Issue 4

THE NEAR-BORDER FACTORS IN THE ETHNIC HISTORY AND CULTURE OF THE NAGAIBACKS
Year 2018 Number 4(61)
Pages 112-119 Type scientific article
UDC 39(943):94(470.56) BBK 63.521(=63)
Authors Belorussova Svetlana Yu.
Topic FRONTIERS IN THE HISTORY OF RUSSIA
Summary The new communities which evolved under the conditions of the Russian colonization at the cross-sections of traditions and cultures later developed into separate ethnic groups with their own territory, traditions, realities and mythology. In the second half of the 18th century the Nagaiback fortress (the Orenburg province) played the role of an assembly point and a place for receiving baptism for the non-Russians (the Tatar, the Nogai, the Bashkir, the Cheremis) and the foreigners — the escaped captives (the Arabs, the Turks, and the Persians), who were accepted as settlers or joined the Cossack teams acting as border guards at the steppe borders of the Russian Empire. As a result of their opposing the Bashkirs the newly baptized Cossacks of the Nagaiback fortress stuck together as a military brotherhood, which later formed the core of the Nagaiback community. The community evolved under the influence of the colonization policy of the state in the Orenburg province. The poly-ethnic zone affected the formation of the Nagaiback ethnic community, which easily adapted to various changes. Life in the near-border area throughout the whole period of the ethnic history of the Nagaibacks resulted in the formation of a certain ambivalence in their ethnicity (mobility–settled life, openness–closeness, tradition–innovation, friendliness–rivalry). During different periods of their history the Nagaibacks “turned on” these characteristics either individually, or in various combinations. The emphasis on closeness (the “introversive attitude”) gave them a chance to preserve their culture during the Soviet period. In the post-Soviet period they, on the contrary, mobilized their ethnicity via openness (the “extravert attitude”). The ethic dynamism predetermined the Nagaibacks’ transition from spatial mobility in the past to ethnic activation in modern times. Caught at a cross-road between different traditions — the nomadic and the settled, the Christian and the Islamic, the European and the Asian, the Nagaiback culture became perceptive and adaptive, while the nomadic and the near-border Cossack socio-cultural heritage served as a foundation for the mobility and flexibility in the Nagaibacks’ actions.
Keywords borderland, outskirts, Nagaibañks, Nagaibañk fortress, ethnicity, mobility, sedentary, Cossacks, Orthodoxy, tradition, innovation
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