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100th anniversary of the first world lady-president

Khertek Amyrbitovna Anchimaa-Toka (1 January 1912 – 4 November 2008) was a Tuvan/Soviet politician who in 1940-1944 was a chairman of Little Khural (parliament) of Tuvan People's Republic, and the first elected or appointed (i.e., not hereditary) female head of state in the modern worldKhertek Anchimaa was born in what is now Bay-Tayginsky kozhuun of Tuva in a poor peasant family. She lost her father and elder brother due to smallpox when a child. Despite her mother being illiterate, Khertek managed to learn to write and read in Mongolian language, and in 1930, when the first national Tuvan alphabet was introduced, she was one of the first to learn it. The same year, she was admitted to Revsomol, the youth organization connected with Tuvan People's Revolutionary Party (TPRP) (the analogue of Komsomol in the USSR). She was among those put in charge of illiteracy eradication in her native kozhuun. The following year, in recognition of her successes, she was admitted to the party and sent, among 70 others, to Communist University of the Toilers of the East. Apart from studying, students attended lectures of famous Soviet politicians; the meeting with Nadezhda Krupskaya is said to have affected Khertek greatly.

Khertek was one of only 11 Tuvan students who managed to graduate. Upon returning to Tuva in 1935, she was put in charge of propaganda department of Revsomol; in 1938 she became the director of Tuvan Zhenotdel (the analogue of the Soviet Zhenotdel). In 1940 she reached the peak of her career, having obtained the post of the chairman of Little Khural (thus becoming the highest-ranking female official of the time, having surpassed the previous achievement of Alexandra Kollontai (who was the first ever female minister); the women who would surpass Anchimaa's achievement were Sühbaataryn Yanjmaa and Sirimavo Bandaranaike). The same year she married TPRP general secretary Salchak Toka (however, she would retain family name "Anchimaa" until Toka's death). On this post she had an extensive correspondence with her Soviet colleague, Mikhail Kalinin. During the Second World War she did much to mobilize the resources of the republic to help the USSR fight Nazi Germany. Khertek Anchimaa was also an instrumental to inclusion of Tuva in the USSR in 1944. After that, she worked as a vice-chairman of the Regional Executive Committee, and then a vice-chairman of Tuvan Council of Ministers, being responsible for social welfare, culture, sports and propaganda. She retired in 1972, acquired the family name "Anchimaa-Toka" after her husband's death in 1973 and led a quiet life until her death. Anchimaa-Toka died November 4, 2008 in Tuva. She was 96.[1]

Khertek Anchimaa-Toka was a somewhat controversial figure in modern Tuva, since she was said to have been a member of troika (an analogue of NKVD troikas) which sentenced to death Tuvan prime minister Churmit Dazhy and other high-ranking officials as100th anniversary of the first world lady-president "Japanese spies" in 1930s. She was, however, never legally prosecuted for this case, nor was the case ever properly investigated.

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