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Article

Buryat, Mongol and Buddhist: Multiple identities and disentanglement projects in the Baikal region, 1917–1919

Sablin I.

The Baikal region in Siberia had long been a zone of interactions between various European, Asian and global actors. Numerous relational spaces which were produced by the interactions were reconstructed in a geographic information system (GIS) and analysed jointly. The fall of the Qing and Russian empires resulted in energetic attempts to redraw administrative and international boundaries. Between 1917 and 1919 several disentanglement projects were developed and implemented by different actors, including indigenous intellectuals and Buddhist monks. These were the Buryat Autonomy proclaimed in 1917; the Buddhist theocracy created by a dissident Buddhist monk Lubsan Samdan Tsydenov; and the pan-Mongolian federation of Inner, Outer, Hulunbuir and Buryat Mongolia supported by Japanese officers and a regional Cossack leader Grigory Semenov. Each project underlined a certain group identity and claimed particular relational spaces. The article explored how the conflicts between overlapping identities were resolved, and why all three projects failed.