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Chronology for Buryat in Russia

Publisher Minorities at Risk Project
Publication Date 2004
Cite as Minorities at Risk Project, Chronology for Buryat in Russia, 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/469f38d01a.html [accessed 2 October 2014]
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Date(s) Item
1601 - 1700 Russian explorers penetrate the Lake Baikal region, coming into contact with Buryats.
1689 Treaties between Russia and China mark spheres of influence, placing Buryats under Russia.
1695 Anti-Russian revolt by Buryats is suppressed.
1696 Anti-Russian revolt by Buryats is suppressed.
1728 Treaties between Russia and China mark spheres of influence, placing Buryats under Russia.
1898 Trans-Siberian Railroad reaches Irkutsk, the major city of the Buryat region.
1900 - 1905 Buryat agitation provokes Russian threats to demolish Buryat culture.
1904 - 1905 During the Russo-Japanese War, Japanese government espouses "pan-Mongolism" in the hope of coopting Buryats. Russian authorities are extremely concerned about this campaign.
1905 Amid an empire-wide anti-Tsarist revolt, a Buryat congress is held in Chita which demands self-government and linguistic freedom for Buryatia.
1907 - 1912 First by secret and then open treaties, Japan recognizes Buryatia as falling within Russia's sphere of influence. Subsequently, Russians adopt "pan-Mongolism" as a means of drawing all Mongols under Russian influence.
1918 - 1921 Buryats largely remain neutral in the Russian Civil War between Red and White forces.
1921 Russian and Buryat Bolshevik agents help stage a revolution in Mongolia.
1921 - 1928 Buryat Bolsheviks effectively rule Mongolia at the behest of Moscow.
1923 Lenin and Stalin establish the Buryat-Mongol Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic.
1929 Soviet policy of forced collectivization of agriculture meets with fierce Buryat resistance. Many Buryats flee to Mongolia, but the Communist regime there is under direction from Moscow to pursue the same policies.
1931 - 1932 Buryat refugees join their fellow Mongols in staging an anti-Soviet revolt in the Mongolian Peoples Republic. Stalin accommodates rather than crushes this opposition, in part because Japanese aggression is looming.
1937 - 1938 Stalinist purges reach Buryatia, decapitating the local Communist leadership and causing the deaths of approximately 10,000 others. The territory of the Buryat Republic is reduced. Mongolian script is banned and replaced with Cyrillic. Special privileges are granted to Slavic (mostly Russian and Ukrainian) settlers.
1943 Moscow abolishes the Kalmyk Autonomous Republic, a ethnically kindred Mongol group.
1948 Moscow launches campaign to Russify and Sovietize Buryat culture. References to traditional Buryat heroes are banned, as are traditional art forms. Buryat educational affairs are supervised by the Russian-dominated faculty of Irkutsk university.
1958 Mao Zedong's attempt to extend China's influence over Mongol peoples causes Moscow to drop "Mongol" from the name of the Buryat titular region, and it now is known as the Buryat Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic.
1976 Only 300 Buryat Buddhist lamas remain, down from 16,000 before the Bolshevik Revolution. Brezhnev era: Communist authorities attempt to coopt Buryat Buddhism to serve Soviet international "peace" initiatives.
Aug 1990 Buryatia (the Soviet Autonomous Republic of Buryatia) issues a draft declaration on sovereignty stating that the republic enjoys the right of self-determination. A group of Buryat intellectuals denounces the administrative division of Buryat lands which occurred in 1937 under Stalin. In addition, the group suggests that the former name of the republic, Buryat-Mongolia, should be restored.
Oct 1990 A delegation from China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region visits Buryatia to discuss trade and other issues of mutual concern. The two ethnically linked regions began forming economic, health, and political ties in 1988. Buryatia's parliament issues a declaration of sovereignty which asserts the precedence of the republic's laws over all others (including those of the Russian Federation and the USSR), claims control over natural resources, and guarantees the rights of all ethnic groups in the region.
Nov 1990 The "Buryat-Mongolian People's Party" is formed with the stated aim of reviving Buryat-Mongolian nationhood. A major Buddhist monastery is reopened in Buryatia.
Jan 1991 In a sign of growing independence, the Buryat parliament rejects Moscow's nominee for KGB chief of the republic.
Feb 1991 A "Buryat Cultural Heritage Association" is established with the aim of effecting a Buryat cultural renaissance free of politics but with links to the wider Mongolian cultural sphere.
Jul 1991 A visit by the exiled Tibetan leader Dalai Lama to Buryatia is announced. The Dalai Lama's appearance is scheduled to coincide with the 250th anniversary of Russia's official recognition of the Buddhist faith. Buryatia signs an agreement on economic and cultural cooperation with the Armenian republic.
Oct 1991 Buryatia announces the establishment of a Ministry of Foreign Relations to conduct external political and economic affairs.
Nov 1991 In a pattern manifested throughout the USSR, a "Russian Union" is founded in Buryatia with the stated intention of protecting the political, linguistic, religious, and cultural interests of the republic's ethnic Russians. In particular, the group wishes to restore Orthodox churches which were expropriated by Communist authorities in previous years.
Dec 1991 The USSR is dissolved.
Mar 1992 Buryatia's parliament announces its intention to sign the Federation Treaty of Russia so long as amendments are attached guaranteeing the republic's sovereignty. At the same time, Buryatia dispenses with the label of "Soviet Socialist" from its official name, now becoming simply "The Republic of Buryatia."
May 1992 The Buryat-Mongolian intergovernmental commission, a board formed to discuss issues of mutual concern, concludes a trade agreement between the two sides.
Aug 1992 Economists with Buryatia's trade union council issue a report claiming that 93 percent of the republic's residents live below the official poverty line.
Jan 1993 A high ranking Buryat official states that the republic has no plans to secede from Russia and that the constitution being drafted does not incorporate full independence for the republic.
Jun 1993 Moscow acknowledges Buryatia's right to implement its own educational system consistent with local linguistic and cultural concerns, but one which does not violate the region's status as a constituent part of the Russian Federation.
Feb 1994 A Buryat cultural association issues a textbook it hopes will allow Buryats to quickly learn or relearn their native tongue. The parliament of Buryatia unanimously adopts a new constitution proclaiming sovereignty within the Russian Federation.
Jul 1994 Leonid Potapov, a former Communist, wins 72 percent of the vote in Buryatia's first presidential election.
Mar 1995 Buryat President Leonid Potapov denounces efforts by certain regions within Russia to prevent their citizens from being drafted for service in Chechnya, where rebel forces are battling with the Russian military.
May 1995 "Our Home is Russia," a multi-party coalition dedicated to protecting the interests of ethnic Russians within the Russian Federation and the Newly Independent States, establishes a branch office in Buryatia.
Jul 1995 Buryatia and Russia sign an agreement on the preservation and exploitation of Buryatia's natural resources.
Dec 1995 In elections for the Russian Federation State Duma (parliament) a grouping of Communist parties wins the largest percentage of votes.
Mar 1996 One hundred delegates representing all major Buddhist Datsuns (temples) and communities in the Russian federation met in Buryatia to approve a new charter for the administration of Buddhist clergy. (TASS 3/22/96) The second All-Buryatia Congress convened in Ulan Ude, where the delegates discussed creating an organization to represent the Buryat people to Russia and the world. The Congress was formed as a humanitarian organization. (TASS 3/25/96)
Apr 1996 Citing a busy schedule, the leadership of Buryatia refused to organize political rallies for Russian presidential candidate Mikhail Gorbachev. (TASS 4/18/96)
May 1996 Record numbers of forest fires raged through much of Northern Russia, hitting Buryatia especially hard. By the end of the month, seven people were killed, 190 evacuated, and two entire villages destroyed. Forest fires remained a major threat, recurring every year of this update. (TASS 5/15/96)
Oct 1996 Russia's election commission raised concerns about alleged violations of Russia's election law during local elections in several republics, including Buryatia. Most of the alleged violations related to local requirements of language proficiency or residency. Buryatia required candidates for local administrative positions to have lived in the republic for ten years. (TASS 10/23/96 and Current Digest of the Post-Soviet Press 11/20/96)
Nov 1996 The Buryat Republic issued an emergency economic management regime to combat the economic problems brought on in part by the Russian government's inability to pay civil servants and pensioners. The regime consisted of several government orders designed to stimulate demand. The decree noted that, if current trends persisted, by the end of 1996 the republic's budget would have paid out R4,700 bn but will have received only R2,580 bn. The regime, however, was expected to include the suspension of some federal and republican laws. (British Broadcasting Corporation 11/12/96 & Agence France Presse 11/21/96)
Dec 1996 According to the TASS news service, the number of tuberculosis cases in Buryatia has more than trebled over the past five years, and now reached 123.9 patients per 100,000 of the population. This is more than double the average figure for Russia of 57.8 per 100,000. (British Broadcasting Corporation 12/6/96) The government of the Russian Federation adopted a resolution to increase allocations from the federal budget for the construction of housing in the southern regions of Siberia and the Far East, for citizens who are moving from the Far North. In the republics of Altay, Buryatia and Khakassia, Altay and Krasnoyarsk Territories, Irkutsk, Kemerovo, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Tomsk, Tyumen and Chita Regions, Agin- Buryat and Ust-Orda Buryat Autonomous Areas up to 45 per cent of the cost of housing for resettlers will be financed from the budget. (British Broadcasting Corporation 12/18/96) Criminal proceedings were begun against the former mayor of Ulan Ude, capital of Buryatia, for tax evasion and document forgeries. A financial inspection of the privately-owned Shapovalov and Company had revealed the concealment of more than R29m in tax payments, as well as a forged payment order. (British Broadcasting Corporation 12/20/96)
Mar 1997 The Buryat government released the results (and plans) for the special economic regime which was supposed to stimulate the economy. Included were plans to reform idle enterprises, draft a Buryat tax code, and form a stock market, as well as limitations on the import of alcohol and foodstuffs. (TASS 3/18/97) On International Tuberculosis Day, the Russian Health Ministry announced an alarming increase in the national rate of tuberculosis. The Republics of Buryatia, Dagestan, North Ossetia and the Jewish Autonomy had twice the infection rate of the Russian average. (TASS 3/24/97) Throughout March and April, Russia's failure to make payments for pensions, social security, and wages for teachers and workers in Russian industries reached a climax, with many people going on strike across the Russian Federation. Teachers and miners in Buryatia took part in these demonstrations and protests, but to no greater or lesser extent than other ethnic groups or other republics. In fact, Russia consistently claimed that Buryatia was among the republics receiving funds in a more timely manner. (See TASS 3/27/97 and 4/10/97)
Apr 1997 At the opening of the parliament in Buryatia, legislators faced many issues, including a 49% budget deficit, and the need to reconsider some of the Amendments to the Buryat Law on the General Principles of Local Self-Government, which conflicted with Russian Federal Law. (TASS 4/21/97)
May 1997 Ten thousand doctors and nurses in Buryatia went on a three-day strike to protest the Russian government's failure to pay them their wages. (TASS 5/19/97)
Jun 1997 Sixteen residents of the Buryat town of Zakamensk went on a hunger strike for almost a week to demand that the Russian government pay them their children's allowance. They ended the strike only after the State Duma provided them with humanitarian aid in the form of 100 sacks of flour. (TASS 6/10/97)
Jul 1997 Former Ulan Ude vice-mayor Andrei Firsov was declared a suspect in at least two major embezzlement schemes, including one in which he allegedly misappropriated 9 billion rubles for "the city's needs." He was believed to have fled Russia. (What The Papers Say 7/1/97) During a three day visit to Buryatia, the spiritual leader of Buddhists of the Mongolian people, Halha-Rim Poche Bogdo-Gegen Jebzun Damba IX, expressed satisfaction that Russian authorities and subjects of the Russian Federation had been rendering assistance to support development of the Buddhist confession. (TASS 7/8/97)
Aug 1997 Moscow announced it would invest up to 50 billion roubles in the Buryatian economy, specifically, in the aircraft and mining industries, tourism, and Tibetan pharmacology. (TASS 8/12/97)
Oct 1997 The rate of drug-related crimes committed in Buryatia is reported to be twice as high as Russia's average. More than 1,200 people have been registered as drug addicts, with two-thirds of them being young people under 30. The drug trafficking situation is being compounded by the fact that natural plantations of hemp in Buryatia take an area of 7,500 hectares. (TASS 103/97) The Buryatian parliament sent an interpellation to the Russian Constitutional Court as to whether the procedure of impeachment of heads of local self-government is in keeping with the Russian constitution. The Constitutional Court was hearing a case on the matter. Buryatia faced a similar situation in the case of Ulan-Ude Mayor Valery Shapovalov who was suspended in October 1996. A year ago the Ulan-Ude municipal council proclaimed the mayor's impeachment under a procedure defined in the Buryatian law on local self-government. But early in 1997 Shapovalov was reinstated after two courts decided that article 49 of the federal law on general principles of local self-government required the municipal council to initiate the impeachment, and only upon receiving the conclusion of the Supreme Court on the subject of the federation that actions of a mayor infringed the federal and republican constitutions. Shapovalov, in custody for one criminal matter and charged with two others, remained formally the head of the municipal authorities. He is now suspended from the post only by decrees of investigative bodies. (TASS 10/4/97)
Dec 1997 The Buryatia parliament passed a resolution to terminate Ulan Ude Mayor Valery Shapovalov ahead of time. The impeachment was based on the conclusions of the Supreme Courts of Buryatia and Russia, which confirmed that Shapovalov had violated federal and republican laws when holding the post of mayor. The Buryatia Prosecutor's Office accused him of assisting in a crime, making a deliberately false report to authorities, slandering, violating the privacy of telephone conversations and insulting a representative of the authorities. (TASS 12/25/97)
Jan 1998 Municipal bus drivers in Ulan Ude went on strike for several days to demand back pay. (TASS 1/21/98)
Feb 1998 The Council of Nationalities of Buryatia was formally instated following the recommendation of the first Congress of Peoples of Buryatia, held last spring. This public body was to promote dialogue and cooperation between Buryat's ethnic communities. To a certain extent it compensated for the fact that the Buryat parliament is, according to its constitution, unicameral, and is elected only by a majority system. The council included heads of national public organizations such as the Congress of the Buryat People, Russian Community, and also the chairmen of the Jewish, Tatar, German, Polish, Korean, Evenki and Old Believers national culture centres. (British Broadcasting Corporation 2/23/98)
Apr 1998 Four people were gravely wounded in an exchange of fire between intoxicated policemen and military forces in Buryatia. The skirmish flared at a facility guarded by both policemen and troops, after which the police seized a truck and headed to a nearby village while firing randomly. Then, they exchanged fire with a border post, prosecutors said. (TASS 4/20/98)
May 1998 Plans to put a 17th Century Atlas (in some versions, a 19th century copy of the atlas) of Tibetan Medicine on display in the US led many Buryat Buddhists to protest for several days outside the Buryat parliament building and block access to the museum where the book was kept. Although the Russian Cabinet of ministers and the Dalai Lama approved of the removal of the book, members of the Traditional Buddhist Church in Russia were opposed to its leaving. The violence associated with the protest later sparked an investigation, and a demonstration by 500 monks and laymen. Three monks were arrested during the initial museum blockage and police were accused of hitting about 30 monks aged 14 to 20. The Buryat president later cleared the police and claimed the protests were an attempt by a political group to discredit his presidency. (TASS 5/5/98 and Agence France Presse 5/6/98 and British Broadcasting Corporation 5/9/98)
Jun 1998 Russian Procurator-General Yuri Skuratov declared that the question of the purchase/sale of land should be decided under federal laws, not by the regions. A referendum on the issue was scheduled for July 5 in Buryatia. (TASS 6/1/98)
Jul 1998 Voter turnout for a Buryat referendum on a proposed moratorium on the sale of land was only 38.65%, far below the 50% required to make the vote valid. (TASS 7/5/98)
Sep 1998 President Leonid Potapov of Buryatia declared a state of emergency on September 8 following a series of floods which had affected most of the districts in the Republic. Damage was estimated at R200m. Federal financial aid was not expected, in part due to the continuing government crisis. Buryatia's government could not meet its obligations either under previously reached credit contracts or any agency contracts, and extended these contracts into 1999. (British Broadcasting Corporation 9/8/98) The Dalai Lama indefinitely postponed his visit to Russia. The visit was originally planned for September 19 and included stops in the republics of Buryatia, Tuva and Kalmykia and Moscow and St Petersburg. The trip was postponed because of overall instability in Russia. The Dalai Lama apologized to Russia's Buddhists and said his decision was due to objective reasons. (Interfax News 9/8/98)
Nov 1998 The Prosecutor's Office in Buryatia found Damba Ayusheyev, the spiritual leader of Russia's Buddhists, not guilty on charges that he exceeded his powers in relation to the May protests surrounding the Atlas of Tibetan Medicine. (Interfax News 11/13/98) The governments of Russia and Mongolia agreed on the need to liberalize the border-crossing between their two countries, to include the possibility of visa-free crossing for most residents. Such a regime was proposed to go into effect in two to three years. (TASS 11/16/98)
Dec 1998 About 100 female workers took the director of their Siberian air plane manufacturing plant hostage for two days to protest against outstanding wage payments. Workers in some departments at the factory in Ulan-Ude had not received their wages for six months. The director said the defense ministry owed the plant 48 million roubles (about 2.4 million dollars) and that management was unable to raise the cash needed to pay its employees. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 12/8/98) The Finance Ministry stated that most of the regions complaining that Russia was behind in wage and social security payments had in fact received monies for that purpose. The ministry claimed that Buryatia had received R539.1 million, but only accounted for R338.2 million in payments. (British Broadcasting Corporation 12/12/98)
Jan 1999 Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov signed a decree allocating 3,554. 4 thousand roubles to the Aginsk-Buryat autonomous district to finance measures to deal with the consequences of floods that took place in July 1998. Out of this sum, 1,827 thousand roubles was allocated for financing restoration works at amenities and 1,727. 4 thousand roubles for relief to citizens affected by the calamity. (TASS 1/6/99)
Feb 1999 The Buryatia government stated that the functioning of religious associations must not be discussed by state-owned media. The state media was to be guided by federal legislation when dealing with religious topics and state-owned channels and publications were to cover religious events on an informational basis. Programs and publications of a preaching nature could only be made on a contractual basis and under the condition that they are not aimed at destabilizing accord and civilian peace among various religions. According to official sources, the government's decision was taken in response to requests by confessions to establish rules for their access to newspapers and TV and radio companies where the state acts as a co-founder. (British Broadcasting Corporation 2/18/99) Buryatia took measures to combat tuberculosis after the medical association Phthisiology reported that Buryatia was close to an epidemic. The number of patients who contracted TB for the first time grew more than four times over the past five years, exceeding Russia's average by 2.9 times. Experts predicted the republic would have 4,300 TB cases by the year 2000 if conditions did not change. (TASS 2/24/99) Russia and Mongolia signed an agreement on economic and border cooperation between Buryatia and Mongolia, which envisaged the development and intensification of bilateral ties on a mutually advantageous basis in virtually all spheres of trade, economic, scientific, technical and cultural cooperation. (British Broadcasting Corporation 2/27/99)
May 1999 Leonid Potapov, the president of Buryatia, lifted administrative price controls on Russian-made goods which he introduced in the wake of the rouble devaluation of August 17, 1998. The ban on raising the prices of Russian-made goods and services was not absolute and only required the producer to justify his actions. (British Broadcasting Corporation 5/7/99) At a meeting of several regions, the Russian government described the current wage payment situation. Buryatia was listed among the regions with the most severe delays in government wage and pension payments, with waits between three and seven months. (What the Papers Say 5/26/99)
Jul 1999 The Buryat President banned the export of grain and grain products from the region, due to fears of an upcoming bread shortage. The ban was supposed to last until the next harvest. (British Broadcasting Corporation 7/14/99) According to the Republic of Buryatia's Statistics Committee, the average time out of work for Buryatia's young people now exceeds six months, and every third of Buryatia's unemployed is between 16 and 29 years old. The committee blamed the unemployment for the increase in crime. In 1998, nearly 5,000 youths between 16 and 29 years old, were sentenced for various crimes in Buryatia, over half of which were connected to robbery, theft and armed robbery. Though the official unemployment level in Buryatia was 2.7 per cent, there were at least 95,000 unemployed to 600,000 people capable of working. (British Broadcasting Corporation 7/21/99)
Sep 1999 The medical faculty at Buryatia State University started lectures to train medics specializing in Tibetan medicine for the first time in the history of Russian higher educational establishments. (TASS 9/1/99)
Oct 1999 A Buddhist school of higher learning opened on October 18 in Ulan Ude. The head of Russia's Buddhist Church, the Pandito Xambo Lama Damba Ausheev, said that the school's main goal will be strengthening Buddhism in the republics of Buryatia, Tuva, and Kalmykia. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty 10/21/99)
Nov 1999 Buryatia's Ministry for Social Welfare and Labor announced plans to allow its pensioners to receive part of their pensions in foodstuffs. The republic has around 21% of the 26 million rubles ($1 million) necessary to pay pensions in November, and local officials were prepared to try to cover some of the payments due with high-quality and fodder grain. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty 11/5/99) The Supreme Court of Buryatia began the trial of two police officers for rough treatment of three detainees. The two were allegedly trying to obtain a confession of guilt. They reportedly beat the accused with their fists and truncheons in a police station, and kept the three men in custody for about 24 hours before releasing them without obtaining a confession. (TASS 11/17/99)
Jan 2000 The central heating plant in the Buryatia town of Zakamensk sent a steam surge through the pipes causing residents' radiators to blow up, and leaving 9,000 people without heat for the rest of the winter. (Moscow Times 2/1/00)
Feb 2000 Buryatia passed a law which does not allow foreign citizens to buy and sell farm land, but it does permit foreign citizens to lease land for 10 years, and if the land was put to good use, to extend the lease. (Middle East News 2/14/00) The executive director of the Siberian Accord -- a grouping of Siberian regions which includes Buryatia and the Aginsk-Buryat Autonomous Okrug -- announced that the area had not ruled out secession from Russia, in light of the region's low standard of living. (IPR Strategic Business Information 2/24/00)
May 2000 Russian President Vladimir Putin created a system of seven federal districts to "ensure the exercise by the president of the Russian Federation of his constitutional powers, to make the work of federal bodies of state power more effective and to improve control over compliance with their decisions." Buryatia was included in the Siberian Federal District. (TASS 5/13/00)
Jun 2000 In a telephone conference, Russian Prosecutor-General Vladimir Ustinov listed the republics whose constitutions were in conflict with the Russian Federation, including Buryatia, which appropriated the right to introduce a state of emergency. Though the prosecutor gave the regions one month to clear up the conflicts, the Buryat parliament refused to consider the matter during that legislative session. (British Broadcasting Corporation 6/1/00 and TASS 6/9/00)

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