Historian Tamara Polovinkina, Expert on Circassian Heritage, Passed Away

SUKHUM / AQW'A ―  Tamara Polovinkina, a prominent historian and revered cultural figure known for her dedication to the study and preservation of Circassian heritage, has passed away.

Born in the Sakhalin region and a graduate of the A.M. Gorky Kharkov State University, she had a distinguished career that began at the Kharkov Historical Museum before moving to Sochi.

Polovinkina's career spanned over three decades as a scientific worker at the Sochi City Resort History Museum. In the mid-1980s, she was instrumental in establishing the ethnographic branch of the Sochi History Museum in Lazarevskoye. Here, with her colleagues and volunteers from the Adyghe Khase organisation of Black Sea Shapsughs, she painstakingly gathered materials for the permanent exhibition titled "Ethnic History, Life, and Culture of Sochi's Population" and an extensive archival collection. For over twelve years, from 1986 to 1998, she led the branch and then continued her work as a senior researcher.

Her main areas of interest were the Caucasian War period and its aftermath, the history, culture, archaeology, and ethnography of the Black Sea Adyghe, the settlement periods of the Black Sea coast, the creation of the Shapsugh National District, and the development of the Adyghe (Circassian) intelligentsia. During this time, she published several popular books, including "Aborigines of the Black Sea Caucasus: Culture of Life Support" and "The Black Sea Sochi," and participated in the creation of "Pages of Sochi's History."

Tamara Polovinkina

In 1999, her best-known work, "Circassia – My Pain," a comprehensive historical account of the entire Circassian past, was published. The book immediately gained popularity among readers and specialists, creating a significant impact in Caucasian historiography. In recognition of her lifelong work, in 2000, she was honoured with the title "Merited Worker of Culture of the Republic of Adygea."

In 2008, her contributions were also recognised by the Kabardino-Balkar Republic, which awarded her the title "Merited Worker of Culture."

Recently retired and residing in Maykop, Polovinkina continued her research, closely following the cultural and social life of the Black Sea Shapsugia, working to shed light on the less explored and unknown aspects of history. Her passing is a significant loss to the field of historical and cultural studies.




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