Russia’s 4,000 shamans seek official recognition as a traditional religion – Eurasia Review

Kara-ool Dopchun-ool, Tyva’s supreme shaman, says the Russian Federation’s 4,000 shamans are now seeking official recognition as Russia’s fifth traditional religion. (The other four are Russian Orthodoxy, Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism.)

They seek the benefits that these religions now derive from this recognition, including tax reductions and the defense of believers against attacks by others. Shamans in Tuva, according to their leader, are currently under attack from Buddhist groups which they are struggling to parry (

To that end, says Kara-ool Dopchun-ool, they plan to create a centralized cross-regional shamanic organization that would impose some order on shamanism, something Moscow might find appealing given its issues with the so-called “warrior shaman.” . Aleksandr Gabyshev, who attempted to march on Moscow to exorcise Vladimir Putin.

However, the unification and standardization of shamanism are unlikely to prove easy tasks, given that there are dozens of shamanic traditions and no tradition of a central leader giving orders to others. But it seems that at least some shamans have concluded that in Russia, at least, they have to go in this direction if they want to get state protection.

But that’s not the only obstacle they face. If Moscow were to recognize shamanism as a traditional religion, it would likely be besieged by others, including much larger groups like Protestant and Catholic Christians, who would also like to have such official recognition. The Kremlin would be reluctant to do so, and shamans could be the victims of this reluctance.

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