Map room: Russia's vanishing languages.

Author:Martinez-Flores, Jose
Position:Brief article

With 131 endangered languages, Russia could become one of the world's largest language graveyards. Often, Soviet-era population transfers accelerated their end. World Policy Journal highlights two languages on the ropes, one that exists only in memory, and another that flourishes thanks to a little luck.


KALMYK endangered

1926: 129,000

1959: 106,066

NOW: 153,062

Accused of collaborating with Nazi Germany, Kalmyks were deported in 1943 to Siberia, Central Asia, and the Soviet Far East. Many died in transit. Their language has not recovered.

INGRIAN severely endangered

1926: 26,137

1959: 369

NOW: 327

Kulak Ingrian speakers were deported to Siberia and Central Asia. During World War II, many remaining in their homeland were killed, others evacuated to Estonia and Finland. At war's end, they were relocated, losing their language en route.

CHUVASH vulnerable

1926: 1,117,419

1959: 1,334,347

NOW: 1,640,000

Prosperous kulaks, including many Chuvash speakers, were deported to...

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