The unknown story of Ukraine's Albanians in Russian Empire

The unknown story of Ukraine's Albanians in Russian Empire

 Aleksandar Novik's speech at the 34th Pristina International Seminar on Albanian Language, Literature and Culture, titled "Albanians in the Russian Empire in the 18-19th Centuries: New Data in the Archaeological, Historical and Ethnographic Areas."

Archaeologists have found the artifacts with inscriptions of the Elbasan alphabet of 17th-century in the village of Margaritovo, Ukraine. It is not only this exclusive news that has brought to the 34th International Pristina Seminar on Albanian Language Literature and Culture the Ukrainian the scholar Alexander Novik, but also the fact that in the former Russian Empire is embedded a large Albanian diaspora, sadly unknown." as he writes.

These findings are not surprising, because the first discoverer of this alphabet J.G. von Hahn said that "The alphabet of Elbasan was not only used in Elbasan and Berat, but also by the merchants in exile". While the fact that this alphabet was also used by thousands of Albanians who lived in the territories of the Russian Empire, was unknown. The seventeenth-century Elbasan alphabet is a special 54-letter alphabet.

What happened to the Albanian diaspora in Russia after the 17th century, what was the reason for this relocation ?!

Through this interesting study of Alexander Novik, strange parts of Albanian history and culture come to light. Here is how he summarizes the existence of the unknown Albanian diaspora in the former Russian Empire, in a press release he read at the Pristina seminar.

"The issue of studying the Albanian Diaspora in Russia is very important and is related to various historical, economic, social, political aspects," he writes, while arguing that: "During the 20th century have been analysed at high level the Albanian-speaking settlements in southern Ukraine (in the Odessa and Zaporozhye region) - the period of the founding of the first 'Karakurt' colony belongs to the beginning of the 19th century (more precisely in 1811).

Compared to this period, the time of the Albanian arrival in the Russian military service is much earlier and belongs to the second half of the 18th century. We can find plenty of information in the state and provincial archives about the acceptance of Albanian soldiers in the service of Russian caravans during the 18-19th centuries. Unfortunately, the story of the arrival of a large number of Albanians in the territory of the Russian Empire is almost unknown, not only for Russian and Albanian society, but also for scientists and specialists in the various fields of humanitarian disciplines." Novik describes Historically as below the Albanian exile:

"In 1768, Turkey, with the support of France and Austria, began fighting against Russia. Under these conditions, in 1769 the Russian Emperor Katerina II sends her emissaries to the Peloponnes of Greece, Montenegro, Albania and the Danube Principalities in order to connect the Christian population of these lands and the Russian state.

Since then the Albanians began serving in the Russian military troops who were considered as good fighters against the Ottoman army. Their number increased significantly after the peace agreement of 1774 signed in Kyçyk-Kajnarxhy on the terms of the Russian government.

In these decades in the Russian territory began the placement of the families of Albanian and Greek soldiers who in the documents of the time were fixed by the officials with the common name 'arnaut' (without division in the ethnic group). At this time the Balkan colonists have established not just neighborhoods and streets in the cities of southern Russia, but also villages, settlements, etc.

Thus, at the end of the 18th century, in the Rostov region of Don (Azov district, under the new administrative system), was established the village Margaritovo, whose name is closely linked to Margaret Bllazon, a senior officer, with origin from Albanian lands.

In our days in the village of Margaritovo been discovered artifacts with inscriptions in the alphabet of Elbasan by archaeologists Dmitri, Zenjuk, etc. In the area of the Azov Sea is not spoken any more in Albanian, but the population has kept memories for the arnauts who are the founders of this village and surrounding settlements. In this territory, our expedition organized by the State University of St. Petersburg in 2015 has gathered many materials, narratives, etc., regarding the presence of the Albanians in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The unknown story of Ukraine's Albanians in Russian Empire The unknown story of Ukraine's Albanians in Russian Empire Tuesday, March 06, 2018 Rating: 5
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