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Regions with significant populations
 Russia 3,608[1]
Buryat language
Related ethnic groups

The Soyot people live in Russia. According to the 2010 census, there were 3,608 Soyots in Russia. Their extinct language was of a Turkic type and basically similar to the Tuvans, but they live in the Oka Region of Buryatia. Their language has been reconstructed and a textbook has been published. The language is currently taught in some schools in Oka.

They live dispersed among the Buryats and now speak the Buryat language.

A Norwegian scientific expedition, led by Orjan Olsen, H. Printz, Anders K. Olsen, Fritz Jensen (Norway) and J. E. Gustschin (Russia) in the early 1910s gives valuable data of the customs of these people before they were completely assimilated to the Buryats. The ethnographic data and photographs collected by these scientists were published by Olsen in the book: "Et primitivt folk de mongolske rennomader" (Cappeln, 1915). There is a Spanish edition: "Los soyotos, un pueblo primitivo. Nómadas mongoles pastores de renos" (Calpe, Madrid, 1921). With all its shortcomings (the book is flawed with the eurocentrism of its age), it is probably the best study of these isolated people before they adapted to the larger Buryat culture. It includes a short list of Soyot words, several dozen photographs and a fortunate preserved account of a Soyot shamanic tale of divination, along with a detailed account of both shamanic and lamaistic rituals among these people (both Buddhism and native animism syncretically coexisted at the time of the expedition).

External links

  • Oleg Aliev's expedition to the Soyots
  • Photos of the Soyots
  • The Soyot language
  • People-in-Country Profile


  1. ^ Russian Census 2010: Population by ethnicity (Russian)
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