A.V. Psjanchin

The Ufa Centre of Science of the Russian Academy of Science


At the beginning of 1917 the Provisional government has created the Commission on Studying the Tribal Structure of the Russia Population for implementation of a specific target - findings-out of the various ethnos settling boundaries and compilations of ethnic maps on these regions.

of examination were outlined: Lithuania, Poland, Bukovina, Galicia, Ugrian Russia and districts of boundary Bessarabia were chosen for analysis. It was supposed to inspect in Asia six Armenian vilayets, adjoining to the Russian boundaries and to the part of Northern Persia. During the Commission activity new problems have been appeared: mapping on settling areas of all ethnoses in all Russia intrinsic terrain.

Two practical problems were outlined for the Commission: 1) compilation of ethnic maps; 2) writing of sketches about people living in Russia. In 1919 European, Caucasian, Siberian, Central Asian in structure of the Commission departments were created. In 1925 very important solution was accepted. The Cartographical Department was created.

In 1917 “the Instruction for compilation of the tribes’ maps emitted by the Commission on learning of a Russia population tribes’ structure” has been compounded and published by the Commission. It became the major step in development of domestic ethnic cartography. Scales for tribes’ maps of Russia various parts were determined in it. There were made for the western border land of the European Russia, other European Russia, Caucasus, for Central Asia and Siberia. Scales for summary tribes’ maps were also determined. It was map at 60 versts in one inch for the European Russia with Caucasus and the other one 100 versts in one inch for Siberia with Central Asia.

The other significant fact of the Commission activity became development of a scale color designation for ethnoses and ethnic groups. Finally scale of designation was prepared and published in 1925. Issuing « Colour Scales for Notations of Nationalities on Maps Published by the Commission » has facilitated further activity on ethnic maps compilation. Its introduction in scientific and practical spheres led to consolidation of activities on ethnic mapping. One of the first ethnic maps executed with application of the colors notations scale, became «The Map of the Bashkir Population Tribal Structure of the region», and compounded by F.A. Fielstrup (a member of the Commission). The 3 ethnic maps «the Population Ethnic Structure of Northwest Range and the Karelian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic» have been completed and published in 1927 thanks to the activity work of the other member of the Commission (D.A.Zolotareva) «the Population Ethnic Structure of Northwest Range and the Karelian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic».

During activity of the Commission, its members had been compiled ethnic maps on other parts of the country too. The special value had the compilation and issuing of a Siberia tribal map of (actually Ethnic map of the USSR). Per 1930 the Commission has been transformed to Institute on Learning People of the USSR. The Commission activity of as leading academic centre in the country has played the major role in development both domestic, and world ethnic cartography.