Bashkir in Kazakhstan

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People Name: Bashkir
Country: Kazakhstan
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 24,000
World Population: 1,698,000
Primary Language: Bashkort
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 3.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.90 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Ural-Siberian
Affinity Bloc: Turkic Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

There were several explorers and traders who had contact with the Bashkir, but in 922 an Arab ambassador wrote the first profile of this nomadic people group. Some were beekeepers, but most were pastoralists who raised horses, cattle and sheep. They were noted for being tough and warlike.
The Bashkirs have been dominated by more powerful peoples for centuries. By 1236, Ghenghis Khan and the Mongols incorporated their land. They had more independence after the fall of the Mongol Empire, but by the middle of the 1700s the Bashkir land was being gradually gobbled up by the Russian tzars. Ivan the Terrible and Catherine the Great were among their conquerors, and their land has been in some form of submission to Russia ever since. They sided with the communist Bolsheviks in the 1917 Revolution, so for a time the Russians gave them a degree of independence. Their homeland was the only one which voluntarily was associated with the newly formed USSR.
Though most Bashkirs live in their homeland that is now in southwestern Russia, others have fled to other countries like Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, and Armenia.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Astana, Kazakhstan's capital, is home to a thriving Bashkir community. As a general rule, the Bashkirs who have migrated to Kazakhstan feel right at home. They appreciate the helpfulness of the Kazakh majority and the similar culture and language. Bashkirs who have migrated to Kazakhstan are able to adjust to language differences since they are both Turkic languages. Bashkirs and Kazakhs both have a common nomadic heritage where yurts are the roofs over their heads and wealth is measured in livestock.
Bashkir marriage ceremonies usually take place in their homes. However, a mullah (Muslim leader) usually participates in the marriage agreement. Young newlyweds live with the husband's parents until they are ready to form their own family. Polygyny (the practice of having more than one wife at a time) is a thing of the past.
Bashkir cuisine is heavy on dairy products. Their traditional dish is bishbarmaq, with includes boiled meat and a type of noodle covered with herbs, onions, and cheese.
The Bashkirs love their folklore, which is usually about their early history. It includes aspects of worldly wisdom, morals and social aspirations. These are expressed in the form of mythology, fairy tales and legends. Bashkirs are especially fond of poetry.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Bashkirs began to convert to Sunni Islam in the 1100s, and there was wholesale conversion in the 1300s. In the eighteenth century, the Orthodox Church attempted to convert them to Christianity, but today, very few are Christians. Those who converted to Christianity are now organized into a tiny, separate minority known as the Nagaibaks. Although the Bashkirs are not as zealous as other Muslims, any form of Islam is difficult to influence. This stronghold can only be broken down through prayerful intercession.

What Are Their Needs?

The Bashkirs know very little about their own history. They are a people who lack security in who they are. They need to know that this security can only be found through Jesus Christ!

Prayer Points

Pray for an abundant harvest this year for Bashkir farmers as a testimony of God's kindness and power.
Pray for Bashkir elders in Kazakhstan to open their communities to the transforming work of Jesus Christ.
Pray for a spiritual hunger that will lead Bashkir Muslims to the cross and the empty grave.
Pray for workers, filled with the fruit and the power of the Holy Spirit, to be thrust out into Bashkir communities.
Pray for an unstoppable movement to Christ among the Bashkirs in Kazakhstan.

Text Source:   Joshua Project