Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences
Dmitry Funk

Shors. General information 


The total number of Shors according to the results of the All-Russian Population Census in 2010 was 12,888 people, in 2020 – 10,507 people. About 80% of the Shors live in their main territory in the Kemerovo region; a fairly large group of Shors is also known in Khakassia (1,457 people, or 14% in 2020). The Shors also live in the Krasnoyarsk Territory and in the Altai Republic.


The groups of the historical ancestors of these people were named according to their place of residence: the Chernevye Tatars (living in the chern taiga), Mrastsy (on the Mras/Mrassu river), the Kondomtsy (on the Kondoma river), Verkhotomtsy (on the Tom tiver), or by the clan names: the Abinets, Shors, Kalars, Kargins, etc.


The official ethnonym “Shors” began to be used by the Turkic-speaking clans ( söök / seok ) of the upper reaches of the Tom and its tributaries only by the end of the 1920s.

Until that time, it had been used as the self-name of the clan living in the upper reaches of the Kondoma river. Of the general names of all the historical ancestors of the Shors in the 19th century, the most widespread were the “Chernevye”, “Kuznetskye”, “Yasachnye”, “Mrassko-Kondom Tatars”, “non-Slavic”. Until the beginning of the 20th century, the Shors were also assigned the name of the volost (municipality) where they lived.

The Commission for the Study of the Tribal Composition of the Peoples of the USSR, whose Department of Siberia was headed by the ethnographer Lev Shternberg (student of Vasily Radlov), played an important role in choosing the name “Shors” for the national area and for the indigenous Turkic-speaking population living there. It was Vasily Radlov (a young scholar at the time) who in 1865 first proposed calling the Turkic-speaking population living on the Kondoma and Mras Shors , after the name of one of the mountain taiga clans.

On the initiative of Dr. Radlov and the Commission for the Study of the Tribal Composition, of all the known names of the group, only the name “Shors” was included in the official list, and his word that was used when the national Gorno-Shorsky district was established in 1926. It was within this area where the formation of the Shors as an ethnic community was finally complete.

It is customary to distinguish two territorial ethnographic groups of the Shors: the northern (forest-steppe) and the southern (mountain-taiga).