(self-designation, Tyva in the singular and Tyvalar in the plural; obsolete designations include Soyons, Soyots, Uri-ankhaitsy, and Tannu-Tuvans), a nation (natsiia; nation in the historical sense) and the basic population of the Tuva ASSR. The Tuvinians of the Tuva ASSR number 139,400 (1970, census), and another 20,000 live in the Mongolian People’s Republic. The language of the Tuvinians is Tuvinian. Religious believers are either Lamaists or shamanists. The Tuvinians are members of the Mongoloid race.
Until the advent of socialism, the Tuvinians, a nomadic people of steppe and mountain-steppe areas, were chiefly engaged in the raising of livestock and primitive land cultivation. They raised sheep, goats, cattle, and horses; in the western and southwestern mountain regions camels and yaks were also raised. The felt yurt was the basic dwelling. The northeastern Tuvinians, or Todzhinians, inhabited the taiga and raised reindeer and hunted; other important means of livelihood were gathering and fishing, especially among poor families. The Todzhinians lived in chums.
The steppe-dwelling Tuvinians, who represent more than 95 percent of all Tuvinians, are descended from ancient Turkic-speaking Central Asian tribes and Mongolian-speaking groups assimilated by them. The taiga-dwelling Todzhinian Tuvinians developed through the assimilation of Samoyed and Ket groups by the Turkic-speaking population.
After the October Revolution of 1917 in Russia and the victory of the national revolution in Tuva in 1921, major transformations took place in the economy, culture, and way of life of the Tuvinians. With the help of the USSR, industrial enterprises were constructed, transportation was developed, and the first state farms and kolkhozes were established. An important step forward in the development of a national culture came in 1930 with the creation of a national writing system based on Latin script; in 1941 a Russian-based alphabet was introduced. After Tuva became part of the USSR in 1944, radical changes took place in the economy, culture, and way of life, primarily as a result of collectivization and the Tuvinians’ adoption of a settled mode of existence. Socialist agriculture, industry, transportation, and culture are developing, and the formation of a Tuvinian socialist nation has been completed. (See also.)
REFERENCESNarody Sibiri. Moscow-Leningrad, 1956.
Vainshtein, S. I. Tuvintsy-todzhintsy. Moscow, 1961.
Vainshtein, S. I. Istoricheskaia etnografiia tuvintsev: Problemy kochevogo khoziaistva. Moscow, 1972.
Vainshtein, S. I. Istoriia narodnogo iskusstva Tuvy. Moscow, 1974.
Potapov, L. P. Ocherki narodnogo byta Tuvintsev. Moscow, 1969.
Serdobov, N. A. Istoriia formirovaniia tuvinskoi natsii. Kyzyl, 1971.
S. I. VAINSHTEIN