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Opinion / Editorial

The 400-year-old alphabet of Elbasan is discovered, researcher and ethnographer Thanas Meksi publishes the facts

The 400-year-old alphabet of Elbasan is discovered, researcher and ethnographer

Aleksandër Novik titled his speech at the 34th Prishtina International Seminar on Albanian Language, Literature and Culture "Albanians in the Russian Empire in the 18th-19th centuries: new data in the archaeological, historical and ethnographic field ". Archaeologists have found artifacts with inscriptions in the 17th-century Elbasan alphabet in the Ukrainian village of Margaritovo. It is not only this exclusive news that the Ukrainian researcher Aleksandër Novik has brought to the 34th Prishtina International Seminar on Albanian Language, Literature and Culture, but also the fact that a large "unfortunately unknown" Albanian diaspora is embedded in the former Russian Empire. Finding artifacts of the Elbasan alphabet from the 17th century in the former Russian Empire is not a little surprising, because the first discoverer of this alphabet JG von Hahn said that "the Elbasan alphabet was not only used in Elbasan and Berat, but also to merchants in exile". While the fact that this alphabet was also used by thousands of Albanians who lived in the territories of the Russian Empire, was unknown. The 17th century Elbasan alphabet is a special alphabet with 54 letters. How did the emigration of Albanians to Russia happen after the 17th century, what was the reason for this displacement?! Through this interesting study by Aleksander Novik, unknown parts of Albanian history and culture come to light. This is how he briefly explains the existence of the unknown Albanian diaspora in the former Russian Empire, in the statement he will read today at the seminar in Pristina. "The issue of the study of the Albanian diaspora in Russia is very important and is related to the most diverse historical, economic, social, political, etc. aspects," he writes, while arguing that: "During the 20th century, they were researched in rather high level of the country - the Albanian-speaking settlements in the south of Ukraine (in the region of Odesa and Zaporozhye) - the period of the establishment of the first Karakurt colony belongs to the beginning of the 19th century (more precisely, 1811). the arrival of Albanians in Russian military service is much earlier and belongs to the second half of the 18th century. We can find a lot of data in state and provincial archives regarding the acceptance of Albanian soldiers into service of the Russian tsars during the 18th and 19th centuries. Unfortunately, the history of the arrival of a large number of Albanians in the territory of the Russian Empire is almost unknown, not only to Russian and Albanian society, but also to scientists and specialists in various fields. of humanitarian disciplines." Historically, Novik explains the migration of Albanians as follows: "In 1768, Turkey, with the support of France and Austria, begins the war against Russia. Under these conditions, in 1769, the Russian empress Catherine II sends her emissaries to the Peloponnese of Greece, to Montenegro ,Albania and the principalities of the Danube in order to establish contacts between the Christian population of these lands and the Russian state. From that time, Albanian soldiers who were considered good fighters against the Ottoman army began to serve in the Russian army. Their quantity increased significantly after the peace agreement of 1774 signed in Kyçyk-Kajnarxhi with the conditions of the Russian government. In these decades, the families of Albanian and Greek soldiers began to come to the Russian territory, which in the documents of the era were fixed by the officials with the common name Arnaut (without dividing by ethnicity). At this time the Balkan colonists were established, not only neighborhoods and villages in the cities of southern Russia, but also villages, settlements, etc. Thus, in the Rostov-on-Don region (Azov district) (according to the new administrative system) at the end of the 18th century, the village of Margaritovo was founded, whose name is closely associated with Margarit Blazon, an officer of the rank of high, with origins from Albanian lands. Our days in the village of Margaritovo, archaeologists (Dmitrij Zenjuk, etc.) discovered artifacts with inscriptions in the Elbasan alphabet (the system of letters that spread in Central Albania in the 17th century). Albanian is not spoken in this area of ??the Sea of ??Azov, but the population has preserved memories of the Arnauts who are the founders of this village and the surrounding settlements. In this territory, our expedition organized by the State University of St. Petersburg in 2015 has collected many materials, narratives, etc., related to the presence of Albanians in the XVIII-XIX centuries.but the population has kept memories of the Arnauts who are the founders of this village and surrounding settlements. In this territory, our expedition organized by the State University of St. Petersburg in 2015 has collected many materials, narratives, etc., related to the presence of Albanians in the XVIII-XIX centuries.but the population has kept memories of the Arnauts who are the founders of this village and surrounding settlements. In this territory, our expedition organized by the State University of St. Petersburg in 2015 has collected many materials, narratives, etc., related to the presence of Albanians in the XVIII-XIX centuries.