The Ural Chudi 

Numerous legends about the “Chud,” about the “Chud people, ” have a peculiar fate. Having arisen on the basis of real facts and events in the period of the formation of Old Russian statehood and the first campaigns of Novgorod to the northeast, these legends then gained an independent life , being brightly colored by popular imagination, they survived to the present day in folk form.

However, even among demanding scholars, these legends enjoy unwavering respect, if only because the plots of the “miraculous” cycle prevail in the territory that since remote times has been inhabited by the northern tribes of the “Uralic” language family. Here, to the north of the Upper and Middle Volga, in wide open spaces from the Baltic to the Urals, local toponymy abounds in the names of lakes, rivers, hills, fields, and watersheds, in which there is a proper name (“Chudskoye”, “Chudovo”, “Chudinova”, “Chukhchina”).

In general posts about the Chud laconic chronicles, but in the text of a 1071 year old author of a sudden makes a living ethnographic sketch of shamanic action Chud Magi: “befall certain Novgorodtsev besides in Chud, and come to the sorcerer, though divination from him; He, according to his custom, began to call demons into his shrine.

Novgorod, on the other hand, is sitting on the porch of the tabernacle, while the sorcerer lying numbly and shibe the devil ” (“ The Tale of Bygone Years ”. St. Petersburg. 1910, p. 146) . Where could this action be? Yes, wherever the people of Novgorod, who themselves had just emerged from paganism, could have come across the living customs of the pre-Christian beliefs of the Finnish-speaking population and its ” shamans, magicians and charmers.”

The Peipsi population existed in many Novgorod volosts. However, in addition to the Baltic Chud, ” The Tale of Bygone Years” calls only the ” Zavolochsky chud”, which in the XII – XIII centuries. ruled “Novgorod men”. The study of documents suggests that the old Zavolochie is an area lying east of Lake Onega, in the basins of the Onega and Northern Dvina rivers with a drain to the White Sea . This area is associated with the largest number of written testimonies about the stay here.

True, Novgorodians, who knew the non-Russian population of Zavolochya well, mentioned it in passing in official documents, considering, in particular, sufficient to note that “these lands in Pinese, Kegrolu, and Chakolu, and Perm, and Mezen, and Pily mountains, and Nemugu , and Pineshka, and Vyya, and Sura the Pagan, they caught our brothers from the town of Nizhny Novgorod for the kiss they brought to the Novgorod city name ” ( Letters of Novgorod and Pskov.” M. -L. 1949, p. 154). But the very names of these lands indicated their originally non-Russian origin.

Noteworthy in the “Sura Pagan” in the upper reaches of the river Pinega, apparently longer than other volosts inhabited by “inveterate pagans”. Until now, Russian residents remember the Chud who fled to the neighboring Komi-Zyrian land along the river Vashka.

Toronto Winter Solstice Festival Parade


From The Ural Chudi by A.V. Schmidt “Notes Wole”, Volume XL, vol. 2nd, 1927

Every inhabitant of the Ural Region is aware of the White-eyed Chudi. The population firmly established the view that Chud was a tribe that lived in the Urals and in the Kama Region before the arrival of the Russians. When the Russians arrived, the Chud people disappeared as many tribes have done over the millenium. There are various artifacts that are often found in the earth as the remnants of the property of the Chudi. The Legend is that they buried themselves and died rather than integrate with new coming tribes.

Many educated Urals and teachers, take this story as a legend about the actual fact and consider the Chud tribe as ancient inhabitants of the Urals, who tragically descended from the face of the earth when the Russians came. Most of the stories about the Chudi are obviously fantastical as legends can tend to be.

It is strange that at least these circumstances did not force us to be more critical of the legends about Chudi. At present there is an opportunity to prove that not only the legends about the Ural Chudi are folk stories and everything seems to related to Chudi can be very interesting for those who study Russian folk literature.

As a result, of course, questions like the one, whether the Ural Chud are Finns or Ugrians, or some other people, completely disappeared. I will begin my work with the name Chud. Its not Finnish: it is not found in any of the modern Finnish languages repeatedly pointed out by many prominent linguists, including, for example, the late academician A.A. Chess, this name comes from one of the Germanic languages, namely Gothic.

“Chud” represents the Slavic pronunciation of the Gothic tjuda, which means “people”. Of course, this word was often used by the Goths in conversation, why the Slavs called the tjuda – Chud was probably from the 2nd-4th centuries ce, when the Goths were sitting in present-day Ukraine, and the Slavs lived on Wed Wisla, in present-day Poland and were their neighbors.

Many of the Finnish tribes, who at that time inhabited large areas of European Russia, north of Kiev followed the Goths. In the 5th century. R. R. H., under the pressure of the fierce hordes of Hun riders, the Goths moved west, first to Hungary and then the Balkan Peninsula, then to Spain and Italy. Thus they lands of the Slavs. The Finns remained in their places; so its the Slavs have the name Chudi behind them. From this word “Chud” there are Russian words such as wonderful and miracle, etc.

From the 6th-7th centuries, the Slavs penetrate the Russian plain and push the Finns to the north and north-east. In the 8th and 9th centuries, one of the Eastern Slavic tribes, the Ilmen Slavs, sat on the ground in the area where Novgorod was soon founded. The word “Chud” continues to be preserved in their language; Novgorodians call their neighbors the Finns of the Baltic, Finland, the shores of the Ladoga and Onega lakes, and partly of the Northern Dvina basin.

Thus, only the Western Finn Slavs called these ancient people Chud. Judging by the chronicles, this name was firmly kept in the epoch of the pre-Tatar invasion, i.e. in the X-XIII centuries.The northern part of the Perm Prikamye, part of the basin was inhabited by the Vyatka and Vychegda since the XIV century, and very likely earlier, Votyaks, Perm inhabitants and Zyrians belonging to the so-called Germanic group of the Finnish tribe; closer to the Ural range and in the Kama region south of Chusovaya, at least from the 15th century, and perhaps also earlier, Voguls and Ostyaks, belonging to where the the Ugrian tribes lived.

Therefore, it remains to be seen whether the peoples of the Perm or Ugric groups were ever called Chud. Maybe the Russians gave this name to one of the mentioned East-Finnish tribes? Let’s look in historical documents. Eastern Finnish peoples are mentioned from the XI century. In the chronicles, in various letters, Novgorod, princely, royal, in the life of St. Stephen and some other monuments are found only Ugra, Perm, or just Permian, Vogulichi, Ostyaks, Votyaki and Zyrians.

Where did this word Chud and the Chudi come from? From Novgorod.

How? We already know that it was applied by Novgorod to western Finns. Novgorodians in the 9th-10th centuries, in the epoch of the beginning of Russia, of course, still remembered that the Finns did not sit long before this on the plains occupied by the Slavs and the heights in the vicinity of Lake Ilmen. Therefore, they, partly quite correctly, attributed to Chud various copper ornaments and other objects that fell in the ground during arable land. Indeed, many of these gizmos belonged to the Finns. When the Novgorod settlers got into the pool r. Dvina, they are the old habit continued to ascribe the Chuds encountered in the earth objects.

Since the XVI century, immigrants from the basin of the river. The Dvina, from Vologda, Totma, Ustyug, Solvychegodsk and other places began to penetrate into Verkhokya, to Cherdyn and Solikamsk. In the Kama region, the plow also quite often found with a variety of objects.

The prospectors naturally had a question, what kind of people did these things belong to? From their ancestors, the settlers firmly learned the habit of counting all kinds of human handicrafts across the ground. It is not surprising that, having got on Kama, they also began to call such gizmos Chuket, although a people with such a name never lived on Kama, as we already know.

The memory of Chudi, which was the actual legend on the banks of the Volkhov, became pure legend on the banks of the Kama. Something similar happened in Germany, where the word “Hunengraber” means “Hun tombs” – the broad masses call burial mounds and in places where there were never Huns.

The immigrants from Kama and Dvina, who were the first Russians to hit Tour and Iset, transferred this name there too. Then it penetrated into Western Siberia, and then on down to Baikal. Even in Transbaikalia finds in the land are considered to be Chadian. The same is true in Altai and the Southern Urals, right up to the Kyrgyz steppe.

Thus, the name Chud penetrated into the Urals (and further) due to emigration from the Novgorod land. The habit of ascribing to Chudi all sorts of finds in the earth is brought from the same place. In the belief about the existence of Chudi, there is no recollection of the actual past of the Urals or Siberia.

Maybe Chud sat in the Urals and Kame in prehistoric times, but various nations; of them, the Permian, the Voguls and the Ostyaks, as well as the Bashkirs before the Russians came, and we can only guess about the others with a very small degree of confidence.

The prehistoric antiquities of the Urals and adjacent regions belong to epochs in their totality, lasting about four thousand years. There can be no doubt that in such a long time many nations have changed territory. The availability of a number of prehistoric cultures and the sharp difference between them definitely speak in favor of this.

The first legend describes Chud as a small amount of people. They were supposedly much smaller built than modern people. This story is explained very simply: various iron and bronze prehistoric axes, knives and other objects are often much smaller in size than modern ones. One peasant woman from the village of Vakinoy b. Timinsky parish in the Solikamsk district definitely told me that Chudskie axes, knives and other small-sized tools were often found on the lands near Vakina.

With regard to the villages of Galkina and Turbina (on Kama, to north of Perm), about which there is also a similar legends. This legend is of interest to the archaeologist, that according to prehistoric objects, that must be established. Now we have to disassemble the most famous legend, namely the legend of the death of Chudi. It repeats itself in a completely almost identical form both in the Urals and Trans-Urals, and it has been recorded countless times. I will repeat its detailed content.

Legend says that the Chud did not want to accept Orthodoxy, or to live under Russian rule. Then they retired to the forests and dug themselves underground shelters. When the Russians penetrated deep into the forests, Chud cut down the pillars. The roof, covered with earth from above, collapsed and buried Chud and all their goods. According to the peasant masses, various objects that fall into the ground are the remnants.

How did this legend come about? I think it’s not so difficult to give an explanation. Obviously, the story took shape under the influence of some finds that allowed the possibility of the stated interpretation. Nothing suitable is found in the Kama district. The same in parts of the Zauralye, directly adjacent to the ridge. More interesting for us are the plains of Western Siberia. They are full of mounds.

Starting from the lower reaches of Iset and Tobol, endless groups of mounds stretch far to the east. Many of these mounds are constructed in the following way. Thick pillars set in a semicircle or quadrilateral are fixed on the surface of the earth.Poles support roll forward of logs or poles. In the center sometimes stands the same pillar for better support coverage.

A dead person is laid on the surface of the earth. Next to it is a grave inventory, sometimes very rich. From above, the entire structure is covered with earth. Barrows of this type have been discovered, for example, by the Finnish scientist Geikel in the Tyumen-Yalutorovsk region. In the second half of the 17th century, Russian settlers began to dig up these mounds, in a local way, “bumps”. The tubermen, the so-called diggers, looked for precious metals in the mounds, products from which they were found quite often. These excavations began from the mounds of the lower Iset and Tobol, and then they spread to the Ishim-Tara-Omsk region.

The legend could only arise in the Tobol-Irtysh basin, since burials of this type are not found either in the Kama basin or in general in central or northern Russia. True, similar or similar burials are known in Ukraine, the northern Caucasus, in the Kirghiz steppe, but these areas are too far from the Urals. In addition, Russian settlers, at least in some of them, penetrated only in the XVIII century and even later. Therefore, it is not surprising if we encounter one of the first mentions of the legend of the self-burial of Chudi in the work composed in Western Siberia, namely in the work of the monk Gr. Novitsky “A brief description of the people of Ostyak”, written in 1715 in Tobolsk.


chud bird figures

Once created, the legend was, of course, associated with Chudya, which was attributed, as we know, in general, all the finds – the products of human hands, and began to spread everywhere. It penetrated to the Urals, Kama, even to Dvina, following the same Siberian-Moscow route, through Verkhoturye – Solikamsk – Ustyug – Vologda, along which the settlers moved and walked in general all intercourse.

It seems to me the emergence of this dramatic legend. I want to say a few words about the stories of various natives, Perm inhabitants, and vodyaks, about their origin from Chudi. First of all, these are rather rare stories.  The legends about the Chudi penetrated to the natives from the Russians, as well as excerpts from Christian notions and legends, as from the Slavic pagan notion of the being. In these stories, we have, at best, the same processing of Russian folk tales, as, for example, in some Vogul myths told by N.L. Gondatti.


Valery – It was believed that the question of Chudi had long been closed in archeology, in history, in linguistics, and in toponymy. Just like the Germans, i. “dumb” Eastern Slavs in the 16-17 centuries. They called not only Germans, but also traders from Denmark from England. But this name was fixed to the inhabitants of Germany after all. Similarly, the Chud is not a self-name (therefore you should not look for it in the Finno-Ugric languages), but the name of the Russian Finno-Ugric peoples.

From 3 millennium bce. The Finno-Ugric peoples inhabited a vast territory from the Ob in the east to Norway in the northwest. From Norway to modern Hungary on the SW. From the 12th century Novgorod made trips to the Stone (Ural Mountains). To establish trade relations, they took with them interpreters (translators) who could communicate with Western Finns, i.e. with the same thing. So Chud – is the Slavic name of the ancestors of the Komi-Perm.

Olga – This is how some men write for us, the indigenous people of the Urals, whatever they want. And all because we have forgotten our ancestors and their covenants, therefore it is not surprising that being indifferent to our native land and the history of our ancestors, alien teachers and “enlighteners” conquer us and brainwash us as they please. Meanwhile, they have not yet managed to erase from our memory such great scientists as Lomonosov, Tatishchev, Popov and many others, who wrote a true story about us and our Chud tribes (for which Lomonosov, for example, served a year in prison).

As for Tatishchev, it has been already known to ALL that he put his copper-processing plants only on the Chudskiye strips (in the wake of the work of the Chud masters). This is Ekaterinburg, Perm, and others. And the legends of the still-alive Komi-Permyaks? And the endless Permian underground mysterious moves? It is a shame, countrymen, for us. I wonder if anyone really believed Mr. Schmidt at all?

Gagarin – Bullshit! I still, like my ancestors, I go to remember my great-ancestors at the Chudskoye cemetery (officially dated to the 5th century).

Kwenta – Another demagogue with his personal vision of the issue. In different places, geographically distant, the same legend is repeated, with enviable consistency and content. And I carried out the analysis and decided, more precisely, “… it seems to me …” Pfff …

Natalya – what nonsense! Chud is an absolutely real ancestor of Perm, and as their Slavs called it in the 14th and 15th centuries, it doesn’t really matter. the legend about self-destruction, a stupid fairy tale, persistently broadcast by illiterate people, just for thousands of years, people have assimilated, culture and traditions have changed. This people lived in dugouts, was highly developed, had glass blowing, pottery and metallurgical production, and judging by the structure of the houses of the Vikings and other artifacts, as well as based on the legends of the Voguls (Mansi, Manzi), Komi, Ugrians (ie, people living in the mountains).

Irish mythology and legends of reindeer herders (Sami, Samoyeds) about the Sirte people, one can see that the same territory is taking place in the northern territory from Scandinavia to the Ural mountains, and therefore it can be assumed that this territory was inhabited by one people. Most likely, the Slavs called our ancestors a miracle, because their culture was alien / wonderful. It is clear that they themselves did not call that about pro-Permian.

Baba Jaga in her healthy Grandmother fomr © 2015 by Małgorzata Rzempowska-Skóra

Note from Phoenix: In the Cronicles there is one mysterious tribe, called the “Sleeping People of the North: who apparently slept (dreamed) from Autumn til Spring. It was written in the Cronicals to not disturb these hybernation people otherwise they would litteraly shatter like ice and die. Maybe the legend of the Chud has something to do with them and that there is a connection.

Sources: L. S. Gribova. The cult of the “ancient” from the Komi-Perm. M. 1964, p. 4., “Travels of Academician Ivan Lepekhin”, Part IV. SPB. 1805, p. 282., L.P. LASHUK “The Miracle Historical and the Legendary Chud”. Questions of History, № 10, October 1969, C. 208-216 (Author’s official page at Libmonster:;, art sculpture Toronto Winter Solstice Festival Parade; © 2015 by Małgorzata Rzempowska-Skóra;

Elder Mountain Dreaming Contact:

One Comment Add yours

  1. Ἑρμῆς Bhakta says:

    Reblogged this on Zwischen den Winden… and commented:
    Sehr lesenswert, wie immer. // It’s really worth reading as always.


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