Monday, 21 July 2008

Khanty Man

I'm waiting for my own Chirayliq, who will visit me in a couple of days. This is not him, but possibly our distant relative - a Khanty from the Soviet Union, mid 20th century. The Khanty and their neighboring people, the Mansi, speak languages that belong to the Ugric branch of the Finno-Ugric language family. These languages are the closest original relatives of Hungarian.
The Khanty and Mansi were formerly called "Ostyaks" and "Voguls" in Russian. In even older historical records, they are referred to as the inhabitants of Yugra. Yugra became part of the Khanate of Sibir in the 15th century, and thus placed under Tatar rule. Unlike the Russians, the Khanty maintained positive memories of the Tatars. According to Soviet historian S.V. Bakhrushin,
The close connections between the Yugrans and the Turkic Tatars are also demonstrated by the fact that even in the 1660s, the idea of restoring the Kuchum Khanate was still popular with the Khanty of Beryozovo. It was only in the middle of the 17th century that Moscow succeeded in subduing Yugria.
This is remarkable, considering that Kuchum Khan was an aggressive Muslim missionary, and the Khanty and Mansi were staunch shamanists well into the 20th century (and many remain today).
There are several nice photos of Khanty life at

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