History of the Bulgars: from Armenia to Kazan //Bulgarian historical Rewiew. 2017. N 1-2: 3-17.


History of the Bulgars: from Armenia to KazanA comparative study of the history and culture of the Bulgars and Kazan Tatars leads researchers to draw certain conclusions regarding their genetic connection. The cultural traditions of the Bulgars, which continued and developed in the culture of the Kazan Tatars, played the largest role in the formation of the Volga Tatars as an ethnicity. It was specifically the tribes of Volga Bulgaria, made up for the most part of Bulgars, which came to comprise the majority of the Tatar people. It is the masses, and not the tribal leaders connected with the Golden Horde, that we mean when we speak of the history of the Volga Tatars. I’d like to once again stress that we must distinguish “Bulgars” from “Suvars”, and not hyphenate them into one people – “Bulgar-Suvars” or “Bulgaro-Suvars”. We should speak of the Suvar tribes only as the specific “Suvars living in Bulgaria”. The Bulgars and the Suvars are separate concepts and completely independent, regardless of however closely related they were. Researchers, when they are not able to identify the ancestors of the Chuvash, become a bit crafty and write “Bulgar-Suvars”, insuring themselves just in case by identifying both tribes as ancestors. As if to say “let the reader decide which one they like better”. But this is not the fruit of scientific inquiry. And the experts in the history of the state of Volga Bulgaria clearly identify the Bulgars as nomadic herdsmen and the Suvars as skilled farmers.

As we see, the Bulgars were first mentioned not in 354, but in the first century. And not as living in the northwestern foothills of the Caucasus, but in the southwest of Greater Armenia. As the sources show, the Bulgars were the main ethnic component in the formation of the Kazan Tatars. In light of these facts, the Bulgars could not have been the ancestors of the Chuvash people.