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A Webinar on
Ukraine’s Early Harbinger of Multiculturalism:
Sesquicentenary of Ahatanhel Krymsky

Monday, January 25, 2021
Organised By MUSLIM Institute, Embassy of Ukraine, Islamabad and Institute of Oriental Studies by A. Krymsky, Academy of Sciences, Ukraine
MUSLIM Institute in collaboration with the Embassy of Ukraine, Islamabad and Institute of Oriental Studies by A. Krymsky, Academy of Sciences, Ukraine organized a Webinar titled “Ukraine’s Early Harbinger of Multiculturalism: Sesquicentenary of Ahatanhel Krymsky.” Researchers, students, academics, representatives of think tanks, journalists, and people from different walks of life participated in the webinar.
Honourable Speakers and Guests
Following Hounorable Speakers and Guests addressed the webinar.
H.E. Markian Chuchuk
Ambassador of Ukraine to Pakistan
Opening Remarks
Sahibzada Sultan Ahmed Ali
Chairman MUSLIM Institute
Concluding Remarks
Maj. Gen (R) Zahid Mubashir Sheikh
Former Ambassador of Pakistan to Ukraine
Guest of Honour
Dr. Hab. Alexander Bhogomolove
Director, Institute of Oriental Studies, National Academy of Sciences, Ukraine
Guest Remarks
Dr. Hab. Olena Bordilovska
Second Secretary on Culture and Humanitarian Issues, Embassy of Ukraine in Pakistan
Welcoming Remarks
Dr. Bagdagul Mussa
Head of the Department of Asian Languages, Jordan University, Jordan
Guest Remarks
Prof. Dr. Hakan Kirimli
Department of International Relations, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey
Guest Remarks
Dr. Olena Romanova
Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Oriental Studies, National Academy of Sciences, Ukraine
Guest Remarks
Dr. Yulia Fil
Research Fellow, Institute of Oriental Studies, National Academy of Sciences, Ukraine
Guest Remarks
Remarks by Speakers
Summary of the views shared by the Speakers is as following:
Ahatanhel Yukhymovych Krymsky was born one hundred and fifty years ago on the 15th of January 1871 and died on 25th January 1942. He was a prolific Ukrainian scholar and observer with a remarkable spectrum of history and linguistics. He made valuable contributions to the foundation of modern Ukrainian culture. He was brought up in a mixed family of Crimean Tatar as reflected in his last name Krymsky. He dedicated his life to open a new horizon for his compatriots. He spoke 56 to 60 languages. As Krymsky records in a memoir that, as a child, he could speak German, French, Polish and English fluently and as a young man, he was already fluent in Greek, Turkish, Italian and Sanskrit. Seventy years old Krymsky confessed to his friends that he spoke several dozens of languages and then he began to study Abyssinian, Ethiopian and Badalonian languages. From these words, we understand that Krymsky, even in his declining years, didn’t lose his interest in learning languages. He was an extremely intelligent person and he was known as one of the most prominent researchers of oriental knowledge. He had a wide range of scientific interests; he is also known as a polyglot.
Krymsky played the role of a bridge builder between civilizations and cultures especially between the native Ukrainian and the people of East like Arabs, Turks, Persians and people of Indo-Pak subcontinent. Krymsky determined his own destiny and no doubt he is a great example of multiculturalism and interfaith harmony from Ukraine. Importantly, Krymsky's appetite for other cultures didn't compromise his Ukrainian identity. On the contrary, his multicultural experiences shaped and enriched his perspective of Ukrainian culture and he made his contributions to it. Today, Ukraine is a multi-cultural state and is very much important for European politics. The land of Ukraine was inhabited by Christian as well as Islamic civilization.

Historically and culturally, the people and land of Ukraine are more closely aligned with the people of Pakistan and especially to the Muslim culture. Among Ukrainian people and Crimean Tatars, there is a significant influence of Turkish culture and language and also the influence of Arabic and Persian language. Krymsky contributed to both his identities as Crimean Tatars by the origin and as a Ukrainian due to geography.
Krumsky founded and developed a series of Institutions of Oriental Studies in Ukraine. The main institution was the Chair (of Department) of the Oriental Languages, Literatures and Cultures of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences (1918-1934), led by A. Krymsky. At the beginning of 1930, the Chair provided academic researchers a variety of oriental disciplines: Arabic and Iranian Studies, Indian Studies, Turkology, Studies of the Central Asia Soviet Republics, and Soviet Caucasus region, as well as the study of the eastern peoples at the territory of Ukraine. The Chair made investigations in the archives, libraries, museums of Ukraine for searching the oriental manuscripts, documents and old books with the perspective of their cataloging, studying and publication.
Krymsky was the most remarkable figure of Academia. The number of articles published by him is 1275. He also wrote fiction and poetry in oriental languages, most of which was dedicated to the cultures of Muslim Iranian and Turkish, bringing them closer to rather contemporary Ukraine of his time. He also wrote on history and literature of these languages. He wrote the first history of Turkey in the Ukrainian language. In 1890s, he traveled to Ottoman Empire and visited Syria and Lebanon to study Arabic and Persian. He had written the history of Arabic literature. He had worked on Northern Arabic Literature. He wrote about the literature of Ethiopians, Turkish, Persian, Kazaks and others. Unfortunately, most of his writings are unpublished.
Krysmky published several historical and cultural articles in the "Encyclopedic Dictionary" and the "New Encyclopedic Dictionary" of Brockhaus and Efron and the Granat Encyclopedic Dictionary. These articles include Kadin, Karagöz, Kilij Arslan I, Kilij Arslan II, Mehmed I, Namık Kemal Bey, "Necati" (1897), "Hoca Sadeddin Efendi, Seljuqs and Tughril Bey. He wrote more than two hundred articles for the Russian encyclopedia, of which about seventy were devoted to Turkish studies. Institute of Oriental Study by Krymsky published his Turkology studies in 5 volumes from 2007 to 2010 and the second and third volumes were devoted to Turkish Studies. There is also a vast collection of Lebanese colloquial proverbs that Krymsky had compiled in the late 1890s.
Krymsky’s work in Turkology is of great significance. The study of Turkology had always been a subject of Russian and European orientalists because Turkish political and cultural heritage played a very important role in the history and culture of Russia, Ukraine and other modern Turkish states. We can classify Krymsky’s Turkology studies as follows:
  • Encyclopedia articles
  • Textbooks and Course Materials
  • Work on history of Turkey or Ottoman Empire
  • Turkish people and their language
  • Work on Ukrainian Tatars
  • General Turkology studies like history of Khazars, history and culture of Azerbaijan
  • Translations
Among the efforts of Krymsky, we should also note his contribution towards the study of Tatars. He maintained a relationship with Ismail and other scholars like Osman Khanzaday, Abdullah Latifzaday and Yaqub Kemai. He published his works on Tatars in the history of Crimea in five parts. Krymsky wrote his Turkology studies in both Russian and Ukrainian languages and some of his works were written in the Ukrainian language.
A. Krymsky also worked on Islamic studies and Sufi literature. He wrote in Russian primary textbook history of Islam and delivered lectures on the Holy Quran. Since he had an excellent command on the classical Arabic language, he tried to comprehend the Holy Quran deeply. Publications of A.Y. Krymsky include literary translations of the famous poetic works from Turkish, Persian and Arab literature into Ukrainian language. He also translated literary works of Hafiz Sherazi and Omar Khayyam. He introduced Sufi teachings and the works of Mevlana Rūmī to Ukrainian and Russian societies. According to A. Krymsky, "Mevlana Rūmī (1207–1263) was the greatest mystical (Sufi) poet of Persia and the entire Muslim world”. He also translated the poetry of some European poets.
Krymsky will never be forgotten. He will be remembered as a beacon and an inspiration for modern Ukraine. By embracing the diversity of different cultures and languages, we can lay the foundation of multiculturalism, peace and harmony. Krymsky’s work nurtured fruitful diversity of cultures. Krymsky’s scholarly contributions will be remembered as a harbinger of peace, love and co-existence. Bilateral ties between Pakistan and Ukraine carry immense scope. Moreover, the History of Muslims in Ukraine made it more conducive for both nations to strengthen mutual relationship and enhance academic cooperation in the current era.
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