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This was succeeded by Islam with the Alans while the Mongol hordes brought Tengriism, and the later Nogais were Muslim, before their replacement by the present-day Buddhist Oirats/Kalmyks.

With the annexation of the territory by the Russian Empire, Christianity arrived with Slavic settlers, while all religions were suppressed after the Russian Revolution, when Communism dominated.

Shamanism has in all probability remained a constant, often hidden, substrate of folk-practice, as it is today.

The ancestors of the Kalmyks, the Oirats, migrated from the steppes of southern Siberia on the banks of the Irtysh River to the Lower Volga region.

Some have been linked to cancer and Parkinson’s disease, he added.

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