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The ethnic history of Russia, starting from the second half of the 16th century, is accompanied by the emergence of many new identities. Their genesis is connected with the inclusion of a number of non-Slavic (Turkic, Finno-Ugric and other) peoples of the Volga region, the Urals and Siberia, internal migrations and state policy on administrative, military, social and economic development of the annexed territories. One of these new identities was the nagaibaks. This group, which emerged as a class of Cossacks among the baptized Tatars of the Ufa province, has developed an ethnic self-consciousness over about 150 years of its development. This was facilitated by a number of factors that separated them from their ethnic ancestors – the Kazan Tatars. The main ones were religious and class affi liation, change of ethnic territory, geographical isolation from the Tatars, and new ethnic neighbors. In 1843, the nagaibaks were relocated from Western Bashkiria to the Southern Trans-Urals. Adaptation in the arid steppe, contacts with nomads-Kazakhs led to changes in the economic and cultural type of nagaibaks in the direction of increasing the livestock sector. On the other hand, contacts with Russian Cossacks infl uenced the further development of agriculture. As a result of all this, they have gained a new ethno-cultural image. The nagaibaks economic and cultural complex, which arose at the junction of the traditions of the settled agricultural cultures of Eastern Europe and the nomadic and pastoral steppe of Eurasia, has developed into an original system, which is equally similar and distinguishes it from the Russian and Kazakh. This circumstance, among other things, allowed the nagaibaks, a former class of baptized Tatars, to avoid assimilation and develop their own ethnic identity.


Ethnic history, the Turks, the Slavs, a new identity, Nagaibaks, Russians, Kazakhs, ethnic contacts, economy.

Irek R. Atnagulov

Institute of History and Archeology of the Ural branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Ekaterinburg, Russia

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