Tunisia, country shelter.

Exactly 83 years ago, on December 23, 1920, Early in the morning, the Tunisian city of Bizert in the north of Africa woke up under the sounds of the beeps of the port of warships. In their masts fluttered unfamiliar to the local population Andreevsky flags. A detachment of the Black Sea squadron arrived at the port, on board which there were about 10 thousand refugees from Russia – mostly military, but also a lot of civilians.

These were the remnants of the Forces of General Wrangel, who after defeat from the Red Army left Sevastopol. With the consent of the French authorities (Tunisia was then under the control of Paris) ships threw anchors in the local harbor. So thousands of our compatriots found their shelters in Tunisia.

The only remaining witness of those old events is 92-year-old Anastasia Alexandrovna Shirinskaya, who still lives in Bizerte. On one of the streets of the city there is her house, surrounded by empty palm trees. Inside its furniture, old and therefore, the yellowed photos on the walls – everything is a little remind of the apartment of the pre-revolutionary Petersburg intellectuals.

In December 1920, an eight-year-old girl, she first saw the African coast from the Ministry of Economic "Hot", who commanded her father – senior lieutenant Alexander Manstein. Shirinskaya lived in Bizerte all her life and without accepting foreign citizenship. Married Murtas Schirinsky, who came from the noble kind of Crimean Tatars Shirinsky, and 50 years old taught mathematics in the local lyceum.

Recently in Tunisia I was present at the presentation of the second edition of the book "Bizerta. Last parking", which includes the memories of our compatriots about the life of the Russian colony in Tunisia. (Her first edition quickly separated in Russia). Members who arrived from St. Petersburg "Sea Assembly" handed the author of the book "Order of Merit". This was assessed by the role of. Shirinsky in the savings of domestic maritime traditions, care for the cemetery of our sailors buried in Tunisian land.

"The Russian sailors lived on ships for several years faithful and in his oath, continuing to carry the Watch. On board even a school for children worked, "says Sedovlasaya Anastasia Aleksandrovna, who has retained the smallest details of the rapid events and fate of many people of the past epoch. – However, the Bizertsky squadron was doomed. She was disbanded after the recognition of France in 1924 of Soviet Russia. Subsequently, the ships were cut on scrap metal, and their crews and civilians went ashore.

Almost all those who arrived from Russia were in the same desperate position, despite the ranks or education. Aged general and twenty-year-old sailor claimed an auto mechanic. Many ladies earned a wash and ironing linen to food, hired by educators to French families.

Emigrants could be found everywhere: in public works, in the desert, in agricultural farms, in municipalities. The conscientiousness of the Russians was assessed by the surrounding heterogeneous society. Word "Russi" The mouth of the Muslim was a flattering recommendation".

On the African Earth, members of the Russian Diaspora tried not to forget their habits and culture. In the use of local residents – and the Arabs, and Europeans – they included such concepts as "Borsch" and "snacks". Russian soul was difficult to live without their songs. Tunisians first heard them from refugees. On ships, in cities, camps were born amateur choirs. There was a spiritual orchestra under the control of one of the Russian officers who became a noticeable phenomenon in the life of Bizertsians.

Often, musicians had to play at the funeral of dead compatriots. In one of the days, the orchestra accompanied to the local Muslim cemetery of the faithful Vesta Admiral Gerasimov Tatarin-Jigita Haji-Honey. He was buried with the Military Humans as the George Cavaller, and the Muslim population of Bizerti was surprised and touched that Russians were buried by Muslim soldiers with such honors.

Some people from distant Russia left their mark in the culture of modern Tunisia. The figure of the artist Alexander Rubtsova, who was not an emigrant in the full sense of the word. Born in St. Petersburg, brilliantly studied at the Imperial Academy of Arts and earned an internship in Mediterranean countries. So before the First World War, the scars hit Tunisia, where he stayed to his death in 1949.

In the labyrinth of quarters of the old city of the Tunisian capital on Al-Jazeera Street, there is still an inconspicuous house at number 44. Code of iron door leads to a modest room that shot the artist. The Arab neighbors he remembered as a man with a volatile beard, dressed in black and in winter and in summer, in the sandals on a boss foot. For that he was painted by the Russian dervish.

Alexander Rubtsov wandered a lot in the country, traveled to the distant sugar oasis, where, leaning palm trees under the shadow, did an outline: Drew Bedouins, merchants, regulars of vintage Moorish coffee shops. On the Tunisian Earth, the artist found the perfect corner for himself. "The brightness of the sun, – wrote the artist in his diary, – a refined light gamut, combining the eternal greens with the ocher desert and shades of the marine turquoise, captured my imagination".

Working selflessly, the master showed himself in all genres: these are landscapes, still lifes, watercolors. Especially allocate a series of folk, "Ethnographic" Portraits, where the faces of local women are carefully discharged, their traditional decorations, tattoos on the wrists and shoulders. Under them, the artist usually subscribed to Arabic – "Iskander Rubtsov". His works were exhibited in art salons of Tunisia, Paris and London.

About 3 thousand paintings and other works, including a large wall panel in the Trade Chamber of the city of Tunisia, remained after the death of Rubatov. Here he is considered to be a Tunisian artist, the patrons established the award of his name.

Abdelmalik – under the same name, the creative elite of Tunisia remembers the other Russian – Talented Pianist George Korshakova. It is said that he was a leaving from an old princely kind, so I received the name Abdelmalik – in Arabic it means "Slave King". Once in Europe, Korshakov met composer Prokofiev and spent 10 years, accompanying his famous mattress in foreign tour. The musician did not dare to return to the USSR, as the great composer did. He settled in Tunisia in one of the palaces of Bay – the ruler of the country, gave her lessons to his children, performed in concerts and died aged 93 years.

On the central street of the capital of Jules Ferry (now this Avenue Habiba Burgibiba) at the end of the 20s the ballet class was opened, which was opened by two former dancers of the Moscow Bolshoi Theater Footlin and Deborskaya. Class quickly gained popularity among the local intelligentsia and existed more than half a century.

After the war, the small Russian community completely squeezed. Steel rare services in two churches built on donations of emigrants. One of them – the church of Alexander Nevsky in Bizerte, built in 1937 in the Ancient Day. For her and now looks after Anastasia Alexandrovna Shirinskaya.

In the 60-70s, when from the first wave of Russian emigrants in Tunisia almost no one left, here again called Russian. Hundreds of young Tunisians who received education in the USSR, returned to their homeland, many – together with wives from the Soviet Union. Our doctors appeared in local hospitals, in universities – teachers, our engineers contributed to the design and construction of one of the largest hydraulic complex sites Sidi-Al-Bar-cancer, commissioned in 1999.

Today, according to some reports, about three thousand of our compatriots live in Tunisia. Much here mixed Russian-tunisky families. Before "Perestroika" on marriages with foreigners in the USSR watched Kosos. Now the topic of foreign marriages has lost its former ideological coloring. In Tunisia, grew by a generation that in the graph "Mother’s nationality" Recorded: "Russian".

On the fate of our compatriots living in another cultural and spiritual and household environment, my interlocities told me, many years spent in Tunisia. According to them, mixed Russian-Tunisian couples pass a serious strength test. In addition to the characters of the spouses, we are talking about the ability to adapt to the customs and culture of each other.

First obstacle – Language barrier. At the same time, the possibilities for adapting foreigners in Tunisia are: here in principle, liberal legislation in family and marriage issues: polygamy is prohibited and the rights of a woman, especially during divorce, are protected by law; The authorities supported the idea of ​​economic equality of women and the beautiful half of the country is increasingly noticeable in production, in education, administration.

– More and more Tunisians do not get closed in the shell of traditional values, ready to communicate with foreigners, – explains to me former Rostovchanka Tatyana Zyby. – But there are nuances: Muslim family jealously protects their way and enter it is not so simple. After all, centuries in the local society for a woman entrenched a role in primarily the custodian of the hearth and mother. I have friends who could not fit into new realities, did not take someone else’s, they transferred all the attributes of their homeland in their life, in everyday life, they speak the house only in Russian.

Other more enterprising and stubborn. Tatyana Zribi has given two years to study languages ​​and settled in his profession by an engineer, and now owns the office of tourist and transport services. Vera Khrutskaya from Polotsk, by profession, engineer-builder, heads department in one of the Tunisian ministries. Kiev woman Natalia Dakhman – instructor in one of the wellness centers.

Elena Yurash from St. Petersburg – a graduate of the Medin Institute, worked in local hospitals, then opened his private office in the Tunisian capital. In Africa, she did not refuse their passion on literature and art, its first literary experiments in French are connected with Tunisia. Last book of Yurash called "Secrets of Green Yara" released this year. "The new book is read with great pleasure, – wrote on this issue Central Tunisian newspaper "La Press". Russian by birth, Tuniska in the heart and choice, she thanks to her Slavic giftedness achieves success in any case, to which he touches".

– I have a plan, "Elena told me, – Write a book together with Anastasia Alexandrovna Shirinskaya – a good teacher and a mentor of all Russian women living in Tunisia. So I want to think about the fate and world merchants of two women: one – from the first wave of Russian emigration, the second – our contemporary, about the future of our children.

I had to see these children from mixed families who grew up under the African Sun on the shores of the Mediterranean. To their eastern temperament, inherited from fathers, the features of the Slavic appearance and restrained natur mothers are mixed. This is a unique cocktail of characters and cultures, children are usually fluent in Arabic, French and Russian languages.

Tunisia, country shelter.

Children of mothers tightly tied to the new home, although some of our compatriots have divorced. Local laws protect the interests of the mother, but divorce proceedings in Tunisia, complex and last for a long time, especially when the mother stays with the children: the state takes care of the children were brought up in accordance with the Arab-Muslim tradition. There have been cases of crisis, when the mother, fearing that will lose their maturing children, takes them and left home.

Many mothers tend to send their children to study at his home in Russia. Elena Yurash two sons. From his first marriage – Daniel, he is now studying at the Moscow Medical Institute, and the Nile – from his second marriage, he goes to a local school. Aida tartan doctor by profession, a widow, left alone, children, the couple did not have. She adopted a local girl, from which the mother refused to hospital. Now our compatriot retired and brings 10-year-old Masha, who is fluent in Russian, Russian love songs.

With the disappearance of the Soviet Union there was a problem: to what country or nationality itself to rank – for people born and living in different republics. In Tunisia, represented by embassies are just some of the CIS countries – and this is the problem with obtaining visas and other formalities. Especially he complained to me about their difficulties, one of the former citizens of the Soviet Union, Abkhazian by nationality.

In recent years, to revitalize the Russian Cultural Center in Tunisia. Here, show movies, organize the Christmas tree, and mornings for children, run Russian language courses, ballet school. A place of dialogue and cohesion Russian, Ukrainians, Belarusians have become two updated in recent years, the church – the Resurrection in Tunisia and Alexander Nevsky in Bizerte.

Since 1991, "Russian colony" It was to fill up the new generation of women who married for the Tunisians. In the spirit of the new time, they tended to be more pragmatic. Oksana Belhaj, who was born in the Urals, by profession, an artist-icon painter, moved to Tunisia to her husband in the late 90s, switched to local topics and soon arranged his first African venice in the Russian Cultural Center. Local magazine called Oksana’s work "Charming and sincere".

Tunisians are proud that their country was an intersection of great civilizations. In their blood – Berber Gena, Carthaginian, Greeks, Arabic Nomads from Arabia, Spaniards, Maltesers, Turks. In the country, accustomed to minorities. A small Russian community in the history of Tunisia also did not remain unnoticed. In the 90s, local cinematographers removed the documentary "Anastasia from Bizerta", Dedicated to Fate A. A. Shirinskaya. The picture shows the contribution of a small Russian colony to the palette of the cultural and public life of Tunisia.

And finally, there is a growing flow in Tunisia of Russian tourists. Every year, this fertile land takes about 5 million foreign tourists – a kind of record for the 10 millionth population of the country. Among them are tens of thousands of guests from our country, so that at hotels and restaurants attendants urgently teaches Russian.

– We specifically invited the Russian teacher to help us in this matter, says Mohammed Al-Amuri, a famous entrepreneur, owner of the network of the most prestigious hotels in the country called "Gasta Bal". (Maastrabal – Brother of the famous commander of the ancient world of Hannibal).

CM. Al-Amuri I talked in his office, from the windows of which a picturesque view of the neighboring plains and hills with olive groves, leaving beyond the horizon.

"Magician leisure and pioneer of cultural tourism" – So in the press Master him for the tourist business and collecting paintings. In the late 70s. Al-Amuri opened his first pretty modest three-star hotel. He caught a tendency to develop the economy of his country – in particular, the course of the authorities to create a powerful tourism infrastructure, and then successfully "Split".

The secret of success, according to my interlocutor, is that he made a bet not only for impeccable comfort and facilities for tourists, but also on the aesthetic side of the rest. Still at the dawn of his business m. Al-Amuri spent two monthly earnings for buying a painting of a local artist who marked the beginning of his collection.

As the welfare of the businessman grows, his collection was expanded at the expense of both local and foreign artists of various schools and flows. He decided to decorate with them his hotels. The largest of them – "GastroBal jasmine" Located in the resort town of Hammamet and now turned into a real art gallery, in which 1000 paintings, both originals and copies.

Talking about their collective and patrons, Al-Amuri did not bypass Alexander Rubtsova:

– In my meeting, two pictures of this master, without which it is difficult to imagine the modern Tunisian school of painting, "says the entrepreneur. – The artist died alone, his rich creative heritage was divided by numerous hands, turned out to be in different countries and little studied. Therefore, the International Art Association of Alexander Rubtsova was established. From time to time in Tunisia and France, work speakers about his work. I participated in sponsoring the publication of two albums dedicated to Rubtsov. The motives of the creativity of this master who gave his work Tunisia, consonant with our soul. In general, culture is a wonderful bridge connecting nations and countries.

Tunisia, country shelter.

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