In the Tyumen Oblast, the Russian Federation, there are still many Basarabian Romanians whose predecessors were deported in 1949. They represent the 14th nationality of the region, with a population of about 16 000 people. These data has been presented at a press conference held at IPN by the historian Octavian Țîcu, following the VI edition of the project "Memory Expeditions".
"As part of the project, we investigated the situation of Moldovans in the Tyumen region. It is a community that has consolidated following the appearance of Komsomol dig sites in the area. We tried to find out about their way of life, about their ties to the Republic of Moldova, the language they speak and their traditions”, said Octavian Țîcu.
The historian explained that the "Memory expeditions" are important from a cinematographic point of view, but also have a scientific importance in regard to the people found in the regions of Russia, where the Bessarabians were deported. "Following the expedition to Tyumen, two films will be made, which will be added to the collection of other eight already existing films that presented the findings of previous expeditions", said Octavian Țîcu.
On November 29, the movie "Tyumen" will be played at the Odeon cinema.
One of the participants in the Tyumen expedition was the movie director Virgiliu Mărgineanu. He said that the Tyumen edition was a very exciting one. "My wife's mother was deported there and now I have been able to follow her path", said the director.
Ludmila Tihonov, doctor of history at the Free International University of Moldova, participated in the expedition not only due to professional interests, but also for personal reasons. "I am descended from a family of deportees. Both my mother's and my father's parents were deported to the Tyumen Oblast. In 1949, 57 families from Peresecina village were added to the black lists for deportation. In Siberia, more precisely in the Tyumen Oblast, 49 families, almost 200 people, arrived”, said Ludmila Tihonov.
Maria Zinovii, PhD student in history, also participated in the expedition to Tyumen. "This year's expedition was a little different. We had to find the settlements by ourselves, by asking people if they heard anything about Moldovans", explained Maria Zinovii.
Ilinca Cernavca, a master's student at the Faculty of Letters at the Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, claimed that her feelings experienced during the expedition were contradictory. "I felt, on the one hand, happiness when I found the clues I was looking for, and on the other hand, I felt great sadness when I thought about the torments felt by our grandparents and great-grandparents", said the young woman, who pointed out that the Russian authorities have tried to erase deportations traces in the region.
Ana Grecu, a masters graduate of history studies, said that the stories of the deportees must be known. “Our Moldovans have survived under difficult conditions. There are stories that deserve to be unearthed, especially those related to the missing villages, where the remaining evidence include beams in the middle of the forest, pits of some huts that were once shelter and the cemeteries that only have wooden crosses left, without inscriptions”, said Ana Grecu.
"Memory expeditions" is the only research and investigation project regarding Siberia and Moldova.