Thursday, 30 August 2007

Vagif Mustafazadeh - the Jazzman!

Our loyal reader Ilshat demands that this week be Azeri week, and he sent us some photos of the Jazzman Vagif Mustafazadeh (1940-1979):

What's the big deal, you might say. Has Ilshat some weird moustache fetish, you might ask. Well, Vagif was Azeri, after all ... and this is what he looked like when he was younger:

I dig that hair.

I bet the lady is blushing (unless she's his mum) ...

These pictures were found at the photoarchive in, where you can read more about his life and works.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Muslim Magomaev - Tu Mi Piaci

Normally not my type, but we can't have a Chirayliq blog without Muslim Magomaev, the celebrated Azeri singer who held the whole of the USSR enthralled with his dandyish charm in the 1960's and 1970's. He was a baritone operatic singer, but also interested in pop music, jazz and *Italy*, as evident in this clip. In 1973, he was awarded the title "People's Artist of the USSR" - he was only 31! Magomayev also worked as an actor, tv and radio host, as well as a composer. His grandfather, also named Muslim Magomaev, was one of the founders of Azeri classical composition. (Lots of video clips here:

Here, Muslim sings "My Azerbaijan" in Russian and Azeri. If you listen closely to the melody, it does remind a little bit of some Tatar folk and art melodies.

Monday, 13 August 2007

Farhad Mahmudov

Tatar week is over, so here is Farhad Mahmudov, an actor born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. He has worked in film, TV serials and theater.

In an interview for Dekameron he is introduced like this: "He has the gracility of a panther and eyes as black as the night ..." Indeed, he explains that his name, of Arabic origin, can be translated as "panther", or "happy", and there is also a Persian meaning for it - "carrying light". "So it's no coincidence that my nickname since childhood has been Fara (Russian for 'headlight')."

He also tells about how it happened that he got into acting. "It was in 6th grade. I skipped art class and loitered about school. Suddenly, in the foyer, a man appeared and grabbed my arm. He asked: 'From which class are you, boy?' I was frightened, and thought I was going to be taken to the police for something - and believe me, there would have been reasons for that. But the man showed me a certificate: 'I'm from Uzbekfilm, do you want to be in a movie? Come to the film studio tomorrow.' That's how I got into the film industry."

On this Russian-language site you can see more photos of him - just click the links at the bottom of the page that say "ОТРАЖЕНИЯ" ('reflections') ...
They even have a short interview in English from when he was touring in the USA.

Friday, 10 August 2007

AzaN Project

This week is Tatar week on Chirayliq!

AzaN Project is an alternative rock band from Kazan that mixes 'Western' rock music, beat, funk and electronic music with 'Eastern' elements of Tatar folk music.

The two members Azat Gilmutdinov and Nur Aliev founded the band after they had met by chance in Istanbul. They were fundamentally inspired by this city tying together the two continents Europe and Asia, and wanted to create something similar with their music project: to unite these two civilizations through music.

"Rock is a way of expressing yourself honestly and emotionally", says Nur. "We are open to experiments, and Ethno is like DNA, always present in the background." - "Modern music is in some kind of blind alley", Azat continues. "Everything that is made has been done before. We are convinced that the way out of this blind alley is through folk music, or, to be more precise, in its mixture with modern rhythms and instruments."

Here are two music videos with AzaN Project:

Find out more on their home page!
Also check out their page on

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Racial stereotypes for Soviet policemen

Click to enlarge. This was sent to us by reader Ilshat Nazipov (unfortunately, he didn't include any nice photos of himself ... see his homepage).

It's a diagram of how males of different races in the Soviet Union supposedly look, used by Soviet police to identify nationalities.

It's funny how the 'Tatar' looks just like Lenin, though Tatars weren't such a prominent part of his very mixed ancestry ("Russian, Kalmyk, Jewish, German and Swedish, and possibly others", according to biographer Dmitry Volkogonov.) It's strange that the 'Georgian' doesn't look exactly like Stalin (probably because this was post-thaw, when the Soviet regime had distanced itself from Stalin). I wonder if it's a pure coincidence that the 'Tatar', the 'Jew' and the 'Gypsy' are next to each other. And we suspect that when the artist got to the 'Tajik' and the 'Turkmen', it was already close to deadline or the end of his workday, so he just drew something random - that's why they look a bit more imaginative than the others.

Ainur can't get over how cute the 'Jew' is.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007


It seems we just can't get enough of Tatars lately. This is football player İlhan Mansız, often labelled "the Turkish Beckham". He was born in Kempten, Bavaria, Germany, and earned international recognition at İstanbul's Beşiktaş J.K., and was later acquired by the Vissel Kobe football club in Japan. Wikipedia writes:

"Being of Tatar origin, he gained many Japanese female fans because of his looks, which was an important factor in his transfer to Vissel Kobe."

In other words, if he wasn't of (Crimean) Tatar origin, he wouldn't be this hot. Well, what can we do but agree.

İlhan is retired today, because of repeated knee injuries. Had he not injured his knee, he would have played with Hertha Berlin. And made me a big fan of this local club of mine.

According to, he has "exciting plans" for the future:

"The first operation I had went wrong - because of that operation I had three more," said İlhan. "I had a car crash when I was recuperating in Germany which harmed my knee again. I tried so hard in the United States and Germany to return to the pitch but FC Bayern München doctor Hans Wohlfahrt advised me to stop." Asked about his plans for the future, he replied: "I will go to Italy or Germany to learn fashion design and I may do something in lingerie."

More lovely photos can be found on this Turkish fansite, as well as this Korean fanpage. Also check out this İlhan Mansız appreciation thread ...
From you can buy your very own İlhan photobook!

Oh, he looks so good in short hair. :3

Soviet Soldiers of WW2

To balance the Tatars in the Finnish army from previous posts, here are some war heroes of the USSR, found by googling "батыр" - a common name in Central Asia, but also a title of honour, as it means "hero".

Above, Baltabek Dzhetpysbaev, a Kazakh "Hero of the Soviet Union". Found on Kazahstanskaya Pravda. Tinet can probably help me to glean his heroic deeds from the article.

Amet-Han Sultan, air ace of the USSR, Crimean Tatar. Wikipedia tells us that he
received the title of Hero of the Soviet Union twice. During World War II, he participated in 150 air combats with 30 enemy planes downed individually and 19 in group. After World War II, he became a test pilot. He met his unfortunate demise in a plane crash on February 1, 1971. During his lifetime, he was known to have personally tested over 100 planes.
His father was reputedly a Lak (an ethnic group of Daghestan). Photo from - more photos at, which also has some details about how he fared during Stalin's persecutions of Crimean Tatars.

Glamour Gorby

Mikhail Gorbachev, whose button-eyed charms have been previously featured on this blog, is one of the new faces of Louis Vuitton.

"The former Soviet leader is to appear in an ad campaign for the French luxury label, along with Steffi Graf and her husband, Andre Agassi, and Catherine Deneuve, said a statement Thursday from Vuitton, a division of the LVMH group, Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA.


Vuitton said it was making donations to former Vice President Al Gore's The Climate Project to fight global warming and Green Cross International, founded by Gorbachev to promote sustained development. The company didn't disclose the amount of the donations."


It seems only Gorby's picture was included in the press release. We've searched in vain for Deneuve, Graf and Agassi.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Tatar Soldier in the Finnish Army, WW2

On August 28, 1941, private Taufik Fathullah was mortally wounded at Kiestinki. He died at a field hospital three days later. He was 23 years old.

In the veteran book published by Suomen Islam-seurakunta, an article is devoted to his memory. Taufik had been born in Suksu at the Volga, one of the native villages which the Mishär Tatar immigrants left for Finland. Taufik was reputedly well liked among his friends, well-behaved, decisive and active in Tatar cultural activities. He had to break off his studies for the national student exam when the Winter War broke out in 1939.

Taufik served as a machine gunner at infantry regiment 53, which belonged to the Finnish III. Corps under Germany's Armeeoberkommando Norwegen during the Continuation War. The goal of their operation was to cut off the railroad to Murmansk. Taufik's fate was to be one of the many fallen during the fierce battles between regiment 53 and the Red Army at the village of Kiestinki in Viena Karelia. The Finnish forces were surrounded by the Russians in a motti, that is, the same tactic of encircling the enemy that the Finns themselves were famous for. 900 Finns were killed or lost.

Kiestinki is today Kestenga in the Republic of Karelia, Russian Federation.

A Tatar Soldier in the Finnish Army, WW2

On March 5, 1940, infantry corporal Hasan Abdrahim was wounded in his arm, shoulder and neck in battle against the Red Army at Säkkijärvi, Niemenlautta. He died later the same day. He had been presented a Freedom Medal (Vapaudenmitali) 2nd class and his family received a posthumous Freedom Cross (Vapaudenristi) 4th class.

Today, Säkkijärvi is Kondratyevo in Oblast Leningrad.

Finnish Tatars in WW2

Photo taken in Tampere in the early 1940's.
From the book "Suomen Islam-seurakunnan veteraaniteos", Helsinki 2006