Saturday, October 5, 2019

Russia’s Buddhist Leader Sharply Criticizes Buryat Authorities for Failing to Defend National Language

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 4 – The situation in Buryatia has just become a lot more serious: the head of Russia’s Buddhist community has criticized Buryat Republic officials for failing to defend the Buryat language and thus putting the survival of the Buryat nation at risk as well as failing to keep their social-economic promises to the population.

            In these ways, the Khambo Lama says, the republic leadership including head Aleksey Tsydenov are violating the policies of Vladimir Putin.  By making this declaration, the leader of the Buddhist community is putting himself on the side of the protesters against Tsedenov’s stewardship and protecting himself against official attack (

            Damba Ayusheyev, the 24th Pandito Khambo Lama, has rarely spoken out so bluntly and in opposition to the civil authorities at any level. Consequently, Buryats who are overwhelmingly Buddhist are certain to attach particular importance to his remarks, a translation of which follows:

“I already have experience interacting with former leaders of Buryatia Potapov and Nagovitsyn,” the Khambo Lama says, “when they did not undertake any efforts for the improvement of the life of people in the region they were put in charge of.

“In this case, the head of Buryatia, Tsydenov, has not provided help for the establishment of infrastructure around communal flocks which were created on the basis of moey provided by Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. Today, the wool of sheep is being thrown away when from it could be obtained lanolin for perfumes, thread for clothing for children and warmth.

“At the present time, the sheepskins are not being used to the full extent despite the fact that they could be used to make warm clothes and in the process create jobs for hundreds of people in rural areas where our main datsans are located.

“We have already developed a technology for processing sheepskins by small producers. This hand method produces a good quality of product which is valued throughout the entire world.”

Moreover, the Buddhist leader continues, Tsydenov and his regime “are not providing any real means for improving the situation regarding the study of the Buryat language, a language that UNESCO now recognizes as a disappearing one, and yet we live in a national republic where the Buryat language according to the Constitution is the second official language.

“Thus. I consider that the leadership of the Buryat Republic is going against the policies of the Russian president and is not supporting the president on the basic issues of the development of the territory.”

            The Khambo Lama’s declaration pushes up the temperature in Buryatia which has already been high because of a month of protests and statements like those of film director Bair Dushenov that the protests can’t be dismissed as the work of the communists but reflect the entire people who oppose “the genocide” of their nation (

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