Today I want to tell you about our ALZHIR trip to Malinovka ( a small village 27 kilometres away from Astana). ALZHIR is the largest Soviet women camp. During the Soviet time, when Stalin ruled USSR, many people were imprisoned and their wives, daughters, mothers and sisters were sent to ALZHIR. A.L.ZH.I.R is an abbreviation of the Russian language, it is a camp for wives of political dissidents. Most of them are writers, actors, actresses.

So today, having visited the museum I found more about that terrible camp that destroyed lives of hundreds of people. Actually, the museum we visited was opened by the initiative of our President Nursultan Nazarbayev in 2007. May 31 is a memory day of all repressed people, and museum has different arrangements due to this date.

The museum includes information about people, who were repressed, about their relatives, and their destiny. There are wives of famous Kazakh writers as M.Dulatov, B.Mailin, T.Ruskulov, T.Zhurgenov, M.Zhumabaev, Zh.Aimauytov and many other heroes. Right now younger relatives of those, who were repressed during Soviet period contribute much to the development of the museum. They share their memories about the camp, bring things, which once belonged to the people of Stalin repression. Museum consists of two floors. As you enter the museum you can see a composition “The flower of life”. It represents a rose that comes from underneath breaking the tiled ground. It means that despite all hardships, the flower of life keeps on growing and the life continues. There is another less interesting composition above the Flower of life. It is called “Doves in captivity”. It shows 15 doves in mesh-ring. Some of the birds are captured, some are free outside. These 15 doves represent 15 countries that USSR consisted of. I don’t know exactly why the author of the composition chose doves to show countries, but I guess the reason was peace. As a matter of fact, a dove is a symbol of peace in our country.

(The photo shows a museum and a monument for all repressed women in a form of women’s headgear.)

The information on the first floor starts from 1822-1895 – the years, when Kazakhstan became a colony of the Russian Empire. The camp was opened in 1936 and worked up to Stalin’s death in 1953. According to the stats, there were 18000 women of 62 nationalities from all over the USSR. The first floor of the museum, mainly, contains info about people, who were considered Traitors of the Motherland. It gives you full information about the destiny of their wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters. All these women were forced to do hard job despite the severe winter. If you go up to the second floor you can see the places, where these poor women lived and worked. They lived in barracks, they had straws instead of blankets, and lattice instead of the doors. Their rooms were poor lit, cold, small. They had letters to their children, photos of the family and relatives on the wall. Also we could see dress-maker’s room, a small room with a sewing-machine in the corner and a lamp. Women made clothes for themselves here.

(This photo shows a broken star as a fall of Soviet Union.)

I am Kazakh, I know much about the lives of our famous writers. Nevertheless, I found more information from our guides talk. For instance, Beimbet Mailin is a Kazakh writer, an author of “Myrkymbai” poems, “Shuga monument”, etc. His wife Gulzhamal Mailina was also imprisoned in the camp. They had 6 children, when the parents were sentenced, they were sent to an orphanage in Russia. They were taught Russian only, and later when a mother and children met together they had difficulties in communication. Their mother knew no Russian on the contrary. Thousands of children suffered from Stalin’s depression, majority of them lived in the orphan houses. Some of them even were born in the camp. Statistics equals their number to 1507 children.

I am grateful to our guide. Her names is Anara. She has been working in the museum for one year only, but she told us so many things I hadn’t even the slightest idea. She is a teacher by profession as we are. Colleague. She graduated from Kokshetau State Pedagogical Institute. What impressed me most about her is that she told us everything about the camp in the English language. It is very good, because not only Kazakhs and Russians visit the museum. As Anara informed us, during OSCE summit in Astana in December 1-2, Presidents of Latvia and Sweden visited the museum as well.

I am grateful to our President Nursultan Nazarbayev for making our country independent like one of the free doves in a mesh-ring we saw in the museum.

And, finally, I am grateful to a Person, who brought us the initiative to go there and arranged a trip to ALZHIR. It is a Person with capital letter for all PDP students. Thank you, our lovely PDP teacher!

Today is a memorable day for Nazarbayev University for Number #1 person of the country paid an official visit to our academic institution. Since the very morning everyone felt excited and all the students helped to organize the meeting with the President of the RK. Everyone was happy, everyone anticipated to see Mr. President. When Nursultan Abishuly entered the atrium everyone greeted him standing and applauding. At least the President came for we expected him to come on student commencement day. Nursultan Abishuly began his speech after a short greeting. I listened with attention and didn’t want to miss anything. To begin with, our President congratulated all the students of the university and told about the idea of opening University that will give international education in Kazakhstan. “WE are lucky” President said “to pass the entrance exams and study there right now.” Out of 4000 students applied to the university  only 484 students were accepted on the results of the exams. In future the University plans to educate 4000 students. It means 10 times more than it is now. The idea of Nazarbayev University ( New University of Astana that time) appeared 5 years ago. Analyzing the amount of money spent to give valuable education Nursultan Nazarbayev decided to open a New University in Astana that would meet all the requirements of foreign education. It will be cheaper to educate the next generation within the borders of home country. It will be sensible. On the other hand, with President and prestigious foreign universities in support I think it will be a temporary hardship on the way of building our own competent education.

Also, President touched upon Bolashak program, as he convinced that beginning from now students won’t go abroad for Bachelor’s degree to study professions offered at Nazarbayev University. The only one exception is the teachers of English language that can go abroad for B.A. by Bolashak. I think it is right. Why do not use the education that home country offers?

The contribution of Bolshak Program to the democratic and economic development of the country is great and so will be of Nazarbayev University’s I hope. The fact that the University was named after N. Nazarbayev proves its importance for the future of Kazakhstan. As Nursultan Nazarbayev said at first he didn’t want the university to have his name, but regarding all the changes happening in the world and the position of Kazakhstan in world trade market, President agreed. Today Kazakhstan plays a great role in the world economy and there is no doubt that the name of Nazarbayev University will back and champion its reputation in the world. Even in his speech today in the atrium the President referred to the University as New University of Astana several times.  

Moreover, President told about the projects on work in various spheres of development and expressed his gratitude to all people of Astana for collaboration in organizing OSCE summit.President shared all the kind and warm words uttered by 55 representatives for succesful and safe meeting. The OSCE summit was a huge step of Kazakhstan to worldwide fame.

Also University students asked their questions to the President making use of his long-waiting visit. One of the students asked: “What faculty would he choose if he was a student of Nazarbayev University?” The answer was explicit – engineering. And the students sitting behind me “wowed”, I guess they were the students of that precise faculty. With this answer President encouraged students to go to engineering faculty for our country lacks those professions. The most interesting case is that one of NU students were given a book by our President when he was 3 months. And now 19 years later that very child studies at the University named after President himself. In the end of his speech President encouraged the students to study hard and make that difference they are expected to do. As the gratitude to Nursultan Abishuly one of our best students ( President’s namesake) thanked him and gave the Declaration of our Nazarbayev University.   

 However, could students imagine that they would see other well-known politicians from the other countries as well?! Such politicians as Gerhard Sheder, Romano Prodi congratulated Kazakhstan with OSCE summit and students with Nazarbayev University. The nice meeting ended with common photo session of President, foreign guests and NU students. So we saw off all the guests and were ready to have hand-shake with them.

After 12 days of continuous working days the weekend was success. As usual I spent the day-off in a company of my relatives. In Saturday we often are in front of the TV set. But Sunday is a day of fun and pleasure. Last Sunday we visited Winter Charity Bazaar and bought a lot of interesting things. Especially, toys for my little cousin. There were a great deal of them as well as national souvenirs, books, candies, clothes, what not. The Charity bazaar gathered such countries as Kazakhstan, the U.S, the U.K., Korea, China, Japan, Brazil, Germany, France, Finland, Turkey, Pakistan, even India and many other countries. The countries had a great deal of things to offer. We bought a nice T-shirt with “the best child in the world” inscription on the Ukraine language for my cousin. In addition, tastes from different countries cuisine, children puzzles, American bag, souvenirs, Chinese key-rings, and toys. The atmosphere of up-coming Christmas and New Year holidays was felt through decorations and Santa Claus from Finland. It was funny, and being so tired we went home. Akhmet (my cousin) even fell asleep in the car on the way home.))

The New Year mood was still continued in the evening at home. We were busy by building New Year town for Akhmet: fairy tale palace, snow man, ice town, New Year trees and children figures. All the figures were made of salty dough and watercolour. Tired we went to bed at four at night. Only in the morning we were able to see what we were building for five hours. “We are sculptures” exclaimed my aunt, being glad to see The Land of Fairy Tale.

It is a pity that the real life is far from it. It is sometimes too dangerous. The same day in the morning we witnessed a fire occurred in one of the samsa cabins near our region. We entered the shop and everything was still in the street, 5-7 minutes later we went out hurrying to the Charity bazaar and saw that fire( on the photo).

The Summit is over, but it is still spoken about in Mass Media of the country. The weekend news had many things to share with people about the summit passed. National TV broadcast channels prepared special programs for the last event of the last month of the year. People returned to their every day routine and are proud to organize the summit with safety. Denizens of Astana accepted the stopgap measures with patience and understanding. Nearly 55 representatives of different countries met again to accept Astana Declaration, the document accepted 11 years after since the last OSCE summit. So, the summit was held successfully and it is turn for Asiada to follow the same route.

President N.Nazarbayev are going to visit our university tomorrow. With the hearts open we are ready to meet our President.