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Nation of Russian Federation

The Mordvins, also Mordva, Mordvinians, Mordovians (Erzya: эрзят/Erzyat, Moksha: мокшет/Mokshet, Tatar: мухшилар/Muhshilar, Russian: мордва/Mordva; for Qaratai: Russian: каратаи/Karatayi), are the members of a people speaking a Mordvinic language of the Uralic language family and living mainly in republic of Mordovia and other parts of the middle Volga River region of Russia.

The Mordvins are one of the larger indigenous peoples of Russia. They identify themselves as separate ethnic groups: the Erzya and Moksha, besides the smaller subgroups of the Qaratay, Teryukhan and Tengushev (or Shoksha) Mordvins who have become fully Russified or Turkified during the 19th to 20th centuries. Less than one third of Mordvins live in the autonomous republic of Mordovia; the rest are scattered over the Russian oblasts of Samara, Penza, Orenburg and Nizhny Novgorod, as well as Tatarstan, Chuvashia, Bashkortostan, Central Asia, Siberia, Far East, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia and the United States.

Mordvins are scattered (2002) over the Russian oblasts of Samara (116,475), Penza (86,370), Orenburg (68,880) and Nizhni Novgorod (36,705), Ulyanovsk (61,100), Saratov (23,380), Moscow (22,850), Tatarstan (28,860), Chuvashia (18,686), Bashkortostan (31,932), Siberia (65,650), Russian Far East (29,265).[citation needed]

Populations in parts of the former Soviet Union not now part of Russia are: Kyrgyz Republic 5,390, Turkmenistan 3,490, Uzbekistan 14,175, Kazakhstan, (34,370), Azerbaijan (1,150), Estonia (985), Armenia (920).

The 2002 Russian census reports 0.84 million Mordvins.

The Erzya Mordvins (Erzya: эрзят, Erzyat; also Erzia, Erza), who speak Erzya, and the Moksha Mordvins (Moksha: мокшет, Mokshet), who speak Moksha, are the two major groups. The Qaratay Mordvins live in the Kama Tamağı District of Tatarstan, and have shifted to speaking Tatar, albeit with a large proportion of Mordvin vocabulary (substratum). The Teryukhan, living in the Nizhny Novgorod Oblast of Russia, switched to Russian in the 19th century. The Teryukhans recognize the term Mordva as pertaining to themselves, whereas the Qaratay also call themselves Muksha. The Tengushev Mordvins live in southern Mordovia and are a transitional group[citation needed] between Moksha and Erzya.

The western Erzyans are also called Shoksha (or Shoksho). They are isolated from the bulk of the Erzyans, and their dialect/language has been influenced by the Mokshan dialects.

Ethnic structure

The Mordvins are divided into two ethnic subgroups and three further subgroups.

  • the Erzya people or Erzyans, (Erzya: Эрзят/Erzyat), speakers of the Erzya language. Less than half of the Erzyans live in the autonomous republic of Mordovia, Russian Federation, Sura River and Volga River. The rest are scattered over the Russian oblasts of Samara, Penza, Orenburg, as well as Tatarstan, Chuvashia, Bashkortostan, Siberia, Far East, Armenia and USA.
  • the Moksha people or Mokshans, (Moksha: Мокшет/Mokshet), speakers of the Moksha language. Less than half of the Moksha population live in the autonomous republic of Mordovia, Russian Federation, in the basin of the Volga River. The rest are scattered over the Russian oblasts of Samara, Penza, Orenburg, as well as Tatarstan, Siberia, Far East, Armenia, Estonia, Australia and USA.
  • the Shoksha or Tengushev Mordvins constitute a transitional group between the Erzya and Moksha people and live in the southern part of Republic of Mordovia, in the Tengushevsk and Torbeevsk region.
  • the Qaratai Mordvins or Qaratays live in the Republic of Tatarstan. They no longer speak a Volga-Finnic language but have assimilated with Tatars.
  • the Teryukhan Mordvins live near Nizhny Novgorod had been completely Russified by 1900 and today unambiguously identify as ethnic Russians.

Mokshin concludes that the above grouping does not represent subdivisions of equal ethnotaxonomic order, and discounts Shoksha, Qaratai and Teryukhan as ethnonyms, identifying two Mordvin sub-ethnicities, the Erzya and the Moksha, and two "ethnographic groups", the Shoksha and the Qaratai.

Two further formerly Mordvinic groups have assimilated to (Slavic and Turkic) superstrate influence:

  • The Meshcheryaks are believed to be Mordvins who have converted to Russian Orthodox Christianity and have adopted the Russian language.
  • The Mishars are Mordvins who came under Tatar influence and adopted the language (Mishar Tatar dialect) and the Sunni Muslim religion.

Mordvins Modern Folk Fashion
from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Шокшань ават" - "Вай, луга, луга"(эрзянская народная песня)
Erzya Folk Song

Erzya folk group Siulghamo, singer T. Lysenkova

Moksha's girl dance

Moksha song "Ciftamas vele"

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