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Ivan Tserenov, autobiography



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Terbish, Baasanjav 


I am from the arvan of Khasgud of the Iki-Chonos clan. Upon return from Siberian exile, we stayed in Gashun-Buluk, before moving to Bor-Nur to join our grandfather. My father worked as a shepherd and then as an accountant at a tractor brigade and on a collective farm. After finishing 4 grades, I lived in a boarding school in Leninskiy where I finished my 6th grade. In 1968, my family moved to the Leninskiy state farm, where I live to this day. In the past it was a busy farm, but today half of the population has already left. One of our relatives, Dordzhiev Sanji Ochirovich, was a Hero of Socialist Labor and a deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. In 1971 I graduated from secondary school which was built by him. After working on the farm for a year, I served in the Soviet Army in Poltava. Later I graduated from the Faculty of Agronomy of Kalmyk State University. I worked on my native state farm as an agronomist and later as a deputy director. I was transferred to the farm of O.I. Gorodovikov where I became a party secretary. I also finished the Party School in Volgograd, and was appointed as Director of Iki-Chonos. Although I retired 5 years ago, I work as an operator in a boiler room. I have 3 children (2 daughters and a son) and 5 grandchildren. My wife is from Lagan. My youngest daughter married a Kalmyk guy from Xinjiang, China, called Arash-Bat. They live in Moscow. Last year I went to China to see my son-in-law’s relatives. I have a younger brother, Sanji, who is a folk healer and keeps many relics that belong to our arvn, including statues of Buddha and candle holders. In Bor-Nur, he built a small temple. Every year we, members of Khasgud arvan, gather there to perform a fire ritual and make offerings to the spirits of our parents. During World War II, more than 130 men from the Iki-Chonos clan were sent to the front where many of them were killed. Those who survived the war were sent in 1944 to a work camp. Despite having medals for military valor and being a senior sergeant, my paternal uncle, Dorji Tserenovich, was also sent to the work camp where he fell ill. After his release, he was deported to Siberia where he found his family, but soon he became bedbound. His relatives stole a dog, and fed him with its meat, as a result of which he recovered.



Autobiography, childhood, family, career, uncle

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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