Vattisen Yaly (Chuvash for Tradition of Old) is the name of the ethnic religion of the Chuvash people, a Turkic ethnicity of uppermost Bulgarancestry mostly settled in the republic of Chuvashia and surrounding federal subjects of Russia.
Vattisen Yaly could be categorised as a peculiar form of Tengrism, the Turkic native religion, however it differs significantly from it: being the Chuvash a heavily fennicised and slavified ethnicity (they were also never Islamised, contrarywise to most of other Turks), and having had exchanges also with other Indo-European ethnicities, their religion shows many similarities with Finnic and Slavic Paganisms; moreover, the revival of “Vattisen Yaly” in recent decades has occurred following Neopagan patterns. Thus it should be more carefully categorised as aNeopagan religion. Today the followers of the Chuvash Traditional Religion are called “the true Chuvash”. Their main god is Tura, a deity which can be compared with the Estonian Taara, the Germanic Thunraz and the pan-Turkic Tengri.
The Chuvash Traditional Religion has an unbroken continuation, having been preserved in few villages of the Chuvash diaspora outside of Chuvashia until modern times. In the late 1980s and early 1990s together with the demise of the Soviet Union a cultural and national revival blossomed among the Chuvash, and its leaders gradually embraced the idea of a return to indigenous Paganism, also supported by Chuvash intellectuals.The identitary movement looked at those which took place in the Baltic states for inspiration.
The national movement, meanwhile embodied in a Chuvash National Congress, carried on its “national religion” idea during the 1990s. Intellectuals started to recover and codify ancient rituals and started practicing them among the population both in cities and countryside villages, declaring themselves the guardians of tradition and the descendants of elder priests.