The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(self-designation, Buriat), a nation; the indigenous population of the Buriat Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. They also live in Aga-Buriat National Okrug, Chita Oblast, RSFSR; Ust’-Orda Buriat National Okrug, Irkutsk Oblast, RSFSR; and in several other regions of these oblasts. Groups of Buriats also live in the northern part of the Mongolian People’s Republic and the northeastern part of the People’s Republic of China. There are 315, 000 Buriats in the USSR (1970 census). Anthropologically, the Buriats belong to the Central Asiatic type of the Mongoloid race. They speak the Buriat language. The ancient religion of the Buriats was shamanism, which was replaced by Lamaism in Transbaikalia. Most Western Buriats nominally considered themselves members of the Orthodox Church, although shamanism was preserved. Vestiges of shamanism were also retained among the Lamaist Buriats.

In the 17th century the Buriats comprised several tribal groups, the largest of which were the Bulagat, Ekhirit, Kho-rints, and Khongodor tribes. Later, a certain number of Mongols and assimilated Evenki families joined the Buriats. The close relationship among the Buriat tribes and their subsequent consolidation into a single nation were determined historically by the similarity of their dialects and cultures, and also by the social and political unification of the tribes after their incorporation into the Russian Empire. This process was mostly completed by the late 17th and 18th centuries. Tribal differences were generally obliterated during the formation of the Buriat nation, although the distinctive dialect features were maintained.

Cattle breeding, seminomadic among the western tribes and nomadic among the eastern tribes, formed the basis of the Buriat economy; hunting and fishing also played a role in the economy. Farming was intensively practiced in the 18th and 19th centuries, particularly in Irkutsk Province and western Transbaikalia. The Buriats felt the strong influence of Russian material and spiritual culture. In the early 19th century education began to spread among the Buriats; the first schools were founded; and a national intelligentsia began to take shape. After the October Revolution, the Buriat people were transformed into a socialist nation during the years of socialist construction.


Narody Sibiri. Moscow-Leningrad, 1956. (Bibliography, pp. 999-1000).


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
This might be true of the Cossack communities in the Pontic steppe, but was it true of the Tatar communities in Crimea, the Kazakhs, and even the Buriats? Much depended on the extent of sedentarization, but that was bound to be a very limited and slow process.
A low index reflects a flat face, as shown particularly by the Buriats, other East Asians, and Kalahari Bushmen, whereas a high index reflects a medially protrusive face.
The Circassians, the Kalmyks, the Djungars, the Buriats and Tatars, the chieftains of the valiant Chinese Chunchuzes, sing songs of this day of revenge.
Through the offices of Ermak Timofeevich, the legendary Cossack pirate, by the early 1580s Muscovy was receiving revenue from the old Sibir' (Siberian) Khanate as well as recalcitrant steppe tribes such as Buriats and Kazakhs.
Manduhai, Buyandelgeriyn, 1999, << Who makes the Shaman: The Politics of Shamanic Practices among the Buriats in Mongolia >>, Inner Asia 1-2 : 221-244.
The Buriats still venerate sacred sites on its islands and shores.
The Transbaikal Buriats were well aware of their minority status both ethnically and religiously within the Russian empire.
Dorzhieva, Buddiiskaia tserkov' v Kalmykii v kontse XIX-pervoi polovine XX veka (Moscow: Institut rossiiskoi istorii, 2001); Dittmar Schorkowitz, "The Orthodox Church, Lamaism, and Shamanism among the Buriats and Kalmyks, 1825-1925," in Of Religion and Empire, 201-25; Galina G.
Modern anthropological studies of hunting and animal taboos among Buriats, Kalmyks, and Mongols include Henri-Paul Francfort, "Art, Archaeology, and the Prehistories of Shamanism in Inner Asia," in The Concept of Shamanism: Uses and Abuses, ed.
These minorities included the Buriats in Siberia and the Abkhazians in the Caucasus, who occupied an intermediate position between small minority groups in Russia's Far North, widely perceived at the rime as "lacking culture," and the nationalities with their own ancient high literary cultures, such as the Armenians and Georgians.
Ungern by contrast gathered his cavalry force--a mixed army group of mostly Buriats, Mongols, and Russian Cossacks known as the Asiatic Division--and headed instead for Mongolia.