The Mordvins (also Mordva ) are a nation of 1,072,900 people ( Census 1989) of the Finno -Ugric language group in Russia, especially in the autonomous republic of Mordovia ( Mordovia ).

They belong to the Volga Finns and fall into the two main groups of Ersja ( Эрзят, Ersjat ) and Moksha ( Мокшот, Mokschot ). Themselves they denote exclusively as Ersja or Moksha - the Association to a Mordvinian people will not accept them and so they have in their languages ​​also have no equivalent for " Mordvins ". The term Mordva sometimes used is only taken from the Slavic itself, has for the Mordvins but no meaning, instead of the rather Terminuns is used to designate true for both groups used mokschersjan circumstances. Other groups of Mordvins are the Schokscha, however, consist of only a few thousand people, and Terjuchen and Karataier. The latter two have been merged completely into Russians or Tatars for some time.


Within the Republic of Mordovia live only about a third of Mordvins, and there they make as titular only 32.5 percent of the population. The rest is distributed to Samara ( census 1989: 116 475 ), Penza ( 86 370 ), Orenburg ( 68 879 ), Simbirsk ( 61 061 ), Nizhny Novgorod ( 36 709 ), Saratov ( 23 381 ), Republic of Bashkortostan ( 31 932 ), Republic of Tatarstan ( 28 859 ) and Chuvash Republic ( 18,686 ).


The two groups of Ersja and Moksha speak major dialects Ersjanisch and Moksha, which together form the Mordovian languages ​​and each other sometimes have significant differences. At the last census, 67 percent of Mordvins that they use Mordvin as their first language, many Mordvins are bilingual or trilingual also with Russian or Tatar.

History and Politics

In the year 551 AD they are first mentioned by the Gothic historian Jordanes as murder under the subjugated peoples of Ermanarich.

Probably from the 8th century began the separation of Ersja and Moksha, who came relatively early under the influence of the Russians. With the establishment of Nizhny Novgorod in 1221, the Russians began increasingly to penetrate mordwinischer in the core space colonization. Due to the conflict between Russians and Volga Bulgars and the Golden Horde, the Mordvins shifted their settlements farther and farther to the south and east and fragmented so over long distances to the east of the Urals.

The strong by the early influence of the Russians anyway Russification of Mordvins was from the 1930s further strengthened, even though they have already received in 1928 an autonomous region within the Soviet Union. As with the fall of the Soviet Union, the minorities of Russia for the first time became a subject, indeed began a slightly euphoric new national consciousness in Ersja and Moksha. In fact, today the Mordvins the subject rather over with indifference. Although Ersjanisch and Moksha are next to Russian constitutional languages ​​in the Republic of Mordovia, they are rarely used in everyday life.


The Christian missions lasted from the 16th century to the 18th century, and today Mordvins predominantly Russian Orthodox Christians. There are also some animists, as the Mordvins have a rich ancient mythology.