As a result of the Ukraine War, the Buryats from Russia’s Far East gained sad notoriety as the Kremlin’s soldiers. Yet they are themselves a minority in their own country. 52 percent of the inhabitants of the Republic of Buryatia are ethnic Russians.
Decoration to the multicultural TOC festival. On August 8, 2022, a fair was held with the representatives of rural cultural groups. Here Mongolian souvenirs in front of a statue of Lenin. This is the largest Lenin bust in the world. (Source: official Telegramchannel of the Government of Buryatia, 2022)
Shaman performing rituals in the fog on the shore of Lake Baikal. In addition to Tibetan Buddhism, many Buryats describe themselves as believers in shamanism. More specifically, Tengrism, which focuses on the worship of nature and the tripartite nature of a person’s body, breath, life, and soul. Likewise, one pays homage to the ancestors and the shaman represents the bridge between the real and the spiritual world. (Source: Elena Kitch, shutterstock)
A farmer returns to his village on a horse-drawn carriage. Outside Ulan-Ude, much of the population leads a life as it has for centuries. With a GDP of $3,650 per capita, the republic ranks (74th out of 83) among the poorest in the republic. (Source: Tilpunov Mikhail, shutterstock, 2022)
Bone breaking mastery. The sport of bone-breaking is also rooted in this form of shamanism. Buryats break through the bare bone with the edge of their hand. The bone represents both death and eternity. Entire competitions have developed from this. (Source: Heer Shaalga Instagram-Kanal, 2022)
Baby Baikal seal on the frozen Lake Baikal. In addition, the vast landscape and abundant wildlife is predestined for tourism. For example, the eastern shore of Lake Baikal is located in Buryatia. (Source: Alaexy Kharitonov, 2022)
A Buddhist monk performs ritual dances in front of a datsan (Buddhist temple). Due to expansion and colonization by the Russian Empire in the 18th and 19th centuries, many Buryats adopted the Buddhist faith. The new religion strengthened the social and political infrastructure, giving the Buryats enough bargaining power to secure their own autonomy in the empire. (Source: Ghengis, Shutterstock, 2022)