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

Shors. Modern culture and crafts, folklore groups, professional art


In the 20th century, even in rural areas, the holiday culture changed significantly. In the 1980-90s all public holidays were celebrated (New Year, Women’s Day, Youth Day, May 1, Victory Day, as well as Christmas, Easter, Trinity, St. John's Day, Peter’s Day for most Orthodox Christians).

The routinely celebrated family holidays were birthdays, army draft seeing-offs, etc. Almost all the holidays in all the rural settlements in the 1980s were accompanied by copious consumption of alcohol, with almost no traditional dishes.  Late in the evening, the young people went out dancing in the club (the young people from the surrounding villages gathered in the village where the club was located). They would dance to recorded music, and after the diesel generator was turned off (there was no central electricity in the taiga villages), to an accordion.

The national holidays that emerged at that time have largely been preserved to this day. They are Chyl pazhy – the New Year, celebrated on the day of the spring equinox, Myltyk-payram, Albaa-payram, Olgudek-payram, etc. They are accompanied by huge mass celebrations with the performance of folk songs, tasting of national dishes and drinks, etc.

About two dozen folklore groups operate in rural cultural centers and urban national centers. Some of them were created back in the Soviet period, such as the folklore ensemble “Otchagash” in the city of Myski, created in 1978 under the aegis of the rural House of Culture in the village of Chuvashka, the folklore and ethnographic ensemble “Chyltys”, which has been operating at the Palace of Culture “Miner” since 1985 in Tashtagol, folklore ensemble “Oyun” in the city of Mezhdurechensk, created in 1986 at the Lenin Palace of Culture. There are some new ones, which are quite successful, too.

Since the late 1980s, the kaichi storytellers have reappeared.

The professional literature, the beginnings of which can be traced back to the 19th century, did not develop much during the Soviet period (with the exception of the works by Fyodor Chispiyakov, Sofron Totysh, Stepan Torbokov).  Only at the end of the 1980s did the Shor poetry begin to make its way to the reader, both in the Russian and in the Shor languages (Nikolai Belchegeshev, Tayana Tudegesheva, Lyubov Chulzhanova, Gennady Kostochakov). There are a number of well-known artists working in different genres and with different materials: Dzheley Bek, Vasily Elesin, Vladimir Kyskinin, Alexander Mortaev, Yuri Sulekov, Irina Tokmagasheva, Lyubov Arbachakova, and others.


There is no television or radio broadcasting in the Shor language. The newspaper "Kyzyl Shor", which for some time was published in the Shor language in parallel with the Russian master version ("Red Shoriya"), did not survive and has not existed for many years. It was only in the 1990s that the supplement “Kyzyl Shor” (a quarter-page newspaper column) appeared in the Russian newspaper, which also began publishing Shor language lessons.