Dr.Sc.Hist., Professor G.V. Merzlyakova1
PhD, Associate Professor L.V. Batalova1
1Udmurt State University, Izhevsk
Keywords: physical education and sports, gymnastics, secondary educational establishments, imperial Udmurtia.
Background. Studies of the historical backgrounds for the regional physical education and sports projects help understand the origins, overview accomplishments and analyze the potential progress vectors of the modern physical education and sports sector. Progress of the physical education and sport movements in the imperial Udmurtia by the early XX century in the period of transition to the new socio-cultural and economic models in the context of the role, motivations for and priorities of the physical education and sports practices for local communities in the relevant social contexts – are still largely underexplored. We believe that our study data, analyses and summaries may provide a foothold for further research in this field.
Objective of the study was to make a historical analysis of the physical education and sports in the imperial Udmurtia (that was a part of the Vyatka Province) in the late XIX to early XX century. Geographically, the study was limited to the former Sarapul, Glazov, Yelabuga and Malmyzh Districts of the Vyatka Province.
Methods and structure of the study. The study methodology gives a top priority to the historical authenticity and grounding of the input materials for analyses, with the relevant historical-genetic, historical-comparative analyses and syntheses applied for the study purposes. The input data for the study were dominated by the published and unpublished historical materials mostly mined in the Central State Archive of the Udmurtia Republic and periodicals of that time.
Results and discussion. Sport practices and movements in the study period emerged and gained popularity mostly in the national metropolitan environments, with Moscow and Saint Petersburg providing ample opportunities for enthusiasts of the entertainment, recreational, socializing and health sports with their cultures and agendas – in contrast to the provinces that were notably lagging behind in this process. The prerevolutionary Udmurtia, a part of the Vyatka Province, included four Districts with their capital cities of Sarapul, Glazov, Yelabuga and Malmyzh that offered reasonably good potential opportunities for the sport pioneers and enthusiasts. Initially a few popular sports were reported to emerge in the provincial capital Vyatka city and later on migrate to the District capitals.
By the late XIX century, entertainment and competitive skating sport was getting increasingly fashionable among the Russian imperial elites and communities. It was in the early ХХ century that the municipal authorities of Vyatka town promoted and hosted skating competitions under the auspices of the local yacht club [4, 1904, #10, p.4.]; whilst the District communities of Glazov and Yelabuga cities still considered skating only an entertainment or recreational activity. As reported by the periodicals of that time, the outdoor skating rink in Glazov was established and sponsored since 1896 by Arkady Samoylovich Senilovas, local resident, albeit was little popular for the first few years in fact. With time, however, the rink was equipped with lights and attractions including fireworks and served by the local musical bands [1, 1906, #277, p.4]. Since 1902 the mayor’s office started budgeting for the skating rink, with yearly assignments making up 50 rubles for the free service to the local children from vulnerable households and disadvantaged residential groups. Trustees of the local women’s gymnasia, state educational establishments and seminaries were required to cover the cost of the service to their students, whilst the other individuals were served on a commercial basis [10, Op.1. D.3 L. 47-48].
Modern Udmurtia is widely known for and takes pride in its elite cross-country skiers and biathletes, although it should be confessed that the pioneers of the local cross-country skiing sport faced lots of challenges in the imperial Udmurtia. We have found no evidence of special competitive or amateur cross-country skiing group services in the Vyatka Province in the early ХХ century. Some competitive provisions may be found only in the statues of the amateur fishing and hunting associations of those days. The Vyatka-based Northern Hunters’ Association, for example, reportedly organized cross-country skiing competitions for its members and secondary school students in the 1913-14 winter season [2, 1914, #11, p.3]; albeit, as far as we know, the educational system of the imperial Udmurtia offered no regular cross-country skiing courses in its curricula. As provided by some archive materials, management of the Glazov Men’s Gymnasium decided to procure skis for its students not sooner than in the fall of 1917 [9, Op. 1. D.17. L. 72].
It was the city of Sarapul that apparently pioneered in the health and competitive skiing in the Vyatka Province at that time. The Sarapul Hunting Association made a decision to promote cross-country skiing competitions among its members and its general meeting of winter 1910 even decided ‘to organize cross-country skiing service and keep at least 10 couples of skis at the base of Association for the service’ [5, 1910, # 2, p.3]. We could find no evidence, however, on whether or not this initiative was successful and popular.
As far as the other sport disciplines are concerned, management of the Izhevsk and Vyatka industrial works in the Sarapul District encouraged physical education for the personnel including the fencing, rifle shooing and chess group trainings. The lake in Izhevsk city was used for the entertainment boating and yachting service, and some of the local residents could afford buying bicycles [6, p.7].
The sport services offered by the Russian schools and universities at that time were limited to a few gymnastics styles dominated by the Sokol gymnastic style, the most popular in the secondary educational system of the nation on the whole and the Vyatka Province in particular since 1910, albeit some districts of the Vyatka Province were still reluctant to accept these new services.
Having analyzed the 1910-11 academic year reports of 11 secondary educational establishments in the Sarapul, Glazov, Yelabuga and Malmyzh Districts of the Vyatka Province we found that only the Yelabuga Real School management established a gym with the basic equipment for gymnastics and space for the folk lapta and ball games and even skating. The Sarapul and Glazov Men’s Gymnasia offered indoor training facilities with some equipment for gymnastics only, and nothing for other sports. As far as the local women’s gymnasia are concerned, they offered next to no sport facilities or services in fact. Only Yelabuga Women’s Gymnasium had some equipment for gymnastics; and only Izhevsk Women’s Gymnasium offered ice-hills for entertainment in winter seasons and crocket grounds in summer [3, p.116-130].
Even the Sokol gymnastic style fairly popular in the Kazan education system at that time was not popular in the four subject districts of the Vyatka Province. The Yelabuga Real School since 1878 offered a gymnastics course for the 1-7-year students as recommended by the Ministry of Defense; and the same course was accepted by the Sarapul Real School and Glazov Men’s Gymnasium for the same age groups since 1902 and 1904, respectively. It was the Yelabuga Real School that made the highest progress in the Province in the sport service and accomplishments due to the courses staying popular for quite a long time and reasonably supported by a few folk team sports like lapta, leap frog and ‘gorelki’ (touch-and-run game); plus the Yelabuga Real School management sponsored the Sokol Gymnastics Festival in the 1910-11 academic year [3, p.131-145].
Most of the women’s gymnasia in the imperial Udmurtia offered no physical education service, with the only exclusion for the Yelabuga and Izhevsk Women’s Gymnasia that offered a course of Swedish gymnastics in the 1910-11 academic year [3, p.166-181]. The Izhevsk Women’s Gymnasia management offered gymnastics lessons taking 1 hour per week plus team games during school breaks in the period of 1910-1915. The gymnastic practices and team games were strictly managed by the school teachers of gymnastics and class tutors under supervision of the principal and school doctor. In addition, the students enjoyed skating on the campus in winter seasons [7, Op. 1. D.72. L.13].
It should be mentioned that the provinicial secondary women’s school system management was fairly motivated for the school physical education service albeit their initiatives were largely stalled by the shortage of finance. Thus in 1990 the Glazov Women’s Gymnasium Board offered the trustees to sponsor a skating rink on the campus [8, О. 1. D. 40. L. 29], but the project was suspended [8, Оп. 1. Д.52. Л. 6 об.]. In autumn of 1902, the Glazov Women’s Gymnasium Board came up with the team sports project including crocket, lawn tennis, ice-hill and skating rink [8, Op. 1. D. 70. L. 102 – 103], , but the trustees approved only the skating rink [8, Op. 1. D. 71. L. 29].
Conclusion. Efforts by the local sport enthusiasts to establish a physical education and sports service in the Vyatka Province in the late imperial period were largely hampered by the remoteness and agrarian nature of the Province; albeit, as was found by the study, the young people’s physical education and sport service made some progress to evolve with time into an inalienable part of the school curricula. Some of the provincial secondary education establishments had assets and finance for gymnastics practices, team games and other sport services; and the physical education and sport services were increasingly appreciated as the personality development tools by the local school management and communities.
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The study gives a historical analysis of the physical education and sports in the imperial Udmurtia (that was a part of the Vyatka Province) in the late XIX to early XX century. For the purposes of the study we analyzed the available archive materials and periodicals of that time. Good potential for the early sporting culture was available at that time in the provincial cities of Sarapul, Glazov, Yelabuga and Malmyzh. A few sport disciplines emerged in the provincial metropolitan Vyatka city and later on moved across the province to the other major cities. It was found by the study that the Vyatka Province at that time was too far from the central areas of the country and too agrarian and conservative to readily welcome the physical education and sporting initiatives. However, some secondary educational establishments (both men’s and women’s) of imperial Udmurtia were still quite successful in their efforts to advance team sports, gymnastics and winter sports dominated by skating and skiing. Despite the fact that the local communal attitudes to sports were largely reluctant or negative at that time the local activists made progress in their efforts to demonstrate benefits of the physical training and sport practices for the human development agenda.