Concepts of historical memory of Kryashen in Tatarstan: elitists versions of history and collective memory

The article considers how ethnic entrepreneurs, manipulating various historical facts, formed opposing versions of the history of the origin of the Kryashen or Baptized Tatars in Tatarstan. The author describes the concepts of the historical memory of Kryashen, everyday ideas of Kryashen about history, as well as popular versions of the origin of baptized Tatars, which are supported by the population of the republic. The study is based on the analysis of textbooks on the history of the Tatar people, popular science literature, and the mass media, narratives from 170 interviews and questionnaire data from Kazan. An analysis of the data shows that at the level of mass representations, the most popular is the version promoted by the main political player, the elite of the republic: the Kryashens appeared as a result of the forced baptism of the Tatars in the 16th century. A popular version among the Kryashens themselves is that the Kryashens were never part of the Tatar people, because they were never Muslims. The study shows that at the level of the elite discourse the unity of the Tatar people is declared and the differences between the Tatars and the Kryashens are leveled. However, at the level of everyday interaction, the Tatars did not observe the same attitude towards the Kryashens.


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