They call themselves komi, komi-permjak, (in plural komijez, komi-permjakjez).


The Permyak Komis live in the Komi-Permian Autonomous District (32,900 sq. km., capital city Kudymkar) of the Perm Province, in the north-western part of the Perm and Kirov provinces of the Russian Federation, and in many parts of Siberia (Tyumen Province). The Permyak Komis include also the Yazva Komis or Krasnovishersk Permyaks, who live in the north-western part of the Perm Province.


Year In Komi-Permian Autonomous District In the whole Russian Federation
1926 117,400 149,400
1939 111,700  
1959 126,200 143,000
1970 123,600 150,200
1979 105,600 146,000
1989 95,400 147,300
2002 80,300 125, 235


The number of the Permyaks has not increased in their original territory since the 1970s.

Turning Points in the History of the Permyaks

1472-1505 – the Permyaks are converted by force into Orthodoxy and subjected to the Grand Duchy of Moscow; beginning of colonisation and Russification;

16th c – the Permyak-inhabited areas become the base for the Russian conquest of Siberia and stopover of colonisation; the Komis are forced to retreat from the pressure of the advancing colonists, part of them join the wave;

early 18th c – Emperor Peter the Great grants the Russian great landowner Grigori Stroganov the greater part of the Permyak-inhabited areas as his “eternal and hereditary demesne”; the Permyak Komis become serfs;

1861 – the uprising of the Permyaks against the servitude to the Stroganovs is crushed in blood (38,000 out of 59,000 Permyaks were serfs to the Stroganov family);

1925 – foundation of the Komi-Permian Autonomous District;

1930s – most of the Permyak intellectuals, including the authors of the Permyak Komi school textbooks, scientists, researchers and pioneers of the Permyak Komi national literature, are killed or detained in prison camps;

1960s – beginning of a massive emigration of the Permyaks from their traditional settlements.

1993 - 2005 – the Komi-Permian Autonomous District ad status one of 89 units - federation subjects of the Russian Federation, it was the only federation unit, where Finno-Ugrian population was in majority

2006 – the Komi-Permian Autonomous District lost its status of federation subject, it was again appended to the Perm oblast, new federation unit received the name Perm krai.

Danger Signs

For decades the Permian Autonomous District has been regarded only as the source of raw materials. Therefore the public services and commodities in the area are in a very poor condition and the young people are leaving in great numbers. For an example, between 1959 and 1979, 79,000 Permyaks or 1/3 of the population left the area. Young people are losing the knowledge of their mother tongue, inasmuch as they have lost contact with their native settlements. There were 158,500 people living in the territory at the time of the 1989 census, of whom 61.4% were Permyaks. According to the 2002 All-Russia population census in the district were living 136,100 people, of whom Permyaks were 80,300 or 59%.

Russification of the Permyaks in their territory takes place at a quick pace, especially in the administrative centres and bigger towns. The use of the Permyak language has been deleted from communal use, it is not taught even in many of the so-called “national” schools. In fact, the Permyak national school has practically ceased to exist. In 1989 there were 23 national secondary schools and 23 primary 8-year national schools in the Perm territory, but even those use the name symbolically as the curriculum follows that of the Russian schools and the Permyak language is not taught in them. Only 22% of the Permyak children were learning the native language in 1989. The Permyaks hold their native language in low esteem. Since 1958 there has been no newspaper published in the Permyak language. The regional newspaper is printed in Russian and only occasionally an article will appear in the Permyak language. Since 1990 the local radio broadcasts only 40 minutes of programmes in the Permyak language weekly. The publication of books in the Permyak language has practically ceased.

ENDANGERED URALIC PEOPLES Komis (Zyryans), Permian Komis Komis