The Socialist Way of Life in Siberia: Transformation in Buryatia

The Socialist Way of Life in Siberia: Transformation in Buryatia

The Socialist Way of Life in Siberia: Transformation in Buryatia

The Socialist Way of Life in Siberia: Transformation in Buryatia

Synopsis

The Buryats are a Mongolian population in Siberian Russia, the largest indigenous minority. The Socialist Way of Life in Siberia presents the dramatic transformation in their everyday lives during the late twentieth century. The book challenges the common notion that the process of modernization during the later Soviet period created a Buryat national assertiveness rather than assimilation or support for the state.

The author examines what it has meant to “be a Buryat” and “be a successful Buryat” in three periods: in the Tsarist Russian Empire; under Socialism; and in present-day Russia. For a number of historical and cultural reasons the Buryats and especially their intellectual elite became an integral and efficient part of the Russian administrative and cultural life. By 1991 they were overrepresented in nearly every profession in their autonomous republic, although they comprised just a quarter of its population. The first monograph devoted to Buryat history and the Soviet modernization, this study questions common ideas regarding nationalism, identity, westernization, modernity, and the tenacity of ethnicity.

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