Thursday, 23 March 2023 г. 20:42 Make home page | Bookmark site | RSS Feedback | RUSSIAN
ИА «Тува-Онлайн»
» » Kyzyl in the memoirs of an old settler
Personal office
Lost password?

«    September 2009    »
электронный журнал "Новые исследования Тувы"

Kyzyl in the memoirs of an old settler

The first motor vehicle accident in Tuva, black and red caviar by the kilogram, Chinese shops, the Harley motorcycle of the first director of the museum, the Kyzyl flood of 1945, first theatrical premieres, battle with the swamps for hot water supply for the Tuvan capital, - you can read about all that, and much more, in the memoirs of the Honored citizen of Kyzyl, Anatolii Aleksandrovich Matyushov. (1926-2006).

His biography – those are pages of our history. History in details and faces. The old settler’s biography was recorded by a scholar, Doctor of Culturology Ailana Kalin-oolovna Kuzhuget.

Arrival in Tuva

We came to Kyzyl in 1932, and were housed in a dormitory at the corner of Titova and Shchetinkina streets. Five families of builders lived in this house; later we were moved to Kochetova, 98 Street, opposite “Children’s World”, into two-apartment houses. Koreans lived next to us, Kan, a Korean man with his Russian wife. He was a merchant.

There were many small stores on Kochetova street, the Chinese were selling food products there. At the intersection of Chuldum and Kochetova streets, where the square is today, used to be a movie theatre, and behind it was a fire station. The residential houses were tiny, without roofs, with a layer of earth on top. The houses consisted of a kitchen and a room.

The church

I do not remember the church, but I know that in 1941-42, the current church was built by Russian builders headed by mu grandfather, Pavel Vasilyevich Sobolev. The money for the construction was collected from the people, everybody gave whatever they could. Three women did the collecting – my mother Tatiana Matyushova and Akinshina (I do not remember her first name). They collected it by aksha (monetary unit). My grandfather and grandmother were Russian Orthodox. During the war, Old Believers from Buren-Bai-Khaak often came to our house, bringing pork, milk, flour. They ate separately; they would spread their own tablecloth, and ate only from their own dishes; they did not drink water from the well, but would go and bring their own from the stream. The Old Believer women came only rarely. I remember Dolgov, later he became the chairman of a kolkhoz that consisted only of Old Believers. They came earlier than us, sometime between 1919-20’s.

The Town Kyzyl

Residential houses stood on Kochetova, Druzhba and Lenin Street. The Kolupaevs, Yermolaevs, Gerbenevs and Petrovs lived behind the Party offices. Housing for the military was on International Street, and a hairdresser was on Chuldum Street.

There were very few cars in the town; I remember that the theatre had one, and I remember only one that was in private possession, the Pankratovs had one with a wooden axle, he was a watchmaker and had a car already in the early 30’s. I remember the first automobile accident in Kyzyl on Lenin Street. Drunk driver Chernousov was driving a passenger car and ran into a pillar which fell down right away. Chernousov became frightened and ran away. Then he was taken to court. That was the first automobile accident in Kyzyl.

I can’t tell you exactly about the composition of the population in the early 30’s, but I think that there was about 50% Russians, 10% Koreans, 5% Chinese, and about 35% Tuvans.

I remember a Korean restaurant, we used to go there to eat, it was at the intersection of Chulkdum and Kochetova, we would buy bread and tea, the cream and condiments stood on the side, for free.

In 1940, school No.1 took a class of Tuvan boys.

How they spent their free time

We used to go to dances at the House of Culture. That was a present from the Soviet Union, today the Philharmony is there. Dances were held also in the Typography club, that is still there. In 1948 a club of communications appeared at the post office in the annex, I worked there. We had a sports team, we issued a wall newspaper, and performed at concerts.

We dressed very simply. Clothing from the USSR was available in the shops, and fabric, they would sell it by 5 meter pieces, for 1.90 aksha.

The Chinese would sell tea, candies, cigaterres. There was much red and black caviar in the shops, it was selling for 40 aksha for one kilogram, my pay was 300 aksha, but we did not know how to eat it, not the Tuvans nor the Russians.

I only heard of the concept “inter-ethnic relations” recently. We did not have any problems. In the 40’s, I once went on a business trip to Barum. The car broke down, and we saw a yurt by the Khemchik river. It was dark already. There was only one old woman in the yurt, she did not speak Russian, but she invited us into the yurt anyway, fed us meat, gave us tea, and invited us to stay overnight. That was a typical situation. Tuvans are very hospitable. We had no conflicts on ethnic basis, I do not remember anything like that. The only insulting word was “Soyot”, and that was used only in extreme circumstances.

The war

When the mobilization was declared, many kids wrote applications to the Soviet consulate to be taken into the army. They took even kids who just finished school.


We, the simple people, not the chiefs, did not know almost anything about repressions.

There were rumors that at some time some people were executed in the sands, near Shchely on the way to Bai-Khaak. There was no sign of that. But we did not know specifically who and how many. Sometime in the 90’s, they built some concrete structures near Sputnik, supposedly about the executed ones. That is what people said.

Yermolayev, Vladimir Petrovich

His wife, Maria Viktorovna, was a teacher of beginner classes in School No.1. I was friendly with his nephew Viktor Khudyashev. Vladimir Petrovich had a photography lab in his house. He was the only person in Tuva who had a Harley motorcycle, and he would ride it all over the town and out of town with just his camera. V. Yermolayev was a tall, handsome man. After his wife died, he went to Abakan to live with his son.

The Flood.

I remember the flood of April 25, 1945 as a very vivid event. There was a terrible wind. We built a dam from the military barracks to the Children’s House.

We put up sand bags around the canal to Yenisei (where the stadium is now). We guarded it all the time. I was on duty in the theatre. The water flooded Krasnoarmeiskaya Street (former Stepnaya), I went to my parents’ house along Mugur street, and the water followed. I helped them to carry boxes and chests up to the roof. Water throughout Kyzyl was more than knee deep. People were rowing in boats to the hill. On April 26, they started to bomb Yenisei from airplanes, and only by the third day, by May 1, the water finally drained away. People died, I know that the director of the leather works died, he stayed in the factory.

And in KPZ on Chekhov Street, there were some people in the cellar, but nobody would talk about it aloud.

The Theatre

I went to the theatre school associated with the Tuvan theatre in 1942, together with P.Kudrin, N.Shekhovtsev, N.Maksimov, V.Khudyashchev, P.Tetyukhin, and with five women: M.Ramazanova, E.Osertsova, N.Filatova, L.Kovalenko, O.Kuznetsova, and P.Obramova. We studied in parallel with the Tuvan contingent: with the Munzuks, Kh.Kongar, and others. The theatre was in the building of today’s museum until 1944.

Ispolniev worked there as director, he was a fascinating person, a little bit fat. He was always polite and formal. He lived with the music editor, Sergei Illarionovich Bulatov near the theatre. I worked at first as stage prop man, later as assistant to the director, Ispolniev. We were getting a stipend of 90 aksha, and another 45 aksha for the work.

I trained from 1942 until 1944.

Ispolniev left in 1945. Petr Alekseyevich Alekseyev came in his place. And he worked from 1945 until 1949. I left the theatre in 1948. The girls from the Russian group went away to Moscow to study, M.Ramazanova got into a Tatar group, Masha Zenkova married Aksenov – the composer, Abramova married Kyzyl-ool- the director of the theatre, Kovalenko married the first secretary of the Komsomol.

In 1948, there was a downsizing of the theatre. We with Kudrin went to a professional union school in Leningrad. I also studied in parallel at the geographic department of the Gertzen pedagogic institute. That is why I received two diplomas at the same time. I worked in the professional union for 35 years. The Russian group produced two shows in 1943, “Stodal’s Disgrace”, “Balzaminov’s Wedding”, and I do not remember which was the third one. We toured through the districts with the shows and military-theme concerts. We went to Uspenka (now Kochetovo), to Kaa-Khem, Turan, Bai-Khaak. Vasilii Bezyazykov toured with us as a musician. The Tuvan group became famous for the show “Khaiyran-Bot”. Alesha Chyrgal-ool played Sedip, and Kara-kys played Kara. Chyrgal-ool was a great actor, he was from a simple family. At any free moment, he would sit behind the piano, he had exceptional hearing. He married Dusya Rybalkova. Aksenov singled out me and Lesha.

Viktor Kok-ool

When he came back from his studies in Moscow, he was very different from us. He always wore tails and a butterfly necktie, a hat and a stick. He was always smiling and joking, it was pleasant to be around him. I think that he was the first one of Tuvan intelligentsia.

Salchak Toka

He was very tough and perceptive, and he also liked to joke. Toka was a master of words, it was very interesting to listen to him when he spoke in his own words. I remember an event that I witnessed. Toka and V.K. Kochetov met. He was a head inspector of markets. Kochetov was already around 60, and he said to Toka: It is time for you to write my name in gold letters on my street. Toka laughed: I’ll pin “cult of personality” on you.

The 50’s

We who lived in Kyzyl were always making the town green, growing things, everybody had a little plot, and we had to plant trees. In winter we skied. The “Lenin” hill, which is now called “Dogee”, was then “TAR”, there were stone slabs which we had to white-out, when it was re-named “Lenin” in the 50’s. “Lenin” was written on Vilany.

There was such a movement – a direction of 30-thousanders. Of their own wish, people would go work on farms. That was in 1956. 10 people filed applications in the Komsomol office, all of them communists, many were sent, but I was not. Lamayev A.I., went to Kaa-Khem as the head, A.M. Zaitsev went to Saryg-Sep, and others.

Mass building

In the 60’s, hot water was installed in the city. All the organizations again assigned plots, it was necessary to dig a ditch 3 meters deep, put in the pipes and canalization. I was the chief of Tuvkommunenergo. In the summer, we worked during the work days, and on the free days too. In 1965, two people were buried by the earth in the ditch. The water was routed through the swamp in 65-66. People worked even in the winter, they had to dig manually, because the tractor could not break through the frozen earth. In the 60’s, when there were no sewage-treatment plants, those we built only in the 90’s, we had to take the pipe all the way to the middle of Yenisei to discharge the dirty water.

In the 50’s and early 60’s, a bakery was built, a brewery, a meat plant, and a live-in school.

They were built mostly by prisoners and the Komsomol. There were very few builders, not enough for such big projects.

On the photo: 16-year-old Anatolii Matyushov in 1942. The family – mother, three brothers, a sister, were seeing their father, Aleksandr Danilovich Matyushov, off to the front.

Dina Oyun, translated by Heda Jindrak
New comments for news item are allowed for 365 days after publication.
Event announces

1) 21.04.2023: Local governments Day (Russia)

2) 01.05.2023: May Day

3) 06.05.2023: Tuvan Constitution Day

4) 09.05.2023: Victory Day

5) 01.06.2023: Childrens defence Day

6) 06.06.2023: Russian Language Day - Pushkin's Day

© 2001–2023, "Tuva-Online" News & Information Agency    
advertising with Tuva-Online
All rights reserved.
Republishing, redistributing or syndicating without direct reference to Tuva-Online is prohibited.
Quotes on Internet-sites are allowed only with hyperlink to
Founded on August 15, 2001
Registered in the Ministry for press of Russian Federation.
Certificate Эл №77-6060 issued on February 22, 2002
Rambler's Top100 Яндекс цитирования