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(self-designation, Karjalaiset), a people living mainly in the Karelian ASSR, as well as in certain parts of the RSFSR, including Kalinin (the “Tver,” or “Upper Volga,” Karelians, who migrated from the Lake Ladoga area in the 16th and 17th centuries), Novgorod, Leningrad, and Yaroslavl oblasts. The total number of Karelians in the USSR is 146, 000 (1970 census), of whom 84, 000 live in the Karelian ASSR. Some Karelians also live in Finland.

Karelians speak the Karelian language; a considerable number also speak Russian and some speak Finnish as well. Those who profess a religion are Orthodox. The original stage of the Karelians’ ethnogenesis has not yet been definitively ascertained. By the ninth century a.d. the Korela tribes (the forebears of the Karelians) had settled on the northwestern shore of Lake Ladoga. In the 11th and 12th centuries they took over the western part of what is now the territory of the Karelian ASSR; later they began to advance north toward the White Sea and east to the area between Lakes Ladoga and Onega, where they merged with part of the native Veps (Ves’). The neighboring Russian population, with whom the Karelians were closely associated, had an important influence on the formation of the culture of the Karelians. The first mention of the Karelians in a Russian chronicle dates from 1143. The consolidation of the Karelians between the 12th and 15th centuries occurred within the Russian state. The principal occupation of the Karelians for ages has been farming; livestock raising, lumbering, fishing, and hunting have been of secondary importance. Among the trades, smithcraft has been particularly developed.

After the October Socialist Revolution the Karelians received national autonomy: the Karelian Labor Commune was formed in June 1920 and reorganized in 1923 as the Karelian ASSR.

Large-scale industry has been created in the republic during the years of socialist construction, and national workers’ and engineering and technical cadres have been developed. The main trend in agriculture has been a high level of mechanization in dairy farming. Fishing and fur farming have been developed extensively. Great progress has been achieved in science, literature, and art (including popular applied art).


Ocherki istorii Karelii, vols. 1–2. Petrozavodsk, 1957–64.
Taroeva, R. F. MateriaVnaia kuVtura karel (KareVskaia ASSR). Moscow-Leningrad, 1965.
Bubrikh, D. V. Proiskhozhdenie karelskogo naroda. Petrozavodsk, 1947.
Istoriia, arkheologiia, etnografiia Karelii: Bibliogrofich. ukazateV sovetskoi literatury za 1917–1965 gg. Petrozavodsk, 1967.


References in periodicals archive ?
Among them were their expertise and tools for the timber industry, as well as their roles in developing Karelian theatre and music, including the introduction of jazz.
The collapse of the Soviet Union provided a period in the early 1990s when archival collections were opened and light was cast on a very dark period in Karelian history.
They do incorporate secondary sources in Finnish and English, but this is a Karelian story told from a Karelian perspective.
During the first phase of the project having lasted from September 2010 until July 2011, the terminology of ten subjects was created in five Finno-Ugric languages: in the two official Mordovian languages (officially called Erza and Moksha), in Mari (Cheremis), Komi (Zyrjen) and Udmurt (Votjak) languages (unfortunately and hopefully only temporarily the Karelian language could not be included in this work).
This problem remained unsettled for another half century, but Nylander had anyway by personal experience understood how closely the Karelian nature was connected with the Finnish one.
In its closer details the borderline was as follows: East from the mouth of the river Vig, the eastern shore of the Lake Vig, from there directly towards the eastern shore of Ladoga--Lake Onega was thus entirely left on the Russian side, then over Ladoga along the political frontier, and finally over the Karelian isthmus to the Gulf of Finland:
After thorough and detailed investigations, which were of great importance to the knowledge about East Karelian flora in general, Norrlin thought that he was ready to confirm the borders of Russian Karelia.
The eastern borderline on the Herbarium map was the old and safe one: from White Sea along the river Vig to the lake Onega, then along Svir to Ladoga, and over the Karelian Isthmus along the political border to the Gulf of Finland.
In Karelian, Livonian and Estonian dialects, however, the lepp-stem refers to blood mainly in the vocabulary of fishermen and seal hunters.
Finnish leppa|kerttu, -pirkko, Karelian leppa intu, Ingrian leppa iira, Votic leppa|lintu, -tiiro and Estonian lepa|triin(u), -lind, lit.
In Kiestinki North Karelian there is a word punaisputro, lit.
In Kiestinki North Karelian the red sap of some trees (mainly alder and aspen) is known to have been called leppa (KKS III 65).