CKM 2019-20 / Aziz Yardımlı






Tatars (W)

The Tatars (/ˈtɑːtərz/; Tatar: татарлар, tatarlar; Russian: татары) are a Turkic ethnic group living mainly in Tatarstan and the wider Volga-Ural region. They speak Tatar, a Kipchak Turkic language. The vast majority of Tatars today reside in post-Soviet countries, primarily in Russia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. The vast majority of Tatars are Muslims.

The name Tatar first appears in written form on the Kul Tigin monument as 𐱃𐱃𐰺‎, Ta-tar and likely was referring to the Tatar confederation. That confederation was eventually incorporated into the Mongol Empire when Genghis Khan unified the various steppe tribes. Historically, the term Tatars (or Tartars) was applied to anyone originating from the vast Northern and Central Asian landmass then known as Tartary, which was dominated by various mostly Turco-Mongol semi-nomadic empires and kingdoms. More recently, however, the term has come to refer more narrowly to related ethnic groups who refer to themselves as Tatars or who speak languages that are commonly referred to as Tatar, namely Tatar by Volga Tatars (Tatars proper), Crimean Tatar by Crimean Tatars and Siberian Tatar by Siberian Tatars.

The largest group amongst the Tatars by far and the one called "Tatars" in Russian, are the Volga Tatars, native to the Volga-Ural region (Tatarstan and Bashkortostan), who for this reason are often also simply known as "Tatars". They compose 53% of the population in Tatarstan. Their language is known as the Tatar language. As of 2002, there were an estimated 5 million ethnic Tatars in Russia.

There is a common belief that Russians and Tatars are closely intermingled, illustrated by the famous saying "scratch any Russian just a little and you will discover a Tatar underneath" and the fact that a number of noble families in the Tsardom of Russia had Tatar origins; however, genetics show that majority of Russians form a cluster with Northern and Eastern Europeans (especially Belarusians and Ukrainians), and are relatively far from Tatar peoples. In modern-day Tatarstan, however, Russian-Tatar marriages are very common.


Cossacks fighting Tatars of the Crimean Khanate.


Name (W)

The name "Tatar" likely originated amongst the nomadic Mongolic-speaking Tatar confederation in the north-eastern Gobi desert in the 5th century. The name "Tatar" was first recorded on the Orkhon inscriptions: Kul Tigin (732 CE) and Bilge Khagan (735 CW) monuments as 𐰆𐱃𐰕𐱃𐱃𐰺‎, Otuztatar, ‘Thirty Tatar’ and 𐰸𐱃𐰕:𐱃𐱃𐰺‎, Tokuz Tatar,‘Nine Tatar, referring to the Tatar confederation.

Tatar became a name for populations of the former Golden Horde in Europe, such as those of the former Kazan, Crimean, Astrakhan, Qasim, and Siberian Khanates. The form Tartar has its origins in either Latin or French, coming to Western European languages from Turkish and the Persian language (tātār, “mounted messenger”). From the beginning, the extra r was present in the Western forms, and according to the Oxford English Dictionary this was most likely due to an association with Tartarus.

The Persian word is first recorded in the 13th century in reference to the hordes of Genghis Khan and is of unknown origin, according to OED "said to be" ultimately from tata, a name of the Mongols for themselves. The Arabic word for Tatars is تتار. Tatars themselves wrote their name as تاتار‎ or طاطار‎. The Chinese term for Tatars was 韃靼; Dádá, especially after the end of the Yuan period (14th century), but also recorded as a term for Mongolian-speaking peoples of the northern steppes during the Tang period (8th century). The name Tatars was used as an alternative term for the Shiwei, a nomadic confederation to which these Tatar people belonged.

Russians and Europeans used the name Tatar to denote Mongols as well as Turkic peoples under Mongol rule (especially in the Golden Horde). Later, it applied to any Turkic or Mongolic-speaking people encountered by Russians. Eventually, however, the name became associated with the Turkic Muslims of Ukraine and Russia, namely the descendants of Muslim Volga Bulgars, Kipchaks, Cumans, and Turkicized Mongols or Turko-Mongols (Nogais), as well as other Turkic-speaking peoples (Siberian Tatars, Qasim Tatars, and Mishar Tatars) in the territory of the former Russian Empire (and as such generally includes all Northwestern Turkic-speaking peoples).

Nowadays Tatar is usually used to refer to the people, but Tartar is still almost always used for derived terms such as tartar sauce, steak tartare, and the Tartar missile.

All Turkic peoples living within the Russian Empire were named Tatar (as a Russian exonym). Some of these populations still use Tatar as a self-designation, others do not.

The name Tatar is also an endonym to a number of peoples of Siberia and Russian Far East, namely the Khakas people.


The areas of settlement of Tatars in Russia according to the National Population Census 2010.

History (W)

As various nomadic groups became part of Genghis Khan's army in the early 13th century, a fusion of Mongol and Turkic elements took place, and the invaders of Rus' and the Pannonian Basin became known to Europeans as Tatars or Tartars (see Tatar yoke). After the breakup of the Mongol Empire, the Tatars became especially identified with the western part of the empire, known as the Golden Horde.

The various Tatar khanates of the early modern period represent the remnants of the breakup of the Golden Horde and of its successor, the Great Horde. These include:


The Mongol dominance in Central Asia was absolute during the 14th and 15th centuries. The Crimean-Nogai raids into Russia and Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth aimed especially at the capture of slaves, most of whom were exported to the Ottoman Empire. The raids were an important drain of the human and economic resources of both countries. They largely prevented the settlement of the “Wild Fields” – the steppe and forest-steppe land that extends from about 160 km (100 mi) south of Moscow to the Black Sea. The raids were also important in the development of the Cossacks.

The end of absolute Tatar dominance came in the late 15th century, heralded by the Great stand on the Ugra river in 1480. During the 16th through 18th centuries, the gradual expansion of Russia led to the absorption of the Tatar khanates into Russian territory. The Crimean Tatars attacked Russia in 1507, followed by two centuries of Russo-Crimean Wars for the Volga basin. Similarly, the Russo-Kazan Wars lasted for the best part of a century and ended with the Russian conquest of the Kazan khanate.

The last of the Tatar khanates, the Kazakhs, remained independent until 1822. Their last ruler, Kenesary Khan, was proclaimed khan of the Kazakhs when the Russian Empire was already fully in control of Kazakhstan; Russian law prohibited the Kazakhs from selecting their leader after 1822. The popular rise of Kenesary Khan was in defiance of Russian control of Kazakhstan, and his time as khan was spent on continuous fighting with the Russian imperial forces until his death in 1847.


Ottoman miniature of the Szigetvár campaign showing Ottoman troops and Tatars as vanguard.


Languages (W)

Contemporary distribution of Kipchak languages: Kipchak–Bolgar Kipchak–Cuman Kipchak–Nogay and Kyrgyz–Kipchak

The Tatar language, together with the Bashkir language, forms the Kypchak-Bolgar (also "Uralo-Caspian") group within the Kipchak languages (also known as Northwestern Turkic).

There are two Tatar dialects – Central and Western. The Western dialect (Misher) is spoken mostly by Mishärs, the Central dialect is spoken by Kazan and Astrakhan Tatars. Both dialects have subdialects. Central Tatar furnishes the base of literary Tatar.

The Siberian Tatar language are independent of Volga-Ural Tatar. The dialects are quite remote from Standard Tatar and from each other, often preventing mutual comprehension. The claim that Siberian Tarar is part of the modern Tatar language is typically supported by linguists in Kazan and denounced by Siberian Tatars.

Crimean Tatar is the indigenous language of the Crimean Tatar people. Because of its common name, Crimean Tatar is sometimes mistakenly seen as a dialect of Kazan Tatar. Although these languages are related (as both are Turkic), the Kypchak languages closest to Crimean Tatar are (as mentioned above) Kumyk and Karachay-Balkar, not Kazan Tatar.

Contemporary groups (W)

The largest Tatar populations are the Volga Tatars, native to the Volga region, and the Crimean Tatars of Crimea. Smaller groups of Lipka Tatars and Astrakhan Tatars live in Europe and the Siberian Tatars in Asia.


Volga Tatars

The Volga Bulgars, who settled on the Volga river in the 7th century AD and converted to Islam in 922 during the missionary work of Ahmad ibn Fadlan, inhabited the present-day territory of Tatarstan. After the Mongol invasions of 1223-1236, the Golden Horde annexed Volga Bulgaria. Most of the population survived, and there may have been a certain degree of mixing between it and the Kipchaks of the Horde during the ensuing period. The group as a whole accepted the exonym "Tatars" (finally in the end of the 19th century; although the name Bulgars persisted in some places; the majority identified themselves simply as the Muslims) and the language of the Kipchaks; on the other hand, the invaders eventually converted to Islam. As the Golden Horde disintegrated in the 15th century, the area became the territory of the Kazan khanate, which Russia ultimately conquered in the 16th century.

Some Volga Tatars speak different dialects of the Tatar language. Accordingly, they form distinct groups such as the Mişär group and the Qasim group:


A minority of Christianized Volga Tatars are known as Keräşens.

The Volga Tatars used the Turkic Old Tatar language for their literature between the 15th and 19th centuries. It was written in the İske imlâ variant of the Arabic script, but actual spelling varied regionally. The older literary language included many Arabic and Persian loanwords. The modern literary language, however, often uses Russian and other European-derived words instead.

Outside of Tatarstan, urban Tatars usually speak Russian as their first language (in cities such as Moscow, Saint-Petersburg, Nizhniy Novgorod, Tashkent, Almaty, and cities of the Ural and western Siberia) and other languages in a worldwide diaspora.

In the 1910s the Volga Tatars numbered about half a million in the Kazan Governorate in Tatarstan, their historical homeland, about 400,000 in each of the governments of Ufa, 100,000 in Samara and Simbirsk, and about 30,000 in Vyatka, Saratov, Tambov, Penza, Nizhny Novgorod, Perm and Orenburg. An additional 15,000 had migrated to Ryazan or were settled as prisoners in the 16th and 17th centuries in Lithuania (Vilnius, Grodno and Podolia). An additional 2000 resided in St. Petersburg.

Most Kazan Tatars practise Sunni Islam. The Kazan Tatars speak the Tatar language, a Turkic language with a substantial amount of Russian and Arabic loanwords.

Before 1917, polygamy was practiced only by the wealthier classes and was a waning institution.

An ethnic nationalist movement among Kazan Tatars that stresses descent from the Bulgars is known as Bulgarism – there have been graffiti on the walls in the streets of Kazan with phrases such as "Bulgaria is alive" (Булгария жива)

A significant number of Volga Tatars emigrated during the Russian Civil War of 1917–1922, mostly to Turkey and to Harbin, China. According to the Chinese government, 5,100 Tatars still live in Xinjiang province.


Crimean Tatars

The number of Crimean Tatars is estimated by UNPO to be between 240,000 and 300,000. The Crimean Tatars emerged as a nation at the time of the Crimean Khanate (1441-1783). The Crimean Khanate was a Turkic-speaking Muslim state that was among the strongest powers in Eastern Europe until the beginning of the 18th century.

The nobles and rulers of the Crimean Tatars descended from Hacı I Giray, a Jochid descendant of Genghis Khan and of his grandson Batu Khan of the Mongol Golden Horde. The Crimean Tatars mostly adopted Islam in the 14th century and thereafter Crimea became one of the centers of Islamic civilization. The Khanate officially operated as a vassal state of the Ottoman Empire, with great autonomy after 1448. The Russo-Turkish War of 1768 to 1774 resulted in the defeat of the Ottomans by the Russians, and according to the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca (1774) signed after the war, Crimea became independent and the Ottomans renounced their political right to protect the Crimean Khanate. After a period of political unrest in Crimea, Imperial Russia violated the treaty and annexed the Crimean Khanate in 1783.

The Crimean Tatars comprise three sub-ethnic groups:

  • the Tats (not to be confused with Tat people, living in the Caucasus region) who used to inhabit the Crimean Mountains before 1944 (about 55%)
  • the Yalıboyu who lived on the southern coast of the peninsula (about 30%)
  • the Noğay (about 15%)



Crimean Tatars in Romania and Bulgaria

Some Crimean Tatars have lived in the territory of today's Romania and Bulgaria since the 13th century. In Romania, according to the 2002 census, 24,000 people declared their ethnicity as Tatar, most of them being Crimean Tatars living in Constanța County in the region of Dobrogea. The Ottoman Empire re-settled Crimean Tatars there as colonists by the beginning in the 17th century.


Lipka Tatars

The Lipka Tatars are a group of Turkic-speaking Tatars who originally settled in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania at the beginning of the 14th century. The first settlers tried to preserve their shamanistic religion and sought asylum amongst the non-Christian Lithuanians. Towards the end of the 14th century Grand Duke Vytautas the Great of Lithuania (ruled 1392-1430) invited another wave of Tatars — Muslims, this time — into the Grand Duchy. These Tatars first settled in Lithuania proper around Vilnius, Trakai, Hrodna and Kaunas and spread to other parts of the Grand Duchy that later became part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1569. These areas comprise parts of present-day Lithuania, Belarus and Poland. From the very beginning of their settlement in Lithuania they were known as the Lipka Tatars.

From the 13th to 17th centuries various groups of Tatars settled and/or found refuge within the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Grand Dukes of Lithuania especially promoted the migrations because of the Tatars' reputation as skilled warriors. The Tatar settlers were all granted szlachta (nobility) status, a tradition that survived until the end of the Commonwealth in the late-18th century. Such migrants included the Lipka Tatars (13th-14th centuries) as well as Crimean and Nogay Tatars (15th-16th centuries), all of which were notable in Polish military history, as well as Volga Tatars (16th–17th centuries). They all mostly settled in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

Various estimates of the Tatars in the Commonwealth in the 17th century place their numbers at about 15,000 persons and 60 villages with mosques. Numerous royal privileges, as well as internal autonomy granted by the monarchs, allowed the Tatars to preserve their religion, traditions, and culture over the centuries. The Tatars were allowed to intermarry with Christians,a practice uncommon in Europe at the time. The May Constitution of 1791 gave the Tatars representation in the Polish Sejm (parliament).

Although by the 18th century the Tatars had adopted the local language, the Islamic religion and many Tatar traditions (e.g. the sacrifice of bulls in their mosques during the main religious festivals) survived. This led to the formation of a distinctive Muslim culture, in which the elements of Muslim orthodoxy mixed with religious tolerance formed a relatively liberal society. For instance, the women in Lipka Tatar society traditionally had the same rights and status as men, and could attend non-segregated schools.

About 5,500 Tatars lived within the inter-war boundaries of Poland (1920–1939), and a Tatar cavalry unit had fought for the country's independence. The Tatars had preserved their cultural identity and sustained a number of Tatar organisations, including Tatar archives and a museum in Vilnius.

The Tatars suffered serious losses during World War II and furthermore, after the border change in 1945, a large part of them found themselves in the Soviet Union. It is estimated that about 3000 Tatars live in present-day Poland, of which about 500 declared Tatar (rather than Polish) nationality in the 2002 census. There are two Tatar villages (Bohoniki and Kruszyniany) in the north-east of present-day Poland, as well as urban Tatar communities in Warsaw, Gdańsk, Białystok, and Gorzów Wielkopolski. Tatars in Poland sometimes have a Muslim surname with a Polish ending: Ryzwanowicz; another surname sometimes adopted by more assimilated Tatars is Tatara or Tataranowicz or Taterczyński, which literally mean "son of a Tatar".

The Tatars played a relatively prominent role for such a small community in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth military as well as in Polish and Lithuanian political and intellectual life. In modern-day Poland, their presence is also widely known, due in part to their noticeable role in the historical novels of Henryk Sienkiewicz (1846–1916), which are universally recognized in Poland. A number of Polish intellectual figures have also been Tatars, e.g. the prominent historian Jerzy Łojek.

A small community of Polish-speaking Tatars settled in Brooklyn, New York City, in the early-20th century. They established a mosque that remained in use as of 2017.


Astrakhan Tatars

The Astrakhan Tatars (around 80,000) are a group of Tatars, descendants of the Astrakhan Khanate's population, who live mostly in Astrakhan Oblast. In the Russian census in 2010, most Astrakhan Tatars declared themselves simply as Tatars and few declared themselves as Astrakhan Tatars. Many Volga Tatars live in Astrakhan Oblast and differences between them have been disappearing.


Siberian Tatars

The Siberian Tatars occupy three distinct regions:

They originated in the agglomerations of various indigenous North Asian groups which, in the region north of the Altay, reached some degree of culture between the 4th and 5th centuries, but were subdued and enslaved by the Mongols. The 2010 census recorded 6,779 Siberian Tatars in Russia. According to the 2002 census there are 500,000 Tatars in Siberia, but 400,000 of them are Volga Tatars who settled in Siberia during periods of colonization.

Genetics (W)

Comparison of the proportions of Caucasoid and Mongoloid characteristics in the gene pools of ethnic groups in the Volga-Ural region revealed a heterogenous pattern. Data on the proportions of major racial components in the nuclear genome indicated that the Mongoloid characters were most prevalent in Bashkirs, Maris, Volga Tatars, and Chuvashes, while the Caucasoid component was maximum in Mordovians, Komis, and Udmurts. Data on restriction-deletion polymorphism of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) also indicated an increased Caucasoid contribution to Mordovian, Udmurt, and Komi gene pools and an increased Mongoloid component in Chuvashes and Volga Tatars. In general, the results obtained agree with ethnic anthropological data indicating the greatest Caucasoid contribution to the Mordovian and Komi gene pools and an increased Mongoloid component in Turkic populations of the Volga-Ural region (Volga Tatars, Bashkirs and Chuvashes).




Idel-Ural = Volga Urals (Volga Uralları) (W)

Idel-Ural (Tatar: Идел-Урал, Russian: Идель-Урал) literally Volga-Ural is a historical region in Eastern Europe, in what is today Russia. The name literally means Volga-Urals in the Tatar language. The frequently used Russian variant is Volgo-Uralye (Russian: Волго-Уралье). The term Idel-Ural is often used to designate 6 republics of Russia {!} of this region: Bashkortostan, Chuvashia, Mari El, Mordovia, Tatarstan, and Udmurtia, especially in Tatar-language literature or in the context of minority languages.

Idel-Ural is at the center of the Volga Federal District (Поволжье, Povolzhye). The major religions in the region are Islam and Orthodox Christianity.

Before being conquered by the Tsardom of Russia in the 16th century, the region was dominated by native Uralic tribes and a succession of Turkic empires, such as Volga Bulgaria, the Khazars, the Golden Horde, and the Khanate of Kazan.


Idel-Ural State

Idel-Ural State 1918-1918 (W)

Idel-Ural. (W)

The Idel-Ural State was a short-lived Tatar republic located in Kazan that claimed to unite Tatars, Bashkirs, Volga Germans, and the Chuvash in the turmoil of the Russian Civil War. Often viewed as an attempt to recreate the Khanate of Kazan, the republic was proclaimed on March 1, 1918, by a Congress of Muslims from Russia's interior and Siberia. “Idel-Ural” means “Volga-Ural” in the Tatar language.

The Republic, which in reality included only some sections of Kazan, was defeated by the Red Army on 28 March 1918.

The president of Idel-Ural, Sadrí Maqsudí Arsal, escaped to Finland in 1918. He was well received by the Finnish foreign minister Carl Enckell, who remembered his valiant defence of the national self-determination and constitutional rights of Finland in the Russian Duma. The president-in-exile also met officials from Estonia before continuing in 1919 to Sweden, Germany and France, in a quest for Western support. Idel-Ural was listed among the “Captive Nations” in the Cold War-era public law (1959) of the United States.

Zeki Validi Togan (W)

Zeki Velidi Togan 1890-1970 (W)


Zeki Velidi Togan (Bashkir: Әхмәтзәки Әхмәтшаһ улы Вәлиди, romanized: Äxmätzäki Äxmätşah ulı Wälidi; Russian: Ахмет-Заки Ахметшахович Валидов, Turkish: Ahmet Zeki Velidi Togan, 1890-1970 Istanbul), was a Bashkir historian, Turkologist, and leader of the Bashkir revolutionary and liberation movement.

Biography (W)


The Zeki Velidi Togan National Library of the Republic of Bashkortostan in Ufa.  

Monument to Zeki Velidi Togan in the yard of Saint Petersburg State University.

He was born in Kuzyanovo (Bashkir: Көҙән) village of Sterlitamak uyezd, Ufa Governorate (in present-day Ishimbaysky District, Bashkortostan).

From 1912-1915 Velidi taught in the madrassa (school) in Kazan (Qasímiä), and from 1915 to 1917 he was a member of bureau, supporting Muslim deputies at the State Duma. In 1917 he was elected to the Millät Mäclese, and with Şerif Manatov he organized the Bashkir Shura (Council). During the Bashkir Congress in Orenburg from December 1917, he declared Bashkortostan’s autonomy. However, he was arrested 3 February 1918 by the Soviet forces. In April 1918 he managed to escape and joined the forces confronting the Bolsheviks.

In 1918 and 1919 Velidi's Bashkir troops first fought under Ataman Alexander Dutov, then under Admiral Kolchak against Bolshevik forces. After the RSFSR promised autonomy to Bashkirs, Velidi switched allegiance, fighting with the Bolsheviks.

From February 1919 to June 1920, he was chairman of the Bashrevkom (Bashkir Revolutionary Committee). He attended the Congress of the Peoples of the East held in Baku in September 1920, where he became involved in drawing up the statutes of ERK, a Muslim Socialist organisation. However, feeling the Bolsheviks had broken their promises, he became more critical of them when he moved to Central Asia.

In Turkistan, Velidi became a leader of the Basmachi Movement. (Paksoy 1992) From 1920 to 1923 he was chairman of the "National Union of Turkistan". In 1923 Validi emigrated, after discovering original manuscripts of Ahmad ibn Fadlan in Iran.

From 1925 Velidi lived in Turkey and was appointed Chair of Turkish History at the Istanbul University in 1927. However, his controversial views criticizing the Turkish History Thesis forced him to seek refuge in Vienna, where he gained a doctor of philosophy at the University of Vienna in 1935. Following he became a professor at Bonn University (1935-1937) and Göttingen University (1938-1939). On the 3 May 1944 protests in support of Nihal Atsız occurred, who was on trial and on the 9 May he was detained together with other Pan-Turkists like Alparslan Türkeş, Atsız and Türkkan. In March 1945 he was sentenced to 10 years of hard labor. In 1947 a retrial ended with the release of all defendants. In 1953 he became organizer of the İslam Tetkikleri Enstitüsü (Institute for Islamic Studies) at Istanbul University. In 1967, he was given an honorary doctorate from the University of Manchester. At the same time he contributed to the Encyclopedia of Turkic Peoples. His articles about culture, language and history of Turkic peoples have been translated into many languages.


  Tatarstan, declared itself to be a sovereign state after a referendum on 21 March 1992. Negotiations with Russia led to the signing of a treaty in 1994 which ended Tatarstan's de facto independence, but reserved significant autonomy for the Tatarstan government. In 2002 a new constitution was enacted for Tatarstan which removed the prior constitution's declaration that Tatarstan was a sovereign state. (W)

📹 Kazan / City — People — Sights (VİDEO)

📹 Kazan / City — People — Sights (LINK)

Want to take a look at modern Kazan, Russia? Its the third capital and a very beautiful city. Lets explore it together.



Tatarstan (W)

Tatarstan map.

The Republic of Tatarstan (Russian: Респу́блика Татарста́н, romanized: Respúblika Tatarstán; Tatar: Татарстан Республикасы), or simply Tatarstan (Russian: Татарста́н, romanized: Tatarstán; Tatar: Татарстан), is a federal subject (a republic) of the Russian Federation, located in the Volga Federal District. Its capital is the city of Kazan.

The republic borders Kirov, Ulyanovsk, Samara, and Orenburg Oblasts, the Mari El, Udmurt, and Chuvash Republics, and the Republic of Bashkortostan. The area of the republic is 68,000 square kilometres (26,000 sq mi). The unofficial Tatarstan motto is Bez Buldırabız! (We can!). As of the 2010 Census, the population of Tatarstan was 3,786,488.

The state has strong cultural ties with its eastern neighbor, the Republic of Bashkortostan.

The state languages of the Republic of Tatarstan are Tatar and Russian.


"Tatarstan" derives from the name of the ethnic group — the Tatars — and the Persian suffix -stan (meaning "state" or "country" of, an ending common to many Eurasian countries). Another version of the Russian name is "Тата́рия" (Tatariya), which was official along with "Tatar ASSR" during the Soviet rule.


The republic is located in the center of the East European Plain, approximately 800 kilometers (500 mi) east of Moscow. It lies between the Volga River and the Kama River (a tributary of the Volga), and extends east to the Ural mountains.

History (700-1770) (W)


The earliest known organized state within the boundaries of Tatarstan was Volga Bulgaria (c. 700-1238). The Volga Bulgars had an advanced mercantile state with trade contacts throughout Inner Eurasia, the Middle East, and the Baltic, which maintained its independence despite pressure by such nations as the Khazars, the Kievan Rus, and the Cuman-Kipchaks. Islam was introduced by missionaries from Baghdad around the time of Ibn Fadlan's journey in 922.

Volga Bulgaria finally fell to the armies of the Mongol prince Batu Khan in the late 1230s (see Mongol invasion of Volga Bulgaria). The inhabitants, mixing with the Golden Horde's Kipchak-speaking people, became known as the "Volga Tatars". Another theory postulates that there were no ethnic changes in that period, and Bulgars simply switched to the Kipchak-based Tatar language. In the 1430s, the region again became independent as the base of the Khanate of Kazan, a capital having been established in Kazan, 170 km (110 mi) up the Volga from the ruined capital of the Bulgars.

The Khanate of Kazan was conquered by the troops of Tsar Ivan the Terrible in the 1550s, with Kazan being taken in 1552. A large number of Bulgars were killed and forcibly converted to Christianity and were culturally Russified. Cathedrals were built in Kazan; by 1593 all mosques in the area were destroyed. The Russian government forbade the construction of mosques, a prohibition that was not lifted until the 18th century by Catherine the Great. The first mosque to be rebuilt under Catherine's auspices was constructed in 1766-1770.


  History of Tatarstan

History of Tatarstan

History of Tatarstan (W)

Volga river.

Volga near Ulyanovsk.

The region of Tatarstan, now within the Russian Federation, was inhabited by different groups during prehistory. The state of Volga Bulgaria grew up during the Middle Ages and for a time was subject to the Khazars. The Volga Bulgars became Muslim and incorporated various Turkic peoples to form the modern Volga Tatar ethnic group.

The region came under the domination of the Khanate of Kazan in the 15th century. The khanate was conquered by Ivan the Terrible in 1552 and abolished in 1708. This period was marked by settlement of the area by Russians and attempts at conversion to Orthodox Christianity, provoking a number of rebellions among the Tatars and neighbouring groups. In the late 18th and 19th centuries industry developed, economic conditions improved and Tatars achieved more equal status with Russians. However, Tatar national consciousness was growing, and upon the October Revolution of 1917, national institutions were established and independence declared as the Idel-Ural State. After several years of civil war the Soviet government suppressed independence and established the Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic within the Soviet Union.

Under Soviet rule there was a famine followed by progressive decline of the Tatar language, culture and religion both Christian and Muslim. The discovery of large petroleum deposits helped to promote further major growth in industry. Around the time of the fall of the USSR in 1991 there were again moves for independence, but in 1994 the region, under the name of Tatarstan, became a constituent republic of the Russian Federation. In 2008 a national assembly, the Milli Mejlis, declared Tatarstan independent, but this status has not been recognised by the United Nations or the Russian government.


Volga river.

Human habitation in Tatarstan dates back to the Palaeolithic period. Remains of several cultures of the Stone and Bronze Ages have been discovered within Tatarstan.

During the Iron Age (8th century BCE – 3rd century CE), the Ananyino culture, probably a Finno-Ugrian people, dominated the area of the upper Volga and Kama river valleys. From the middle of the 1st millennium BC western Tatarstan was occupied by the Gorodets culture.

From the 4th century BCE much of the Volga-Kama basin was occupied by tribes of the İmänkiskä culture, who are thought to have been related to the Scythians, speakers of one of the Indo-European languages. Around the beginning of the 1st century CE a new group, the so-called Pyanobor culture (probably of Finnic origin) appeared at the lower Kama.

During the great migrations of late antiquity Siberian Turkic and Ugric tribes settled the region east of the middle Volga and forced out the Pyanobor culture from the Kama basin. The Pyanobor tribes lingered on in what are now the north and north-western parts of Tatarstan.

Turkic peoples

The period from roughly 500 to 700 CE saw an influx of Turkic-speaking nomads. These immigrants' culture was related to those of the Göktürks, Khazars and the tribes of Great Bulgaria.

Volga Bulgaria

The 9th and 10th centuries saw the rise of the first organized state in the region, the Khanate of the Volga Bulgars. The population of Volga Bulgaria was largely agricultural. The cities of Bolghar, Bilär, and Suar, among others, appeared with the growth of industry (casting, forging) and trade. Crop-growing and a cattle-breeding played a major role in the economy. The farmers were predominantly free landowners.

In the early 10th century the Volga Bulgars converted to Islam, causing their culture to be greatly influenced by that of the Muslim Middle East.


Mongol invasion

After the conquest of Volga Bulgaria by Mongol troops under Batu Khan the country was under the control of the khans of the Golden Horde. As a result of the admixing of different Turkic peoples and languages to the Volga Bolgars during this period, the modern Volga Tatar ethnos emerged.

Khanate of Kazan

In the first half of the 15th century, as the result of Golden Horde’s collapse, the Khanate of Kazan emerged as the dominant power in the Volga-Kama region. As Muscovy grew in power and struggled for control of trade routes and territory with the Golden Horde's successor states, Kazan was at times dominated by factions favorable to Moscow, and at other times by factions advocating alliance with other Tatar polities such as the Crimean Khanate. Finally, the khanate was conquered by Ivan the Terrible in 1552.

After the Russian invasion

After 1552 the khanate was governed by Kazan Palace's Office formed in Moscow. In 1555 a bishop was appointed in Kazan with a mandate to baptize the Idel-Ural peoples. Many churches and monasteries were built, and Russian peasants and craftsmen were resettled within Tatarstan. At the same time ethnic Tatars were removed from Kazan proper as well as regions close to rivers and roads. Under pressure from the Russians many Tatars emigrated to the Upper Kama, Trans-Kama area, Bashkortostan, the Urals and Siberia during the 16th and 17th centuries. The result was a decline in agriculture, industry and commerce throughout the region. The local population was forced to pay the yasaq tax. Some part of the Tatar nobility were included in the nobility of the Russian Empire; many underwent baptism to keep their privileges.

In 1708, the Khanate of Kazan was abolished and the province was placed under the control of a new Kazan Governorate. It included Middle Volga and Western Urals. Kazan, with 20,000 citizens, was one of major trade and handicraft centers of Russia. Manufacturing developed and in the beginning of 19th century major hide, soap and candle factories appeared. A class of Tatar merchants arose, who carried on brisk trade with Central Asia.

Restrictions in occupation, heavy taxation, and discrimination against non-Christians blocked the cultural and economic development of the Tatars. Several rebellions and peasants' wars broke out as a result. During the Time of Troubles, the Kazan khanate regained its independence with the aid of factions within the Russian army. Cangali bek, a Tatar nobleman, led another revolution in 1616. Other insurrections among the Volga Tatars included the Bolotnikov movement (1606-1607), Batırşa movement (1755-1756), and Pugachev's war (1773-1775). Other peoples of the Idel-Ural region took part in these conflicts.

In 1773, Muslims in Russia were granted greatly expanded rights. In 1784 Tatar noblemen (morzalar) had equal rights with Russian noblemen (dvoryane).

Tatar soldiers took part in all Russian wars, sometimes in national units (as was the case during the Napoleonic Wars).

After the reforms of the 1860s in Imperial Russia economic conditions in Tatarstan improved markedly. Stolypin’ss reforms led to accelerated economic development of the rural areas. In the 19th century a large middle class developed among the Tatars. The Russian Revolution of 1905 awakened Tatar national consciousness and led to calls for equal rights, development of a distinct national culture and national self-consciousness as well as other freedoms. The pan-Islamic Russian party Ittifaq al-Muslimin represented the growing nationalist camp within the State Duma. The first Tatar mass-media appeared during this period with the publication of Tatar language newspapers such as "Yoldız", "Waqıt", "Azat", "Azat xalıq", "İrek", "Tañ yoldızı", "Nur", "Fiker", "Ural", "Qazan möxbire", "Älğäsrelcädid", "Şura", "Añ", and "Mäktäp". The first Tatar professional theatre, the Säyyär also emerged at this time.


  Volga Tatars

Volga Tatars

Volga Tatars (W)

The Volga Tatars are a Turkic ethnic group native to the Volga-Ural region of Russia. They are subdivided into various subgroups. Volga Tatars are Russia's second-largest ethnicity after the Russians. They compose 53% of the population of Tatarstan and 25% of the population of Bashkortostan.

Volga Tatar history (W)

Tatars inhabiting the Republic of Tatarstan, a federal subject of Russia, constitute one third of all Tatars, while the other two thirds reside outside Tatarstan. Some of the communities residing outside Tatarstan developed before the Russian Revolution of 1917, as Tatars were specialized in trading.

The emergence of ethnonym "Tatar" is disputed: two theories independently explain its origins. The Mongol thesis, according to which etymology can be traced back to the Chinese "Ta-Tan" or "Da-Dan", is more widely accepted than Turkic one. Ethnonym "Tatar" first emerged in the fifth century CE/AD.

During the 14th century, Sunni Islam was adopted by many of the Tatars. Tatars became subjects of Russia after the Siege of Kazan in 1552. Since Russians associated Tatars with the Mongol Golden Horde (which ruled Russia in the 13th century), they began to negatively stereotype the Tatar people. Such negative stereotypes have persisted into modern Russian society. Some Tatar intellectuals have tried to link Tatar heritage with the historic Bulgar population of today's Tatarstan.

Russians were using the Tatar ethnonym during the 18th and 19th centuries to denote all Turkic inhabitants of the Russian Empire, but, before the emergence of the Soviet Union, the Turkic peoples of the Russian Empire did not generally identify as Tatars. Up to the end of the 19th century, Volga Tatars mainly identified as Muslims, until the rehabilitation of the ethnonym Tatar occurred. Russian officials used literary Tatar language to interact with the Turkic peoples of the Russian Empire before the end of the 19th century. The Volga Tatar role in the Muslim national and cultural movements of the Russian Empire before the 1917 Revolution is significant and they continued even after 1917. Tatar authorities have attempted since the 1990s, after the fall of the Soviet Union, to reverse the Russification of Tatarstan that took place during the Soviet period.

Volga Tatar subgroups (W)

Kazan Tatars

The majority of Volga Tatars are Kazan Tatars. They form the bulk of the Tatar population of Tatarstan. Traditionally, they inhabit the left bank of Volga river.

Khazar invasions forced the Bulgars, Turkic people, to migrate from the Azov steppes to the Middle Volga and lower Kama region during the first half of the eighth century. In the period of 10th-13th centuries, Turkic peoples, including Kipchaks, migrated from southern Siberia to Europe. They played a significant role in the Mongol invasion of Rus' in the 13th century. Tatar ethnogenesis took place after Turkic peoples, who were mixed with the Bulgars and other local inhabitants of the Volga River area, kept Kipchak dialect and became Muslims. Several new Tatar states had emerged by the 1500s after the Golden Horde fell. These states were Khanate of Kazan, Astrakhan Khanate, Khanate of Sibir and Crimean Khanate.

Controversy surrounds the origin of the Tatar people, whether they are descended either from Bulgars or Golden Horde. According to one theory, Kazan Tatar heritage can be traced back to Kipchaks of the Golden Horde, yet according to another theory, the Tatars emerged from the Bulgar culture that survived the Mongol conquest of 1236-1237.



Mishars (or Mişär-Tatars) are an ethnographic group of Volga Tatars speaking Mishar dialect of the Tatar language. They comprise approximately one third of the Volga Tatar population. They are descendants of Cuman-Kipchak tribes who mixed with the Burtas in the Middle Oka River area and Meschiora. Nowadays, they live in Chelyabinsk, Ulyanovsk, Penza, Ryazan, Nizhegorodskaya oblasts of Russia and in Tatarstan, Bashkortostan and Mordovia.

Qasím Tatars

The Qasím Tatars have their capital in the town of Qasím (Kasimov in Russian transcription) in Ryazan Oblast. See "Qasim Khanate" for their history. Today, there are 1,100 Qasím Tatars living in Kasimov. There is no reliable information about their number elsewhere.


Noqrat Tatars

Noqrat Tatars live in Russia's Republic of Udmurtia and Kirov Oblast. In 1920s their number was around 15,000 people.

Perm (Ostyak) Tatars

Ethnographic subgroup of Kazan Tatars that lives in Russia's Perm Krai. Some Tatar scholars (as Zakiev) name them Ostyak Tatars. Their number is (2002) c.130,000 people.


A policy of Christianization of the Muslim Tatars was enacted by the Russian authorities, beginning in 1552, resulting in the emergence of Keräşens (Christianized Tatars).

Many Volga Tatars were forcibly Christianized by Ivan the Terrible during the 16th century, and later, during the 18th century.

Some scientists suppose that the Suars were ancestors of the Keräşen Tatars, and had been converted to Christianity by Armenians in the 6th century while they lived in the Caucasus. Suars, like other tribes which later converted to Islam, became Volga Bulgars, and later the modern Chuvash (who are Orthodox Christians) and Kazan Tatars (who are Muslims).

Keräşen Tatars live in much of the Volga-Ural area. Today, they tend to be assimilated among the Chuvash and Tatars. Eighty years of Atheistic Soviet rule made Tatars of both faiths not as religious as they once were. Russian names are largely the only remaining difference between Tatars and Keräşen Tatars.

Some Cuman tribes in the Golden Horde were converted to Christianity in the 13th and 14th centuries (Nestorianism). Some prayers, written during that time in the Codex Cumanicus, sound like modern Keräşen prayers, but the connection between Christian Cumans and modern Keräşens is unknown.




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