Religious Practices of the Kazakhs in the XXth Century: New Sources and Interpretations

Svetlana Kovalskaya


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Based on a diary of Orthodox priest A. Kiliachkov this paper attempts to restore pre-revolutionary Muslim religious practices in the Kazakh Steppe as they were described and criticized a Russian missionary. This typical, interesting yet completely unknown primary source is kept in the collection 175 (The Orenburg diocesan committee of the Orthodox missionary association) in the State Archive of the Orenburg province. Its study sheds light on pilgrimage to holy places, Sufi zikr and other techniques, activities of Sufi masters (ishans), as well as relations between missionaries, Muslims and local nomad society in the beginning of the twentieth century.


Islamization; the Kazakhs; religious practices; hajj pilgrimage; zikr; Sufism; diaries of Orthodox priests


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