International Association for Assistance to the Abaza-Abkhazian ethnos «Alashara»

Orhan`s civil feat

Гражданский подвиг Орхана

In the 60-ies of the twentieth century, the voice of Muhajirs-Abaza came through the "iron curtain" to residents of Abazashta.

If I was destined to be born again on earth, instead of living in wealth, honor and prosperity in foreign lands instead of nourishing life in a foreign country, among strangers, I would prefer to appear in their Homeland, even a piece of stone on the top of Elbrus...

Orhan Kopsergenov

These lines from a poem published in the pages of a national newspaper in the late 60-ies of the last century, thought-provoking... at a time starts the history of their author, whose love for the land of his ancestors has always been boundless, the person who first paved the way, combining his own long-suffering people, over many decades separated by borders and the «iron curtain».

Today we are traveling across countries and continents, even while at home in the cosy room, communicate with residents anywhere in the world, using modern technology, and it is hard to imagine how things were in this respect comparatively recently, some 50 years ago – severe restrictions on travel to hostile countries, censorship of correspondence, the careful control of the contents of any kind of mail to these countries – in short, "curtain", to overcome which it was not always easy, even to close relatives.

Because of the tragic events of the Caucasian war, as you know, most of the Abaza were abroad, mainly in Turkey, and were isolated from their historical homeland. And here at the time, according to the national writer Bemurza Tkhitsukhov, "it is not customary to speak publicly about the Caucasian war, about those events, I had the impression that this war did not exist..." However, the memory of the people knows no forgetfulness. From generation to generation passed down stories about the events of the muhajirism, descendants talked about the members of the family who moved abroad... And abroad growing up young people who passionately love the land of their ancestors, which they knew only from the stories of grandparents and great-grandparents until their last days wanted at least by one eye to look once more on their native Caucasus mountains.

"In 1967, was a joyful event, have excited all of the editorial staff, and later to all readers, recalled national writer Jemaludin Laguchev in an interview. Editor of a national newspaper Hamid Zhirov received from Turkey a letter, written in pure Abaza language. It surprised us all, because we knew that the Turkish Abaza has no written language, they have not learned to read and write in their native language." The letter was signed by a young man named Orhan Kopsergenov.

By the way, note that D. Laguchev the first of Abaza people in 1971 was lucky to be part of the delegation of the Union of Soviet writers to visit Turkey and meet up with the descendants of Muhajirs, including Orhan.

It was very interesting: how can a young person from Turkey without the help and support failed to master reading and writing in their native language? How did he get the address of the publisher of a national newspaper and the name of the editor?

The answers to these questions I received recently from a resident of the village Psyzh of the Karachay-Cherkess Republic V. A. Jerdisov. "I was born in Psizh in 1940, graduated from a construction College and for several years, in 1964 entered the engineering faculty of the Kabardino-Balkarian state University, graduated it from in 1969, recalls Vladimir Adilgereevich. Once there, in Nalchik, I was spotted by my friend from Adygea and he said that someone from Turkey would like to correspond with Abaza people and asks for address".

It turned out that one of the students-Kabardians rewritten with a fellow from Istanbul. The guy and Orhan were friends. So, unexpectedly for Jerdisov himself, started a correspondence, which was the first step in the rapprochement of the Abaza of Turkey and the Soviet Union.

Orhan asked Vladimir to give his address to anyone who wants to chat, asked to send him books and newspapers in Abaza language. And Vladimir sent him a few Abaza books and newspapers, announced the address of the publisher and the editor.

On the advice of Hamid Zhirov correspondence began between many writers and journalists. Dzhemuladin Laguchev also corresponded with Orhan. In the course of this correspondence it became clear that Orhan got the first Abaza books through the Turkish Embassy in the Soviet Union and then learned reading and writing in his native language. Vladimir Jerdisov showed me a few yellowed letters and photographs, which he cherishes still. Say at once: Vladimir Jerdisov has two more names Dima and Hassan. Most of the residents of Psyzh calls him Dima, and to Orhan, whom he reported about it in the first letter, liked the name Hassan. Therefore all the letters he addresses him so: "Good day, brother Hassan!", "My dear friend, Hasan!"

Immediately catches the eye that the letters look like in print (in one of his letters, Orhan admitted that it is easier to write such letters, asked to and he tried to write as well). Every word felt ardent love and desire for homeland. "Every time I receive an email sent from our homeland, it fills me with such excitement, as though the whole world belongs to me... Even if I was sick and lay dying, these letters would have healed me... You do me great good deed" – he admitted in a letter dated 26 of May 1970.

About himself Orhan writes simply and modestly: "I live in Istanbul, graduated from the law faculty and entered on journalistic work in the bar in the evenings, and continue to learn." In one of his letters (dated May 15, 1970) he gave a short talk about his family: "My father and mother live in the village. I have two brothers and a sister. I'm the middle one of the brothers, this year I am turning 22 years old. The sister younger than me, her name is Chimapika (Turkish name – Hagar), she's 20, she's married, lives in Ankara, son-in-law is Abaza too, of the family Hapatov. Older brother's name is Buba (Turkish name – Burhan), the younger name is Cambot (Turkish name is Ilhan). The brothers live with their parents." Then he listed the names of all the inhabitants of his native village: "Our village is called Lokt and is very far from Istanbul – 760 km. There are 55 yards in our village, here live: Gonovs, Adzgievs, Khapatovs, Ozovs, Napshevs, Nirovs, Chagovs, Havtsevs, Kikovs, Lafishevs, Shoovs, Kokovs, Kamovs, Shkhamuzovs, Kanshkovs, Dzhandarovs, Zhuzhuevs, Khurugovs, Kopsergenovs, Tlyabichevs. All know Abaza language..."

In the letters he wrote not only about themselves but about their fellow villagers, friends, famous people – actors, athletes, etc. He sent a lot of memorable pictures. Among them are a photograph of a world famous wrestler Athan Adil – bronze medalist of the Olympic games (1952), the silver medalist of the world championship in 1954 and 1956 world champion. "He is Abaza by birth and for the past 15 years has been the strongest wrestler of Turkey, being inferior to no one of this title," writes proud Orhan.

O. Kopsergenov was very attentive to the needs of our countrymen about relatives. For example, at their request, inquired about Hamid Kunizhev, Ilyas Adzhiev, Hamid Malkhozov. He managed to find a descendant of Ilyas – Erol Adzhiev, whO since that time have established relationships with their relatives living in Karachay-Cherkessia.

Pictures carried out an additional function: since not all the letters reached the recipient, or in the envelopes remained only photograph the most important part of the text of the letter, he often wrote on their momentum. In one such inscription is reported that a young man named Nihat Kymza asking if we have representatives of his name, specifying their belonging to the Abaza-askhars.

Orhan learned about the novelties of the Abaza literature, and asked him specifically indicating titles of works and books ("Sosruko and Sosranpa" by T. Tabulov, collections of "Dawn", "Happiness", "Rays", the novel "A Handful of earth" by Bemurza Tkhizukhov), and the newspapers containing his poems and other publications. In another letter (from 01.02.1970) he asked me to send him books: "Primer", "Readings in native literature for 7-8 forms", "Readings in native literature for 9-10 grades", "Grammar of the Abaza language for 5-6 grades". "My brother, these books not only for me but for your brothers and sisters. They are very delighted with all the Abazins who live here..." the author writes, commenting on its request.

In almost every letter Orhan Kopsergenov bitterly writes about the passionate desire of many of Abaza, living in Turkey, learn to read and write in their native language: "We were forbidden to learn to read and write in our native language. By this I mean, how we're miserable here... I can read and write in Abazin, but my poor brothers and sisters... don't they want to learn the native language? Yes, they want, believe me..."

It is appropriate to recall that in 1971 Orhan spent a few weeks in jail due to the fact that, at first, detained him with a book from the library of the Soviet Embassy (Orhan I needed it for course work), and then raided his house and seized all the letters from the USSR and Abaza newspaper. He was released, when at the end it turned out that he was a student and no illegal activity was engaged.

And Orhan Kopsergenov perseveres later – continues to learn himself, teaches to read and write in their native Abaza language many of his friends, continues to help anyone looking for their relatives, sending their addresses, bit by bit collects different information.

...Years passed. It was the time of "perestroika", and Orhan first "arrived" in Abazashta – numerous meetings in the villages, in the wording of Abaza newspaper, with relatives, accompanied by tears of joy from overwhelms senses.

Today is the year 2017 in the calendar... Being retired, Orhan continues actively engage in social activities, has accumulated a solid material not only about Abaza and villages of Turkey. He traveled to all the villages of Abazashta, including Abazact and Clychkt, visited a number of former Abaza villages of Adygea and Kabardino-Balkaria. Also productively engaged in journalistic work, being an employee of the site "".

Needless to say about what a special feeling was filled the first meeting of Kopsergenov Orhan and Hasan Jerdisov that took place then, in the mid-80s. They are so modest and shy people themselves, that are hardly fully aware of the significance of what was done in the difficult 60 years... And they committed, without a doubt, a civil feat.

Pictures from the personal archive of Vladimir (Hasan Jerdisov):

1. (Main photo) Orhan Kopsergenov in college years;

2. Vladimir (Hasan) Jerdisov in college years;

3. Adil Atan world champion;

4. "Good Salam from Turkey from a group of young people." From left to right: (standing) Ienemukovs Nikha and Batur, Kopsergenov Orhan, Mersey Turhan, Nihat Kymza, Adzhiev Erol; (sitting) Nadzhet Hatam, Nogaev Turhan;

5. Orhan`s letters... On one of them left traces of censorship.


Bilal Khasarokov


Specially for the site "Abaza Country"