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Khoshun-Bator Chudutov, about my ancestor Burinov Mutl Baranovich

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Terbish, Baasanjav 


Khoshun-Bator talks about his ancestor Burinov Mutl Baranovich: Mutl Burinov was my father’s maternal uncle. Mutl was a strong and wise man. He was one of the strongest wrestlers in the Bolshederbetovsky ulus. During World War I he along with other men from the same nomadic encampment were drafted into the army. He served, as I understand, in the so-called Caucasian Native Horse Division. He was sent to disperse student demonstrations in Petrograd. He also fought at the front. With the beginning of the Russian Civil War, his division fought on various sides. They joined Budyonny, were part of the Marusya gang in southern Ukraine, then fought with the White Army. When the Whites were defeated, he fled Russia via the Crimea. Since Kalmyks were not welcome to board the departing steamers, he with a group of Kalmyks broke into one by force. They ended up in some sort of filtration camp in the Mediterranean, possibly on the island of Lemnos. Foreign merchants arrived there, urging them to go to Argentina or Australia. Some Kalmyks left the island with these merchants. At that time, a group of English officers were putting together a legion consisting of soldiers who had fought with the White Army. Mutl served in the legion where he learnt military commands in English. One day he decided to go home. He found a job with a Greek fisherman who helped him to get to the mainland. That is how Mutl ended up about 13 km north of Jerusalem. From there he walked to Istanbul where he found other Kalmyks. The Kalmyks were thinking of settling there and even wanted to build a Buddhist temple. Although he was warned not to return to Russia, Mutl decided to continue on his journey. He reached Montenegro, crossed the Romanian border on foot, and finally returned to Bashanta in Kalmykia. There he joined the Chon’s detachment. In Siberia (during exile), he earned his living by slaughtering cattle. He worked everywhere, even in a gold mine. He could recite from the epos Jangar and knew many legends and fairy tales. When we returned to Kalmykia from Siberia, Kalmyk writers, including Aksen Suseev, David Kugultinov, and Konstantin Erenzhenov, used to come and write down fairy tales and poems from him.



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Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge

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Sponsored by Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin