Administrative center: Aktanysh
Area: 2037.8 sq. km
The lands of Aktanyshsky Rayon form the north-eastern gate of Tatarstan, bordering on Bashkortostan and Udmurtia. The beauty of local nature is unparalleled in its meadows, glades, picturesque river and rivulet banks. The biggest and deepest among the local rivers is surely the Kama, but the river Belaya can rival it when it comes to beauty. For many kilometers one might see an open horizon, which is a distinct feature of the Aktanysh flatlands.
Unlike many other rayons of Tatarstan, there actually are no mineral deposits in the district. For this reason major industrial centers are virtually absent in Aktanysh, too. Aktanyshsky District is a remote place, because the distance to the nearest railway stations is hundreds of kilometers. But can we really call it a drawback? In reality, the absence of industry and transport arteries leads to a better ecological situation. Fertile lands account for agriculture-oriented economy of the district.
Aktanysh is a shining example of calm and benevolent lands where all the ancient customs and traditions are preserved and passed from one generation to another, the rhythm of life is unhurried and the natural landscapes are picturesque… This is a special place with a peculiar spirit of its own, a place where the soul of the nation has its abode.
Yesterday I heard someone singing
A song made up by our people
And I thought it’s so full of sorrow,
Of unlimited and bitter lament.
The song troubles the heart, and there lives in it
The much-suffering Tatar soul.
Once upon a time on the flatlands of Aktanysh Finno-Ugric communities lived side by side with Tatar settlers. This hypothesis is proved by archaeological excavations near Pyany Bor, in the burial grounds near Taktalachyk, Chiayalek, Tatarsky Azibei, Semiostrov, Yarmaly, Masady, Garai, Ilchebai, Irmyashevo, Aktanysh, Karach, Shabyzovo. The names of the settlements themselves embody the polyphony of languages, traditions and cultures. Modern history of local lands colonization dates as far back as the Middle Ages. A voivoda from Menzelinsky Prikaz controlled the lands. In 1708 the lands became part of Kazan gubernia (governorate). For some time, the border of the Russian Empire run through the lands of what is now Aktanyshsky District. Local batyrs — Tatars, Bashkirs, Udmurts — were all equal in terms of military service. According to the 1832 Land Law, many of the servitors were endowed with the right to get 30 desyatinas of land per one male person. Nevertheless, women were also strong-willed and were “barking up orders” in their households. People of the Aktanysh area were engaged in agriculture, bred cattle, kept inns, worked at the docks. By the beginning of the 20th century, a zemstvo-owned postal station was operating in Aktanysh; there also was a mosque and schools for both girls and boys. A big trade fair was held annually in the last week of September.
Aktanysh Rayon is widely known as the birthplace of Mintimer Shaimiyev, 1st President of the Republic of Tatarstan. Mintimer Sharipovich was born in the village of Anyakovo to the peasant family. Mintimer’s grandfather Shaimukhammet had a prosperous household but, having shared the fate of hundreds of thousands in those days, suffered from ‘dekulakization’. The future president’s father Shagisharip Shaimiyev worked in agriculture throughout his life. He has stood in charge of local kolkhoz for almost 30 years. In his numerous interviews the President often recalls the years of childhood and adolescence, heavy and noble peasant labor which nurtures spiritual integrity, strengthens will and molds character. Born in a village and thus knowing every single detail of agriculture, Mintimer Sharipovich managed to preserve agricultural capabilities of Tatarstan during the economic crisis. This is a true example of the labor and life universities that we get in our childhood…
Today Aktanyshsky Rayon comprises 26 rural settlements which include 87 localities, with total population of more than 32 thousand. The present-day administrative center — the village of Aktanysh — is situated in the north-east of Tatarstan, 318 km east from Kazan. Aktanysh is conveniently located near the Nizhnekamsk Reservoir, to the south from Neftekamsk railway station. The village is quite small, but impresses visitors with its neat and well-tended streets. Aktanysh has all the necessary amenities to lead an active and happy life — schools, clubs and sport grounds. Several years ago Aktanysh celebrated its 300th anniversary. High-profile public figures were among the invitees. For its anniversary, the rayon got a major gift — the new factory producing spare parts for the legendary KamAZ trucks. The project was realized under special control from the government of Tatarstan. As the current President of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov, who also was among the guests, has noted, “Crises come and go, but life is going on“.