Valieriya Gazizova, University of Oslo

Even today, in spite of the westward expansion of Buddhism, Kalmykia remains the only ethnic Buddhist republic in Europe.

After almost a century of severe persecution of Buddhism by the Soviet government the traditional religious institutions of Kalmykia are being restored now. However, the present situation of religious revival in Kalmykia is very complex; it is much more than a restoration of only one Buddhist tradition. Though the Gelug remains the dominant official religion of Kalmykia, other Buddhist schools are developing dynamically.

Kalmyk folk religious traditions are also revitalizing at present, being represented by individual ritual experts. Of special interest are new religious movements based on Tibetan Buddhism as well as on old pre-Buddhist, folk religious Mongolian practices and cults. Buddhism in contemporary Kalmykia is not just revived but reinvented with new levels developing and new elements being added to what is believed to be “traditional Kalmyk Buddhism”.

Approx. 40 minutes. 179 MB.

About the lecturer

Valieriya Gazizova is a PhD Candidate at the Dept. of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages at the University of Oslo. Her academic interests are Buddhism in Tibet, Mongolia, Kalmykia, Buryatia and Tuva.

Published Mar. 7, 2012 4:37 PM