Mari El

Mari El
Mari El Republic
Республика Марий Эл (Russian)
Марий Эл Республик (Mari)
—  Republic  —


Coat of arms
Anthem: National Anthem of the Mari El Republic
Coordinates: 56°42′N 47°52′E / 56.7°N 47.867°E / 56.7; 47.867Coordinates: 56°42′N 47°52′E / 56.7°N 47.867°E / 56.7; 47.867
Political status
Country Russia
Federal district Volga[1]
Economic region Volga-Vyatka[2]
Established November 4, 1920
Capital Yoshkar-Ola[3]
Government (as of August 2010)
 - President[4] Leonid Markelov[5]
 - Legislature State Assembly[4]
Area (as of the 2002 Census)[6]
 - Total 23,200 km2 (8,957.6 sq mi)
Area rank 72nd
Population (2010 Census)[7]
 - Total 696,357
 - Rank 65th
 - Density 30.02 /km2 (77.8 /sq mi)
 - Urban 63.1%
 - Rural 36.9%
Population (2002 Census)[8]
 - Total 727,979
 - Rank 66th
 - Density 31.38 /km2 (81.3 /sq mi)
 - Urban 63.15%
 - Rural 36.85%
Time zone(s) MSD (UTC+04:00)[9]
ISO 3166-2 RU-ME
License plates 12
Official languages Russian;[10] Mari[11]

The Mari El Republic (Russian: Респу́блика Мари́й Эл, Respublika Mariy El; Mari: Марий Эл Республик, Marii El Respublic) is a federal subject of Russia (a republic). Its capital is the city of Yoshkar-Ola. Population: 696,357 (2010 Census preliminary results).[12]



The republic is located in the eastern part of the East European Plain of Russia, along the Volga River. The swampy Mari Depression is located in the west of the republic. 57% of the republic's territory is covered by forests.

  • Area: 23,200 square kilometers (9,000 sq mi)
  • Internal borders: Nizhny Novgorod Oblast (SW/W/NW/N), Kirov Oblast (N/NE/E), Republic of Tatarstan (SE/S), Chuvash Republic (S)
  • Highest point: 278 m[13]


There are 476 rivers in the republic. Most of them are considered to be minor: 10–50 m wide and 0.5-1.4 m deep. They usually freeze from mid-November till mid-April. Major rivers include:


There are over two hundred lakes in the republic, most of them with an area less than 1 km² and depth of 1–3 m. Many lakes are located among swamps. Swamps cover large areas (10–70 km², up to 100 km²), and usually freeze in December. Average depth of the swamps is .5-1.5 m (up to 3 m), but they are impassable in fall and spring due to flooding.

Major lakes include:

Natural resources

There are virtually no natural resources of industrial significance in the republic. Other resources include peat, mineral waters, and limestone.


Climate is moderately continental. Winters are moderately cold and snowy. Summers are warm and often rainy.

  • Average January temperature: −13 °C (
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  • Average July temperature: +19 °C (66 °F)
  • Average annual precipitation: 450–500 mm

Administrative divisions


  • Population: 696,357 (2010 Census preliminary results)[12]
  • Population: 727,979 (2002 Census)[8]
    • Urban: 459,687 (63.1%)
    • Rural: 268,292 (36.9%)
    • Male: 338,485 (46.5%)
    • Female: 389,494 (53.5%)
  • Females per 1000 males: 1,151
  • Average age: 36.7 years
    • Urban: 36.7 years
    • Rural: 36.7 years
    • Male: 34.0 years
    • Female: 39.0 years
  • Number of households: 263,382 (with 717,938 people)
    • Urban: 173,246 (with 455,006 people)
    • Rural: 90,136 (with 262,932 people)
  • Vital statistics
Source: Russian Federal State Statistics Service
Births Deaths Birth rate Death rate
1970 10,505 6,364 15.3 9.3
1975 11,816 7,190 17.0 10.3
1980 13,169 8,091 18.5 11.4
1985 14,198 8,529 19.5 11.7
1990 11,953 7,775 15.8 10.3
1991 10,578 7,786 14.0 10.3
1992 9,227 8,330 12.2 11.0
1993 8,019 9,622 10.6 12.7
1994 7,851 10,788 10.4 14.2
1995 7,337 9,999 9.7 13.2
1996 6,952 9,495 9.2 12.6
1997 6,782 9,625 9.0 12.8
1998 6,657 9,623 8.9 12.8
1999 6,597 10,674 8.8 14.3
2000 6,784 11,040 9.1 14.9
2001 6,832 11,434 9.3 15.5
2002 7,300 12,105 10.0 16.6
2003 7,515 11,861 10.4 16.4
2004 7,715 12,098 10.7 16.8
2005 7,475 12,256 10.5 17.2
2006 7,550 11,286 10.6 15.9
2007 8,306 10,745 11.8 15.2
2008 8,620 10,699 12.3 15.2
  • Ethnic groups

Though the Mari people have lived in the area for millennia, they did not have a designated territory before the Russian Revolution of 1917. According to the 2002 Census only 51.7% of the Mari within Russia live in the Mari El Republic, while 17.5% live in the Republic of Bashkortostan. During the last Soviet Census (1989), 4% of the Mari of the Soviet Union lived outside of Russia.

Since World War II, more ethnic Russians and Tatars have moved into the area. According to the 2002 Census, Russians make up 47.5% of the republic's population, while the ethnic Mari make up 42.3%. Other groups include Tatars (6.0%), Chuvash (1.0%), Ukrainians (5,097, or 0.7%), and a host of smaller groups, each accounting for less than 0.5% of the total population. 2,911 people (0.4%) did not indicate their nationalities during the Census.

census 1926 census 1939 census 1959 census 1970 census 1979 census 1989 census 2002
Mari 247,979 (51.4%) 273,332 (47.2%) 279,450 (43.1%) 299,179 (43.7%) 306,627 (43.5%) 324,349 (43.3%) 312,178 (42.9%)
Russians 210,016 (43.6%) 266,951 (46.1%) 309,514 (47.8%) 320,825 (46.9%) 334,561 (47.5%) 355,973 (47.5%) 345,513 (47.5%)
Tatars 20,219 (4.2%) 27,149 (4.7%) 38,821 (6.0%) 40,279 (5.9%) 40,917 (5.8%) 43,850 (5.9%) 43,377 (6.0%)
Chuvash 2,184 (0.5%) 5,504 (0.9%) 9,065 (1.4%) 9,032 (1.3%) 8,087 (1.1%) 8,993 (1.2%) 7,418 (1.0%)
Others 1,703 (0.4%) 6,674 (1.2%) 10,830 (1.7%) 15,433 (2.3%) 14,015 (2.0%) 16,167 (2.2%) 19,943 (2.7%)


Map of the Mari El Republic

Ancient Mari tribes were known since the 5th century, though archeologists suspect Mari culture to be much older in its roots. Later their area was a tributary of Volga Bulgaria and the Golden Horde. In the 1440s it was incorporated into the Khanate of Kazan and was occupied by the Tsardom of Russia (governed by Ivan the Terrible) after the fall of Kazan in 1552.

After the Russian Revolution, under Bolshevik regime, Mari Autonomous Oblast was established on November 4, 1920. It was re-organized into Mari ASSR on December 5, 1936, same as the enactment of the 1936 Soviet Constitution, a.k.a. "Stalin Constitution". In its present form the Mari El Republic was formed on December 22, 1990.


The head of government in the Mari El Republic is the President. As of 2008, the president is Leonid Markelov, who was elected in January 2001.

The ethnic Mari people are under heavy Russification and Leonid Markelov has ordered many Mari language newspapers to close.[citation needed] Many ethnic Mari activists live under fear of violence. The Mari activist and chief editor Vladimir Kozlov was badly beaten after he published criticism toward Leonid Markelov's politics. Other Mari leaders have been the subjects of violence, legal persecution and intimidation[14]

The Marla faith of the Mari people has encountered hostility as well. Vitaly Tanakov was charged with inciting religious, national, social and linguistic hatred after publishing the book The Priest Speaks.[15]

International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF) and Moscow Helsinki Group (MHG) in an exhaustive 2006 report "Russian Federation: The Human Rights Situation of the Mari Minority of the Republic of Mari El," found widespread evidence of political and cultural persecution of Mari people, and of "a broader trend of repression of dissidents in the republic." They note that because of the relative obscurity of the Mari people and culture in the global context, no major NGOs have yet taken up the cause of protecting their rights.[16]


The most developed industries are machine construction, metal working, timber, woodworking, and food industries. Most of the industrial enterprises are located in the capital Yoshkar-Ola, as well as in the towns of Kozmodemyansk, Volzhsk, and Zvenigovo


Traveling cheaply and quickly to various towns and villages within the republic is made possible through a network of fifteen train stations, fifty-three bus stations, and numerous marshrutkas. The republic is connected to different regions throughout Russia by daily trains to and from Moscow and Kazan, an airport located near Yoshkar-Ola, and a port on the Volga River in Kozmodemyansk. There are also four other minor river ports in the republic. Regional automobile code is 12.


Telephony, Internet service, and cable television are provided by VolgaTelecom.


There are many museums located throughout the territory of the republic. The largest ones include the National Museum, the Museum of History, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Yoshkar-Ola; the Museum of Arts and History, the Ethnographic Open-Air Museum, and the Merchant Life Museum in Kozmodemyansk; and the Sheremetevo Castle Museum-reserve in Yurino. There are also museums dedicated to the poet Nikolay Mukhin and the composer Ivan Klyuchnikov-Palantay in Yoshkar-Ola and the house-museum of writer Sergei Chavayn in Chavaynur.

Five theaters are located in Yoshkar-Ola with performances in both the Russian and Mari languages, though it should be noted that the Mari National Theater, a major ethnic institution, was closed by the government. The International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF) and Moscow Helsinki Group (MHG) in their 2006 report "Russian Federation: The Human Rights Situation of the Mari Minority of the Republic of Mari El", reported "The closure of the Mari National Theater, which had been a key element of Mari cultural life ever since its foundation in 1919, was perceived as a direct attack on Mari culture."


The most important facilities of higher education are Mari State Technical University and Mari State University, both located in Yoshkar-Ola. There are also more than 900 primary and secondary schools located throughout the republic.

For the past few years, the Mari El Republic has been participating in the national project "Education" ("Oбразование"), which is designed to improve education throughout Russia by bringing new technology into the classroom, improving material conditions in schools, and providing financial awards to extraordinary students and teachers.

Despite the fact that Mari language is officially a state language, Mari educators and administrators have been forced from their positions in recent years and Mari-language education has been defunded, according to the U.S. State Department,[17] the European Union and others.[18]


The most common religions in the republic include Russian Orthodoxy Old Believers, and Islam. The traditional Mari religion - Chi Mari Yula (Animist) is still practiced to by many Mari people and is the main religion of the Mari of Bashkordistan,also practiced is the Marla faith, which is a combination of these traditional beliefs and modern Christianity.The Czars took drastic measures to force Christianity on the Mari,going so far as blowing up a holy mountain, the Soviets during WWII allowed Pagan prayer meetings. Mari gather at around 520 holy groves where they offer animal and vegetable sacrifices, there are about 20 festivals yearly. Even though traditional religion is one of Mari El's 3 officially recognised religions (along with Orthodoxy and Islam) Mari religious practices have come under increasing pressure, according to human rights groups.[19]


The territory of the republic is one of the more ecologically pure areas of the European part of Russia with numerous lakes, rivers, and forests. As a result, it is a popular destination for tourists looking to enjoy nature. One of the most popular destinations is Marii Chodra national park in the Ilet valley, where visitors can enjoy various activities such as boating, horseback riding, fishing, and mushrooming. Another is the Bolshaya Kokshaga National Reserve, where visitors can walk through virgin forests and observe local wildlife.

Mari El is also the site of several mineral springs, many of which are located in the Ilet valley. Many small resorts and children's camps are also located on the various lakes throughout the republic.


  1. ^ Президент Российской Федерации. Указ №849 от 13 мая 2000 г. «О полномочном представителе Президента Российской Федерации в федеральном округе». Вступил в силу 13 мая 2000 г. Опубликован: "Собрание законодательства РФ", №20, ст. 2112, 15 мая 2000 г. (President of the Russian Federation. Decree #849 of May 13, 2000 On the Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Russian Federation in a Federal District. Effective as of May 13, 2000).
  2. ^ Госстандарт Российской Федерации. №ОК 024-95 27 декабря 1995 г. «Общероссийский классификатор экономических регионов. 2. Экономические районы», в ред. Изменения №5/2001 ОКЭР. (Gosstandart of the Russian Federation. #OK 024-95 December 27, 1995 Russian Classification of Economic Regions. 2. Economic Regions, as amended by the Amendment #5/2001 OKER. ).
  3. ^ Yoshkar-Ola
  4. ^ a b Constitution, Article 6.2
  5. ^ Official website of the Mari El Republic. Leonid Igorevich Markelov (Russian)
  6. ^ Федеральная служба государственной статистики (Federal State Statistics Service) (2004-05-21). "Территория, число районов, населённых пунктов и сельских администраций по субъектам Российской Федерации (Territory, Number of Districts, Inhabited Localities, and Rural Administration by Federal Subjects of the Russian Federation)" (in Russian). Всероссийская перепись населения 2002 года (All-Russia Population Census of 2002). Federal State Statistics Service. Retrieved 2011-11-01. 
  7. ^ Федеральная служба государственной статистики (Federal State Statistics Service) (2011). "Предварительные итоги Всероссийской переписи населения 2010 года (Preliminary results of the 2010 All-Russian Population Census)" (in Russian). Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года (All-Russia Population Census of 2010). Federal State Statistics Service. Retrieved 2011-04-25. 
  8. ^ a b Федеральная служба государственной статистики (Federal State Statistics Service) (2004-05-21). "Численность населения России, субъектов Российской Федерации в составе федеральных округов, районов, городских поселений, сельских населённых пунктов – районных центров и сельских населённых пунктов с населением 3 тысячи и более человек (Population of Russia, its federal districts, federal subjects, districts, urban localities, rural localities—administrative centers, and rural localities with population of over 3,000)" (in Russian). Всероссийская перепись населения 2002 года (All-Russia Population Census of 2002). Federal State Statistics Service. Retrieved 2010-03-23. 
  9. ^ Правительство Российской Федерации. Постановление №725 от 31 августа 2011 г. «О составе территорий, образующих каждую часовую зону, и порядке исчисления времени в часовых зонах, а также о признании утратившими силу отдельных Постановлений Правительства Российской Федерации». Вступил в силу по истечении 7 дней после дня официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Российская Газета", №197, 6 сентября 2011 г. (Government of the Russian Federation. Resolution #725 of August 31, 2011 On the Composition of the Territories Included into Each Time Zone and on the Procedures of Timekeeping in the Time Zones, as Well as on Abrogation of Several Resolutions of the Government of the Russian Federation. Effective as of after 7 days following the day of the official publication).
  10. ^ Official the whole territory of Russia according to Article 68.1 of the Constitution of Russia.
  11. ^ Constitution, Article 15
  12. ^ a b Федеральная служба государственной статистики (Federal State Statistics Service) (2011). "Предварительные итоги Всероссийской переписи населения 2010 года (Preliminary results of the 2010 All-Russian Population Census)" (in Russian). Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года (All-Russia Population Census of 2010). Federal State Statistics Service. Retrieved 2011-04-25. 
  13. ^ Сайт "Спортивный туризм в Татарстане". По просторам Марий Эл. Справка о местности. (Russian)
  14. ^,463af2212,488f25f12,49749cba50,0.html
  15. ^ Russia Moves to Ban Religious Rites of Indigenous Finno-Ugric People Mari
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^


  • 24 июня 1995 г. «Республика Марий Эл. Конституция», в ред. Закона №38-З от 5 августа 2008 г. (June 24, 1995 Mari El Republic. Constitution, as amended by the Law #38-Z of August 5, 2008. ).

External links

Further reading

  • Daniel Kalder. Lost Cosmonaut: Observations of an Anti-tourist

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Mari — steht für: Mari (Stadt), Syrien, ein sumerischer Stadtstaat in Syrien Mari (Volk), ein Volk in der Teilrepublik Mari El in Russland, zu den Wolga Finnen gehörend Mari (Sprache), veraltet: Tscheremissisch, die Sprache der Mari Mari (Göttin), eine… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Mari — may refer to: Mari (given name) Mari language, Uralic language Mari people, Volga Finnic people Places Mari El Republic, a federal subject of Russia Mari Autonomous Oblast (1920–1936), an administrative division of the Russian SFSR, Soviet Union… …   Wikipedia

  • mari — MARI. s. m. Espoux. Celuy qui est joint avec une femme par le lien conjugal. Bon mari. meschant mari. mauvais mari. mari fascheux. mari commode. mari jaloux. vieux mari. un jeune mari. on luy a destiné, donné un tel pour mari. la femme est en… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Mari — puede referirse a: Mari, una antigua ciudad de la actual Siria. Mari, diosa principal de la mitología vasca precristiana. República de Mari El, un sujeto federal de Rusia. Mari, un idioma fino ugrio hablado en la república de Mari El. Mari, un… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Mari — n. p. f. Forma apocopada de «María» muy usada como forma hipocorística. * * * Mari. □ V. gata de Mari Ramos. * * * Diosa principal de la mitología vasca pre cristiana. Divinidad de carácter femenino que habita en varias cumbres de las montañas… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Mari-El — Forma recomendada en español del nombre de esta república de la Federación Rusa, cuya transcripción literal es Marij El: «El resto de los intérpretes [...] son parte de otra compañía: el Ballet de Mari El de Rusia» (Universal@ [Méx.] 4.10.03). Su …   Diccionario panhispánico de dudas

  • Mari — Si le nom est catalan, c est une variante de Mary (voir ce nom). Mais, le plus souvent, Mari est un nom italien ou corse, pluriel filiatif de Mario (nom de personne issu du latin Marius) …   Noms de famille

  • mari — → Mari El …   Diccionario panhispánico de dudas

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