "Physicians of the World", etc. and are spread among the poor, hospitals, boarding schools, etc.

The representatives of national minorities of Donechchyna established close contacts with their historical Motherland, organized exchanges of artistic and scientific delegations. Annually teachers and students have language trainings in Greece, Germany, Israel, Poland.

SMI do their best to reflect the life and activities of public national cultural formations and centers.

The regional radio broadcasts a program "Word after Word", during which audience is acquainted with the life of ethnic national cultural associations of the region. Monthly, the radio program "Polish Wave of Donbas" is broadcasted in Ukrainian and Polish languages. Periodically, in the towns and districts of the region, where the representatives of national minorities live densely, TV and radio broadcastings are issued about their activities.

The following newspapers are published in the region: the Greek newspapers "Hellenes of Ukraine" and "Chronos"; the Polish one "The Poles of Donbas", the Armenian one "Armenian Bulletin", the Jewish "Menora", "Our Life", "Barum Ashem", the women's publicistic magazine "A Idishe Mali".

Movements of communities of national minorities promote intensive development of relations with historical Motherland of them, realization of economic, cultural, educational, ecological, youth's, treating and rehabilitation, children's programs. It's important to stress that the community association "Federation of Greeks' unities of Ukraine" became equal section of the world Hellenism. With active participation of Greeks' unities the diplomatic office was opened in Mariupol - the Consulate-General of Greece.

With intercession of national associations, towns, streets, organizations and institutions get back their historical names; architectural and art monuments are restored as well as cult constructions.

The rights for creative activities, cultural and artistic development, access to cultural treasures, social protection and creation of conditions for development of culture of all national unities are guaranteed in our region. Creative constructive activities of public associations of national minorities of the Donetsk region take place in the atmosphere of mutual understanding, close cooperation with all nations of the region.

In the Donetsk Regional Scientific Library named after N.K. Krupska, in the framework of regional studies readings, the problems of history of inhabiting of the region by different ethnic groups are considered, meetings with national cultural communities are held.

Links to the topic:
  • http://www.phoenix.org.ua — Landsrat of Germans of Donetsk region
  • http://www.jewish.donetsk.ua — Donetsk Jewish Community: Education, mercy, culture, religion
  • http://www.kias.net — The Donetsk Jewish community: education, charity, culture, religion
  • http://www.jews-club.da.ru — The youth club of the Jewish agency "Sohnut" "Treasure Island"
  • http://www.sohnut.skif.net — The Donetsk office of the World Jewish Agency "Sohnut" in Ukraine
  • http://www.margo.serveco-ua.com — The Mariupol Association of the Greeks

->   Ethnic Groups of Donechchyna / Portal 002138
© donetsk state library, 2004. (authors)