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Vepsians. Historical background

Veps (self-designation - veps(a), vepsad), indigenous population of northwestern Russia. Belongs to the Eastern Baltic anthropological type with some signs of the White Sea component, which is characteristic of most Baltic-Finnish peoples. According to the census data of 2002 - about 8 thousand people.

The formation of the Eastern Baltic anthropological type occurred as a result of mixing of proto-European and proto-Laponoid types within a vast territory - from the Baltic Sea to the Urals. The mestizo type (Caucasoid with Mongoloid components) also characterizes the later Neolithic tribes that appeared here in the 2nd millennium BC. These bearers of the archaeological culture of dimpled comb ceramics, whose area corresponds to the settlement of the Baltic Finns in the early 2nd millennium A.D., are considered by modern researchers as the oldest ancestors of the Baltic-Finnish peoples. A.I. Kolmogorov, one of the first researchers of Veps anthropology, associated them with the annalistic “white-eyed Chud (old Russian name of Estonians and other western Finnish tribes)”. Further research confirmed that the medieval Vesya known from archaeological and historical evidence was formed in the process of development of the aboriginal “Chud” population. The heterogeneity of the Veps racial composition is indicated by the presence of Mongoloid components characteristic of its burials of the IX-XI centuries. The Veps language belongs to the Baltic-Finnish group of the Finno-Ugric language family, closest to Karelian, Finnish and Estonian. There are 3 dialects: northern (Prionezhsky or Shugozersky Veps - Karelia); middle (Oyatsky, Shimozersky and Belozersky Veps - Babaevsky and Vytegorsky districts of Vologda Oblast, Podporozhsky, Tikhvinsky and Lodeynopolsky districts of Leningrad Oblast); the Middle Veps dialect also includes Eastern-Kuisky (Vologda Oblast) and Western (Leningrad Oblast) dialects. The southern dialect is spoken by the so-called Efimovskie Veps (Boksitogorsky District, Leningrad Oblast).

They compactly inhabited Mezhozerye - the space between Ladoga, Onega and White lakes. (Petrozavodsk, Lodeynopolsk and Vytegorsk uyezd of Olonets province, Tikhvin and Belozersk uyezd Olonets province, Tikhvin and Belozersk uyezd Novgorod province). The number of Veps, according to the census of 1897, 25.6 thousand people.

In Karelia, Vologda and Leningrad oblasts, most of the modern Veps villages are located interspersed with Russians. In the Leningrad Oblast (in 1981 - 4087 people) average Veps live in Lodeynopolsky district (Nadporozhye, Bor, Ratigora, Vonozero, Khmelozero villages, etc.) and in Podporozhsky district (Yaroslavichi, Bereg, Ozera, Nem. Yaroslavichi, Bereg, Ozera, Nemzha, Peldushi, Myagozero, Lavda villages, Vinnitsa settlement, etc.), southern (Efimov) Veps live in Boksitogorsky District (Sidorovo, Prokushevo, Radogosha, Pozharishche villages, etc.). In the 1980s, the villages of Noidala, Chidovo, Rebov Konets, etc. ceased to exist in the area. Their population, a group of Shugozero Veps, moved to Russian villages Pashozero, Shugozero, Kurba and Krasny Bor; only one village of Korvala survived; in Tikhvin district - villages of Kharaginichi, Korbinichi, Ust-Kapsha, Ozrovichi. In the north-west of the Vologda oblast (Babaevsky district) live Belozersky Veps - in Kuisko-Pondalsky and Pyazhozersky villages (in 1981 - 773 people). In 1958-1959 the Veps. population around Lake Shimozero - a link between Belozero and Oyatsk Veps - was resettled to South Priladozhye (Gimreka, Shcheleiki, Shustruchei), Prioyatye, Podporozhye, Lodeynoye Pole, Voznesenye, Oshtu village. The most isolated are the northern (Sheltozero or Prionezhsky) Veps (in 1981 - 1854 people), living in the Prionezhsky district of Karelia (villages Shoksha, Vehruchei, Sheltozero, Rybreka, Druga Reka, Matveeva Selga, Kaskesruchei).The most compact and ethnoculturally stable group are the Veps of the Podporozhsky district of the Leningrad oblast. A significant part of the Veps currently live in the cities of Petrozavodsk, St. Petersburg, Podporozhye, Boksitogorsk, Pikalevo, Tikhvin, Vytegra, Oshta, Voznesenye, Megra, etc. The urban Vepian population in 1981 amounted to 6714 people.

Along with the main self-name vepsad, each of the Veps groups retains local ethnonyms. Northern Veps call themselves "ludikel", "ludikeled" (plural), like one of the local groups of southern Karelian Ludiks; middle Veps call themselves "vepshaine", "vepshaized", and in everyday speech "tahine", "tagalaine" (local); the exception is the Veps of Yaroslavsky village council of Podporozhsky district of Leningrad region, The southern and neighboring Middle Veps are called "cuhar", "cuharid" (chuhar), "vepsbaine", "vepshaized", and occasionally "beps", "bepslaized".

The ethnonym "vepsa" is known in Karelian, Finnish and Estonian. There are a number of assumptions about its origin, including from the names of fish fins - "vepsi", "vievse", "viepse", "viesve". Some researchers believe that one of the Vesi (ancient Veps) groups is mentioned in the Tale of Bygone Years as tchudes. For the first time tchudes (Thiudos, Tuidos, Thiudi) is mentioned by the Gothic historian Jordan (VI century), it has survived in modern spoken Russian in relation to Veps, Vodi, Estonians, Ingermanland Finns. The etymology of "cuhar" is associated with Sami "cuhe" or Komi Zyrian "tsuktsi" (grouse).

According to one of the most widespread theories (D. Bubrich, V. Pimenov), Veps formed in the south-eastern Ladoga region, from where they settled the entire Inter-lake region. According to another hypothesis (T. Utkonen), the ancestral home of the Veps is located to the west, and the Veps language was formed as a result of the division of a late form of the Baltic-Finnish primordial language, from the interaction of northern (southwestern Finland) and eastern (eastern shores of Peipus - Chudskoye and Lake Pihkva - Pskovskoye) dialects in the territory of Ladoga. Based on archaeological data from 1970-1980, the existence of 2 groups of Ves (the Baltic-Finnish tribe) was confirmed: the Lake Beloye -Sheksna (river) and Suda (river). The first one was assimilated in the 10th -11th centuries in the course of Old Russian colonization. The Suda Ves retained their ethnic territory for a long time, part of them was assimilated by the 13th century, the other part was pushed to the upper reaches of the Suda, Oyati and Pasha rivers. It was on these lands that the formation of modern Veps took place as a result of interaction between the Suda Ves and the Baltic-Finnish population of the Ladoga region close to it. (A.N. Bashenkin, 1986). In their advancement on the Onega-Ladoga Isthmus, the Veps partially assimilated and partially pushed northward the Sami (Lapps) who lived there. In the XI-XIII centuries the Ves came into contact with the Karelian part that came to Olonets Isthmus from the northern and north-western Ladoga region and played a significant role in the formation of two groups of southern Karelians - Livviks and Lyudiks. The Ludik dialect of the Karelian language is more similar to Vepsian than to Karelian proper. The western neighbors of Ves were the Baltic-Finnish tribes Izhora, Vod, Chud, on the Gulf of Finland side - Sum and Em (Tavastians), the northern neighbors - Korela, Lapps, the eastern neighbors - Zavolotch Chud and Vychegodsk Perm, the southern neighbors - Merya and Muroma, as well as the Slavic tribes - Ilmen Slovenes and Krivichi. Tales about the Zavolotch Chud connect the Ves with the development of the territories to the northeast of Mezhozero (Inter-lakes) - the basin of the Northern Dvina and further along the Udora and Vychegda rivers. Anthropological, archaeological and linguistic data confirm folklore and later ethnographic evidence of the Ves and Karelian participation in the formation of the Vychegodsk Perm culture (ancestors of the Vychegodsk and Udora Komi-zyryans). The ethnonym Zyrjanin, Zyr is attributed to the Baltic-Finnish, possibly Vepsian population. The obsolete form sirjane, syrjane goes back to Vepsian sur (edge, end).

Habitat of the Ves near the most important trade routes, primarily the Baltic-Volga waterway, determined specific trade and economic ties, as well as the nature of political and cultural relations. The earliest of them, judging by treasure finds, was the trade of the Belozero, Suda and Ladoga Vesi with the East through the Volga Bulgaria (VIII-X centuries), and then with Western Europe through Ladoga (from the IX century). Scandinavian jewelry (shell-shaped fibulae, rook-shaped bracelets, etc.) preserved in the burials of that time are considered evidence of active ethno-cultural and trade exchange with Scandinavia. The links between the Vesi and the Baltic and Finno-Ugric tribes - Merya and Muroma - are revealed both by archaeological and linguistic materials (Finno-Ugric paired fibulae with lamellar and voluminous figural pendants in the form of ducklings). In the 11th century, stable Slavic-Vepsian contacts develop, from that time the Ladoga all is included in the Novgorod Land, and the Belozero and Suda all are included in the Rostov-Suzdal Land. Slavic colonization leads to partial or complete assimilation of a separate group of Ves. Of the Russian pogosts (a village church together with cemetery, clergy house, and adjacent buildings) that became administrative and territorial centers of Obonezh and Belozero, the oldest (XVIII c.) in the Ves lands were 3 pogosts on the Oyati River: Yuskola, Tervinichi, Vyunitsa. Apparently, it was the Russian movement beyond the Svir and into Zavolochye that caused a number of Ves migrations to the north, which led to their participation in the formation of the culture of the southern Karelians (Livviks and Lyudiks). A later migration (15th century) to the southwestern shore of Lake Onega resulted in the formation of the modern group of Northern Veps. In the census book of Obonezhskaya pyatina (region) of 1496 their settlements on the Shcheleitsa, Chem-river, Rybezhna and Ropruchye rivers are named. In the XV-XVII centuries the territory of the Veps included more than 10 pogosts of Obonezh (Ozersky, Koivushsky, Nikolsky, Dmitrievsky, Pashozersky, Sotsky, Yaroslavitsky, Venitsky, Oshtinsky, Myagozersky, part of Vytegorsky, Andomsky and Ostryachinsky) and Pondolsky pogost of Belozersky uyezd (trithing).

Russian colonization of the North was accompanied by the spread of Orthodoxy: the construction of churches, chapels, missionary activity. Monastic colonization played a particularly prominent role. Monasteries in the vicinity of Tikhvin and Ladoga became the strongholds of this colonization from the XII-XIII centuries, and from the XIV-XV cc. Konevsky, Muromsky, Alexander-Svirsky, Kargopolsky and others districts.

In the 18th century, in connection with the Northern War, Peter the Great's metallurgical and gun factories, Olonets shipyard were established, craft and trade activities were revived, a considerable part of the local population was assigned to the construction of St. Petersburg, Kronstadt, fortifications on the coast and islands of the Baltic Sea, river locks of the Mariinsky system, etc., as well as to the construction of the St. Petersburg and Kronstadt. The 18th century saw the consolidation of the Veps as a nationality in the context of continuing assimilation processes and gradual reduction of the ethnic territory. The group that settled from Mezhozero Lake lost much of its ethnic specificity and took part in the ethnogenesis of other peoples. On the basis of the lists of settlements of the 19th century, where Vepsians appear as “Chud” and “Chud Russified”, the now extinct groups are established. In the Prionezhye region, the population of the villages of Shcheleiki, Podshchelje, Gimreka and villages along the upper Svir River up to the Ostrechinka and Ivina Rivers in the west remained Vepsian; during the 19th century, the inhabitants of the villages of Varbinichi, Mulvichi, Pechenitsy, Kukas, Russkonitsy, Shapsha, Karganichi became Russified; until the middle of the 19th century, the inhabitants of the villages of Varbinichi, Mulvichi, Pechenitsy, Kukas, Russkonitsy, Shapsha, and Karganichi became Russified. The so-called Isaev Veps lived near lakes Isaevskoye and Antsiferovskoye and the Indomanka River (Isaevskaya volost (small administrative district), Vytegorsk trithing, Olonets governorate); a large group of “Russified Chud” were also on Lake Lacha; the presence of Chudis in Vologda governorate (Sol-Vychegodsky, Ust-Sysolsky and Nikolsky trithings) was noted in the census of 1897. The compactness, population density and great preservation of traditional culture of the Middle Veps can be explained by the fact that Russian colonization flows bypassed them. The Veps assimilation was strengthened by the absence of their own written language, men's own crafts, their service in the army, marriages with Russians, and education in Russian language in schools.

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