Mapping the Buddhist Lands of Russia: Understanding the Post-Soviet Sangha and Its Political Connections
Halfhill, Dana Louise
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Buddhism is officially one of the four traditional religions of Russia, along with Russian Orthodoxy, Judaism, and Islam. Buddhism can be found being practiced all over Russia, but it is primarily in the three autonomous republics of Buryatia, Kalmykia, Tuva. While all three regions have been successfully rebuilding temples and opening Buddhist organizations, there are a number of issues from drunken monks in Buryatia to a peaceful but complicated relationship with Tuvan Shamanism. Along with this, these three Buddhist movements have evolved differently over time. The intention of this thesis is to understand why these different trajectories have occurred and how they influence the socio-political climate in these regions. I argue that the main reasons for these different trajectories are historical and cultural in nature in that they have occurred primarily as a result of the treatment they received under the Soviet Union.