What do the Mansi and Khanty think about the Russians? 6 unexpected facts

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What do Mansi and Khanty think about Russians? 6 unexpected facts

In the expanses of Siberia, among the wooded plains and the mighty Ural Mountains, two Finno-Ugric peoples live together – the Mansi and the Khanty. The indigenous population of one of the key oil-producing regions of the world lives modestly, keeps the customs of their ancestors, and passes on ancient legends and traditional crafts from generation to generation. Outwardly, the Ob Ugrians are similar: short, thin, with Mongoloid features. But there are also differences – we'll talk about them, and at the same time find out what the Mansi and Khanty think about the Russians.

1. Russian stubborn

The development of Siberia, which began in the 16th century, lasted about two centuries and did not always go smoothly. Moving east, the Cossacks made the local tribes an offer that could not be refused: to submit to the king. Often he was refused, and then the weapon came into play.

The Khanty (they are the Ostyaks) and the Mansi (they are the Voguls) resisted especially fiercely. They were well versed in the terrain and knew how to survive in the taiga, and it was better not to be captured by them: they not only killed enemies, but took scalps from them, believing that one of the souls of a warrior lives in the hair, and depriving her of the opportunity to resurrect . But the Cossacks stubbornly moved forward, and soon Siberia became part of the Russian state. Under the USSR, the Ostyako-Vogulsky district was formed on the lands of the Khanty and Mansi, later renamed Khanty-Mansiysk.

2. They are spoiled by civilization

The Khanty came to the lower reaches of the Oka from the south and mixed with the natives in the 1st millennium. The ancestors of the Mansi are Ugric nomads and local tribes from the western slopes of the Urals. The Khanty settled in tents, huts or dugouts, engaged in fishing, hunting and reindeer herding. Mansi are also fishermen and hunters who lived in tents covered with skins or birch bark, and in winter they moved to huts with an earthen roof and a hearth made of poles smeared with clay.

Today, most of the Ob Ugrians settled in cities and towns, but some maintain a traditional way of life – all the same wooden huts and plagues, all the same crafts and no excesses.

The Ob Ugrians practice shamanism, worship ancestors and patron spirits, and are sure that the loon got the earth from the bottom of the ocean, and the supreme god Torum created the world out of it.

3. They are educated

The Khanty have many dialects, so it was not easy to form a common script. Soviet scientists came to the rescue: they compiled a dictionary and several primers, developed alphabets for the main dialects. In huts-reading rooms, libraries and “red tents” they fought against illiteracy: they taught to read and write, discussed books, talked about new forms of farming. There are fewer dialects in the Mansi language, therefore the alphabet was created easier: first using the Latin alphabet, and then based on Russian letters.

4. They don't know the truth

The Ob Ugrians practice shamanism, worship ancestors and patron spirits, and are sure that the loon got the earth from the bottom of the ocean, and the supreme god Torum created the world from it. The Ural Range is the belt of God, once thrown to the ground by him. The progenitors of the Mansi are the goddess Kaltash, who is able to take the form of animals, and the bear, in whose honor they still organize holidays with hunting, feasting, games and rituals. Mansi believe in the Forest Maiden, giants, the Golden Woman and the Heavenly Elk, and they also deify the weathered rocks of Manpupuner.

The Khanty consider everything that moves to be alive, including snow, water, fire, and rain. Each clan has its own progenitor animal, but the main idols are deer, bear, horse, frog, beaver and otter. The Khanty are afraid of mermaids, they revere the old owner of the Ob and make toys-amulets akan — rag dolls without faces, but in beautiful folk costumes.

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Khanty consider everything that moves to be alive including snow, water, fire and rain.

5. They are not very lucky climbers

Mansi appear in the sensational case of the Dyatlovites: in 1959, a group of Soviet tourists died under extremely mysterious circumstances on a pass near Mount Holatchakhl. Mansi has long considered it a haven of evil spirits, even the name itself, translated from Mansi, means “Dead Peak” (and according to another version, it even means “Mountain of the Dead”). According to one version of the investigation, local residents could be, if not the culprits, then witnesses of the tragedy, but the Mansi only shrug their shoulders imperturbably: there is nothing to disturb the ancient forces.

What do Mansi and Khanty think about Russians? 6 unexpected facts

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6. They are good drinking companions

Today there are about 30 thousand Khanty and 12 thousand Mansi left in Russia. And most of all they are threatened not by the harsh climate, poverty or illiteracy, but by alcohol. Due to the peculiarities of metabolism and – especially – the absence of centuries-old practice of drinking alcohol and, accordingly, social mechanisms for limiting it, taiga residents quickly become addicted to alcohol, with all the consequences. At the same time, some tourists bring alcohol in boxes, often using it as a currency: they change vodka for fish and meat, or simply invite the locals to drink for the company.

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