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Tuvan, Uriankhai in Russia

Tuvan, Uriankhai

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Tuvan, Uriankhai in Russia map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
267,000 Tuvan Non-Religious 1.50 % 0.19 %   

Tuvan, Uriankhai in Russia

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Introduction / History
Most Tuvinians live in Russia, and smaller communities can also be found in Mongolia and China. They inhabit the Tuvinian Autonomous Republic, which is located near the Mongolian border. They speak a Turkic language called Tuvin.

The Tuvinians live in a harsh mountainous region that has an intense climate. The summers are hot and dry with temperatures reaching 110 degrees Fahrenheit. The winters are bitterly cold with temperatures dropping to -78 degrees Fahrenheit. Still, this region has up to 300 sunny days a year, and the extremely dry air helps people to withstand the cold winters and the hot summers.

Formerly, the Tuvinian Republic was under Mongol rule. However, in 1911, it became independent "Tuva," under strong Soviet influence. In 1944, Tuva was integrated into the Soviet Union. Although the USSR dissolved in 1991, the territory remained part of Russia.

What are their lives like?
Most Tuvinians raise livestock for a living. They also hunt and do a limited amount of farming. Oats, barley, wheat, and millet are the principal crops raised. Recently, farmers from northern China have introduced the Tuvinians to vegetable farming.

Many Tuvinians still live as nomadic shepherds, migrating seasonally with their herds. Those who inhabit the plains traditionally live in large felt tents called yurts. Those in Siberia usually live in round tents made from bark.

The main industrial activity in the Tuvinian Republic is mining, especially for asbestos, cobalt, coal, gold, and uranium. Other industries include processing food, crafting leather or wood items, and manufacturing building materials.

The Tuvinian diet primarily consists of meat (mutton, beef, horse, goat, camel, reindeer, and wild game), fish, roots, cedar nuts, and dairy products. The Tuvinians enjoy drinking airag (fermented mare's milk) on special occasions.

In times past, Tuvinian marriages were arranged by the parents, and couples married when they reached the age of 12 or 13. Today, the minimum age for marriage is 18, and parental consent is no longer necessary. A young bride formerly lived with the husband's family, but now the couple's home is determined by their economic conditions. Divorce is common among the Tuvinians, and abortion is often used as a form of birth control.

The Tuvinian culture is noted for its rich, oral epic poetry. Tuvinians love music and play more than fifty different musical instruments. Traveling ensembles often perform outdoors.

What are their beliefs?
Tuvinians were traditionally Shamanists (a belief in an unseen world of gods, demons, and ancestral spirits) and Tibetan Buddhists.

Tibetan Buddhism was first embraced by the Tuvinians in the 1700s. In the 1930s, the Soviets destroyed nearly all of the Buddhist monasteries, and all the monks were dispersed; some were even shot. Recently, however, a Buddhist community was officially registered in the Tuvinian Republic, and efforts are underway to rebuild a great monastery.

The influence of Shamanism is still obvious among Tuvinians. Ceremonies are held on the seventh and forty-ninth days after someone's death. The soul is believed to remain in the body of the deceased for seven days, then depart for the "kingdom of the dead," reaching its ultimate destination on the forty-ninth day.

Tuvinians believe that all natural elements contain spirits that must be appeased with offerings. The people are dependent on shamans (medicine men) to cure the sick by magic and communicate with the spirits.

What are their needs?
Until Tuva become a part of Russia, very few of the Tuvinian men and none of the women could read.

Prayer Points
Ask the Lord to call people who are willing to go to Russia and share Christ with the Tuvinians.
Ask God to use Tuvinian believers to share the love of Jesus with their own people.
Pray that Christian radio and television broadcasts will be made available to the Tuvinians.
Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of the Tuvinians toward Christians so that they will be receptive to the Gospel.
Pray that God will open the hearts of Russia's governmental leaders to the Gospel.
Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among Tuvinians.

View Tuvan, Uriankhai in all countries.

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2007-02-02
Global Prayer Digest: 2008-03-17
Global Prayer Digest: 2011-03-17
Global Prayer Digest: 2013-03-08
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Country: Russia
Continent: Asia
Region: Europe, Eastern and Eurasia
10/40 Window: No
Location in Country:The Tuva inhabit the region where Russia, Mongolia and China intersect. The majority reside in the Tuva Republic of Russia, radiating out from the capital of Kyzl. Many also live in north-west Mongolia, especially in the Hovsgol and Hovd Aimags, and a small number reside in the Xingiang Region of north-west China.
(Source: Peoples of the Buddhist World, 2004)
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Country Map:Political map
Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
Linguistic Map:Ethnologue language map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Tuvan, Uriankhai
People Name General: Tuvan
Alternate People Names:
Altai TuvaAltai Uriangkhai
ROP3 Code: 110333
Joshua Project People ID: 15668
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 267,000
Population all Countries: 313,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: Turkic Peoples
People Cluster: Ural-Siberian
People Name General: Tuvan
Ethnic Code: MSY41z
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Tuvan (267,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): tyv    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Non-Religious
Major Religions:
Buddhism33.00 % 
Christianity1.50 %(Evangelical: 0.19 %)
Ethnic Religions30.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious35.50 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox100.00 %
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
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Bible Portions: 1996
New Testament:
Complete Bible: 2011-2017
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
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Film / VideoJesus Film: view in Tuva
Film / VideoLUMO film of Gospels
Film / VideoMagdalena video
Film / VideoMy Last Day video, anime
Film / VideoStory of Jesus for Children
GeneralGospel resources links
Text / Printed MatterBible: Tuvan
Ministry Activity
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Data Notes
Data Sources

Tuvan, Uriankhai in Russia

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Ural-Siberian     Europe, Eastern and Eurasia    
      Tuvan Russia    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Tuvan, Uriankhai in Russia          
      Religion Language  
      Non-Religious     Tuvan  
    All Religions                              

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