Bashkirs


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Bashkirs

 

(self-designation Bashqort), nation (natsiia; nation in the historical sense), indigenous population of the Bashkir ASSR. They also inhabit the Cheliabinsk, Orenburg, Kurgan, Perm’, Sverdlovsk, Kuibyshev, and Saratov oblasts. They speak the Bashkir language. Total population, 1,240,000 (1970 census), including 892,700 in the Bashkir ASSR. Bashkir believers are Muslim Sunnites.

The ethnogenesis of the Bashkirs is extremely complex. The Southern Urals and the surrounding steppes, where the formation of the people occurred, were for a long time areas of varied cultural and linguistic interaction. In the latter half of the first millennium B.C., the Sarmatians, Iranian-speaking cattle breeders, lived in the south, and hunting and farming tribes of the Ananino culture, ancestors of the Finno-Ugric peoples, lived in the north of Bashkiriia. In the first millennium A.D., Turkic nomads began to penetrate the Southern Urals, and by the end of the millennium they occupied all of Bashkiriia. The Turkic tribes, after driving out and partially assimilating the native inhabitants, apparently played a decisive role in the linguistic, cultural, and physical makeup of the Bashkirs. The first written records concerning the Bashkirs date from the ninth and tenth centuries. The formation of the main body of the people had very likely been completed by this time. The Oghuz-Pecheneg tribes, Volga-Kama Bulgars, and later the Kypchaks (11—13th centuries) and several Mongol tribes (13—14th centuries) all contributed to the ethnic composition of the Bashkirs. After the defeat of the Golden Horde, the Bashkirs came under the dominion of the Kazan, Nogai, and Siberian khanates. Annexation to the Muscovite State (1552–57), which put an end to tribal fractionation, furthered the solidarity of the Bashkir people.

The chief occupation of the Bashkirs in the past was nomadic cattle raising; hunting, apiculture, and handicrafts, including weaving, felt-making, the making of pileless carpets, embroidery, and leatherworking, were widespread. Between the 17th and 19th centuries the Bashkirs changed over to farming and a settled mode of life. Dwellings are predominantly of wood, wattle, and adobe construction, and in the past the eastern Bashkirs lived in felt yurts (tirme). Clothing was sewn from sheepskin, homespun, and purchased fabrics; various ornaments made of coral, beads, shells, and coins were common.

In present-day Bashkiria, which received national autonomy in 1919, heavy industry and highly mechanized agriculture were developed in the course of socialist construction. Fundamental changes have occurred in Bashkir living conditions. Major advances have been achieved in science and culture, a national intelligentsia has appeared, and a national literature and professional art have been created.

REFERENCES

Narody Evropeiskoi chasti SSSR, vol. 2. Moscow, 1964. (Bibliography.)
Arkheologiia i etnografiia Bashkirii, vols. 1–2. Ufa, 1962–64.

N. V. BIKBULATOV

References in periodicals archive ?
However, this rather rosy picture needs to be qualified with the caveat that, aside from the limited zemstvo experience, what forced Bashkirs into engaging with the tsarist state and the fast-integrating imperial market in this fashion was not necessarily the democratic impulse to participate.
As the Bashkirs evolve into an increasingly dispossessed estate characterized by privation, they disappear from the book's narrative as subjects with agency and become the objects of various government projects that tend to be assertively centrist at the imperial level and liberally inclusive at the local, zemstvo level, reflecting imperial politics following the assassination of Alexander II in 1881.
Although this patriotism in the end stifles the revolution, it also shifts the very center of loyalty in the empire from the tsar to the "people" and raises the question of how to define the "people" or the "nation." Bashkirs, or "Muslims" more broadly (which Steinwedel gradually introduces as a more prevalent category), rarely appear as a consideration in these debates at the beginning, but their electoral success in the first Duma election and in a few zemstvo districts sets off alarm bells.
He does not use sources in Turkic languages, nor does he pursue the Bashkirs beyond the extent to which they appear in tsarist--or more broadly Russian--sources as seen by the tsarist state, to evoke James Scott's intriguing work.
In the course of this extended story from 1552 to 1917, the region under focus came to be known as "Bashkiria," and its inhabitants expanded from the Turkic-speaking, nomadic, and Muslim Bashkir tribes along with a few other indigenous populations to an entire panoply of imperial subjects, among whom Russian Orthodox elites gradually gained both the center stage and the upper hand.
There are also some misleading implications, such as the suggestion that the Bashkirs and Kazakhs were only "weakly Islamized" in the late 19th century (see, for example, p.236)-an assertion that repeats the bias of late imperial Tatars and Russians, Il'minskii in particular (p.74), but does not interrogate the meanings of Islam to the people involved.
This legend is still preserved in the oral tradition of the Tatars and Bashkirs. The manuscript evidence suggests that it was first recorded in writing at the end of the eighteenth century.
The invention of a Tatar nation and its secession from the Bashkirs involved a departure from the notion of the historical unity of the Muslim peoples of the Volga-Ural region, ultimately leading to the creation of two separate autonomous Soviet republics with extremely complicated and conflicted ethnic structures.
But these global monsters convey entirely different ethical and supra-ethnic values," says the Executive Director of the Association of Tatars and Bashkirs of Kazakhstan, Rinat Abdulkhalikov.