Text Aysel Akhundova
Photos Ehtiram Jabiyev
Amina is an Azerbaijani woman. She lives in Ulyanovsk but hasn’t spoken Azerbaijani with anyone for a long time. Azerbaijani flows from her lips, as she can’t stop telling me about her life in Russia, she is full of life and emotion. She lives here with her husband and his parents. They plan to move to a larger city, probably St. Petersburg. In fact, they were living in Moscow, but had to move to a smaller city in order to solve Amina’s documentation issues.
Marriages between Russian men and Azerbaijani women is not common, although you can come across many families with Azerbaijani fathers and Russian mothers, both in Azerbaijan and Russia. The employee of the migration service was shocked when hearing that Amina’s husband came to register his Azerbaijani wife. “What kind of heroic deed have you made to marry an Azerbaijani woman?”, he asked rhetorically.
There is a saying in Azerbaijani “Rus arvad saxlamaz”, which translates as “A Russian is not able to provide a living for his wife”. That is exactly what Amina has heard from her social circle, when she tells them about her plans to marry her future husband.
Amina has made bold decision to follow her heart despite the chit-chat that surrounds her. Now and then she reminisces the words she has been told numerous times, such as the “absence of honor” amongst Russian men and their inability to be decent husbands. Nevertheless, she had nothing to be dissatisfied about. She told me that her husband has a calm personality and is a man of few words, unlike her, so they complimented each other perfectly.
I was curious about the reasons behind this negative reaction to her decision. I assumed that the memory of the events of 1990’s in Azerbaijan, such as the Karabakh war and the 20th of January in Baku, might be the reasons. I was wrong. It later came out, that Amina was engaged to an Azerbaijani man and after 4 years of engagement she broke it off. After a while she met her future husband and they decided to create a family together. Her relatives assumed that there was something wrong with her. In their opinion, that was the reason for her marriage to a foreigner, a Russian. They considered the so-called honor of their family to be compromised. The reason is very trivial, indeed.
Amina is young, energetic, and extroverted. She is open, and when she speaks her hands move all around her. She is an Azerbaijani in Ulyanovsk. She has already left her traces here. New traces will be left in other cities.