can someone tell me about the Pontian Greek minority of Kazakhstan?

1 Answer

  • connie
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The Greeks of Kazakhstan are mainly the descendants of Pontic Greek refugees who migrated there after the fall of the Empire of Trebizond in the 15th century. Later waves of emigration followed the Greek Genocide and the stalinist purges of the Black Sea Greek communities. Nowadays there are between 10 and 12 thousand ethnic Greeks living in Kazakhstan in 17 communities, which together with the Kyrgyzstan community make up the FILIA (friendship in Greek) Federation of Greek Communities of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. The Federation prints a small newspaper, organizes dance events, and offers Greek language and dance classes. At the moment in Kazakhstan there are 6 ethnic Greek teachers funded by the General Secretariat of Greeks Abroad. Furthermore, Greek is taught by two teachers seconded from Greece.

    The fall of Constantinople (1453 CE) the fall of Trebizond (1461 CE) mark one of the great turning points in Greek history. Immediately after the capture of Trebizond by the Ottomans, many inhabitants of the rich coastal towns and the villages fled. Most of them escaped into the remote mountain regions of Pontus where in protective isolation they were free to continue their cultural, religious and linguistic tradition. Some of the refugees settled in central Russia, others on the coasts of southern Russia, in Georgia, Armenia and Kazakhstan, where they founded new Greek cities. These thriving cultural centres were able to welcome persecuted Greeks in later years. This resulted in the simultaneous existence of a second, ever-growing Pontian-Greek civilisation (particularly in Russia), which throughout the whole period of the Ottoman Empire received refugees. These refugees were fleeing the 1914-18 persecution of Pontians by the reigning Ottoman regime. Pontians living in the territory of the former Soviet Union are still estimated to be half a million people who stick to their Pontian-Greek traditions. The Pontians managed, like all persecuted peoples, to stick together and through hard work they established themselves in their new adopted homes. They preserved their language, tradition, songs and dances, their culture.

    Many of the Northern Pontic speakers were resettled during Stalinist rule to Kazakhstan; following the collapse of the Soviet Union.


    26 June, 2002

    President Kostis Stephanopoulos arrived here on Tuesday, beginning a three-day official visit at the invitation of Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who had visited Athens last July.

    Kazakhstan is home to some 13.000 Greek expatriates and plays an important role in Eurasia, as diplomatic sources stressed, justifying the president's visit.

    Speaking to them, Stephanopoulos stressed the importance of every part of Hellenism and made special mention of the Pontian Greeks (originally from the Black Sea region), who make up the majority of Kazakhstan's Greek expatriate community, which, as he said, suffered exile and mass deportation by the Stalinist regime.

    He noted that many Pontian Greeks came to Greece from the former Soviet Union, who are still facing problems of adjustment to Greek society and stressed the efforts of the Greek state to ameliorate the problems.

    He called on them to come to Greece if they so wish, but stressed that nothing is secure as Greece has high unemployment.

    Stephanopoulos called the Pontian Greeks one of the most pure parts of Hellenism, which repatriated after the genocide of the 1920 in Turkey. He underlined that the Greek Parliament recognized the genocide of the Pontian Greeks by the Neo-Turks and a day in May was set as a remembrance day of that sad day in the history of Hellenism.

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