The first monument to Tukay in Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic
For the first time, the issue of building a monument to the great poet was raised several days after his death. Then, in 1913, “Yoldyz” newspaper that used to be published in Kazan at that time published a letter from a subscriber from Bukhara with a suggestion to erect a monument to Gabdulla Tukay in the center of Kazan. Publishers of the poet’s works promised to finance the monument. However, as I. Rami wrote later in “Sovet Edebiyaty” magazine, which is “Kazan Utlary” now, in the issue of May 1936, the Sharaf brothers refused to share their copyright for publishing the works with other publishers and refused to donate the money. This matter was raised by a lawyer Sh. Muhammedyarov five years later to the members of “Tashkyn” cultural association, and then, during the preparation for the events dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the poet’s death in 1933, all in vain.
It was as late as April 14, 1938, 25 years after Tukay’s death, when the Presidium of the Tatar Regional Executive Committee issued a decree to build the monument in the memory of the Tatar national poet in 1943. The plans were interfered with the mournful events of the Great Patriotic War.
In October 1949, an article was published in the press stating that a prominent sculptor Sadri Akhun designed the monument. There was a promise to erect it in the center of Kazan. However, to a great surprise of Tatar intellectuals, in spite of the promise, the monument was presented to the public not in Kazan. Seven more years later, on September 23, 1956, the monument was inaugurated in Tukay’s native village of Kushlavych. The statue was authored by a Russian sculptor I.A. Novoselov. The event was described in November 1956 in the article called “Frontispiece” in “Sovet Edebiyaty” magazine that had written of the preparatory works to build the monument back in 1946.
The first monument to Tukay in Kazan
In its November issue for the year 1949, “Sovet Edebiyaty” magazine wrote that preparation was underway to place a monument to Gabdulla Tukay in Kazan. However, the inauguration of the statue only took place in 1958, 45 (!) years after the poet’s death. The author of the monument was a Tatar sculptor Sadri Akhun. On August 9, 1958, a solemn ceremony took place at Kuibyshev Square, where the Chairman of the Cabineet of Ministrers of the Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, Said Sharafiev, opened the monument before the Communist Party activists, representatives of the writers’, artists’, journalists’, and composers’ unions. Opening speeches were delivered by the head of the Writer’s Union of Tataria, Afzal Shamov, the Chairman of the City Executive Committee of Kazan, Pavel Tunakov, the Principal of the Kazan University, Mikhail Nuzhin, and a representative of the working people of “Spartak” footwear factory. The event was described by Michael Friederich in his book “Gabdulla Tukay as a subject of the ideological struggle”.
In the late 1993, Kuibyshev Square was renamed to bear the name of Gabdulla Tukay.