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Social structure of population. Cultural construction

The creation of new social system of economy, entrance of this system into all fields of life became, first of all the reason of formation of new social structure of the population of Republic.

General view of social structure of the population of Republic looked like as following: the number of workers in 1926, constituted 26,7%, in 1939 it was already 41,7%, the quantity of collective farming peasantry and cooparative craftsmen-0,6% and 54,2%, single-peasants with their own husbandry (without kulaks) and workers, who united in cooperation (craftsmen)-64,5%.

The number of workers and servants, engaging in all spheres of national husbandry of Azerbaijan increased from 121 thousand people in 1922, to 486 thousand people in 1940, i.e. the number of workers in the same period grew from 97 thousand to 322 thousand and the quantity of servants reached from 24 thousand to 164 thousand people.

As it is shown in the evidences, the number of workers increased in 3,4 times and the quantity of servants grew in 4 times; simultaneously the portion of workers in the general structure of the population of Republic raised from 19,6% in 1926 to 25,1% in 1939.

Although, during the 30s the number of workers and servants in Azerbaijan SSR increased about 4 times as it was mentioned above, general portion of the representatives of original nationality-Azerbaijanis in these social cathegories did not increase, inspite of it decreased essentially. So, if in 1926, the portion of Azerbaijanis among workers and servants constituted 36,7%, then in 1939, this number decreased to 27,9%. Simultaneously, the portion of Russians in the mentioned years increased from 28,4% to 43,6%, which was first of all related with the immigration of big amount of workers and peasants from other regions of former Union. Azerbaijan peasantry was not attracted as working force to the city, since shovinistic representatives of party and soviet organs, who led “Azneft” and other industrial and governmental machinery of states prevented the proclamation of the slogan of internationalism.

There occurred essential changes in social and agricultural life of the peasantry of Azerbaijan, which was the result of the re-construction of agricultural life, unification of small peasantry husbandry into big collective husbandry and realization of united labour. The number of collective farmers in the initial period of collectivation in 1928, which equaled to 8 thousand people, reached to 1.719.903 people in 1940, i.e.

absolute majority of rural population was constituted by collective farmers and the quantity of peasants in independent husbandry was only 131,7 thousand people. The correlation of rural population to the general number of population of the Republic also changed and had already decreased from 72% to 64%.

There was included stratum of new socialistic intellegency, shaped from working peasantry class at that time. Despite of all existed negative specialties in Soviet system, the Azerbaijani nation realized steps in its cultural development. These steps changed his cultural level, surrounded all spheres of the nation, made condition for the tought of professional staff in many spheres in the level of modern culture.

There were realized essential ceremonies in the sphere of cultural construction on the ground of “communist ideology” since first years of Soviet authority.

The one of the solution ways of the problem of literacy among the population became the duty of transformation of latin alphabet. It is important to mention that even during the period of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic there was created special alphabet Comission. In  the period of Soviet authority, there was also created the commission on the re-formation of alphabet inside of Comissariate of National Enlightenment of Azerbaijan SSR in November, 1920, and in 1922 Permanent Committee on Turkish Alphabet, led by S.Aghamalioghlu.

The appeared special pages for indroducing and teaching new Turkish Alphabet to the population in various newspapers and magazines, as well as there were taught the forms of writing of letters and words, explained the grammar rules, a part of materials were published in latin alphabet in order to simplifying the education.

The Committee on the struggle against literacy began to its activity in December of 1923. Due to liquidate literacy and teach the population there were created various “likbezes”-groups and circles everywhere.

The education in these groups and circles during 1920-1927s was conducted for more than 70 thousand citizens.

By the order of the government final transformation into Latin alphabet was realized on Januray 1 of 1929. Since that day all magazines and papers were published only in Latin graphics. There were examined strict punishment measures to those, who did not implement the decision of the government. But soon, due to prevent the achievements of Azerbaijan nation in the liquidation of literacy, unification of Turkish nations   under the   unit Alphabet and to shape   conditions   for russification in state offices the Latin Alphabet was substituted with Kirill one by the order of Stalin on Januray 1 of 1940. Naturally, this application process of new alphabet caused to the shape of next transisting period and literacy of certain part of population.

Neverthless, in comparision with 1926, when the knowledge of population constituted 18,1%, in 1936, the number of educated people constituted 73,8%. There studied 65,307 people in general-educational schools in 1940-1941 educational year. There existed 16 high and 91 secondary schools, where 14,6 thousand and 17,4 thousand students studied in the same year. During second five-years and the first years of third five-years there were educated about 40 thousand specialists in high and secondary schools.

Despite of negative sides of socio-political life in 20-30s, there was given special attention to the science. At the result of this was the opening of the network of contemporary scientific-research institutes in Azerbaijan (it was the first time in state level). In 1923, there was created “Community of Observation and Study of Azerbaijan, in 1929, there was founded Azerbaijan State Scientific-Research Institute, in which ground was created Azerbaijan section of Transcaucasian branch of  Academy of Sciences of the USSR in 1932, and in 1935, there was established Azerbaijan branch of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR.

In the years of Soviet authority there was conducted cruel struggle against Islamic Religion and its servants. Although, in the first years of Soviet authority N.Narimanov was partly able to prevent the struggle of Bolsheviks, later the fought against this religion in Azerbaijan was realized in much crueler form.That is why, 20s possessed special place, since the slogan of Soviet authority about the freedom of coincience and religion was abolished in these years. In reality, it was aimed policy, which did its best to separate the nation from origin and traditions.

Azerbaijan literature and art, which passed diffucult life entered to the phase of development in socio-political sphere in 20-30s. During the search of the ways of construction of new artistic culture in Azerbaijan, the difference between rich national traditions and new ones shaped strict problems and caused to conflicts and discussions. But, these discussions were not free and democratic: bolshevic party, which applied pressure solved these problems under the mood of marksist- leninist ideas. Prominent figures of Azerbaijan art sciences did their best to preserve national heritage.

Many Azerbaijan writers – S.S.Akhundov, C. Mammedkuluzadeh, A.Hakh-verdiyev, A.Shaiq, Y.V.Chamenzeminli, N.B.Vezirov, H.Cavid, M.S.Ordubadi, A.Nazim, T.Shahbazi, B.A.Talibi and others agitated the ideas of enlightenment, humanism, progress, fought against literacy and superstitions, worked in papers and magazines, organs of enlightenment and culture. Young poets as S.Vurghun, S.Rustam, M.Mushviq, R.Rza, M.Rahim and etc. reflected the activity of workers in the struggle for development of national husbandry in the poems.

Essential obstacles for the development of culture was shaped by the trend of “proletkult”: even the construction of monuments to prominent poets of Azerbaijan, Nizami and Sabir was evaluated as betrayal to “labour work” by them.

Despite of wide state activity, N.Narimanov who was one of the first enemies of enlargement of ideas of “proletarian culture”, paid attention to the formation and development of Azerbaijan culture. He highly appreciated the monuments of world civilization, called the working staff to obtain the achievenments of other nations in the sphere of science and culture. In the written article, “Response of several men” in 1922, he found gilty the ideologists of “Proletarian culture”, showed that proletarian poets, if they were real national poets, had to write about the artistic heritage of Sabir, Vaqif and Zakir, should not reject the creature of cultural figures of previous generation. N.Narimanov mentioned that Turkish children should know the poems of not only Pushkin, but also Shekspire and Shiller, of course, only after the study of significant poets of Sabir, Vaqif, Zakir, Vidadi, who called to the struggle against unjustice and literacy in their works.

Press was also taken into account in Azerbaijan in this period, the publication of numeral party and wall papers positively influenced to enlightenment and development of the nation.

Even on May   18,   1920,   the   revolutionary   Committee   of Azerbaijan nationaliated all private institutions and organizations, concerned to art with its special decree. In the same year, there was created the state theatre on the ground of the Mailov’s theatre; in the first years all Azerbaijan, Russian and Armenian dramas and operas concentrated there. Simultaneouly, there was begun the restoration of burnt building of H.Z.Taghiyev’s theatre (it was burnt in the March massacre of 1918, by armenians); in January, 1922, after the restoration there was organized ceremonical opening of Azerbaijan State Dramatic Theatre. The premiere of the theatre was the comedy of “Haji Gara” by M.F.Akhundov. Such masters   as M.Aliyev,   M.Davudova, I.Hidayetzadeh, A.Qurbanov, Sidqi Ruhulla, Ulvi Rajab, A.M.Sharifzadeh and M.Sanani worked in this theatre.

Related with the necessity of specialized musical staff and “with the aim of getting musical education amoug the wide mass of working proletariat” there was decided to create unit musical institution-National Conservatory by National Comissariate; this institution had branches in eight working regions of Baku.

National Conservatory, which was opened by the initiative of U.Hajibeyov on July 26, 1920, especially played significant role its eastern section in the inclusion of wide mass into musical culture. Firstly, in Muslim East, there was created Azerbaijan state Conservatory by the decree of Soviet of national Comissaries on August 26, 1921.

U.Hajibeyov, M.Maqomayev and other prominent cultural figures gave great attention to deep and wide study of musical folklore. U.Hajibeyov wrote   in the   article,   called “Functions of musical enlightenment in Azerbaijan”: “Strict and right work in this direction, certainly will cause to that, Eastern music will take its real place and will become one of the factors, which provides the development of all mankind along with European music”. Bright example of this, was the written opera of “Koroghlu” (1937).

Centralization of governance by the cultural institutions partly limited free, democratic development of the process of cultural construction, even in several cases it damaged to the interests of national culture.

So, we can consider that, the 20-30s objectively became the years of mobilization of workers in the process of construction of new culture, the shape of new creative factors for the development of national culture. In these years, the struggle of working mass against cultural backwardness for new life turned into mass movement.

About Ismayil bey Zardabli

Author of t extbook for the higher educational institutions "THE HISTORY OF AZERBAIJAN, from ancient times to the present day"