Institute of Sociology
of the Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology
of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Ryazantsev S. V., Smirnov A. V. Ethnic Russian Inflows to the Territory of Uryankhay Krai: Glimpses of History. Oriental Studies. 2022; 15(5): 979992. (In Russ.). DOI: 10.22162 ...

Ryazantsev S. V., Smirnov A. V. Ethnic Russian Inflows to the Territory of Uryankhay Krai: Glimpses of History. Oriental Studies. 2022; 15(5): 979992. (In Russ.). DOI: 10.22162/2619-0990-2022-63-5-979-992
ISSN 2619-0990
DOI 10.22162/2619-0990-2022-63-5-979-992

Posted on site: 04.01.23

URL: ( 04.01.2023)


Introduction. The article deals with the Russian colonization of Uryankhay Krai (present-day Tyva Republic) prior to the establishment of Russian protectorate. Goals. The paper aims at analyzing migration flows to have accompanied the peopling of Uryankhay Krai. Materials and methods. The source base for the study was a wide range of materials, among which a significant proportion is occupied by pre-revolutionary publications, including periodicals (Siberia, Minusinsk Territory, Minusinsk Leaf, Yenisei Thought, Krasnoyarsk Voice, etc.), containing information on the topic under study. The methodological basis of the article was the general scientific principle and methods of scientific knowledge. Data on the demographic composition of migrants are limited. Results. A total of three Russian population inflows - gold mining, agricultural, and commercial ones - can be traced. Earliest messages about gold mining in Uryankhay date back to 1837 when Russians started exploiting gold mines in upper reaches of the Sistikema River. Tuvans worked in the mines, panned for gold. By the 1910s, there were 15 operating mines in Uryankhay. Gold mining was hindered not only by roadless terrain but also by the 1903 decree obliging Russian gold miners to leave their mines upon receipt of any restrictive resolution from the Chinese Government. Those were Old Believers who had arrived in Uryankhay earliest (around the 1860s) in search of Belevodye kingdom. Those were first Russians to have started cultivating land in the region. Periodicals were depicting Tuvan-inhabited lands as fertile, and after the expulsion of the Chinese a campaign popularizing rich soils was organized among Minusinsk peasants and across territories adjacent to the Siberian railway. By 1914, over 3,000 dessiatins were occupied by Russian crops. Earliest merchants to have arrived in region were delivering goods in their bosom exchanging knives, matches, tobacco and other commodities for livestock and furs. The bulk of Russians moved to Uryankhay from nearest provinces and the migration could be characterized as replacement one: bordering peasants suffering from lack of plough-land and aware of Uryankhays resources chose to move therein to be replaced by migrant Minusinsk peasants. Ethnic and social structure of immigrants from Russia was not that homogeneous. So, representatives of different ethnic groups - Russians, Tatars, Khakas, Latvians, Poles - came from different social classes, e.g., merchants, Cossacks, peasants. This attests to a high migration mobility in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As of the establishment of Russian protectorate in 1914, over 5,5 thousand Russians were living in the region. Conclusions. Russian colonization - from the arrival of Old Believers and to the official protectorate of Russia - was complete in less than 60 years. The rapid and successful process was facilitated by a number of factors, namely: geographical location, lack of an exact borderline between the two countries, Chinas political situation, and economic opportunities for Russian population in the region.