Voices from Russia

Monday, 27 March 2017

Donetsk Greeks Celebrated Greek Independence Day with Dances and Concerts


Today, members of the Donetsk Fyodor Stambulzhi Greek Society celebrated their past on the eve of the national holiday of their historical homeland… Greek Independence Day. Greek opera singer Medea Yasonidi, a Donbass native, attended the festive event. They held the festivities in the Electro-Technical School in Donetsk, beginning with a class in Greek dancing for all ages, with the Greek Folk Ensembles Panair and Terpsikhora taking part. Then, Yelena Prodan, the chairman of the Donetsk Greek Society, addressed the assembly, touching on the topic of the Greek War of Liberation against the Ottoman yoke in 1821-29:

Greeks around the world celebrate Independence Day, or Day of the Greek Revival, in honour of the heroes of the war of independence on 25 March.

Yasonidi added:

It pleases me that, in spite of the hostilities, the Donetsk Greek society carries on.

Yasonidi graduated conservatory in Donetsk, and now gives classes at the State Academic Philharmonic. She plans to give further classes at the Sergei Prokofiev Donetsk State Music Academy. Today’s celebration involved more than two hundred people, including those taking part in Greek and Russian musical numbers, as well as a large tea party.

The Donetsk Greek Society began in 1990, named after its first chairman, the prominent local Greek Fyodor Stambulzhi (1953-2003), and has about 1,200 members. The Society has Greek youth and women’s groups, along with sponsoring folk ensembles. It started a Greek Sunday School and helped start Greek language courses in a number of secondary schools. The Donetsk Greek Society maintains close ties with Greek associations in Moscow, St Petersburg, and Krasnodar, and participates in folk festivals in different parts of Russia. During the hostilities, they’ve received humanitarian assistance from other Greek Associations in Russia.

The history of the Greek community of the Azov region dates back to the 1770s, when more than 30,000 Greeks, Armenians, and Georgians emigrated from the Crimea. At the request of Metropolitan St Ignaty Gozadinos of Gothhia and Kafa, who feared the complete destruction of his flock in the Crimean Khanate, the Russian Empire gave the Crimean Christians resettlement assistance. The tsar allocated the Crimean Greeks land on the northern coast of the Sea of Azov near Pavlovsk, which became Mariupol in 1978. The Greek settlements in 1980 numbered about two dozen villages around the Sea of Azov. At the time of the DNR’s declaration of independence and the outbreak of war in the Donbass, there were more than 90,000 descendants of Greek immigrants, the vast majority of them living around the Sea of Azov.

26 March 2017

DAN Donetsk News Agency



Monday, 20 April 2015

DNR Greeks Celebrate their Ethnic Planting Festival Despite Shelling and Heavy Rain

00 donetsk greek artos 01. 20.04.15

The artos… the centrepiece of the Artoo Planting Festival


00 donetsk greek artos 02. 20.04.15

Iaia has a cane… and she knows how to use it!


00 donetsk greek artos 03. 20.04.15


00 donetsk greek artos 04. 20.04.15


00 donetsk greek artos 05. 20.04.15


00 donetsk greek artos 06. 20.04.15


00 donetsk greek artos 07. 20.04.15


00 donetsk greek artos 08. 20.04.15


Today, our correspondent on the scene reported that the Greek community in Starobeshevo held their traditional ethic planting festival… Artoo… despite junta attacks and heavy rain. Ivan Mikhailov, the head of Starobeshevo Raion, told our reporter, “About 200 people from all over the Republic gathered for the Artoo holiday. It wasn’t just Greeks, but there were people of all different nationalities. This holiday is just another proof that there’s interethnic peace here in the DNR. We don’t do it the way that they do it in Kiev, where they treat ethnic minorities like second-class citizens. We’ve kept our realm harmonious*“.

  • You can take Мы сохранили мир in two ways… “We’ve kept the peace” or “We’ve preserved the world”… actually, I think that Mikhailov is playing on words here… a play on words that doesn’t carry over into translation… drat!

Traditionally, the Artoo festival includes rolling a large round bread on four hard-cooked eggs downhill. The Greek people determined how rich the future harvest would be by seeing how the bread “wandered down the hill”. Mikhailov said, “Unfortunately, this year, we couldn’t follow the Artoo customs to the letter. Because of the shelling and the bad weather, we had to modify the main event of the holiday… rolling the Artos (a large special bread) down the hill on four hard-cooked eggs. This year, the Greek people rolled the artos in a social hall. Of course, it wasn’t quite as spectacular, but the ceremony showed that this year will be fruitful in our area, that’s good news”.

D V Pushilin, the Vice-Chairman of the DNR Peoples Soviet and head of the Ispolkom* of the Donetsk Republic public movement, attended the festivities, saying, “This is a wonderful holiday. The most important thing that we must realise is that our Republic was, and remains, a multi-ethnic entity. Everyone has their own holidays, and it’s important to take part with them, to understand them”.

  • Ispolkom: Executive Committee

19 April 2015

DAN Donetsk News Agency


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