People-in-Country Profile

People Selector:
Print version:
Step 1 - Select a Country:   Send us your updates!
Step 2 - Select a People:  

Kalmyk-Oirat, Western Mongol in Russia

Kalmyk-Oirat, Western Mongol

Send us a photo of this people.  [1]

Kalmyk-Oirat, Western Mongol in Russia map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
187,000 Kalmyk-Oirat Buddhism 0.16 % 0.16 %   

Kalmyk-Oirat, Western Mongol in Russia

Profile Text
Submit Profile Text:

Introduction / History
The Kalmyks of Russia are Mongolian in origin. In the 16th century, the Kalmyks, or Oirat, left their homeland, now known as areas of northwest China, to avoid political and economic pressures. They had hopes of settling in the rich pastures of the northern Causasus Mountains.

In 1771, the majority of the Oirats decided to move back to their homeland in order to escape the Russian dictatorship, but only a few survived the long journey. Those who stayed behind in Russia became known as the Kalmyks, which means "to remain." As Kalmyks looked for their identity, they discovered it in Buddhism.

In 1943, Stalin had the Kalmyk descendants deported to Siberia for allegedly uniting with occupying Nazi troops. About half did not survive the Siberian cold; others were so dispersed that the Kalmyk language and culture suffered irreversible decline. In 1957, after Stalin's death, they were allowed to return home. Modern day Kalmykia is located north of the Caspian Sea and west of the Volga River. Animosity still remains between Russians and Kalmyks.

What are their lives like?
After their return from Siberia, many Kalmyks were forced to conform to the Soviet lifestyle, living in traditional gray, five story apartment complexes of the 1950s and working in industrial plants. After Perestroika, or the collapse of the Soviet regime, the economy disintegrated and factories closed, leaving many unemployed and causing widespread hardship.

Kalmykia is composed of steppes (treeless plains), semi-desert, and desert. It does not have good soil for crops. In rural areas, there are herdsmen who raise cattle, sheep, goats, and a few camels. They are known for their love of fine horses and horse racing. Those who live in the narrow neck of land with access to the Volga River are fishermen. Many have a small garden plot in the yard, growing melons, corn, and potatoes for their families. Some are employed in the trades, earning barely sustainable wages. Others continue to live as nomads, their lives characterized by seasonal migrations. Their dwellings are portable tents called yurts.

Kalmyks traditionally lived in extended family units with a mother and father, married sons and their families, and unmarried sons and daughters. Today there is a growing tendency toward nuclear families. Couples usually marry in their early to mid-twenties. Kalmykian law still allows polygamy. Sadly, divorce is becoming more common, and legal abortion is the principal means of birth control.

The traditional Kalmyk dress includes velvet hats, loose fitted coats, and heavily padded long pants. Men often shave their heads, except for one small area in the back that is reserved for a ponytail.

Oral history in an important part of Kalmyk culture. It is traditionally recited by a poet and accompanied by a two stringed lute called a dombr. Favorite past-times include storytelling and singing.

Their diet is largely one of meat and milk. At social gatherings, Kalmyks enjoy drinking kumiss (fermented mare's milk) or Kalmyk tea made of tea leaves, milk, butter, salt, nuts, and sometimes even meat.

What are their beliefs?
In the late 1500s, Kalmyks adopted Tibetan Buddhism. Many were later forced to convert to Russian Orthodoxy. Kalmyk Buddhism is a mixture of ethnic beliefs and Shamanism (belief in unseen gods, demons, and spirits). The people continue to depend on shamans, or medicine men, despite laws forbidding their practices to cure the sick by magic and communication with the gods. The obo, a heap of stones thought to be inhabited by local spirits, often serves as a site for performing various rituals. Occultism is occurring as Kalmyks have the custom of going to a Buddhist temple and inviting the gods to live inside them. Many are possessed by demons. Some are now being persuaded to join the Muslim religion.

In the 1990s the first positive wave to accept Christ began, and ambitious Christian pastors in Kalmykia have plans to establish churches in all seven regions, reaching the whole population of 174,000 for Christ.

What are their needs?
Medical facilities are inadequate. Limited water supply, poor hygiene, deficient diet, and alcoholism are common problems. Kalmyks have a high infant mortality rate, low life expectancy, and persistence of diseases like tuberculosis.

Prayer Points
* Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of the Kalmyk people so that they will be receptive to the love of Jesus.
* Pray that God will free the Kalmyks from occultism and their belief in evil spirits.
* Pray that God will grant wisdom and favor to missions agencies that may be currently focusing on the Kalmyks.
* Ask the Lord to call people who are willing to go to Russia and share Christ with Kalmyks.
* Pray that God will send Christian medical teams to work among these precious people.
* Pray that God will raise up teams of intercessors who will faithfully stand in the gap for the Kalmyks.
* Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among Kalmyks.

View Kalmyk-Oirat, Western Mongol in all countries.

Prayer Links  
PrayerGuard.net
Global Prayer Digest: 2008-03-24
Global Prayer Digest: 2013-03-07
  Submit Update:
Country: Russia
Continent: Asia
Region: Europe, Eastern and Eurasia
Persecution Rank:46 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: No
Location in Country:Kalmykia Republic, Astrakhanskaya Oblast’, and Stavropol’skiy Kray; Volga-Don steppes northwest of the Caspian, north of the Caucasus; Dörböt dialect: mostly west Kalmykia; Torgut dialect: mostly east, lower Volga region,Province.
(Source: Ethnologue 2016)
   
 
Maps
Submit Map:
Country Map:Political map
Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
Linguistic Map:Ethnologue language map
 
  Peoples [3]
Submit Update:
People Name in Country: Kalmyk-Oirat, Western Mongol
People Name General: Kalmyk-Oirat
Alternate People Names:
DurbetJazyk
KalmukKalmyk
KalmytskiiKalmytz
KhalmagOirat
QalmaqTorgot
Torgot MongoliansTorgut
TorguudVolba Oirat
Volga OiratWeilate
ROP3 Code: 107607
Joshua Project People ID: 14129
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 187,000
Population all Countries: 644,000
Least-Reached: Yes
   
 
Affinity Bloc: East Asian Peoples
People Cluster: Mongolian
People Name General: Kalmyk-Oirat
Ethnic Code: MSY41y
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
   
 
Language
Submit Update:
Primary Language: Kalmyk-Oirat (187,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): xal    Ethnologue Listing
Primary Dialect:Oirat
Dialect Code:11426
Total Languages: 1
   
 
Religion [4]
Submit Update:
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Major Religions:
Buddhism69.84 % 
Christianity0.16 %(Evangelical: 0.16 %)
Ethnic Religions0.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious30.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic0.00 %
 
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
   
 
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Few evangelicals and few who claim to be Christians. Little, if any, history of Christianity.
Least-Reached: Yes
GSEC Status:Level 2   Less than 2% Evangelical. Initial (localized) church planting within past 2 years
 
 
Bible Translation Status
Submit Update:
Bible Portions: 1815-1996
New Testament:
1827–2009Audio
Complete Bible: None Reported
Possible Bible Sources: Forum of Bible Agencies
 World Bible Finder
 World Christian Resource Directory
 Gospel Go
 
 
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament (FCBH)
Film / VideoJesus Film: view in Kalmyk-Oirat
 
 
Ministry Activity
Register Ministry Activity:
Networking: Visit LinkingGlobalVoices.org for networking possibilities.
Description: Register your ministry activity among this people group. Contact the Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse and Unleashed for the Unreached to learn about others that might be focused on this people group.
 
Data Notes
Data Sources
 
 

Kalmyk-Oirat, Western Mongol in Russia

Peoples
               
Geographic
Global                 Global
           
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
           
   
People Cluster
       
Region
   
    Mongolian     Europe, Eastern and Eurasia    
     
People-Group-Across-Countries
   
Country
   
      Kalmyk-Oirat Russia    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Kalmyk-Oirat, Western Mongol in Russia          
      Religion Language  
      Buddhism     Kalmyk-Oirat  
    Global    
Language
 
    All Religions                              
   
Religion
                             

Direct link:  http://legacy.joshuaproject.net/people-profile.php?peo3=14129&rog3=RS