Who Lives in the Middle of Russia? An Interactive Map

These points distinguish different ethnic minorities (stateless nations) residing in Russia.

Ideliya Khismatova

These points distinguish different ethnic minorities (stateless nations) residing in Russia.

Ideliya Khismatova, Student Life Editor


On a phone? Find the map by clicking here.

Have you ever wondered who could possibly live in the blistering cold tundra in the middle of Siberia? The answer is the Russians, right?

Actually, the Russians are not the only residents of the Russian Federation, as it is a home to more than 150 ethnic minorities. Out of 140 million residents, a quarter of its population is not ethnically Russian. Some of these ethnicities consist of a few million people, while other ethnicities have less than 500 people.

These ethnic minorities are individually unique and different. They range from Caucasian groups who live on the mountains of Dagestan, to ethnicities who practice Buddhism, to people with Asian physique who herd reindeer for a living… (and many, many more!)

Each ethnicity with its own culture contributes greatly to Russia’s diversity and economic wealth. Among the largest ethnic minorities are the Tatars (4% of population), Bashkirs(1%), Chuvash(1%), and Chechens (1%).

The populations of these minorities are drastically declining due to assimilation with Russians. Several governmental and social implications, including the forcing of minority languages to be taught as electives, are decreasing the cultural remnants of the smaller ethnicities.

Above is a comprehensive, interactive map of 50 ethnic minorities who call Russia their home. Most of these minorities have inhabited Russia far longer than Russians themselves, which is why it makes sense to refer to them as the “Native Americans” of Russia.

The purpose of this map is to show the ethnic wealth of the country of Russia and to shed light on the fact that many of these lively nations are disappearing. It is important to understand that promoting and supporting the cultural and linguistic diversity adds to the prosperity and wellbeing of any country.

50 ethnicities are listed on this map at this point since the main focus is to pinpoint all of Russia’s ethnic minorities, also known as stateless nations. This means that these nations all have common characteristics among themselves but do not have autonomy recognized by other “states”, or countries, and are therefore represented as republics or just people.

This map is a work in progress, so eventually there will be more ethnicities. It is also difficult to learn about these minorities because some of their populations are so small and their villages are so isolated from other members of society that information is really hard to obtain. Most of the information on them is also in Russian, so it takes a while to find and translate it.

The color coding system is based off of language groups. The linguistic groups are as follows:

Red: Finno-Ugric

Orange: Samoyedic

Yellow: Chukchi-Kamchatkan

Dark Green: Turkic

Light Blue: Caucasian

Purple: Tungusic

Magenta: Uralic

Black: Other/Unknown

Click around on this map and discover the abundant and vibrant ethnicities residing in the Russian Federation, who are of course, not actually Russian.

In order to retrieve information about specific minority, click on the sidebar on your right.

Next time you sit in a history class, hear about Russia on the news, or even meet someone who’s nationality is Russian, keep in mind that there is a whole other world of people who reside in this beautiful country.