The Old Believers of Buryatia: Introduction into the Soviet Society and the Problem of Relations with the Authority

UT Research Journal. Humanities Research. Humanities


Release:

2018, Vol. 4. №3

Title: 
The Old Believers of Buryatia: Introduction into the Soviet Society and the Problem of Relations with the Authority


For citation: Khomyakov S. V. 2018. “The Old Believers of Buryatia: Introduction into the Soviet Society and the Problem of Relations with the Authority”. Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates, vol. 4, no 3, pp. 167-178. DOI: 10.21684/2411-197X-2018-4-3-167-178

About the author:

Sergey V. Khomyakov, Cand. Sci. (Hist.), Junior Researcher, Department of History, Ethnology and Sociology, Institute for Mongolian, Buddhist and Tibetan Studies of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences; khomyakov777@yandex.ru

Abstract:

One of the central components of the Soviet ideology was the task of building a homogeneous society based on equalizing principles in the way of life and prosperity (which the Bolsheviks saw as the supreme value), as well as the emergence of access to cultural achievements and political processes. The feelings of patriotism and collectivist psychology of socialization of the individual were strengthened. This, in conjunction with the displacement of the religious worldview, was an indispensable attribute of a new “Soviet” person.

The common trend for the entire Soviet Union has affected also the Old Believers in Buryatia. For them, this “greater attention” from the authorities was not a novelty, as, beginning with the time of arrival of the Old Believers’ ancestors in the middle of the 17th century, they were subjected to ongoing persecutions and condemnations, both by the tsar authorities and by the Russian Orthodox Church. The Soviet authorities had a completely different policy toward the Old Believers. However, this caused a serious conflict arising from the purposeful breaking of the traditional foundations and religion.

This research aims to analyze specific features in the relationship between Soviet power and the inhabitants of the Old Believers’ villages in the Tarbagatai Aimag of the Buryat-Mongolian ASSR in the 1920s. This objective was implemented with the help of the narrative, the historical-genetic and the historical-comparative methods.

The Old Believers in Buryatia and the official authority continued their long term confrontation in the 1920s. The main difference was in enmity to the very institution of Soviet power, whereas in the imperial period the Old Believers negatively treated certain persons on the throne, supporting, in general, the idea of autocracy. Bolsheviks, fighting with the insularity of the Old Believers enclaves, used both common methods applied to the entire population of the country (atheism, the principle of class) and highly specialized (training of Old Believers young people in Verkhneudinsk and sending them to their place of birth to work in Soviet institutions). As a result of these actions, as well as the objective decline of traditional society in the 1920s, in general, in the Buryat-Mongolian ASSR, began the process of introduction of the Old Believers into the Soviet society under construction.

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