| Alexander Daniilovich Zyrianov|
Member of Uralican Tribal Council
| Assumed office|
18 March 2008
|Born|| 4 April 1961|
Syktyvkar, Soviet Union
|Children||Natasha Zyrianova, Konstantin Zyrianov|
|Alma mater||Syktyvkar State University|
|Religion||Uralican Evangelical Baptist Christian|
Alexander Zyrianov (b. 4 April 1961, Syktyvkar) is a Uralican politician, public speaker, and football team owner. A proud Komi, he was one of the four co-founders of Vorkuta Or Bust and also one of the few Uralican Tribal Council members who has never failed to be voted in, due to his popularity. He co-owns Sikkivukarin Palloseura along with Jarkko Salomäki and two other business partners.
Born in Syktyvkar in 1961, Alex Zyrianov's father Daniil was a lumber mill worker and his mother Anastasiya stayed at home. Although his marks never stood out, what did was his charismatic nature. He was earmarked early as a potential Communist Party member even when he was in his early teens, as his nature combined with a seemingly natural public speaking ability and excellent command of both Russian and Komi made him a seeming fit for the political scene. Unfortunately for them, Zyrianov quickly became disillusioned with Komsomol, and Communism, a mere year after joining. He still enjoyed debating, and was also an avid chess player and swimmer as a youth.
After graduating from high school in 1979, he went to Syktyvkar State University and studied political science there, receiving his BA in 1984 after a "solid, but not mind-blowing" performance, in his own words. By the time he graduated, the Soviet Union had lost two leaders to untimely deaths - Leonid Brezhnev and Yuri Andropov - and Chernenko wasn't even in for nine months after Alex graduated before he died. With Gorbachev's policy of glasnost leading to opening of borders for students to go abroad, he went to the United States for a swim meet and decided to stick around, basically defecting. He would do his Master's in political science at the University of South Carolina, although he did have to gut out some prejudice in the process. By 1990, he had his MA, and was well-rounded in his ideological knowledge, having a particular fondness for the German-style hybrid democracy system.
He did not return to Russia for two more years, staying behind to perfect his English while working as a teaching assistant, office secretary, and janitor at USC. Impressed by his work ethic, a beginning grad student who was born in Russia but raised in Canada - Magdalena Kiriyakova - began making friendly overtures towards him, even inviting him to her church one Sunday. Although Russian, "Maggie" was actually a Baptist, and Alex was never really sure about religion except that the Communists said that it was evil, so he decided to give the church a shot. This proved to be the beginning of a new faith for him as well as the start of a relationship that still exists to this day. He was baptised mere days before he left the United States.
When he returned to Syktyvkar, though, he was given the heartbreaking news that his father was killed in a mill accident along with five other men and two women. His mother had sunk into a deep depression, but Alexander's return would start the healing of this. He began to preach the Gospel openly, but also, took an interest in political reforms. Unfortunately, his views went against the grain of the national agenda, so he found himself frustrated to the point where he returned to South Carolina after a mere year, this time bringing his mother with him.
Upon returning, Zyrianov decided to try his hand at business, and due to his high marks in his Political Science MA, he was given a large scholarship to attend Duke University's prestigious business school. After completing his MBA, he started a sporting goods store in his now-home of Columbia, South Carolina, and since business took off fairly quickly, he decided he had enough money to start a family with Maggie, whom he married in 1996. They had twin children the following winter, Natasha and Konstantin. In spite of living in the USA, they spoke Russian in the household, and the children therefore acquired that as their mother tongue, learning English and Komi later.
The business would generally excel over the next decade, but then along came the Cataclysm, which forced them to flee, first to Wyoming, then to Alaska (the unusually high tectonic activity in the area had people worried about the Yellowstone Caldera erupting, which it didn't in the end), and finally to Syktyvkar, his hometown. It was a smooth transition linguistically as all family members already spoke Russian and Maggie was the only one who didn't speak Komi. That said, it was culture shock for Maggie and the kids. It took some time for them to adapt to the then-drab city.
Not long into the Robertian Era, Zyrianov's name was on ballots for local government, as people had remembered his charismatic youth days and convinced him to run for city council. He was eventually elected and served one year. However, in March 2007, when elections came around, he did not run again because of his outrage over the treatment of Uralics and the city council's refusal to speak out against it. Instead, he called on all Christians to fight against the oppression and began a letter-writing campaign to numerous churches, one which spanned six months. Eventually, this caught the attention of Matti Koppinen, a Finnish pastor who was one of the earlier members of the Uralicist Movement. After buying a house in Pazhga, Koppinen's influence not only led Zyrianov to join the Movement, but also, to found Christian Sport with two other Komi who were practicing Christians.
It was one of Zyrianov's letters that reached Nikolay Kosov that prompted his plea to all "true practitioners of Orthodoxy" to stand up against the oppression, which many people mark as the beginning of the end of the Uralic Purges. He was in Syktyvkar when the Syktyvkar Riots took place, in a graduate political science class at SSU, and was saddened by what he saw on the news later in the day. But his mood lightened when he heard about the Three-Day Revolution, and he partook in that, then when asked if he wanted to serve in the national government of a Uralic state, he seemed quite interested. With a large population of Mennonites having just settled in the Pazhga and Vizinga areas, Christian Sport began to grow at a quick pace, with many of them being soccer-mad. So just before the foundation of Uralica, he was approached by Salomäki again, this time to get financial backing for a recently-formed semi-pro club that wanted to turn pro, called Sikkivukarin Palloseura. So Zyrianov headed up a five-man consortium to buy the club (Salomäki was another member), and the SiPS legacy began there.
Zyrianov would become the first Komi to sign the Uralican Constitution on 18 March 2008, and has to date been the only Komi to have never missed a term in Uralican Tribal Council office. His wife completed her MA at Uralikan Yliopisto in early 2009, and he is now working on a PhD at the same, having started in January of 2010. He is also now among Uralica's richest people, although he gives a lot of his money (up to two-thirds of his yearly income) to various charities and youth sport projects. It was he who once said, "There's a reason Uralica has no billionaires. None of us could spend that kind of money on ourselves in a lifetime, so instead we give it to those who have a need."
- Zyrianov is a huge football (soccer) fan, and naturally supports the team he co-owns, SiPS, which is technically a separate venture from Christian Sport, Inc. He does technically own all CSFK teams in Uralica, but those are simply an arm of the Christian Sport. He also likes ice hockey and basketball.
- His official position on the SiPS Board is Chairman of Executive Operations.
- He is one of the few Uralican Tribal Council members who can actually tolerate country music. He admits, though, that Christian rock is his favourite genre, and that he is a huge The Myllyjärvi Family fan.
- His favourite non-Biblical author is John Calvin.
- He started the CS tradition of making complementary Bibles available for anyone who buys at least one item from the store. He says about two million free Bibles have been distributed this way, mainly to tourists but also to Uralicans whose language had not previously had Scripture, such as the Komi and Mari peoples.
- One of his ministries of choice for donations is the Uralican branch of the Institute for Bible Translation, whose headquarters is in Syktyvkar. He said his reasoning was a desire to see the Word in the Komi language, and this project was completed in mid-2010 thanks to several Komi-speaking linguistics students from UY as well as some foreign consultants, Jarkko Salomäki, Zsolt Hédervári, and Risto Tikkanen.