Udmurt Identity Issues: Core Moments from the Middle Ages to the Present Day

Marie Casen


This paper gives an overview of collective identity issues among the Udmurt people, stressing the importance of the historical background since 1552, up to and including current Udmurt ethnic activity. The first section of the paper considers
the foundations of the Udmurt collective identity (linguistic family and the significance of the territory). The second section focuses on occasions when Udmurt identity markers were at stake as a consequence of official policies or legal affairs during the Tsarist and Soviet periods. The third section presents the paradoxical role of the capital of Udmurtia, Izhevsk, the place where assimilation into Russian culture is more important than anywhere else, and which is also the centre of linguistic and cultural official planning where institutional structures are devoted to minority preservation. The last section will be dedicated to Udmurt contemporary ethnic activity in the context of globalisation.


Udmurt; Russia; history; globalisation; ethnic activity; identity

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ISSN (print) 1736-6518. ISSN (online) 2228-0987. JEF is a joint publication of the University of Tartu, the Estonian National Museum and the Estonian Literary Museum.