Chuvash in Turkmenistan

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Chuvash speak a unique Turkic language. Their Turkic ancestors lived in central Siberia, dwelling in the Irtysh Basin starting at the end of the third millennium BC. They are associated with the Bulgar tribal federation. The Mongol Empire disrupted their lives in the 1200s. The Russians conquered their land in 1552 and demanded tribute. The Chuvash lost most of their land and their wealth. They worked for the Russians in the timber industry and on barges for many years. Russians have maintained control over the Chuvash ever since.
The Russians never fully made them culturally Russian, but the Chuvash were forcefully moved towards Russian ways. The Chuvash had a revival of their language and culture in the 18th and 19th century which was squelched by the Russians during the 20th century. The Russians tried to force them into a Russian Orthodox mold in the 19th century before trying to force them into atheism during the 20th century. The Chuvash people kept their language after the fall of the USSR in 1991, but Russian is a key language for them.
Today the Chuvash people live mainly in Russia, where their homeland is located. They also live in the other countries of the Russian Federation, including Turkmenistan.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Chuvash families are small, but they are often larger in rural areas. Men and women marry any time between the age of 18 and 24. The women have full-time jobs as well as doing housework.
Most Chuvash are farmers who produce potatoes, wheat, rye, hemp, hops, dairy products, poultry, and meat. Their diet is rich in root vegetables and grains. They pickle some of their vegetables for the winter, especially sauerkraut. They eat soups, rye bread, and, above all, porridge. The Chuvash people make their porridge from buckwheat or millet.
Despite obstacles, the Chuvash still have their own cultural forms. They love embroidery, sewing, woodworking, ceramics, and making goods with beads and silver. They have their own epic tales, fairy tales, songs, legends, and skits. Weaving the gospel message into Chuvash art forms would be a good way to open spiritual doors.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Chuvash are mostly Russian Orthodox, though some have preserved their ancient shamanistic practices. A small minority is Sunni Muslims because of their contact with the Tatars hundreds of years ago. Those in Turkmenistan are surrounded by Muslims.

What Are Their Needs?

The Chuvash people need their own identity as a people. More importantly, they need the chance to pursue a relationship with Jesus Christ without their spirituality being driven by outsiders.

Prayer Points

Pray for Chuvash fellowships in Turkmenistan to be centered on Christ rather than tradition.
Pray there will soon come a day when the Chuvash people will send loving workers to unreached people groups.
Pray for spiritual hunger and a discernment that will keep the Chuvash away from spiritual counterfeits. May they be led to put their faith in Christ alone.

Scripture Prayers for the Chuvash in Turkmenistan.


Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Chuvash
People Name in Country Chuvash
Alternate Names Bolgar; Bulgar
Population this Country 3,900
Population all Countries 1,112,000
Total Countries 10
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 2
Unreached No
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 1  (per
Pioneer Workers Needed
People ID 11382
ROP3 Code 102226
Country Turkmenistan
Region Asia, Central
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 26  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Country Turkmenistan
Region Asia, Central
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 26  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)

No people group map currently available. Use the above button to submit a map.

Ethnolinguistic map or other map

Primary Religion: Christianity
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 1.00 %)
40.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
35.00 %
25.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Chuvash (3,900 speakers)
Language Code chv   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Chuvash (3,900 speakers)
Language Code chv   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Chuvash
Photo Source Anonymous 
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.