Akhmet Baitursynov

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Akhmet Baitursynov
Ахмет Байтұрсынов.jpg
Bornc. (1872-01-28)28 January 1872
Died8 December 1937(1937-12-08) (aged 65)
OccupationPoet, turkologist, politic
Political partyConstitutional Democratic (1905–1917)
Alash (1917–1919)
Communist (1919–1929)
Spouse(s)Badrisafa Baitursynova

Akhmet Baitursynov (Kazakh: Ahmet Baıtursynuly; Russified: Akhmet Baitursynov) (28 January 1872 — 8 December 1937) was a Kazakh intellectual who worked in the fields of politic, poetry, linguistics and education.

Baitursynov reformed the Kazakh language from the Arabic script to Latin, giving the opportunity for millions of Kazakhs living abroad to use it. In 1912, he excluded all the purely Arabic letters not used in the Kazakh language and added letters specific to the Kazakh language. The new alphabet, named Jana Emle (meaning New Spelling), is still used by Kazakhs living in China, Afghanistan, and in Iran. Baitursynov also developed the basics of Kazakh and the scientific terminology for the definition of Kazakh grammar. In 1937, he was executed by a firing squad during the Great Purge.

Early life, education[edit]

Baitursynov was born in what is today Kostanay Region, 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.

When Baitursynov was 13 years old, the police officers led by Colonel Yakovlev came to the village and staged a pogrom, Akhmet’s father, Baitursyn Shoshak-ula, and three Akhmet’s brothers, who didn't tolerate abuse by the police officers, beat up Colonel Yakovlev. As a punishment, they were sent to Siberia for 15 years.

Baitursynov learned literacy from the village mullahs. He was sent to the Turgai Russian-Kazakh School by his relatives. After graduating, Baitursynov moved to Orenburg to continue his education by attending a four-year teacher's school, founded by the enlightener Ibrai Altynsarin. In Orenburg, Baitursynov faced financial difficulties, but still graduated from school in 1895. The same year of his graduation, Baitursynov published his first article, "Kirgizskie primety i poslovitsy" ("Kazakh Omens and Proverbs") in a regional newspaper.

He taught at the village schools in the Aktyubinsk, Kustanai and Karkaraly regions. While working as a teacher in a Russian-Kazakh school in the Kustanai region, Baitursynov lived in a house near a Russian forester, whose daughter, Alexandra Ivanovna, fell in love and married him. Their marriage was committed in a Muslim mosque in the village of Auliyeko. Ivanovna started practicing Islam, and changed her name to Badrisafa Mukhametsadykova Baitursynova. They lived in Kustanai, where he worked as a teacher in a Russian-Kazakh school. The following year, Baitursynov and his wife moved to Omsk, then to Karkaralinsk, where they stayed until 1909.

Political activity[edit]

Activism, imprisonment (1905-1909)[edit]

In 1905, he collaborated with other Kazakhs to form the Kazakh wing of the Constitutional Democrat Party. Baitursynov was one of the authors of the Karkaraly Petition, which advocated to stop the expropriation of land from the Kazakhs, suspend the flow of immigrants, and to establish popular zemstvos. In 1907, he was first imprisoned for criticizing the Tsarist administration, and then in 1909 again for 8 months without a trial in the Semipalatinsk prison. His involvement in politics probably led to him being exiled from the Steppe regions. After being exiled, Baitursynov moved to Orenburg.

All-Russian Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1919 On August 27, the political protests by B against the decision to join the Kostanay district in the Chelyabinsk region became the basis for the return of Kostanay district to Kazakhstan. It was 1920. He was a member of the Kazakh ASSR government, formed in August 1920 – 1921, and served as the Commissioner of Population of the Kazakh ASSR in 1920-1921.

In 1922 he worked as the Academic Center at the Regional People's Commissariat, the Scientific and Literary Commission of the People's Commissariat of Commerce in 1922-1925, and the Chairman of the Research Society for the Kazakh Region. Baitursynov was a member of various public services and at the same time he did not even enjoy his favorite teacher work.

From 1921 to 1925 he lectured in Orenburg, in 1926-1928 at the Kazakh Institute of National Education in Tashkent, taught Kazakh language and literature, history of culture. In 1928, due to the opening of the Kazakh State Pedagogical Institute in Almaty, he was transferred to the post of professor at the invitation of the rector. On June 2, 1929, together with 43 Alash movement activists, he was arrested in Almaty and sent to the Butyrskiy detention center in Moscow for investigation by the end of this year. In the 1930s, in the 1930s, the People's Commissars of the USSR, On April 4, Baitursynov was sentenced to death. This decision has been changed several times: in January 1931, ten years later, in 1932, in November, to be deported to Arkhangelsk for 3 years.

1926 Member of the Presidium of the First Turkological Congress - Akhmet Baitursynov, held in Baku

In May 1933, the rest of the time due to poor health allowed to spend with the family (his wife and daughter), who are being driven out of Western Siberia. In 1934, with the help of Gorky's wife EP Peshkova, Baitursynov was released early and returned to Almaty. There is no permanent job here, and short-term employment in various institutions. August 8, 1937, was again arrested and shot two months later, on December 8. The first book of the Baitursynov - "The forty example" was published in 1909, the beginning of the whole generation. In his work, he concealed and humiliated the Russian colonial forces, the country's stagnant state. Baitursynov is an interesting form of an example genre, idea of concept, socios of the toxic language. and it helped to awaken consciousness. The poet's civic dreams, poems and poems were published in a separate book called the Masa (1911). The main idea of Massa is to read publicly, to call for art education, to preach the culture, and to work. The poet urged the people to overcome such deficiencies as darkness, indifference, and marching. Upgrading Abai's educational and critical traditions, Baitursynov's 20th century. upgraded Kazakh literature to revolutionary-democratic level. Baitursynov also translated Kazakh poems AS Pushkin, LY Lermontov, F.Volter, SN Nadson. These translations are Baitursynov's themes, ideologically-artistic works. She was anxious about the future of the country, and she became a spiritual leader of the Kazakh youth with a multifaceted work of wisdom.[1]

Exile (1911-1917)[edit]

Baitursynov (left), along with Bukeikhanov (center) and Dulatuli (right) in Orenburg, 1913

During his exile, he wrote articles for Ay Qap. In 1911, Baytursinuli published his first work of a distinctly political nature — Masa ("Mosquito"). In 1913, Baitursynov, along with former deputy of the First State Duma, Alikhan Bukeikhanov, and Mirjaqip Dulatuli, a poet and a writer, founded a Kazakh newspaper named Qazaq in Orenburg where Baitursynov served as the chief editor. The newspaper ran until the spring of 1918. During that time, he published "Qyryq Mysal" ("Forty Proverbs").[citation needed] His other significant publication as well was a Kazakh translation of Ivan Krylov's fables.

Alash Orda (1917-1919)[edit]

During the Russian Revolution of 1917 occurred, Baitursynov returned to the steppes and began to work with the members of Alash Orda. With them, he sought for the Kazakhs to have an independent state. At the two Pan-Kyrgyz congresses in Orenburg, he participated in the creation of the Alash party and was one of the organizers and leaders of Alash Autonomy. At the end of that year, Baitursynov was elected to the Constituent Assembly from the Turgai constituency. On 4 April 1919, he was granted amnesty by the All-Russian Central Executive Committee. After that, Baitursynov sided with the Soviet government and joined the Bolshevik Communist Party. From 1919, 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 KazakSSR.

Later life, execution[edit]

A 1937 mugshot of Baitursynov, one of the last existing photos of him.

In June 1929, he was reminded of political activity and arrested by the NKVD, and sent to prison in Kyzyl-Orda, as in tsarist times again with Mirjaqip Dulatuli, and then was sent to the Arkhangelsk region. His wife, Baitursynova and her adopted daughter Sholpan were sent to Tomsk. In 1934, at the request of E. Peshkova (wife of Maxim Gorky), who worked on the Red Cross Commission, Baitursynov was released. He reunited with his family who already had three adopted children in Alma-Ata. In October 1937, Baitursynov was arrested again for the last time for hiding "bourgeois nationalist sentiments". Two months later, on the 8th of December, he was executed. This resulted in an outcry, which was quickly and bloodily silenced.


A 2005 Kazakhstan stamp of Baitursynov.

To this day, Baitursynov 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 honor 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 him is also to be found in the town of Kostenay. Baitursynov's work is also part of the curriculum for high school education system of Kazakhstan. Another of Baitursynov's significant accomplishments was his adaptation of Arabic script for the Kazakh alphabet.


  • "Baitursynov, Akhmet Biography". BookRags.com. Archived from the original on 10 March 2007.
  • The Geography of Civilizations: A Spatial Analysis of the Kazakh Intelligentsia's activities, From the Mid-Nineteenth to the Early Twentieth Century