Saturday, January 27, 2024

Neither Government Support for Cultural Programs Nor Local Activists Can Prevent Komi-Permyaks from Continuing to Decline, Residents There

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Jan. 24 – Between 2010 and 2021, the number of people declaring themselves to be Komi-Permyaks declined from 94,400 to 55,700; and residents say that the number speaking the Komi-Permyak language and identifying as Komi-Permyaks will continue to fall because they say members of that nationality have “ceased to love themselves.”

            Those with whom New Tab journalist Ivan Kozlov spoke said that people in that region are moving away from dying villages where there are no jobs to cities, first Perm and then on to larger cities, where they find it easier to speak Russian and identify as such rather than explain who the Komi-Permyaks are (

            Moreover, the residents say, neither the support the government does give for cultural festivals and museums does little to keep the Komi-Permyak language and identity alive given that it has worked to eliminate instruction in the language in the region’s schools and helps Russian become even more dominant in cities and workplaces.

            And at the same time, many of the activists who say they want to save the Komi-Permyaks are not members of that nationality and do not speak the national language. As a result, despite their good intentions, they do are doing little or nothing to more than slow the decline of this people.

            At the same time, at least one local activist argues that the census figures are inaccurate. She says that there has been a decline in the number of Komi-Permyak speakers and of people identifying as Komi-Permyaks but insists it is far smaller than the census suggests because of the ways that enumeration was conducted.

(On that issue and the discontent it has sparked, especially in Tatarstan but now as this article suggests among the Komi-Permyaks as well, see   

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