Siberian Tatars

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Siberian Tatars
Siberian Tatars.jpg
Siberian Tatars
Regions with significant populations
 Russia 6,779[1] (2010 census)
Siberian Tatar
Sunni Islam, Shamanism
Related ethnic groups
several Siberian ethnic groups

Siberian Tatars (Siberian Tatar: Сыбырлар, сыбыртар) refers to the indigenous Siberian Tatar population of the forests and steppes of South Siberia stretching from somewhat east of the Ural Mountains to the Yenisei River in Russia. The Siberian Tatars call themselves Yerle Qalyq, or "older inhabitants," to distinguish themselves from more recent Volga Tatar immigrants to the region.[3]

The word "Tatar" or "Tadar" is also used as a self-designation by some closely related Siberian ethnic groups, namely the Chulym, Shor, Teleut and Khakas peoples.

According to the 2002 census, there are 500,000 Tatars in Siberia, but only 9,611 of them are indigenous Siberian Tatars. At least 400,000 are ethnic Volga Tatars, who settled in Siberia during periods of colonisation.[4] The Volga Tatars are an ethnic group who are native to the Volga-Ural region.

As of yet, the Siberian Tatars do not have public education available in the Siberian Tatar language. In local schools the lessons are taught only in Russian and Volga Tatar languages. Neither are indigenous to the area and were brought more than two centuries ago by the ethnic Russian and Volga Tatar settlers.


Flag of Siberian Tatars. Presumably, the blue color means belonging to the Turkic people, green means relation to Islam. White is the symbol of Siberia. The crescent and eight-pointed star is found in Muslim and Turkic peoples. Three sheets indicate three dialects of the Siberian-Tatar people.

Siberian Tatars historically lived in the vast territory stretching from around the Yenisei river all the way to the area lying somewhat east of the Ural mountains.

According to the ambassadors of the Siberian Khanate ruler Yediger Khan, who visited Moscow in 1555, the population of "the black people," not counting the aristocracy, was 30,700. In a decree concerning tribute issued by Ivan the Terrible, the population was given as 40,000.

According to the results of the 1897 All-Russia Census, there were 56,957 Siberian Tatars in Tobolsk guberniya. This was the last accurate information about this population. In later censuses, Tatar immigrants from the other regions of Russia were also recorded under the classification of Tatar. The Siberian Tatars tried to avoid the census as much as possible, as they believed that it was an attempt to force them to pay the Yasak (tribute).[5]

The Siberian Khanate (Khanate of Sibir)

Their population in the territory of the current Tyumen Oblast in 1926 was recorded as 70,000; in 1959 as 72,306; in 1970 as 102,859; 136,749 in 1979; 227,423 in 1989; and 242,325 in 2002. According to the results of the 2002 Russian Census, there were 385,949 Tatars living in the oblasts discussed above. (Their territory roughly corresponds to the historical territory of the Siberian Khanate). Of these Tatars only 9,289 identified as Siberian Tatars.

2002 Russian Census recorded a total of 9,611 Siberian Tatars in Russia. Some publications estimated their number in the range of 190,000-210,000.[6] Such significant discrepancy is explained by the fact that the immigrants from the other ethnic groups who are also called Tatar by the Russians were also included in the figure, though most were Volga Tatars.[4]

Origin and ethnogenesis[edit]

The term Siberian Tatar covers three autochthonous groups, all Sunni Muslims of the Hanafi madhab, found in southern Siberia. They are remnants of the Khanate of Sibir, which was conquered by Russia in 1582. Geographically, the Siberian Tatars are divided into three main groups, each speaking their own dialect.[3] Although the Siberian Tatar language has been sometimes considered a dialect of Tatar, detailed linguistic study demonstrates that Siberian Tatar idioms are quite remote from Volga Tatar by origin. Siberian Tatars' ancestry was partly from Turkic and Mongol peoples, but their main ancestors are Samoyedic,[7] Ket, and Ugric tribes.

Siberian Tatar language[edit]

Siberian Tatar language is, due to the Kipchakization processes during the Middle Ages, many times classified as belonging to the Kypchak–Nogay group of the Kypchak languages.[8] There are approximately as many elements that could be classified in the Upper Altaian language group.

Beginning in the 12th century, the Siberian Tatar language received some Karluk influences. Those Siberian Tatars who are living in ethnically mixed villages where, in the periods after Russian colonization, more numerous Volga Tatars settled, have also been influenced by the Kypchak-Bulgar language.

Siberian Tatar language has different dialects.[8] Since the penetration of Islam until the 1920s after the Russian Revolution, Siberian Tatars, like all Muslim nations, were using an alphabet that had been based on Arabic script. In 1928 they adopted an alphabet based on Latin script, and in 1939 one based on the Cyrillic script. Until 2014, the written language for Siberian Tatars was Tatar, a version based on the grammar rules of Volga Tatars.

In the 21st century, work began on the rationalizing of the Siberian Tatar language. Teams have conducted scientific research in the field of literary language norms of the indigenous population of Siberia. They have published the "Русско-сибирскотатарский словарь = Урысца-сыбырца сүслек" (2010) (Russian-Siberian Tatar Dictionary), and "Грамматика современного сибирскотатарского языка" (2014)(The Grammar of Modern Siberian Tatar Language). International Organization for Standardization ISO 639-3 PA with its headquarters in Washington, awarded in 2013, the Siberian Tatar language classification code 'sty' in New Language Code Element in ISO 639-3. The first person who seriously researched Siberian Tatar language was Gabdulkhay Akhatov, a Soviet Volga Tatar linguist and an organizer of science.


Tobol-Irtysh Tatars[edit]

The Tobol-Irtysh Tatars group is the most numerous out of all 3 groups of Siberian Tatars. They live in the Tyumen, Kurgan and Omsk Oblasts.

The sub-groups are: Zabolotnie (Yaskolbinsk), Tobol, Kurdak-Sargat, Tara, Tyumen-Turin.

Baraba Tatars[edit]

Their self-designation is Baraba, and they are found mainly in the steppe of Baraba, in the Novosibirsk Oblast. Their population is around 8,000.

The sub-groups are: Baraba-Turazh, Lyubey-Tunus, Terenin-Choy.

Tomsk Tatars[edit]

The Tomsk Tatars are indigenous population of Tomsk, Kemerovo and to some extent Novosibirsk Oblasts.

The sub-groups are: Kalmak, Chat, Eushta.

Siberian Bukharans[edit]

The Bukhalyks, literally "those from the city of Bukhara" are descendents of 15th- and 16th-century fur merchant colonies from Central Asia. These settlers have now merged entirely with Siberian Tatars.

Famous Siberian Tatars[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Russian Census 2010: Population by ethnicity (in Russian)
  2. ^ a b c Russian Museum of Ethnography
  3. ^ a b Alexandre Bennigsen [and] S. Enders Wimbush, The Siberian Tatars", in Muslims of the Soviet Empire : A Guide / pp. 231-232, Bloomington : Indiana University Press, 1986 ISBN 0-253-33958-8
  4. ^ a b Siberian Tatars Archived 2002-02-27 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Valeev F.T. Siberian Tatars. Kazan, 1993. (in Russian)
  6. ^ Siberian Tatars. Historical reference (in Russian)
  7. ^ Levinson, David (1996). Encyclopedia of World Cultures. G.K. Hall. p. 340. ISBN 978-0-8161-1808 -3. Retrieved 2008-04-22. 
  8. ^ a b Tumasheva D.G.. Dialects of the Siberian Tatar language: experience of the comparative research. Kazan, 1977 (in Russian)

External links[edit]