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The article presents a brief analysis of one of the episodes in the ethnic history of Russia. After the annexation of the lands of the Kazan khanate in the second half of the 16th century, the ethnic, ethno-cultural and ethno-confessional landscapes of the country changed signifi cantly. The share of peoples of the Turkic and Finno-Ugric groups has sharply increased. Among the peoples of the Turkic group there was a signifi cant number of fans of Islam. All this population, historically and culturally associated with the Muslim world hostile to Russia, created hotbeds of tension in the new territories. Therefore, the goal of state activity was to integrate all these peoples into the country’s social system as soon as possible. It was achieved by solving three problems. First of all, this is forced Christianization. It began immediately after the victory over Kazan and was implemented with varying success. The result of the policy of Christianization was not only the Chuvashs, Maris, Udmurts and some Tatars who adopted this religion, but also representatives of the same peoples who fl ed from Christianity to the Bashkir lands. In the southern Urals, they formed new identities along confessional lines. In the second place, the state was engaged in creating the class structure of the population. The creation of the Orenburg province, new settlements and the military class attracted the Turkic population – Tatars and Bashkirs. The result of this activity was the emergence of new identities on the basis of class. Is the Cossacks – Tatar Muslims and Christians, Teptyars, Meshcheryaks, Nagaybaks, Bashkirs. The third task was economic development. Peasant colonization by Russians, Mordvas, Tatars, Chuvashs, and others created vast pockets of ethnically mixed populations in the southern Urals. This situation has infl uenced the formation of many new local varieties of economic and cultural types. By the end of the 19th century, such new identities as Meshcheryaks, Teptyars, baptized Tatars, Nagaybaks and others were recorded in the southern Urals. The state’s three-hundredyear effort to unify the region’s ethno-cultural landscape has made it more complex.


Ethnic history, Turkic and Finno-Ugric peoples of the Volga region and the Urals, Christianization, estates, new identities.

Irek R. Atnagulov

Institute of History and Archeology of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Yekaterinburg, Russia

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