World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples - Russian Federation : Mordovans


According to the 2010 national census, there are 744,237 Mordovans in the Russian Federation. Mordovans are divided into two main groups: Erzya (two-thirds) and Moshka (the remaining third). Their languages are mutually unintelligible. Mordovans are also referred to as Mordva or Mordvinians. They belong to the Volga-Finnic branch of the Finno-Ugric peoples.

The population is scattered in the Middle Volga with the largest concentration in the Mordovan Republic, where Mordovans account for under a third of the population. Over three-quarters of all Mordovans live outside the republic. This accounts for the reported decreases in the numbers of Mordovans, both in the Mordovan Republic and in the Russian Federation as a whole: their estimates in the 2010 census had declined by around 12 per cent from the figures in the 2002 census.

Historical context

Initially constituted as an Autonomous Oblast in January 1930, Mordova became an ASSR in 1934. It is now an ethnic republic of the Russian Federation.

Current issues

Current problems confronting Mordovans are the depletion of their ethnic share of the Mordovan Republic and in Russia at large, the preservation of two mutually unintelligible Mordovan languages and assimilation into Russian. The majority of Mordovans are bilingual (Mordovan/Russian).

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