Ivanovka: A Timeless Village

Author: Aygun Rashidova

From the beginning of the ‘90s: youth began to leave the village and now it is almost devastated.

In the ‘90s a wave of emigration started from Ivanovka to Russia. Not only the collapse of the Soviet Union, as well as economic crisis affected it, but the war with Armenia over Nagorno Karabakh (1988-1994) accelerated this tendency. People began to leave the village in search of a more stable life.

Ivanovka, is the only village in Azerbaijan where a kolxoz (collective farm) still exists.


 Tatyana Semenovna has worked in a "kolxoz" for 25 years. Both of her sons left Ivanovka in the beginning of the ‘90s. They got an education and applied for citizenship. Remembering the first years after gaining independence, Tatyana Semenovna expresses her discontent. "Before "perestroyka," Azerbaijan was more rich and prosperous. Now life is different. Here, there was always justice and honesty, I never even had to close my doors with a key."

Tatyana Semenovna states that for Russian speaking people, there was little future or opportunities available. She adds, "for so many years, everything was in Russian, then everything changed dramatically. It is impossible to learn a language in one day. "

According to the stories of the villagers - the main reason why youth left the village was not only due to the above mentioned factors, but the war situation as well.

The chairman of the collective farm Vasily Ivanovich considers it to be a coincidence.

"To live where life is better. Are there few people who stayed here and could live in prosperity? The period of stagnation scared many others so they left. Did not people from other villages leave their places?"


“Azerbaijan is our motherland, not Russia. We are not going to leave the village. Everywhere they ask for our passports. Our children live in Russia, but we are 80 years-old, why do we need these passports,” says the villagers of Ivanovka.


Today, the opposite process is observed. Among the workers of the collective farm, there were people who lived in Russia for several years but after the crisis, they decided to return back.




Here is still a Kolxoz

The community life is an integral part of the Molokan identity. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, agricultural production went into decline in the country. Collective and state farms ceased to function. The residents of Ivanovka did not give up, 90% of the population voted to preserve the farm. The late president Heydar Aliyev gave permission to preserve it and said: "Live as you wish, no problems."

Literally every resident of the village, while talking about the collective farm, always mention Nikolay Vasilyevich Nikitin. The kolxoz was named after him.

After the death of the legendary person (1994) residents cannot find a worthy replacement of him.

Tatyana Semenovna remembers those years with big excitement. In her little blue eyes there are tears of pride.

"Today there is a complete disgrace on the farm, saying with a slightly angry tone, everybody wants to fill their pockets. Someone worked two years, then was replaced and goes on. It would be better if these lands were passed to people.

Molokans are very hardworking people. We could treat the land ourselves and there would not be any problems, and people would not leave the village."


Due to the financial problems the equipment in the kolxoz was not renewed.


In previous years, some small appliances were bought. The chairman is going to buy the latest technology soon. "The government promised a special leasing program for people who are involved in agriculture. As soon as it is instated, I will try to use this opportunity."

There is another big problem here in the village, a problem with the water supply, especially in the summer period.

"The president allocated money for it several times, but there are rumors that some officials spent the money for their own purposes, and the water chanel was not conducted properly. Water from the tap is a luxury and it comes only in those houses that are located near the central water channel," says one of the kolxoz workers. The water is stored in special storages.

In the last 5 months, the kolxoz has had a crisis. The workers are complaining that they don’t have salaries.

"My salary is 30 AZN, can you imagine? However, I pay 120 AZN monthly for utilities. Do you know how we live in such a situation? Yes, we steal!" says one of the farm workers.

The chairman states that soon, all these problems will be resolved, because there will be a harvest. "The difficulties are with the budget. It is normal, we will survive. When there is no money, we pay people with products."




Generation of the 1990s


Chai-khana Survay