In literature, the opposition between Russian Christians and Muslims was established early on in the folk epics, in the “historical songs” told by the bards in the oral tradition. Several of them deal with the capturing of the khanate of Kazan, the northernmost Tatar realm. From the “Tatars” conquered by Ivan the Terrible in Kazan and depicted in Russian folk songs to Tolstoy’s thistle called “the Tatar” (tatarin) there is a winding line of literary works.
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