Article taken from Minaret Magazine (produced by Kerala Jamat), Jan.-Mar. 1992 Edition
by Fuad A.J.
The persons of Kerala recently had the opportunity to hear a first person account of the fall of communism from none other than a Soviet citizen, Mr. Ravel Bukharov. The scholarly discourses and lively press conferences must have left many a communist doubting his own concepts of equality and a classless society.
The writer of this article had the great fortune of playing host to Mr. Bukharov and also being present at his press conference and public meeting in Kollam District – a place he described as a “beautiful and warm town”. It is the memorable visit of Mr. Bukharov that I narrate here.
The fair and muscular Mr. Bukharov, who is 40, is a well learned man and, one would be forced to concede, a highly rationalistic individual, thanks to the former Soviet system. At the same time he is too a great companion to be with. Quiet fluent in English – unusual for a Russian – Mr. Bukharov admits, he is for the most part, a self-educated person, university degrees notwithstanding. His experience as a free lance journalist enables him to speak effortlessly on a wide range of topics – which include theology, philosophy, sociology science, literature and even sports and agriculture. The case and authority with which he answered questions on the political and economic situations in the Indian sub continent would deceive many into thinking that he may be a Soviet diplomat.
Following is a brief account of his press conference (as transcribed from the audio cassette) at Kollam where he faced questions on a variety of issues, answering them all with scholastic ease.
About Himself : Mr. Bukharov began giving a brief history of his native place and a brief biodata of himself. To quote him “I am a Tartar by nationality; more precisely, a Kazan Tartar, a group which inhabits its own republic called Tartaristan, a Muslim nation for the past one thousand years. Its capital city Kazan is only 800 Kms. From Moscow to the east. In 1552 it was conquered and became a part of greater Russia. Since then Islam has been very severely persecuted in our land. No worship was allowed, mosques were destroyed. Our nation came into the 20th century with only one mosque existing in the capital city”.