Akhmet Baitursynov

Badrisafa Baitursynova 

Badrisafa Baitursynova survived all difficulties, and hardships befell them together with leading persons of first half of XX century. Her name wasn’t in the list of Alashorda activists. But she played a big role in the fate of the outstanding scientist and politician, one of the leaders of the “Alash” movement Akhmet Baitursynov and was the constant partner of his entire life.

Legends about their pure beautiful love, which Akhmet and Badrisafa managed to carry through their entire lives, full of hardships and suffering, are passed from mouth to mouth among the people. Badrisafa Mukhamedsadykkyzy was able to become a devoted wife of Akhmet; she was famous for her well-coordinated character, hospitality and wisdom. For a long time, little was known about the wife of Akhmet Baitursynov.

Alexandra was born in 1878 in the Chelyabinsk region. Before marriage, Akhmet Baitursynov’s wife was named Alexandra Ivanovna. Alexandra’s father worked as a bus driver in the Amankaragai forestry. After graduating from the seminary in 1895, the young teacher Akhmet Baitursynov was sent to a new school in the village of Auliekol. Teaching activity in the Kostanai district became fateful for Baitursynov. Here he settled in the apartment of Alexandra’s parents, where he met the beautiful Alexandra. During the period of their acquaintance, Alexandra Ivanovna worked as a teacher in a Russian-Kazakh school in the village of Auliekol, which is one hundred kilometers from Kostanai. The young people fell in love and soon decided to get married.

In 1896, the young people got married according to Muslim custom in the mosque in Troitsk. After the wedding ceremony, the famous clergyman Zeynollaishan recorded Alexandra as a Tatar woman named Badrisafa Mukhamedsadykkyzy Baitursynova. Akhmet left his wife in the mosque for 2-3 months to study Muslim customs and traditions. And until the end of her days, she did not deviate from the accepted faith. From that time on, Alexandra Ivanovna began to profess Islam.

Akhmet’s nephew Samyrat remembers how Akhmet and Badrisafa got married: “I asked Uncle Akhmet how he married Aunt Padres. Akhmet briefly answered my question: “I have experienced a lot from the tsarist power; there was no one to support me, help me. That’s when your aunt Padres helped me. When we went to the Tsar’s state to register, we were not allowed to marry, referring to the fact that she is a different nation. Then Alexandra took the Bashkir maiden name Padrisa”. Aunt Padres was of medium height, blue-eyed, fair-haired, and had a delicate voice. When she spoke Kazakh, her accent was similar to the Bashkir, Tatar languages. She spoke with us in Kazakh.

After a year the wedding, the newlyweds lived in Kostanai. Then the young family moved to Omsk, and later to Karkaralinsk, where the Baitursynovs lived until 1909 (according to other sources until 1907). The couple did not have their own children, but they raised 3 adopted children.

Few approved of the relationship of this marriage. However, as time has shown, it was true love. In Kostanai and Torgai, the old people respected Baitursynov’s wife for her spiritual generosity. She managed to maintain her best qualities, despite the hardships: Akhmet was arrested more; he went through prisons and exile. And Badrisafa, meanwhile, has grown from a modest girl into a person with a strong will and character.

Badrisafa was wonderful daughter-in-law. People name her “white-faced daughter-in-law”.

Akhmet and Badrisafa complemented each other: wise, intelligent, strong-willed Akhmet and polite, surprisingly feminine Badrisafa with no less strong character. People remember their names no dividing each other.

According to the words of her adopted daughter Sholpan, Badrisafa was beautiful, good-natured, smiling woman. She has known Kazakh language well; she sewed, stitched and dressed neatly. When she went out with her husband to aul (village), she dressed up long ruffled dress and jerkin. Her white headscarf was unchanging, which tied in Tatar style. She addressed her husband with respect “Torem” (“My Lord”). Of course, Akhmet played the leading role in the family. But Badrisafa was not limited to the role of a modest housewife. She took an active part in all the affairs of her husband. Thanks to her hospitality, the Baitursynovs’ house became a gathering place for the future leaders of the Alash party.

Badrisafa could not stay aside from political life of her husband. In 1909 when Akhmet was convoyed after first arrest to Semipalatinsk prison, Badrisafa sent wrathful petition to the Steppe governor, in which she expressed a deep outrage to the authorities’ decision and asked to give her husband on bail.

When Akhmet got to the Solovetsky islands in Arkhangelsk region, Badrisafa with her adopted daughter Sholpan were exiled in Siberia, in Tomsk region. In 1934 on the request E.Peshkova – wife of writer Maksim Gorkyi, who worked in committee of Red Cross Akhmet Baitursynov released. At the same time he with his family (already with three adopted children) returned to Alma-Ata and lived in home, which later became his House-museum.

The liberty was not long: it was approaching the worst years of repression. Shooting of Akhmet Baitursynov did not pass without a trace and also for his wife – she had to change place of residence, she had to lurk. According to the words of contemporary of Baitursynovs’ Nurzipa Amirova, in 1937 Badrisafa was in Kostanai. At the second time in our city she was already met in the years of The Great Patriotic War. Alexandra Ivanovna looked like much elder than her ages, nothing was left from her beauty, and her heath was undermined.

What happened with wife after the Baitursynov’s execution is not known for certain. There are two versions: she died, forgotten by everyone, either in a nursing home, in a hospital, or she ended her days in the village of Kaskat of Mendykara region, where she was escorted there by a certain Kassym Togyzakov who personally knew Akhmet Baitursynov. The second version is more likely. Since during investigation historian didn’t find her traces of stay in the nursing home. Also there is information that Kassym Togyzakov warned family, in which Badrisafa settled down, that she is a wife of a famous person but asked to say to nobody about it. After her death, Alexandra was buried outside the territory of cemetery. Because, it was impossible to bury Russian in ancestral cemetery. After for some time melt water washed away the grave and bared her skeleton. Then locals reburied her.

From the end 90th, when academician Zulkarnai Aldamzhar attracted society’s attention to the person of Akhmet Baitursynov, information about him searches is in progress. It could be considered the “Badrisafa” expedition organized on November in 2009 is continuation of this multifaceted work. Members of the expedition collected information about Badrisafa in Almaty, Orenburg, and Tomsk. As a result interesting materials are published in republican and local periodicals. Thus, on June in 2009 article of Nazira Zharymbetova published in newspaper “Egemen Kazakhstan”. In 2010 series of publications of this topic appeared in regional “Kostanai” news. Author Lyudmila Fefelova co-authored with Kabylakhat Seidakhmet have written even play “Ak kelin” (White daughter-in-law). Premiere of the play took place on May in 2012 in Kostanai Russian Drama Theater (stage director Alexander Liopa).

In this year a commemorative stele was installed on the Shore of Tobol River near Kaskat village of Mendikara region, where can buried Badrisafa Baitursynova.

Today searching works is continued. Besides performance “Ak kelin” demonstrated in cities and districts. It would be nice to show it in other regions of the country, as well as in Orenburg and Omsk. It is a good opportunity to popularize of great activists, patriots, internationalists, who stood at the origins of independence of Kazakhstan.


Sholpan Akhmetovna Baitursynova

(adopted daughter of Akhmet Baitursynov) 

Akhmet and Badrisafa Baitursynov did not have their own children, but they raised the children of Akhmet Baitursynov’s brother – Mashen.

In official sources, only three names of Akhmet Baitursynov’s adopted children have survived: Aumat, Kazikhan and Sholpan – these are the nephews of the enlightener whom he raised. But there was also another adopted child – Samyrat Kakishev, whose origin was hidden both during Baitursynov’s life and for many years after his death.

The adopted daughter Sholpan is the only from all descendants of this family, who bore a surname and patronymic of Akhmet Baitursynov.

Sholpan was adopted by Akhmet Baitursynov, when he was already under a little fifty. Then Sholpan – Mashen’s daughter was five years old.

Only for this relationship with Baitursynov Sholpan was exiled with adoptive parents in 1929-1933, then she ended up in an orphanage, where she survived both hunger and cold. Children ran to the steppe, caught lizards, frogs and turtles, to eat at least something. One pair of shoes was worn in turn by two children. They often ran to school barefoot. There were not enough clothes either, they were scratched alone somehow.

Sholpan was already 15 years old, so she didn’t stay long in the orphanage. Being homeless and without a piece of bread Sholpan didn’t get lost: she added herself three years and she got a temporary job as a bookkeeper. She showed her ability and she was promoted in job. She became an accountant.

Sholpan’s daughter, granddaughter of Akhmet Baitursynov Aiman Kabidenovna Baisalova remembered: “My mother got married to Kabiden Baisalov. My father fought with basmachi, in 1920s he was chekist. We were four children: Ernst (1934 year of birth, he died three months old due to the accident), me, Aiman (1936 y.b.), Bolat (1937 y.b.) and Aida (1939 y.b. she died at the age of four)”. Now from all children I was left alone.

In 1937 after the arrest of Akhmet Baitursynov, his brother Mashen was arrested and shot and we were evicted. We lived for some time in the Bakanas village. Mother worked there as an accountant in the office “Zagotskot”.

In 1947 Sholpan Akhmetovna, as a daughter of the enemy of people Akhmet Baitursynov was arrested and exiled together with the son Bolat (he was 10 years old) to Zayarsk village of Irkutsk region. After liberation in 1952 she was arrested in a year a second time. Finally she got free only in 1959.

Sholpan Akhmetovna met with her daughter only at the beginning of 1959.

Sholpan worked as an accountant, her daughter Aiman – laboratory assistant, son Bolat, who died was a director of a factory and chairman of the trade union organization of the region. All chose their own path, but everyone remember that who was their ancestor.

In spring 1959 Sholpan’s husband died after prolonged illness and Sholpan stayed alone. She worked in hospital in Alma-Ata for the first accountant.

Sholpan Akhmetovna Baitursynova died on November 27, 1994.


Samyrat Kakishev (adopted son of Akhmet Baitursynov) 

Another adopted son, whose name was for a long year in a secret is Samyrat Kakishev. Samyrat is the son of younger brother of Akhmet Baitursynov Mashen.

According memories of son of Samyrat Kakishev – Serik Samyratovich “Baitursynov in that time was in exile and my father (Samyrat Kakishev) – was still quite a boy – get into a boarding school. There he lived with his sister (Sholpan). When Akhmet was released and he returned to Alma-Ata, he began to look for relatives and found out that the youngest nephew was in a boarding school. At the request of Baitursynov, the father was found and brought to Alma-Ata. Then dad was 14 years old”.

They lived for some time in the village of Bakanas. Aiman Kabidenovna Baisalova, daughter of Sholpan Baitursynova, recalled: “Uncle Samyrat, my mother’s brother, also lived with us. He took the three of us to kindergarten, then to school. He was in some kind of trouble at work, his mother was afraid for him. With an unexpected knock on the door, she hid Samyrat, wrapped him in a felt mat.

The war began. Samyrat was drafted into the army. Grandmother did not want to part with him. Mother managed to persuade the pilots, and the flight was delayed for a day. Samyrat returned from the front in 1946 with his wife, Aunt Lida, and one and a half-year-old daughter, Sveta. Aunt Lida is a Belarusian; they got acquainted with Samyrat in the occupied territory.

Aunt Lida knew German and worked for the Germans, and Uncle Samyrat was taken prisoner. I don’t know how, but, according to the family legend, Aunt Lida rescued him from captivity, and they got married, lived their whole lives together. Aunt Lida respected all our relatives very much, were friends with us, and we responded in kind”.

This mystery is simply explained: Samyrat was the youngest boy in the Baitursynov family, and as the Kazakhs say, “shanyrak iesi” (head of family). A child whose life had to be saved at all costs and this was done more than once by everyone who was somehow involved in this family.

Once after the arrest of Akhmet Baitursynov, soldiers arrived in his aul (village), they were looking for boys, the heirs of the family. Then one of the women hid Samyrat under the cauldron, thereby saving his life.

Times were tough. Samyrat bore the surname Kakishev all his life and only as a mature man took the patronymic Baitursynovich. The man practically did not tell anyone that he was a descendant of one of the founders of the government of Alash Orda. Only the closest knew about it. All this can be explained simply: the two eldest adopted sons of Baitursynov perished in the camps in the thirties, and the adopted daughter Sholpan, the only descendant of this family who bore the surname and patronymic of Akhmet Baitursynov, was in prison twice because of the persecution of her adoptive father. But, despite a difficult childhood and a relative – an enemy of the people, Samyrat managed to firmly stand on his feet. In Soviet times, he was an honorary builder: his brainchildren – the Kazakhstan hotel and the Arasan bathhouse, and held various positions in the civil service. But all the same, he carefully concealed his origin. Samyrat died in 1997.

Samurat Kakishev is the son of Akhmet Baitursynov’s younger brother, founder of the Akhmet Baitursynov Foundation and the Baitursynov House-Museum in Almaty. Photos of Sholpan and Samyrat keep in The House-Museum of Akhmet Baitursynov.


Aumat and Kazikhan (adopted children of Akhmet Baitursynov) 

After the first arrest of Akhmet Baitursynov, Badrisafa was sent to the Kustanai region (her traces were then lost), Sholpan was sent to an orphanage, and Aumat and Kazikhan, adopted by Akhmet Baitursynov, were left alone, without support, for the orphanage they were already adults. The fate of adolescents was tragic. They returned to their homeland in Turgai, but they were not accepted: they were beaten and thrown into the river, in which the brothers drowned. 


Aiman Kabidenovna Baisalova

(daughter of Sholpan Akhmetovna Baitursynova, granddaughter of Akhmet Baitursynov)

Aiman Kabidenovna recalled that in 1934 his grandfather (Akhmet Baitursynov) returned from prison to Alma-Ata, lived with them on the street that now bears his name, in the house that has now become the museum of Akhmet Baitursynov. Aiman does not remember his grandfather, but, according to his mother (Sholpan Akhmetovna), he loved to babysit Aiman.

After the arrest of my grandfather in 1937, they lived for some time in the village of Bakanas, where uncle Samyrat, my mother’s brother, took them to kindergarten, then to school.

The fate of Baitursynov’s granddaughter Aiman Baisalova was difficult. Her mother often moved from place to place, as if she was trying to fall out of sight of the state security authorities. In the early 1950s, her mother was arrested, and Aiman was further raised in the family of her uncle (nephew Akhmet Baitursynov).

Aiman knew nothing about her parents. And no one talked about them, and she was used to living on her own.

Aiman recalled: “In 1948 I entered a garment trade school with the help of my uncle Samyrat, who worked there as a deputy director. It was then a paramilitary organization. We had a uniform: in winter – a cashmere brown dress, in summer – cotton dress, beret, tarpaulin shoes. At the evening check, they sang an anthem. Girls who were serving time studied with us. Then they all were defined, went out to the people. I studied in the costume group.

After graduating from college, I was assigned to a government fashion studio, I helped the master. I remember how, in the first year of my work in the atelier, Rosa Baglanova ordered a coat, I didn’t really know who she was, but the awe of those around me was transmitted to me. I remember stitching the sleeves of a brown drape coat.

Soon I got married. My mother was then in prison.

We met with my mother at the beginning of 1959. She came to me for a while only to work. Mother gave gifts: shirt front, mirror, brought something to eat. At first I felt uneasy, we gradually got used to each other. I didn’t realize that she was my mother. Together with my father in those years, I saw them only once”.

In spring of 1959, my father died after a long illness, the mother was left alone. The younger brother Bolat was in the army. Aiman left her husband for her mother (they had no children). Aiman changed her profession, became a physician, worked as a laboratory assistant in the same hospital where her mother Sholpan. Then Aiman moved to the railway hospital, from there she retired by age in 1991.

Aiman has a daughter, Gulnara, and a granddaughter, Asel.


Serik Samyratovich

(son of Samyrat Kakishev, grandson of Akhmet Baitursynov)

Serik Samyratovich was almost all his life Kakishev; it was his father (Samyrat Kakishev) who insisted that he take the name of the great ancestor. This happened already in the 90s of the last century.

From the memoirs of Serik Samyratovich: “After that, of course, they said that I did it on purpose: they say, I decided to use a loud surname. But, you know, this is absolutely not the case. I don’t like it when they perceive me only as the grandson of Baitursynov. After all, I represent something out of myself. I learned that our family had something to do with him when I was a teenager. But my parents told me that you shouldn’t tell anyone about it. And I was silent. We were able to say that we are the Baitursynovs only in the late 80s, when the grandfather was rehabilitated”.

Outwardly, Serik Samyratovich is an absolute Slav, he looks like his mother-Belarusian. Because of this, many funny situations arose in his life. Grandson of Akhmet Baitursynov? Who is he? Is he Russian guy? Some didn’t even believe. But Serik Samyratovich refers to this with humor.

– “This is what nature has ordered,” he smiles. – My sisters and my children are like Kazakhs. And I went to my mother, but appearance is not the main thing.

Serik Samyratovich Baitursynov has nothing to do with either literature or construction. He played sports all his life. First he was a football player, then a coach, and then he became an executive. Now he is the director of a specialized school of higher sportsmanship.

– We achieved everything ourselves: neither my father nor I could take advantage of family ties”, admits Serik Samyratovich. – Although, of course, after I became Baitursynov, some Kazakhs began to treat me with great attention. After all, Akhmet is a magnitude for our people.

Serik Samyratovich doesn’t even know some of his many cousins ​​and sisters. Sholpan’s family – of his own aunt, that same adopted daughter of Baitursynov is the closest to him. Her daughter Aiman is a laboratory assistant, her son Bolat, who is no longer alive, was the director of the plant and the chairman of the regional trade union organization. Everyone chose their own path, but everyone remembers who their ancestor was. Now they are connected by a museum, which appeared on the map of Almaty thanks to the efforts of Sholpan and Samyrat, who died in 1997. They did everything to make the house, which then belonged to completely strangers, a place of memory of the great Kazakh. His loved ones gather here on holidays. Serik Samyratovich is now the “keeper of the shanyrak” (head of family). A person who must pass on to the next generations the memory of his famous ancestor. 

Internet resources: 

  1. https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%91%D0%B0%D0%B9%D1%82%D1%83%D1%80%D1%81%D1%8B%D0%BD%D0%BE%D0%B2,_%D0%90%D1%85%D0%BC%D0%B5%D1%82
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  14. https://time.kz/articles/chastnyj/2016/02/17/sekreti-semi-bajtursinova
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  16. https://e-history.kz/ru/news/show/4272/
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  18. https://time.kz/articles/chastnyj/2016/02/17/sekreti-semi-bajtursinova