Saturday, May 2, 2009

Penza and Mordvinians

"other and Penzenskoi"
Penza - Woman Costume





Norsk betegnelse:Mordviner (pers. fl.t.), mordvinsk
Russisk betegnelse:Mordva, Mordovskiy
Alternativt navn:Mordovians, Mordvins
Five different groups; Erzya (north-eastern branch) and Moksha (western branch) are the two biggest.
The others are: the Tengushev, the Teryukhan and the Karatay.
The Mishars are a group of Mordvinians that have adopted Tatar language and converted to Sunni-Muslim religion, and they are counted as Tatars.

Religion:Orthodox Christians
Språk:Mordvinian; Russian, Tatar.
Språkfamilie:Ural-yukagirian: Finno-ugric group
Spredning Russland:
Aboriginals of Mordoviya, in the Middle Volga region of Russia. They also live in Bashkortostan, Tatarstan, Chuvashia, Samara, Penza, Orenburg, Ulyanovsk, Nizhniy-Novgorod and Saratov oblasts + Siberia and Russia's far east.

Kazakhstan, Ukraina, Uzbekistan.

The Mordvinians are descendants of Finno-Ugric tribes that populated the area between the rivers Volga, Oka and Sura more than 2000 years ago. The first literary reference to the Mordvinians came in the sixth c., when they were located in villages between the Oka and middle Volga rivers.
The city of Nizhniy Novgorod was the capital of the Mordvinians until 1172, when it was conquered by troops of three Russian principalities - Suzdal, Ryazan and Murom. The conquest of the Mordvinians continued the next 200 years, with Muscovy also joining the assault. Many ethnic Russians peasants settled in the area and it was incorporated into the Russian political subdivisions of Ryazan and Nizhniy Novgorod.
From the 13th to the 15th c., the Mordvinians fell under the control of the Mongols and the Tatars, and they joined with Russians in the resistance movement against Mongol rule. When the Khazan Khanate fell in 1552, the Mordvinians voluntarily became part of the Russian state.
From the late 16th c. onwards, Russians poured into the area, as they built a strong line of military fortifications and settlements in the south-eastern reaches of Mordoviya against attacks from nomadic tribes. The next 200 years, the Mordvinians were subject to repression by the Russians, and many migrated into the Ural mountains and southern Siberia. There were also many uprisings against Russian rule.
With the completion of the Moscow-Kazan railroad in the 1890s, which integrated the region more completely into the larger commercial economy, the Mordvinians changed from subsistence farming to a more commercial production, but most of them remained tied to the land. Cultural links to the Russians followed the commercial links, and the process of assimilation began to accelerate.
Many things changed after the 1917 Bolshevik revolution. In 1919, a Mordvinian section was established in the People's Commisariat for Nationalities in Russia, and, in 1921, a Congress of Communists of Mordvinian Nationality met in Samara. The Mordvinian okrug was established in 1928, and it became the Mordvinian Autonomous oblast in 1930. In 1934, the Mordvinian ASSR was created.
Stalin's collectivisation in the late 1920s/early 1930s met with some resistance from Mordvinian kulaks, most of whom were liquidated.
During World War 2, a lot of Russian industry was moved east of the Urals to be safe from the Germans, and economic life in the Mordvinian area changed significantly. This gave a new boost to russification. The process of russification has continued since then, and the number of people identifying themselves as Mordvinian is steadily decreasing, so is the number of Mordvinians who actually speak the Mordvinian language.
Centre for Russian Studies:

Mishar Tatars are from the Mordovian republic. This was the Penza state when my family emigrated. Many Tatars in Finland are also from this area. This is not Kazan Tatar decoration.

Here's what I was able to find out there:
MORDVINS, a people numbering about one million, belonging to the Ural-Altaic family, who inhabit the middle Volga provinces of Russia and spread in small detached communities to the south and east of these. Their settlement in the basin of the Volga is of high antiquity. One of the two great branches into which they are divided, the Erzya, is perhaps the same as the Aorses mentioned by Ptolemy as dwelling between the Baltic Sea and the Ural Mountains. Strabo mentions also the Aorses as inhabitants of the country between the Don, the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus. The Russians made raids on the Mordvins in the 12th century, and after the fall of Kazan rapidly invaded and colonized their country.

The Mordvins are now found in the governments of Simbirsk, Penza, Samara and Nizhniy-Novgorod, as well as Saratov and Tambov. But their villages are dispersed among those of the Russians, and they constitute only 10 to 12% of the population in the four first-named governments, and from 5 to 6% in the last two. They are unequally distributed over this area in ethnographical islands, and constitute as much as 23 to 44% of the population of several districts of the governments of Tambov, Simbirsk, Samara and Saratov, and only 2 or 3% in other districts of the same provinces. They are divided into two great branches, the Erzya (Erza, or Ersa) and the Moksha, differing somewhat in their physical features and language. The southern branch, or the Moksha, have a darker skin and darker eyes and hair than the northern. A third branch, the Karatays, found in Kazan, appears to be mixed with Tatars. The language is a branch of the Western Finnish family, and most nearly allied to the Cheremissian, though presenting many peculiarities (see FINNo-UGxrc). The Mordvins have largely abandoned their own language for Russian; but they have maintained a good deal of their old national dress, especially the women, whose profusely embroidered skirts, original hair-dress large ear-rings which sometimes are merely hare-tails, and numerous necklaces covering all the chest and consisting of all possible ornaments, easily distinguish them from Russian women. They have mostly dark hair, but blue eyes, generally small and rather narrow. Their cephalic index is very near to that of the Finns. They are brachycephalous or sub-brachycephalous, and a few are mesaticephalous. They are finely built, rather tall and strong, and broad-chested. Their chief occupation is agriculture; they work harder and (in the basin of the Moksha) are more prosperous than their Russian neighbours. Their capacities as carpenters were well known in Old Russia, and Ivan the Terrible used them to build bridges and clear forests during his advance on Kazan. They now manufacture wooden ware of various sorts. They are also masters of apiculture, and the commonwealth of bees often appears in their poetry and religious beliefs. They have a considerable literature of popular songs and legends, some of them recounting the doings of a king Tushtyan who lived in the time of Ivan the Terrible. Nearly all are Christians; they received baptism in the reign of Elizabeth, and the Nonconformists have made many proselytes among them. But they still preserve much of their own mythology, which they have adapted to the Christian religion. According to some authorities, they have preserved also, especially the less russified Moksha, the practice of kidnapping brides, with the usual battles between the party of the bridegroom and that of the family of the bride. The worship of trees, water (especially of the water-divinity which favours marriage), the sun or Shkay, who is the chief divinity, the moon, the thunder and the frost, and of the home-divinity Kardazserko still exists among them; and a small stone altar or flat stone covering a small pit to receive the blood of slaughtered animals can be found in many houses. Their burial customs seem founded on ancestor-worship. On the fortieth day after the death of a kinsman the dead is not only supposed to return home but a member of his household represents him, and, coming from the grave, speaks in his name.

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