The Volga Finns (sometimes referred to as Eastern Finns) are a historical group of indigenous peoples of Russia whose descendants include the Mari people, the Erzya and the Moksha Mordvins, as well as extinct Merya, Muromian and Meshchera people. The Permians are sometimes also grouped as Volga Finns.
The modern representatives of Volga Finns live in the basins of the Sura and Moksha Rivers, as well as (in smaller numbers) in the interfluve between the Volga and the Belaya Rivers. The Mari language has two dialects, the Meadow Mari and the Hill Mari.
Traditionally the Mari and the Mordvinic languages (Erzya and Moksha) were considered to form a Volga-Finnic or Volgaic group within the Finno-Permic branch of the Uralic language family, accepted by linguists like Robert Austerlitz (1968), Aurélien Sauvageot & Karl Heinrich Menges (1973), Harald Haarmann (1974) and Charles Frederick Voegelin & Florence Marie Voegelin (1977), but rejected by others like Björn Collinder (1965) and Robert Thomas Harms (1974). This grouping has also been criticized by Salminen (2002), who suggests it may be simply a geographic, not a phylogenetic, group. Since 2009 the 16th edition of Ethnologue: Languages of the World has adopted a classification grouping Mari and Mordvin languages as separate branches of the Uralic language family.
Famous quotes containing the word volga:
“The Volga flows into the Caspian Sea.... Horses eat oats and hay....”
—Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (18601904)