Title of the article:



Vadim N. Yakunin

Information about the author/authors

Vadim N. Yakunin — DSc in History, Professor, Moscow Art-Industrial Institute, 2nd Baumanskaya St., 9/23, 3 bld., 105005 Moscow, Russia. ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0464-2938 E-mail: vadyak@mail.ru


Theory and history of culture




Vol. 63


pp. 21–43


December 01, 2020

Approved after reviewing

January 25, 2021

Date of publication

March 28, 2022



Index UDK


Index BBK

71.1(2=64) + 86.372-4


The paper analyzes the process of spreading Orthodoxy among the Kalmyks at the end of the 17th – the first half of the 18th century and their resettlement in the city of Stavropol, specially founded for these purposes. It is argued that the resettlement of Kalmyks to new lands and their Christianization was a matter of state policy, which was distinguished by flexibility and pragmatism. It was carried out taking into account internal and external factors. Great importance was attached to the baptism of the Kalmyk elite resulting in the creation among them of a pro-government-minded elite. Influencing their fellow tribesmen, the elite was to become a pillar in the policy of Christianization. The study focuses on activity of state and church leaders who contributed to this process: V. N. Tatishchev, A. P. Volynsky, A. I. Rumyantsev, I. K. Kirillov, A. I. Zmeyev and others. When laying Stavropol, they were guided by the need to protect Russia from the raids of the Bashkirs: the fortress occupied a middle place between the Zakamsky and Orenburg fortifications. The city had good prospects of development, thanks to its favorable geographical position on a main waterway of Russia. The benefits received at baptism attracted a significant number of Kalmyks, but among them were many who did not accept Christianity at a deep spiritual level, continuing to follow their usual faith, most adapted to nomadic lifestyle. The new faith took root with difficulty. From the very beginning, Stavropol was built as a multinational city, since it was decided to settle Russian peasants, merchants and commoners next to the Kalmyks, so that the Kalmyks would learn, looking at them, to a settled way of life and tillage. In December 1738, the founder of Stavropol, V. N. Tatishchev, together with his first commandant, Colonel A. I. Zmeyev, went to the Collegium of Foreign Affairs with a proposal to allocate lands to the Kalmyks, to endow the poorest of them with horses, to arrange schools and hospitals. Settlement, enlightenment, health care, together with Christianization, were seen as mechanisms for turning the population of the colonized imperial outskirts, including the Kalmyks, onto a path of social and cultural modernization common to all of Russia. It is convincingly proved that the government's policy regarding the transfer of the Kalmyks to a settled way of life failed, because the traditions and habits of the nomads were too deep. Thus, the Christianization of the Kalmyks was of a rather formal nature, since they remained faithful to the former faith, facts of dual faith included.


temples, cathedrals, churches, clergy, Kalmyks, gelyungs, zaisangs, taishi, noyons.


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