Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

Kalmykia is the only political unit in Europe where Buddhism is the dominant religion. You think we jest! But it is true. We take a look at some of the lesser known republics within the European part of the Russian Federation.

article summary —

This issue of hidden europe highlights an aspect of the complex political arrangements of the Russian Federation that is often misunderstood in the west. We saw earlier in this issue how the rural territory due north of the city of St Petersburg, bordering Finland, is called the Republic of Karelia. And then we visited the Republic of Tatarstan.

As part of its post-Soviet inheritance, the Russian Federation has struggled with the twin issues of regionalism and ethnicity, trying to allow space, as the Soviet Union did, for regional expressions of ethnicity, ethno-confessional identity and cultural difference. For 21 specific areas with distinct ethnic minorities, Moscow offers varying degrees of autonomy. These 21 republics are together home to just over 20 per cent of the population of the Russian Federation.


This is just an excerpt. If you are a subscriber to hidden europe magazine, you can log in to read the full text online. Of course you can also read the full article in the print edition of hidden europe 34.

About the authors

hidden europe

and Susanne Kries manage hidden europe, a Berlin-based editorial bureau that supplies text and images to media across Europe. Together they edit hidden europe magazine. Nicky and Susanne are dedicated slow travellers. They delight in discovering the exotic in the everyday.

This article was published in hidden europe 34.