К интерпретации термина сакалиба в отчёте Ибн Фадлана
The paper is an attempt of a new interpretation of the term saqaliba that Ahmad ibn Fadlan, who was a 10-century Arab traveler, used in his Kitab as a designation of the population of the Middle Volga region. The most likely is that saqaliba in this region in the beginning of 10th century was a demonym, ie designation of certain territory residents, regardless of their genealogy and characteristics of the material and spiritual culture.
Genesis of the demonym could be associated with Imenkovo archaeological culture of 4-7th centuries AD, which is similar to authentically Slavic cultures. From VIII this culture was replaced by Turkic and Finno-Ugric cultures.
Volga Bulgaria emerged in the late 9th – early 10th century as the union of different ethnopolitical groups led by the Bulgars. In the 920's Almış, the ruler of the Bulgars, followed by Ibn Fadlan designated by the term "Sakaliba" ethno-political group in aggregate subordinated to Almış.
In the process of consolidating power of Bulgar leaders demonym saqaliba was replaced by the term bulghar in the writings of Ibn Rustah, al-Mas‘udi, Estakhri etc.