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Regions with significant populations
Russian Orthodox, Sunni Islam, Shamanism
Related ethnic groups

Teleuts are a Turkic people living in Kemerovo Oblast, Russia.[2] According to the 2002 census, there were 2,650 Teleuts in Russia. Their language is classified as a southern dialect within the group of dialects called the Altay language.[3]


The Teleuts were once part of the Tiele people. They came under the rule of the First Turkic Khaganate. The Teleuts emerged from the result of Kipchaks and Mongols mixing together.[4] Near the end of the 16th century, the Teleuts wandered the steppe between the Irtysh and the Ob'. They became nominal subjects to the Oirats at this period. Their population at this time numbered 4,000 tents.[5]

The Russians gained control of the region in the mid eighteenth century and the Teleuts subsequently became their subjects.[4] The Russians called the Teleuts "White Kalmyks" in their documents despite the ethnic and linguistic differences between the Kalmyks and Teleuts.[5]

The Teleuts consider themselves to be a distinct people and many don't accept being labeled as Altaian.[6] The majority of the Teleuts live along the Great and Little Bachat Rivers in Kemerovo Oblast. However, a few Teleuts also live in the Altai Republic.[5]


Most Teleuts used to be nomadic or semi-nomadic livestock herders and horses, goats, cattle, and sheep were the most common types of animals they raised. Some Teleuts were hunters and relied on animals living in the taiga for subsistence.[4]

Traditional Teleut dwellings included conic yurts made out of bark or perches.[4]

Common Teleut dress was composed of linen shirts, short breeches, and single-breasted robes.[4]


Most Teleuts are Orthodox Christians. However, there is a significant minority that practice shamanism and Sunni Islam.[5][4] Burkhanism is practiced by some Altaians as well.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Russian Census 2010: Population by ethnicity (in Russian)
  2. ^ Library of Congress - Classification Web : web link
  3. ^ Altai Republic - Teleuts (Республика Алтай - Телеуты) : web link Archived 2006-06-14 at the Wayback Machine (in Russian)
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Encyclopedia of the world's minorities. Skutsch, Carl., Ryle, Martin (J. Martin). New York: Routledge. 2005. pp. 82–83. ISBN 1-57958-392-X.CS1 maint: others (link)
  5. ^ a b c d Akiner, Shirin (1986). Islamic Peoples of the Soviet Union (2nd ed.). London: Routledge. pp. 435–436. ISBN 0-7103-0025-5.
  6. ^ Mote, Victor L. (1998). Siberia: Worlds Apart. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. pp. 138. ISBN 0-8133-1298-1.

External links[edit]