Working Paper 142

Between Idel and Angara – the search for recognition and identity issues among Tatar organisations in Siberia

Artem Rabogoshvili


Jahr der Veröffentlichung


Working Paper 142

The paper is concerned with the rise and development of the Tatar national cultural movement in Russia from the viewpoint of the search for recognition by Tatar organisations in the country and the undergirding identity discourses among Tatar people. Focusing on two regions of East Siberia, Irkutsk Oblast and the Republic of Buryatia, I provide a comprehensive comparison of these two Tatar communities in terms of their migration history, the subsequent establishment of Tatar organisations and their activities, the role of national-cultural autonomies, and the growing significance of Islam. I argue, first, that despite the centralisation and homogenisation agenda promoted by the Russian federal authorities, the Tatar national cultural movement in the country has been underpinned to a greater extent by the strategic relationships between Tatarstan and other administrative regions of the country as well as by the policies of the local authorities towards Tatar organisations, rather than by the state-level policies of the Russian Federation. Second, despite a certain inconsistency and variability of motives within the Tatar cultural movement across the regions of Russia, the theme of Tatar identity has been central to the local discourses and as such involved the contestation of the Soviet-era definitions of ethnicity by the new meanings and/or religious forms of identity.

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