Total population
Regions with significant populations
Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug (Russia)
 Russia12,228 (2021)[1][2]
 Ukraine43 (2001)[3]
Mansi, Russian
Shamanism, Russian Orthodoxy
Related ethnic groups
Khanty, Hungarians

The Mansi (Mansi: Мāньси / Мāньси мāхум,[4] Māńsi / Māńsi māhum, IPA: [ˈmaːnʲsʲi, ˈmaːnʲsʲi ˈmaːxʊm]) are an Ob-Ugric Indigenous people living in Khanty–Mansia, an autonomous okrug within Tyumen Oblast in Russia. In Khanty–Mansia, the Khanty and Mansi languages have co-official status with Russian. The Mansi language is one of the postulated Ugric languages of the Uralic family. The Mansi people were formerly known as the Voguls.[5]

Together with the Khanty people, the Mansi are politically represented by the Association to Save Yugra, an organisation founded during Perestroika in the late 1980s. This organisation was among the first regional indigenous associations in Russia.


Settlement of Mansi in the Ural Federal District by urban and rural settlements in%, 2010 census
Mansi population according to 2021 census[6]
Total Men Women
Total 12,228 5,685 6,543
Tyumen Oblast 11,583 5,356 6,227
*Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug 11,065 5,136 5,929
Sverdlovsk Oblast 334 170 164
Komi Republic 5 3 2

According to the 2021 census, there were 12,228 Mansi in Russia.


"Winter outfit of the Voguls" depicting Mansi people c. 1873
Voguls (Mansi) c. 1873

The ancestors of the Mansi people populated the areas west of the Urals.[7] Mansi findings have been unearthed in the vicinity of Perm.[7] In the first millennium BC, they expanded to Western Siberia, where they assimilated with the native inhabitants.[7] Other researchers say that the Khanty people originated in the south Ural steppe and moved northwards into their current location in about 500 AD.[8]

As per Nestor the Chronicler, Uleb Ragnvaldsson, posadnik of Novgorod, led a war party to conquer Yugra, to conquer the historical homeland of the Khanty (a.k.a. Ostyaks) and Mansi (Voguls). Ragnvaldsson was defeated near Syktyvkar, as the Mansi still inhabited large areas west of the Urals. This is one of the first records of Novgorod and later Russia claiming dominance over a land where they had no or negligible presence.

Some Russian historians[who?] claim that the Yugra were subjugated during the 12th century, but historical records show that Russian power was only established in the middle of the 18th century. Most likely the Khanty people were not initially aware they had been claimed as subjects of Novgorod or Russia, and their "new" masters were not aware of who their subordinates were.

During the middle ages, it is possible that the Mansi considered the eastern Novgorod and Grand Duchy of Moscow areas as their own. Russian folklore identifies the people of Yugra as being bloodthirsty, as natives of Yugra may have made raids into areas controlled by Novgorod or Moscow.[9] The 15th and 17th centuries were the peak times when the Mansi conducted war parties on Russian lands. Mansi principalities' leaders had sworn allegiance to the Russian Tsar, however they did interpret this differently from Russians. Mansi lords used these sworn allegiances to convince local Mansi populations that they were direct subjects of the Russian supreme leader, and hence had full right to punish Russian nobility for their wrongdoings. Raids and war parties against Russian nobility created confusion in the regions near the Ural mountains. As a result, they were also popular with Russian peasants, as they gave them freedom to improve their lives by stealing with "permit from Tsar" whatever they wished from nobility.[9]

During the 15th and 17th centuries, there were many conflicts among natives of Yugra in which sometimes Moscow was involved, but from the 17th century, Russia became the dominant power. There were many conflicts where the Mansi fought against the Khanty, Nenets, Tatars or Russians, changing allies as fit their needs.

The Mansi people were divided into principalities such as Kondia. In the 15th and 16th century, these were divided into three categories: central, southern and northern. The central principalities were partially included in the Grand Duchy of Moscow, some southern principalities were subjects of Siberian Khanate, and the northern principalities were independent as knowledge of them was limited outside of the region. At the end of the 16th century, the Russian Empire made a decision to conquer the principalities. The push came under the Russian Cossack ataman Yermak, and its influence did reach the natives in the Obi river region, starting a time of troubles lasting until the times of Peter the Great in the 18th century. It took until end of the 17th century for the Russians to reach every corner of the their claimed areas. This resulted in number of wars between Mansi principalities and the Grand Duchy of Moscow.

Kondia was the most powerful principality in Yugra in the 17th century, and was still de facto independent at the beginning of the 18th century. During that period there was an attempt to Christianize the Mansi and others living in same region.[10] Kondia raised an army of several hundred men and drove the missionaries out from their lands. Kondia was also unique in that it did not pay the yasak tax until 1620, when Russia started demanding it from them.[11]

In 1609, the leadership of Kondia planned to push Russia out from Siberia and attacked Beryozovo. To increase the chances of success, alliances with other principalities, including Khanty principalities, were considered. Finally with the Obdorski, Belogorje and Sosva principalities, an attack was made on Beryozovo. The alliance with Khanty-run Obdorski may have been influenced by the fact that Obdorski destroyed a Russian war party in the tundra in 1600. The war was not successful and Russians pushed for a change of leadership in Kondia. Noblewoman Anna stepped down but continued to rule behind the scenes via her son and grandson. As a result, the Russian yasak was not paid until 1620, when Russia started demanding it specifically. Peace did not last long, as the Khanty nobility formed another alliance with Khanty nobleman Mamruk to drive the Russians away. Another conflict began in 1611-1612, when Kondia started another war to drive the Russians out, unsuccessfully.[11]

Kinema and Sueta, rulers of the Bardak principality, whose area is located in the present day town of Surgut, attacked the village of Surgut in 1691. They stole the funds of the local administration and panic broke out in Surgut. The funds stolen had come from taxing the Nenets, as local Mansi were either excluded from paying taxes or chose to ignore taxes. Russians responded to this offence by liquidating the principality and enforcing taxes on all the residents.

The last conflict between the Mansi and the Russian state was the Kazym rebellion in 1931–1934, where natives of Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug rebelled. The rebellion was crushed by the Red Army. This was the last known conflict between Russia and any of the Siberian tribes.

Relationship with historical Magyar conquerors

The Mansi are one of the closest linguistic relatives of modern Hungarians. Genetic data by Maroti et al. revealed high genetic affinity between Magyar conquerors and modern day Bashkirs, with both being modeled as ~50% Mansi-like, ~35% Sarmatian-like, and ~15% Hun/Xiongnu-like. The admixture event is suggested to have taken place in the Southern Ural region in 643–431 BC.[12]


The Mansi share many similarities with the Khanty people and together they are called the Ob-Ugric peoples. Their languages are closely related but clearly distinct from each other.[13]

Traditional livelihood

The Mansi were semi-nomadic hunters and fishermen. Some Mansi also raised reindeer. A few Mansi engaged in agriculture (cultivating barley) and raised cattle and horses.[14]

During the winter, the Mansi lived in stationary huts made out of earth and branches at permanent villages. During the spring, the Mansi moved towards hunting and fishing grounds, where they constructed temporary rectangular-shaped shelters out of birch bark and poles.[14]

Weapons used by the Mansi were advanced for the period and included longbows, arrows, spears. They also wore iron helmets and chain mail.[14]

Folk culture

A notable part of the traditional Mansi religion is the bear cult. A bear celebration is held in connection with the bear hunt (a similar concept to the Finnish peijaiset); it lasts for several days and involves songs, dances and plays. Mansi folklore also includes mythical and heroic stories and fate songs, which are biographical poems.[13]

An example of the traditional material culture of Ob-Ugric peoples is ornamenting leather clothing and birch bark objects with mosaics.[13]


Uniparental lineages

The majority of Mansi men carry haplogroup N, which is commonly found among Uralic-speaking peoples. 60 percent of them carry its subclade N1b-P43 and 16 percent belong to subclade N1c.[15]

The maternal lineages among Mansi are more heterogeneous. The most common mitochondrial DNA haplogroup for Mansi is U, as about one in four has it. Most of them (16.6%) belong to its subgroup U4. Other haplogroups include C (18.6%), H (15.1%), J (13.1%) and D (12.6%).[15]

Autosomal DNA

According to a 2019 study, in addition to having a high level of East Eurasian-like ancestry, the Mansi have also West Eurasian admixture. Their admixture can be modelled to be about 60% Bronze Age Baikal Lake-like and 40% Srubnaya-like, or about 54% Nganasan-like and about 38% Srubnaya-like, with additional ANE-related admixture.[16]

In a 2018 study, Mansi samples showed variation in the amounts of West and East Eurasian admixtures. Some of them clustered with the Khanty, while outlier samples had additional West Eurasian admixture, making them closer to Uralic-speakers from the Volga-Ural region.[15]

Notable Mansi


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  2. ^ "Росстат — Всероссийская перепись населения 2020". Archived from the original on 2020-01-24. Retrieved 2023-01-03.
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  4. ^ Ромбандеева Е. И. (2005). Русско-Мансийский словарь: учебное пособие [Russian-Mansi dictionary: textbook] (in Russian). СПб.: Миралл. p. 129. ISBN 5-902499-14-3.
  5. ^ "Mansi |". Retrieved 2022-03-13.
  6. ^ "Национальный состав населения". Federal State Statistics Service. Retrieved 30 December 2022.
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  13. ^ a b c Kulonen, Ulla-Maija: ”Obinugrilaiset”, in Laakso, Johanna (ed.): Uralilaiset kansat. Helsinki: WSOY, 1991. ISBN 9510164852.
  14. ^ a b c Forsyth, James (1994). A History of the Peoples of Siberia: Russia's North Asian Colony 1581-1990. Cambridge University Press. pp. 11–13. ISBN 978-0-521-47771-0.
  15. ^ a b c Tambets, Kristiina; Yunusbayev, Bayazit; Hudjashov, Georgi; Ilumäe, Anne-Mai; Rootsi, Siiri; Honkola, Terhi; Vesakoski, Outi; Atkinson, Quentin; Skoglund, Pontus; Kushniarevich, Alena; Litvinov, Sergey; Reidla, Maere; Metspalu, Ene; Saag, Lehti; Rantanen, Timo (2018). "Genes reveal traces of common recent demographic history for most of the Uralic-speaking populations". Genome Biology. 19 (1): 139. doi:10.1186/s13059-018-1522-1. ISSN 1474-760X. PMC 6151024. PMID 30241495.
  16. ^ Jeong, Choongwon; Balanovsky, Oleg; Lukianova, Elena; Kahbatkyzy, Nurzhibek; Flegontov, Pavel; Zaporozhchenko, Valery; Immel, Alexander; Wang, Chuan-Chao; Ixan, Olzhas; Khussainova, Elmira; Bekmanov, Bakhytzhan; Zaibert, Victor; Lavryashina, Maria; Pocheshkhova, Elvira; Yusupov, Yuldash (2019-04-29). "The genetic history of admixture across inner Eurasia". Nature Ecology & Evolution. 3 (6): 966–976. Bibcode:2019NatEE...3..966J. doi:10.1038/s41559-019-0878-2. ISSN 2397-334X. PMC 6542712. PMID 31036896.