Neotraditionalism in Contemporary Soyot and Buryat Cultures: The Okinsky District Case Study

Elena Stanislavovna Soboleva


The Okinsky district of the Republic of Buryatia is a distant, hard-to-reach mountainous region in the Sayans. The local inhabitants preserve their identity, traditional way of life, highland nomadic type of herding. The Soyots regained their legal status of an ethnic minority in 2000 and the status of the traditional territory of local indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and the Russian Far East in December 2015. The local Buryats highlight their identity by large-scale projects like erecting the stela of the Khongodors, celebration of King Gesar’s myth in the Oka basin, etc. Neotraditionalism come out as a basis for the revival of Tibetan Buddhism introduced into the Oka region in the late XIX – early XX century. New rituals and myths are created to protect sacred territories, local vulnerable nature, archeological sites in the Oka basin. The neotraditionalistic trend appears to be useful also for promoting regional projects on ecological and religious tourism.


Neotraditionalism, Buryatia, Oka basin, Soyot, Buryat, status, culture, religion, Buddhism.

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