Address of Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov on the occasion of the 190th anniversary of the birth of the great Russian writer Leo Tolstoy

9 September 2018, Sunday

Dear Tatarstan citizens!

Today, we celebrate one hundred and ninety years from the birth of the Russian and world literature classic - the great writer, philosopher and educator Leo Tolstoy whose life and work were closely connected with Kazan.

For many centuries, the capital of Tatarstan has been one of the civilization centers of interaction among various national cultures and traditional religions, creating unique conditions for the formation of outstanding, unconventional individuals. Tolstoy, whose ancestral roots have closely entered the local soil, can certainly be considered the brightest representative of this sizeable glorious galaxy.

Here, in Sviyazhsk, his great-grandfather Count Andrey Tolstoy was a governor, and the grandfather of the author of “War and Peace” novel, Count Ilya Tolstoy was the Kazan civil governor. Kazan is well-known for places associated with the great classic. The memory of him is cherished by the Kazan University, an old manor house, where the Tolstoy Museum was established, many houses, streets and squares.

Each of us begins to get acquainted with the works of Tolstoy at the earliest age - from stories for children and literature textbooks, carrying love for heroes of his books in their hearts throughout their lives. They contain an inexhaustible humanistic potential, based on love and respect for man, regardless of their social status, nationality or religion.

It is known that Tolstoy always treated Islam and the Tatar people with particular warmth, which was reflected in his literary and journalistic heritage. He paid special attention to the spiritual and physical health of his fellow citizens, contributing to the development of teetotallers’ movement in Kazan.

Due to the significant influence of the great Russian classic on domestic and world literature, to his outstanding contribution to our multinational culture and linguistics, as well as in connection with close ties of the Tolstoy family with Kazan, this year is declared the Year of Leo Tolstoy in Tatarstan. Holding various festivals and conferences, exhibitions and competitions, publishing books and making films, visiting memorable places and many other things demonstrate a great public interest in the heritage of the thinker.

It is gratifying that today each of us can feel personal engagement with the jubilee of his famous compatriot.

Let the literary genius of Tolstoy continue to serve us as a standard of purity and expressiveness of the language, and a high aesthetic and moral guide!

Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov.

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