Administrative center: Buinsk
Area: 1543.6 sq.km
Buinsky municipal rayon lies in the southwestern part of the Republic of Tatarstan. In the south, it borders on Ulyanovsk Oblast. Its neighbors in the south-west are Drozzhanovsky rayon; in the west, Chuvash Republic; in the north, Apastovsky, and in the east, Tetyushsky rayons of the Republic of Tatarstan.
Buinsk stands on the federal-level railroad and on an interregional highway, which connect the rayon not only to other parts of the Republic of Tatarstan, but a wide number of Russia’s regions from the north-east to the south-west.
Buinsky Rayon has a very rich history. There are more than 100 archeological sites on its territory. For centuries, it had formed the south-western boundary of the Bolgar state. After the conquest of Bolgar by Khan Batu in 1236, the population started relocating to the north. The lands on the right bank of the Volga gradually fell into decay and remained sparsely populated even 200 years after the Mongol conquest, in the period of the Kazan Khanate, which also controlled the lands around Buinsk. After the fall of the Khanate, they were annexed by Russia.
A new history of the region began in mid-16th century. After the conquest of the Khanate and numerous rebellions on its former territories, the government of the Tsars realized the importance not only of protecting its borderlands, but also of the economic development of recently acquired fertile lands. Russian villages and servitor estates soon sprang up on the right bank of the Volga. To protect themselves against Nogai raids, the colonists erected a frontier defense line — an earthen rampart with moats and dykes, later known as the Karlinsky Val.
It started three miles from the present-day city, beyond the river Karla, and ran up the river for 20 verstas (about 13 miles). There is a theory that the Val was built under the Khanate. It has only partly survived to our days, and its crumbling ramparts reminds us of the troubled past.
Given that the Karlinsky Val was supposed to be a protection from military attacks, we can suggest that the settlement’s original name — Bua (the Tatar for ‘dam’) — originally referred to a dam which must have been a part of the Val. This name was later russified as Buinsk.
On September 15, 1780 Catherine the Great signed a decree promoting Buinsk to an uezd town, thus creating the uezd as a part of the Simbirsk vicegerency (later Simbirsk gubernia).
At the beginning of the 19th century the town had two stone buildings — Trinity Church and the municipality. Both buildings have survived to the present day. The church has survived the difficult Soviet times — it was closed, looted, later used as the factory premises, but finally restored and reconsecrated. The restoration of the church’s original look continues, as well as the rebuilding of the bell tower. The old town hall now houses the Buinsk museum.
Buinsk has had its town hall since 1800, and the magistrate, since 1832.
The highest social stratum of pre-revolution Buinsk society was formed by noble families, who had their estates in the uezd — the Ivashevs-Golovinsky, the Terenins. The Ivashev family had owned land here since 18th century. One of their earliest known ancestors founded the village of Ivashevka on the Sviyaga in 1682. Very little survived from the old Ivashevka, except a small number of houses and the remains of the Ivashevs’ manor park, where old trees still raise their boughs to the sky.
The uezd was almost completely agricultural, with little to no industry by the start of the 20th century. Products of local craftsmanship were intended mainly for home use or sale at local markets. The uezd was one of the most remote in the Simbirsk gubernia.
Rye and oats were the local crops of choice. The uezd was sometimes referred to as “the oats country”. Some villages around Buinsk cultivated flax. Chuvash farmers planted hops and sold it to the gubernias in the Upper Volga.
In 1920, a large part of the uezd under a new name — Buinsky Kanton — joined the Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, a successor of Kazan gubernia.
In 1930, when the kantons were abolished, Buinsky rayon appeared in its stead, with its boundaries slightly changed.
During the World War II, the people of the rayon did their patriotic duty both at the front and in the rear. Ten thousand of them defended their homeland at the battle lines, and seven thousand never returned home. 7 orphanages were evacuated to the rayon during the war years. Orphans, many of whom lost their parents in the war, received special care here. After the war a lot of them chose to keep the connection with Buinsk.
A special page in history of the area belongs to the construction of the Sviyazhsk-Buinsk railway line.
Today many a picturesque village stands on the shores of the Sviyaga, Karla, Bula or Tsilna. One of them — Kul-Cherken — was the birthplace of People’s Artist of Russia Baki Urmanche.
Another famous person born in the rayon is the contemporary poet and writer Rinat Haris. Buinsk is justly proud of its national theatre, founded by the troupe members of the famous Kamal Tatar Drama Theatre. Zuleiha Bogdanova headed the theater from 1924 till 1950.
Creative traditions are very much alive in contemporary Buinsk, with its Palace of Culture, 34 recreation centers (Dom Kultury) and 32 rural community centers (kluby). There is an extensive network of libraries. History of the region is taken great care of by the museum staff.
Children have the opportunity to attend art colleges or sport schools. In 2007, three new facilities were commissioned — the Ice Arena, a sports center with a swimming pool and the Drama Theater. At the opening of the latter, the then President of the Republic of Tatarstan Mintimer Shaimiyev announced that the theater has been promoted to the State status. The theater relocated back to the building it historically owned since 1924.
With the blessing of Anastasius, Archbishop of Kazan and Tatarstan, the reconstruction of Trinity Church has started in the village of Protopopovo. The church was built in 1817, but closed down by the new government a century later. The redecoration and restoration currently continue, as well as the return to the original design of the building.
Since the year 2000 Bua Dulkannary company has been active in television and radio broadcasting locally, operating on its own frequency and syndicated with STS. The local newspaper ‘Bayrak’ is published in three languages.
In economic terms, the rayon has preserved its agrarian status. The main crops at present are spring and winter wheat, rye, barley, peas and sugar beets. The industry is represented by sugar factory, distillery, creamery and a machine-building plant.