Sangadji Tarbaev, About Exile
Sangadji says that when he was a child, his grandfather told him stories about the Siberian exile of the Kalmyk people. His grandfather was deported to Omskaya oblast. Unable to recall many stories when his grandfather died, Sangadji decided to videotape old people who could still remember the exile period. With this aim in mind, in 2014 he and his friends set up a video documentation project called ‘They Could, and We Can’. Today the project has a wide collection consisting of around 1,000 video interviews. All the interviews are different from each other: some are tragic, others uplifting. Many interviews are in Kalmyk. By watching these videos the viewers can get knowledge first-hand. Sangadji concludes that, ‘our grandmothers and grandfathers could survive and keep our culture, language, spirit, national identity and memory. Therefore, it would be a crime for us, Kalmyks, to forget all these’.