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Islam is the second most widely professed religion in Russia.

Islam is considered as one of

Russias traditional religions, legally a part of Russian historical heritage.[1] According to a poll by
the Russian Public Opinion Research Center, 6% of respondents considered themselves
Muslims.[2] According to Reuters, Muslim minorities make up a seventh (14%) of Russia's
population.[3] Muslims constitute the nationalities in the North Caucasus residing between the
Black Sea and the Caspian Sea: Circassians, Balkars, Chechens, Ingush, Kabardin, Karachay,
and numerous Dagestani peoples. Also, in the middle of the Volga Basin reside populations of
Tatars and Bashkirs, the vast majority of whom are Muslims. There are over 5,000[4] registered
religious Muslim organizations (divided into Sunni, Shia, Sufi and Ahmadi groups), which is over
one sixth of the number of registered Russian Orthodox religious organizations of about 29,268
as of December 2006
he first Muslims within current Russian territory were the Dagestani people (region of Derbent)
after the Arab conquests in the 8th century. The first Muslim state in Russia was Volga Bulgaria
(922). The Tatars inherited the religion from that state. Later most of the European and Caucasian
Turkic peoples also became followers of Islam.[6]
Tatars of the Crimean Khanate, the only remaining successor to the Golden Horde, continued to
raid Southern Russia and were even able to burn down parts of Moscow in 1571.[7] Until the late
18th century, Crimean Tatars maintained a massive slave trade with the Ottoman Empire and the
Middle East, exporting about 2 million slaves from Russia and Ukraine over the period 1500
From the early 16th century up to including the 19th century, virtually all of the Caucasus was
ruled by various successive Iranian empires (such as the by the Safavids, Afsharids, and the
Qajars), and their political arch rivals on the other hand, the Ottoman Turks. In the respective
areas they ruled, in both the North Caucasus and South Caucasus, Shia Islam and Sunni Islam
was propagated, resulting in a fast and steady conversion of many more ethnic Caucasian
The period from the conquest of Kazan in 1552 to the ascension of Catherine the Great in 1762
was marked by systematic repression of Muslims through policies of exclusion and discrimination
as well as the destruction of Muslim culture by elimination of outward manifestations of Islam
such as mosques[citation needed]. The Russians initially demonstrated a willingness in allowing
Islam to flourish as Muslim clerics were invited into the various regions to preach to the Muslims,
particularly the Kazakhs whom the Russians viewed with contempt.[9][10] However, Russian
policy shifted toward weakening Islam by introducing pre-Islamic elements of collective
consciousness.[11] Such attempts included methods of eulogizing pre-Islamic historical figures
and imposing a sense of inferiority by sending Kazakhs to highly elite Russian military institutions.
[11] In response, Kazakh religious leaders attempted to bring religious fervor by espousing panTurkism, though many were persecuted as a result.[12]
While total expulsion as in other Christian nations such as Spain, Portugal and Sicily was not
feasible to achieve a homogenous Russian Orthodox population, other policies such as land
grants and the promotion of migration by other Russian and non-Muslim populations into Muslim
lands displaced many Muslims, making them minorities in places such as some parts of the
South Ural region to other parts such as the Ottoman Turkey and neighboring Persia, and almost
annihilating the Circassians, Crimean Tatars, and various Muslims of the Caucasus. The Russian
army rounded up people, driving Muslims from their villages to ports on the Black Sea, where
they awaited ships provided by the neighboring Ottoman Empire. The explicit Russian goal was
to expel the groups in question from their lands.[13] They were given a choice as to where to be
resettled: in the Ottoman Empire, Persia or in Russia far from their old lands. The RussoCaucasian War ended with the signing of loyalty oaths by Circassian leaders on 2 June [O.S. 21
May] 1864. Afterwards, the Ottoman Empire offered to harbour the Circassians that did not wish
to accept the rule of a Christian monarch, and many emigrated to Anatolia, the heart of the
Ottoman Empire and ended up in modern Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Israel, Iraq and Kosovo. Many

other Caucasian Muslims ended up in neighboring Iran, such as the fate of sizeable numbers of
Shia Lezgins, Azerbaijani's, Muslim Georgians, Kabardins, and Laks.[14] Various Russian,
Caucasus, and Western historians agree on the figure of c. 500,000 inhabitants of the highland
Caucasus being deported by Russia in the 1860s. A large fraction of them died in transit from
disease. Those that remained loyal to Russia, were settled into the lowlands, the left-bank of the
Kuban River. The trend of Russification has continued at different paces in the rest of Tsarist and
Soviet periods, so that[citation needed] today there are more Tatars living outside the Republic of
Tatarstan than inside it.[6]
Under Communist rule, Islam, like other religions in the Soviet Union, was oppressed and
suppressed.[when?] Many mosques (for some estimates,[15] more than 83% in Tatarstan) were
closed at that time. For example, the Mrcani Mosque was the only acting mosque in Kazan at
Moscow has 2 million Muslim residents and up to 2 million more Muslim migrant workers. The city
has permitted the existence of only four mosques, none of which can fit more than 10,000 people.
[30] The mayor of Moscow claims that 4 mosques are more than sufficient for a population of
several millions because at least half of the Muslims are immigrants from poorer regions.[31] The
city's economy "could not manage without them," he admitted. The government insists that the
vast throngs of Muslims who fill Moscow streets and wait, often for many hours, to enter the city's
few existing mosques are mostly people who come from outside the city limits and therefore have
no right to be catered to.
For centuries, the Tatars constituted the only Muslim ethnic group in European Russia, with Tatar
language being the only language used in their mosques, a situation which saw rapid change
over the course of the 20th century as a large number of Caucasian and central Asian Muslims
migrated to central Russian cities and began attending Tatar-speaking mosques, generating
pressure on the imams of such mosques to begin using Russian.[27][28] This problem is evident
even within Tatarstan itself, where Tatars constitute a majority