Who are Buryats?
The Buryats are very similar to Khalkh Mongolians by its language, history, and nomadic herding. Today the Buryat people are the 2nd biggest ethnic minority in Mongolia constituting over 49,000 in northern Mongolia. There 70,000 Buryat ethnic groups live in Russia and 25.000 Buryats live in north eastern area of Inner Mongolia, China.
If we trace back, It is most likely that the ancestors of modern Buryats are Bayyrku and Kurykans who were a Xiongnu tribe, that inhabited the Lake Baikal area. Historically, the territories around Lake Baikal belonged to Mongolia, Buryats were subject to Tusheet Khan and Setsen Khan of Khalkha Mongolia before Manchu domination in 16th century.
The territory and people were formally annexed to the Russian state by treaties in 1689 and 1727, when the territories on both the sides of Lake Baikal were separated from Mongolia. In 1741, the Tibetan branch of Buddhism was recognized as one of the official religions in Russia, and the first Buryat Buddhist monastery was built.
Purge of Buryats
During the Russian Civil War most of the Buryats were supporting the White forces of Baron Ungern-Sternberg. In 1925, a battle against religion and clergy in Buryatia began. Datsans were gradually closed down and the activity of the clergy was curtailed. Consequently, in the late 1930s, the Buddhist clergy ceased to exist and thousands of cultural treasures were destroyed.
In 1937, Joseph Stalin had more than 10,000 Buryats killed to avoid Buryat Nationalism Moreover, Stalinist purge of Buryats spread into Mongolia, known as the incident of L’humbee.
Republic of Buryat
In 1958, the name “Mongol” was removed from the name of the republic. Also around 1958, the Mongolian script was banned and replaced by Cyrillic. Republic of Buryatia was adopted in 1992.