Geographical Features:
Ingermanland or Ingria lies along the southern shore of the gulf of Finland and both banks of the river Neva. In the west it borders Estonia, in the south and in the east its borders run along the rivers Luga, Oredezh, Tosno, Mga and Lovat. Area: 15,000 km2.

The Ingrian Finns population is 90,000 of which most live in the St.Petersburg region.. Many also live in Carelia, in the central region of Russian, in Central Asia, in Finland and in Estonia, in Sweden, in Canada, in the USA and in Australia.

Ingrian Finns belong to the Finnic peoples. Their literary language is the same as that of Suomi Finns, and is complemented with many local dialects. Until 1995 Finnish was not taught in local schools and the official language was Russian.

Ingrian Finns are represented in UNPO by Inkeri Liitto. Its purpose is to preserve Ingrian Finns as a people.

Traditional forms of agriculture are partially preserved, although most Ingrian Finns now work at the industrial enterprises of St.Petersburg and the region.

Brief History:

  • 17th century Ingria came under Swedish rule.
  • 1702 Russian czar Peter the Great gained access to the Baltic Sea and a new capital St.Petersburg in Ingrea.
  • 1920 Ingria was recognised as a part of Soviet Russia by the Peace Treaty of Tartu.
  • 1929-1936 The majority of the Ingrian Finnish were deported to Siberia, Central Asia and the Kola Peninsula. The territory was resettled by newcomers from Russia.
  • 1943 The population in the part of Ingria occupied by Germans was evacuated to Finland.
  • 1988 An organisation of Ingrian Finns was created, called Inkeri Liitto.
  • 1993 The Ingrians were rehabilitated by the Russian government but they still did not receive the right to return to their homelands.
  • 1992 Inkeri Liitto joined UNPO.
  • 1995 Three homes for the elderly were opened, built by Inkeri Liitto with the help from Finnish government and social organisations. The first Finnish school was opened in St. Petersburg.

Current situation:
Russian policy continues to violate the rights of the Ingrians. They are not recognised as an ethnic minority nor as an indigenous people. No decisions have been made by the local authorities concerning the national-cultural status of the Ingrians. There also has not been any improvement in the struggle for self-determination by the Ingrians. It is difficult to raise a strong voice against the Russian authorities.


The Izhoras were once part of the Finnic peoples that had originated in Central Eurasia and eventually evolved into such groups as the Finns, Estonians, Maris, Mordvinians and Lapps. The Izhora settled along the Neva and Izhora rivers and in the southern part of the Karelian Isthmus possibly as early as the end of the 10th c. They moved gradually further west in the 11th and 12th c. "Ingariya" and its inhabitants "Ingaros" are mentioned first in a chronicle of 1220. The Izhora territory came probably under Novgorod's control in the 12th c. and exposed the Izhoras to Slavic influence. Although the Izhoras adopted Eastern Orthodox Christianity, they maintained their pagan rituals even in the 16th c.

When the Swedish king tried to introduce Lutheranism to the conquered area of Ingria (i.e. Izhora land on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland and Karelian Isthmus), the Izhoras left their territory. Most of them came back after Ingriya was ceded to Russia (1721). The Izhoras who did not leave Ingria were converted to Lutheranism and lost their ethnic identity. These merged with Finns (later known as Ingermanland Finns) who settled the deserted areas in the 17th c.

There were 17,000-21,000 Izhoras in the Soviet Union in the second half of the 19th c., 16,100 in 1926 and only 1,062 in 1959. The census of 1989 counted only 450 Izhoras in Russia. The decline in the Izhora population was caused primarily by assimilation. Besides, a certain number of Izhoras were registered as Russians in 1940-1950. About 37 percent use Izhora as their native language. The name Izhora (after the river Izhora) has been used by Izhoras only in the 20th c.

Sources: Norwegian Institute of International Affairs [NUPI] - Centre for Russian Studies
Links to external websites about the peoples of Ingria - the Izhorians and Votians, their land, history, and culture (pages will open in new window):

Endangered Uralic Peoples: Ingrians | Votes | Ingrian Finns

The Red Book of the Peoples of the Russian Empire: Izhorians | Ingrians | Votes

Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO): Inkeri

Wikipedia: Izhorians | Ingria | Ingrian Finns | Votians

Baltic Finns Map | TURAN Main Map