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Obituary. Svetlana Mikhailovna Chervonnaya (1936-2020)

Updated: May 27, 2022

From ICATAT Page:

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Svetlana Cherwonnaya

We mourn for our friend and colleague Svetlana Chervonnaya. She died on 9 November 2020 and was buried yesterday in Toruń. She was godmother at the cradle of our institute and until the end she was an active member in the Advisory Board of ICATAT. We still had many plans together, but we must painfully acknowledge that time is finite for each of us.

In blessed memory of our Svetlana khanum „Babushka“ Czervonnaja.

The first and most important love of Svetlana khanum were the Tatars, especially Crimean Tatars. The fight for the right of the Crimean Tatars to return to their historical homeland was their „Carthage“, and the Crimean Tatars therefore rightly consider her as one of them.  She has always devoted much energy and attention to researching and popularizing the history and culture of the Tatars in Europe and around the world, not only with her books, but also with public activities, protests, conferences and discussions that encouraged young scholars, to consistently stand up for minority rights and democracy. For her, science was not an ivory tower, but a social responsibility. Thanks to her efforts, a unique institution was founded, the Tatar Religious Literature Research Center  (CENTER FOR KITAB STUDIES) at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń (Poland). She graduated from the Moscow State University of  M. W. Lomonosov, finished postgraduate studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in the USSR. She held the titles of Doctor Honoris Causa of the Ivan Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University (Georgia) and the Karachay-Cherkess State University (Russian Federation).

Svetlana Mikhailovna Czerwonnaja was an art critic, cultural scientist, professor, Honoured Artist of the Republic of Tatarstan, a passionate advocate of Tatars all over the world. A significant part of her life and scientific interests is connected with Kazan, Tatarstan, the Tatars in general, but also with Germany, Berlin and Magdeburg, Crimea and the Caucasus. Her books „The Art of the Soviet Tatars“ (1978) and „Contemporary Muslim Art of the Peoples of Russia“ (2008) were the first and remained for a long time unique, comprehensive studies on the art of the Tatars and other Muslim nations in Russia. In Berlin and Magdeburg she also published many texts and books, she initiated conferences and meetings, for example in the German Bundestag, German Foreign Office and the Secretariat for Minority Issues.

She was always interested in national cultures, the processes of their interaction and mutual influence, the national movements of the peoples of the Russian Federation and the Soviet Union, and the expression of their ideals in art.

Svetlana khanum will be remembered by all who knew her as a talented and enthusiastic scientist, as a woman of unyielding will, as an uncompromising fighter, faithful to her scientific and civic Credo as an incredibly energetic and wise, responsive person.

The pandemic period has made a reunion impossible this year, the Turkish Studies Congress in Warsaw, the DAVO Congress in Warsaw and the Turkologists‘ Day in Mainz have been postponed to 2021 and 2023 respectively, joint book projects remain unfinished and our summer school in Marseille and Rethimnon will now have to do without her.

 Together with our colleagues from the Crimea, Tatarstan, Poland, Austria and Germany, we mourn the loss of a quarrelsome, cheerful, humane academic who was a guide for many of us, popularized rare academic disciplines, gave confidence and respect to „small nations“ and resolutely opposed  despotism, dictatorship and hostility to Islam.

We express our sincere condolences to family and friends. On behalf of all Members, Friends and Fellows of ICATAT

  • Dr. Mieste Hotopp-Riecke

  • Dr. Stephan Theilig

  • Dr. Ewa Drewnowska

  • Prof. Dr. Iskander Gilyazov

  • Monika Górka

  • Dr. Marat Gibatdinov

  • Ildar Kharissov

  • Prof. Dr. Adas Jakubauskas

  • Dominik Jakub Napiwodzki

  • Prof. Dr. Dilara Usmanova

  • Dr. Temur Kurshutov

  • Prof. Dr. Ismail Kerimov

  • Dzhemile Umerova

  • Dr. Hüseyin Çiçek

  • Ammar Awaniy

  • Torsten Sowada

Kazan, Magdeburg, Bernau, Berlin, Bregenz, Vilnius, Simferopol  //  14th November 2020

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