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Soviet Union


Like the Chuvash, the Mordvins were another nationality having their own autonomous republic along the middle reaches of the Volga River in the Russian Republic. The Mordvins, like the other two nationalities, were Finno-Ugric and like the Chuvash had been a part of the Kazan' Horde prior to their incorporation into the Russian Empire in the sixteenth century. Soviet authorities established the Mordvinian Autonomous Oblast in 1930, which in 1934 became the Mordvinian Autonomous Republic.

The Mordvins, who numbered around 1.2 million people in 1989, were mostly scattered throughout the Russian Republic. Less than a third lived in the Mordvinian Autonomous Republic. Mordvins, who made up less than 32 percent of the population, were the second largest nationality in their autonomous republic, while Russians, with 61 percent, constituted a majority.

A predominantly agricultural people, the Mordvins speak their own language, which belongs to the Finno-Ugric group of languages. Their written language, which came into being under Soviet rule, uses a Cyrillic alphabet. In 1989 about 67 percent of the nationality claimed Mordvinian as their native tongue. Mordvin religious believers were mostly Orthodox Christians.

Data as of May 1989