Ramil Fyaritovich Belyaev,
33 Fredrikinkatu, Finland, Helsinki,
Islam Amirovich Zaripov,
Moscow Islamic College,
36 Cherepanovykh Proezd, Moscow, 125008, Russia,
Marat Abyasovich Safarov,
Institute of Economics and Management in Industry,
8 Pyatnadtsataya Parkovaya Str., Moscow, 105203, Russia,
The article provides an outline of Tatar community activities in Finland during the Soviet period and the history of contacts of Tatar religious leaders of Finland and the USSR over the period of 1920s-1980s. The article also reveals the role played by Tatar entrepreneurs in establishing the first official Muslim organization of Finland. The analysis of the archival documents proved that until 1917 the Muslim community took an active part in the Muslim activities throughout Russia providing financial support to religious and public leaders, mosques and national religious schools. In 1925, the first Islamic community (Finlandiya Islam Cemaati) was founded in Helsinki and 10 years later the Tatar cultural community (Finlandiya Turkleri Birligi) was established. Apart from arranging religious holiday celebrations and performing rites this community also hosted cultural events with theatrical performances, folk music, dances and poems reciting. The representatives of Tatar diaspora were striving to maintain contacts with their motherland despite changes in political background and provided financial support to their compatriots. In the 1930s, the contacts were broken off due to political repressions. During World War II the Tatar community provided all possible support to Tatar prisoners of war and it resulted in Tatar community reviving. Due to the thaw in political relations in the 1950s official contacts between representatives of the Muftiat of Ufa and Finnish Tatars resumed. The article gives an overview of the visits that the religious leaders representing Finland and Soviet religious communities made during the period from the 1960s through the 1980s. The authors prove that the shared history and jadid theological tradition, as well as the shared language, culture and religion formed a solid background for close relations between Finland Tatar diaspora and the USSR religious leaders of that time.
Key words: the Tatar community of Finland, Islam in the USSR, Central Muslim Spiritual Board of Russia (CMSB Russia), Spiritual Administration of the Muslims of the European part of the USSR and Siberia (SAMEUS), Rizaetdin Fakhretdin, Musa Bigiev, Khabiburrakhman Shakir, Akhmetzyan Mustafin, Abdulla Ali.