National Cultures Centre, Krasnodar

Krasnoarmeiskaya str. 53,
350000 Krasnodar, Russia
Tel.: 8612.524366
Fax: 8612.576834;
Contact: Alexey L. Eryomin, Director

"Our little United Nations" -- as it is often called by its members, was formed in June 1992, when the wave of armed ethnic conflicts swept over Caucasia and reached the boundaries of the Kuban region. Eight ethnic communities, or "nationalities" as they are called in Russian, decided to organize the National Cultures Centre in Krasnodar, the capital of Kuban. Their goal was the preservation and mutual enrichment of the many cultures living side by side in the region and the peaceful progress of its varied peoples.

Center Members

Russian Community;
Society Of The Russian Culture;
Adyg Nationality Association "Adyge-Hasse";
Allkuban Cossack Forces, Ekatherinodar Department;
Regional Public Nationality Association Of Adyg Women "Ni-Hasse";
Krasnodar Association Of Armenian Culture And Charity Named After M.Mashtots;
Association Of Ukrainian Culture Of The Kuban Region;
Regional Centre Of Allrussian German Association ''Renascence'';
Kuban Cossack Troop;
Regional Assyrian Association ''Hayadta";
Regional Ossetian Association Of Culture And Charity ''Alan'';
Regional Kurdish Association Of Culture Named After Ahmed Hani;
Regional Association Of Jewish Culture;
Krasnodar Greek Association;
Co-Ordinating Council Of Armenian Associations Of The Region;
Regional Culturality Centre Of The Peoples Of Daghestan "Friendship'';
Regional Korean Association;
Polish Nationality Centre "Ednost'';
Youth Association Of The Development Of Ethnic Cultures;
Union Of Cossack Women Of Kuban;

Centre Initiatives:

Peace and human rights:

- November 1992, at the Centre`s initiative a "Declaration for the Protection of Public Peace and Inter-ethnic Accord" was signed by leaders of the region's various nationality organizations who had participated in negotiations to resolve strained intercultural relations resulting from unsettled living conditions, crime, political instability and migration. Valuable experience was gained in constructively solving problems between and among groups in the region, including "third-party" interventions.

- April 1994, the Centre formed formed a Board of Representatives of Nationalities, under the aegis of the City Council, with a view to coordinating joint efforts to stabilize public, socio-economic and political cnditions in the Kuban region with the organs of local government,.

- May 1994, the Centre held a conference "National comunities against violence" to propagate methods of nonviolence and to discuss reports of genocide of the Armenians, Jews, victims of the Caucasian and Second World Wars.

- December 1994, in connection with the armed conflict in Chechnya, the chairmen of the nationality associations put forward a "Statement of Twenty" in which they called on all sides to stop the bloodshed and offered the Centre as a headquarters for negotiations. The Centre organized a "Fund for the Victims of Chechnya" . Member organizations offered assistance to refugee families, collected funds, distributed food, organized concerts and round-the- clock staffing by women-medics, distributed warm clothing for refugees, constructed temporary housing in Krasnodar for the parents of wounded soldiers and compiled and transmitted information throughout Russia concerning the health and whereabouts of more than 5000 soldiers stationed in Chechnya.

- at December 1994, conference "Activities of Nationality Organizations and the Development of Culture: Experience and Perspectives", the Centre declared an essay contest on the topic of " The Practice of Human Rights in the Krasnodar Region" which found a ready response among the local population.

Language, culture and religion:

Although English is used during some meetings and in talks with foreign guests, Russian is still the regional lingua franca and is used by all the associations not only for spoken communication but also for their newsletters, such as "The Voice of Circassia", "Mashtots", "Pontos" and "Kurdish News", "Cossack News" and "The German Courier".

To revive cultures through the promotion of language mastery the Centre has organized courses in the Adyg, Armenian, Assyrian, German, Greek, Hebrew and Korean languages. In addition, an English club and intensive courses in English, Arabic, Italian, Chinese, French and Japanese are also offered through the Peoples' Cultural University, formed under the aegis of the Centre.

New Year lasts the whole year long at the Centre! In addition to the common Gregorian New Year celebrated by all, the Centre hosts the Korean New Year Feast on January 31st, the Kurdish New Year Festival on March 21st, Assyrian on April 1st, Armenian on 11 August and the Jewish New Year in September-October. Christmas and Easter, as well as other religious holy days, Independence Days and the special anniversaries of prominent national figures are observed by particular communities, and all may freely participate. And when the entire community celebrates International Women`s Day, the Centre becomes a kaleidoscope of brilliantly coloured, lavishly decorated national costumes and fragrant with the aroma of traditional culinary delights.

With its multi-ethnic population, Krasnodar hosts a greater diversity of religions and denominations than many other cities in the former USSR and is witnessing the gradual restoration of the many churches (Russian Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, Lutheran and Catholic), Jewish synagogues and Muslim mosques which earlier graced the city. Various religious communities, Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Baha'i, have hosted gatherings and conferences, some of which were attended by students from Europe and North America.

Youth and education:

A number of youth organizations operate out of the Centre, among them the Youth Association for the Development of the National Cultures of Kuban, the Association of Armenian Youth and the Korean Youth Association.

Over five hundred students are currently studying not only language, but also music, fine and applied art, law, history and philosophy at the Peoples` Cultural University mentioned above.

Young people in the Kuban region responded eagerly to a writing contest sponsored by the Centre in conjunction with the United Nations Association, submitting essays to the Secretary General on the topics: "The U.N.`s Top Priority: Sustainable Development for the Benefit of Humanity".

International ties:

The Centre for National Cultures maintains ties with its two "twin" cities of Karlsruhe in Germany and Ferrara in Italy and has hosted official receptions for delegations from these cities, as well as those from Greece, South Korea, Israel and Armenia on the occasion of their visits to the city.

Representatives of the Centre participated in conferences of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (in Warsaw), UNESCO clubs (Maikop) and the youth conference "Peace-Building in Caucasus" (Amsterdam).

Centre keeps contacts with the UN, UNESCO, WHO and with other international organizations such as the Fund for Survival and Development of Humanity, the Red Cross, International Alert and others.

Caucasian Bridge:

In June 1994, the leaders of the member associations adopted a program for the development and mutual enrichment of the ethnic cultures of the South of Russia. The objective of the project is to create a bridge between the cultures of East and West, Europe and Asia, Christianity and Islam. Envisioned as parts of this project are:

The Centre looks forward in the future to finding partners in southern Russia and the Caucasus, and perhaps in other regions, for the promotion of healthy growth and the strengthening of the basis of cultural uniqueness based on common human values.

"There is a place around the hearth of reason for all peoples". The members of the Centre believe deeply in this and call upon all people of good will to unite for the triumph of common sense, peace and the progress of civilization.

Alexey L. Eryomin
Director Of The National Cultures Centre, M.D.

The NIS Third Sector Organization section is based on information found in the print edition of "The Post-Soviet Handbook." For more information on the Handbook and instructions on how to order, see our Post Soviet Handbook Information page.

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Last updated: October 4, 1996