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About Russia

Nations of Russia

The Bulgarians

The bulgarians live in Krasnodarsky Krai, Chelyabinskaya Oblast, Rostovskaya Oblast, Sverdlovskaya Oblast, Moscovakaya Oblast, Tyumenskaya Oblast, Saint Petersburg, the Komi Republic, Kemerovskaya Oblast.
Bulgarians are the titular nation of Bulgaria.
Historically, three different groups of Bulgarians have influenced Russian history; the Kuban Bulgarians, the Volga Bulgarians and the Balkan Bulgarians. The two former have been assimilated to other groups several centuries ago.
Language: Bulgarian, belongs to Slavic group
Religion: Orthodox Christians, muslims, catholics, protestants
Diaspora: Ukraine, Moldova, Kazakhstan.

Bulgarians from Bulgaria have emigrated to different corners of the world, most notably to Australia, Canada and the United States.

The term "Bulgarian" refers to three peoples in Russian and Soviet history, two of which no longer exist.
The first references to a people known as Bulgars or Bulgarians are from the 5th c., and these sources indicate that the first Bulgarians (the Great Bulgarians), were a Turkic people (also called Onogurs) inhabiting the steppes between the Kuban river and the Sea of Azov (Great Bulgaria). In the mid-7th c., the Great Bulgarians broke up into smaller groups, as mentioned above. The Kuban Bulgarians remained in this steppe region, and were assimilated by Magyars and other groups by the 11th c. Another group headed north, settled south of the confluence of the Kama and Volga rivers, and became known as the Volga Bulgarians. These Bulgars adopted Islam and established the first Muslim state on the territory of present-day CIS (in the early 10th c). From the Mongol invasion to the destruction of the Kazan Khanate in the 1550s, the Volga Bulgarians were slowly assimilated into other groups, and thus played a role in the ethnogenesis of Tatars, Bashkirs and Chuvash.
The third group is the one which came to settle in present-day Bulgaria, and is known as the Balkan (or Slavic) Bulgarians. This group stayed in the Black Sea region until the 7th c., when Great Bulgaria broke up. They moved west and south under Khan Asparuch, and later carved out a powerful state in the former Roman/Byzantine provinces of Moesia and Thrace. They brought Slavic settlers in the region under their sway, and gradually they assimilated. By the 10th c., the old Turkic Bulgarian language had been replaced by the new Slavonic Bulgarian.
Official Christiansation began in the last half of the 9th c., under Khan Boris. He chose the Byzantine Orthodoxy, and received Slavonic liturgy and literary language from the exiled Byzantine Moravian mission of Cyril and Methodius.
The Christianized first Bulgarian empire flourished in competition with the Byzantian empire until it was absorbed by the latter in the 11th c. It reemerged as an empire in the 13th c. (the second Bulgarian empire), but fell to the Turks in the late 14th c.
There were extensive contacts between Bulgaria and Kievan Rus', much thanks to the common religion and literary language (church Slavonic). Many Bulgarians came to Russia in the wake of wars or as churchmen or translators. After the fall of the second Bulgarian empire, significant numbers of Bulgarians migrated to Russia and contributed to a monastic and literary revival, known as "the second South Slav influence".
During the period of Ottoman rule, from the 14th through the 19th c., Bulgarian emigration to Russia continued. Religious and lingustic ties were an important background factor behind this migration. Other important factors were the growth of a Balkan merchant class (Greeks, Bulgarians and other Balkan peoples) and the Russo-Turkish wars of the 18th and 19th c. Many joined voluntary military units in support of the Russians. After Turkish successes, many of them fled to Russia together with regular refugees of war.
The Russo-Turkish war of 1876-78 brought autonomy to most of the territory of today's Bulgaria, which eventually achieved its full independence in 1908. Close ties between Bulgaria and Russia continued, and the Bulgarian national awakening in the 19th c. was in fact partly fostered by Bulgarians in Russia and by Russian Slavophiles. And as Russia received important cultural impulses from Bulgaria in earlier times, so the emerging Bulgarian state looked to Russia for ecclesiastical and educational support. This was how many Bulgarian students came to Russia from the 1850s onwards, where many of them became influenced by radical Russian intelligentsia, especially populism and Marxism.
Russia and Bulgaria were enemies in World War I, with Bulgaria on the loser's side and Russia pulling out of the war because of the Revolution in 1917. The 1917 events inspired a revolutionary movement in Bulgaria as well, where an attempted revolution failed in 1923. Thousands of Bulgarian communists were exiled as a consequence, and many ended up in present-day Ukraine, and some in Russia.

The Bulgarians who still inhabit Russia and other CIS countries, are mostly descendants of immigrants who came to Russia in the wake of the Russo-Turkish wars of the 18th and 19th c. Most of them live in Ukraine and Moldova, while smaller groups live in Russia. Many have assimilated into the general Russian or Ukrainian population.


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