Institute of Slavic Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia
IMAGE OF RUSSIA AND EUROPE AT THE SLAVIC MINORITY IN BOBOSHTICA (DISTRICT OF KORCHA, ALBANIA)
The report is based on the data (oral narratives and written memoria), collected in 2010 and 2011 in Boboshtica (Alb. Bobosh’ticë, Slavic Boboš’tica/Boboš’čica), Rrethi i Korçës, Albania. The Slavic population of the village refer to themselves as Macedonian/Bulgarian and cal their dialect ‘kajnas ‘at/of ours’. We will use the same term. This population has strongly declined during the second half of the XX century. Nowadays there are only 6 native speakers of Kajnas in the village, all of them older than 70 years old, bilingual (Kajnas and Albanian), and their knowledge of Kajnas can differ from very fluent to basic. The majority of the population in the village are Aromanian, and there are some Albanians as well.
The very specific thing about this village is that a significant number of its dwellers studied and/or made careers both in Albania and in other countries. Among them were Gjergj Bubani, Dhimitri Canco, Viktor Eftimiu, Sotir Kuneshka, Dhimitër Mole, and many others. To some point a good start to many people of Boboshtica as well as to those from the whole Korça valley was given by the French Lyceum in Korça (Liceu Francez, operating fully between 1917‑1939).
Our interviewees were Iľo Kuneška and Eľpi Mančo. Il’o is an engineer, he has graduated from the French Lyceum and lived and worked in Chekhoslovakia for many years. Eľpi’s elder brother Todor was also an engineer and he worked in Kraków, in Poland.
While the acquaintance of the people of Boboshtica with Europe (excluding Russia) is based on their own experience and friends’ and family members’ stories, their idea of Russia is mainly based on the information they were taught at the Albanian school in the village and found in the media, so it generally corresponds to the common Albanian image of Russia as a large remote country, which used to be socialist as well as Albania. Due to this, Europe seems to be more familiar to them and they tend to associate different countries and cities with their family members, neighbours and friends, who worked and lived there. At the same time, a special place in their image of Europe is occupied by Bulgaria and Macedonia, because many field reserchers from these countries have recently visited Boboshtica and have conducted research there.