Yakut in Russia

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Yakut are one of the largest groups of indigenous people living in Siberia, Russia. In fact, the region where the Yakut live is called Yakutia. A small group of Yakut wandered south and now reside in northern China. The tradition occupations of the Yakut were taking care of reindeer, tapping fur animals, hunting and gathering. Russian Orthodox missionaries tried to convert the Yakut to Christianity in the 19th century, but their efforts were largely unsuccessful.

The New Testament in the Yakut language became available in 2017.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Since ancient times, the Yakut have lived nomadic lives, caring for reindeer and dwelling in tents. Unfortunately, alcohol abuse is rampant among the Yakut. In fact, it is so prevalent that the number of murders, early deaths, and suicides attributable to alcohol abuse may seriously jeopardize the future of this group.

The government of the Soviet Union wanted the Yakut to settle down in one place and not continue to live as nomads. Today some Yakut live in cement and brick houses. They work in Russian mines, factories and in the lumber industry. Some Yakut still take care of reindeer looking for green plants for their herds. The reindeer provide food and furs for clothing and tents. The Yakut trade extra milk, meat and furs for things they cannot make for themselves such as snow mobiles, cell phones and grain. Women search for berries and edible plants in the short Siberian summers. Winters in Siberia can bring temperatures of 60 degrees below zero.

The Yakut speak their own language among themselves and Russian at school and work. Some Yakut young people are moving out of the traditional Yakut region and going to live in Russian cities. They are searching for better educational and economic opportunities. These young people speak Russian as their first language and are being absorbed into the general Russian population. They often marry outside their people in the Russian cities.

The Yakut are shamanists who believe in faith healing and spirit possession.
What Are Their Beliefs?

The Yakut are shamanists and practice folk religion. In the late 1800s anthropologist Waldemar Jochelson vividly described a Yakut religious ceremony: "A shaman has come to heal a sick woman, whose soul has been captured by evil spirits. He has put himself into a trance by inhaling tobacco, dancing, and beating his drum. Now his soul will travel to the spirit world and do battle in order to retrieve the woman's soul and thus restore her. His assistant holds the shaman by a chain so that if he gets lost or trapped in the spirit world he can be pulled back. Some of the flat iron pendants on the shaman's robe represent bird feathers, which allow the shaman's soul to fly. ... As the shaman dances, the noise made by these pieces and by the copper bells and rattles on the robe, as well as the sound of his drum and singing, help summon the spirits."

After decades of Soviet education, some Yakut are secular. They celebrate Yakut holidays for cultural not religious reasons. A small fraction of the Yakut claims to be Russian Orthodox Christians.

What Are Their Needs?

The Yakut need schools to educate their children. Many Yakut only have the bare rudiments of literacy. The nomadic lifestyle of some the Yakuts makes attending school difficult. Even where schools are available Yakut children often quit early to help their families make a living. Most of all the Yakut need to hear and respond to the good news about Jesus. He alone can forgive their sins and give them a purpose for living.

Prayer Points

Ask the Lord to send loving workers to the Yakut.

Pray that the Yakut would be moved by the Spirit to read their New Testament.

Pray that the small number of Yakut believers would grow strong in the faith and share the gospel with their family and friends.

Ask the Lord to raise up a disciple-making movement among the Yakut in this decade.

Scripture Prayers for the Yakut in Russia.

Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

Additional Info
Global Prayer Digest: 2007-02-06
Global Prayer Digest: 2008-03-19
Global Prayer Digest: 2011-03-07
Global Prayer Digest: 2011-03-08
People Name General Yakut
People Name in Country Yakut
Pronunciation yah-KOOT
Population this Country 483,000
Population all Countries 486,000
Total Countries 2
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 1  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 10
Alternate Names Aoluguya; Ewenki; Sakha
People ID 18726
ROP3 Code 114361
Country Russia
Region Europe, Eastern and Eurasia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Near Arctic Sea, middle Lena river, Aldan and Kolyma rivers, 3,220 km; Sakha (Yakutiya), Magadanskaya Oblast’, Irkutskaya Oblast’, Khabarovskiy Kray, and Krasnoyarskiy Kray.   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Country Russia
Region Europe, Eastern and Eurasia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Near Arctic Sea, middle Lena river, Aldan and Kolyma rivers, 3,220 km; Sakha (Yakutiya), Magadanskaya Oblast’, Irkutskaya Oblast’, Khabarovskiy Kray, and Krasnoyarskiy Kray..   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Map of Yakut in Russia Ethnolinguistic map or other map

Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.10 %)
3.00 %
Ethnic Religions
92.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
5.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Yakut (483,000 speakers)
Language Code sah   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Yakut (483,000 speakers)
Language Code sah   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Yakut

Primary Language:  Yakut

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1858-2000)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (2017)
Bible-Complete No
Bible-NT Audio Online
Bible-NT Text Online
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Audio Recordings Online New Testament Faith Comes by Hearing
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Yakut Jesus Film Project
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels Bible Media Group/LUMO
Film / Video World Christian Videos World Christian Videos
General Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
Text / Printed Matter Bible: Yakut YouVersion Bibles
Text / Printed Matter IBT, Russia - resources Institute for Bible Translation - Russia
Photo Source Aleksandr Ivanov - Wikimedia  Creative Commons 
Map Source People Group location: IMB. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.  
Profile Source Joshua Project  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more