Russia hasn’t been big in the news for tolerance lately. However, NeoPagans did receive a big victory in Russia recently with the legal recognition of “Aar Aiyy,” a NeoPagan revival of the Siberian shamanistic religion of Tengrism. Tengrism is the ancient religion of the Turkic-speaking population of Siberia – this includes the Turks, the Huns, Mongolians and Hungarians. “Aar Aiyy” means a “belief in a higher deity.” This belief holds that there is one supreme deity, but many spirit helpers and other divine beings.
The beliefs of Tengrism were suppressed when Russian Orthodox Christians came into the region in the 1600’s. When Siberia was under Soviet control, all religions were suppressed. Yet many of the folk traditions have survived and now the religion is beginning to develop in the open.
Adherents of Aar Aiyy had been working for 18 years to gain recognition, and have just won it this year. So, many congratulations for the practitioners of Aar Aiyy in Siberia!