Udmurt Religious Practice Today: Between Native Traditions and World Religions



Udmurt, Orthodoxy, animism, Islam, syncretism


This article reflects on the complex Udmurt religious situation. The Udmurt, a minority group in Central Russia, have an animistic background and live today in different administrative units of the Russian Federation: they have their own Republic, Udmurtia, in which the majority of the population is composed by ethnic Orthodox Russians, but they live also, from West to East, in the Kirov oblast, in the Mari El Republic, in Tatarstan, in Bashkortostan, and in some smaller groups eastwards. In the core territory they were submitted to forced Evangelisation by the Orthodox Russians after their integration into Muscovy, in the 16th century. Eventually, the imposed conversion succeeded, while in regions where the dominant religion was Islam, and where many fled under pressure, they kept their original religious practice. This article investigates this group’s religious affiliations and real practice today, between Orthodoxy and Islam, observing that where Islam dominates, animism thrives while where Orthodoxy dominates, different forms of syncretistic religious practice keep the former worldview alive.


Download data is not yet available.