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The article is devoted to the problem of interaction and interrelation between ethnic and confessional identity of the Kryashens, a Turk-language ethno-confessional community of Volga-Ural region. The Kryashens belong to Orthodox denomination, but speak Tatar language. The author examines two different local groups of the Kryashen ethnic community: Molkeevo and Zakazanskaya (outside-Kazan) groups. Every group has its own history of formation as well as specifi c ethno-confessional history that has infl uenced on their contemporary ethnic identity (ancestors of Mokeevo Kryashens belonged to “novokreshenye inorodzhi” (newly baptized Christian foreigners), ancestors of outside-Kazan Kryashens to “starokryashenye”).

The author analyzes the phenomena of contemporary identity of these two groups of the Kryashens and the interaction of ethnic and religion consciousness in their surroundings. The Kryashens of Zakazanskaya group have the distinct Kryashen ethnic identity that differ them from Molkeevo Kryashens, whose ethnic identity is very indeterminate. The confessional consciousness of Zakazanskaya Kryashens has a signifi cant infl uence on their ethnic identity, that greatly hold on affi liation to Orthodox denomination.

In this article an attempt to forecast the subsequent development of further existence of ethnic and cultural identity of the Kryashens both local groups in Tatarstan is made and the infl uence of the general situation in the Republic in the sphere of inter-ethnic relations on this process is analyzed.


The Kryashens, the Tatars, ethnic identity, religion consciousness, Orthodox Christianity, Islam

Ivan V. Sevastyanov

Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia

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