Dr. Davydov Deputy Director for Research, Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, Russian Academy of Sciences

General Information

The Dolgan ~ Dulgaan ethnonym comes from the name of a Tungus or Lamut clan that Russian pioneers encountered in the mid-17th century on the right shore of the Lena across from the Viluy’s estuary. At that time, Dolgans also lived at the Aldan’s estuary. Currently, this ethnonym is used by the entire Dolgan people at the Taymyr Peninsula and along the Anabar river (the Republic of Sakha). The main Dolgan community living around Khatanga and in the lower reaches of the Anabar call themselves Haka (cf. the Yakut word Sakha). Western Dolgans use the endonym Tya Kihute, Tyalar. Dolgans are subdivided into several territorial groups: Western Dolgans (Norilsk – Pyasino Dolgans), Central (Volochanka and Ust-Avam Dolgans), and Eastern (Khatanga, Popigay, and Anabar Dolgans).

The total number of Dolgans, according to the 2020 All-Russian Population Census, is 8,182 people (3,695 men and 4,487 women).

The Dolgan language belongs to the Yakut sub-groups of Uighur-Oguz branch of the Turkic language family. The dialects of Western (Norilsk) and Eastern Dolgans manifest significant differences.



The city of Dudinka is the administrative center of the Dolgan-Nenets autonomous district that controls 27 settlements. The municipal district includes urban settlements (Dudinka and Dikson) and two villages (Karaul and Khatanga). The municipal district has always been home to many indigenous small-numbered peoples of the North: Dolgans, the Nenets, Evenks, and the Enets.

The 2010 Census put their number at 10,132 persons, or 29.5% of the overall population, of them 5,393 are Dolgans, 3,494 are Nenets, 747 are Nganasans, 266 are Evenks, 204 are the Enets, 19 are Kets, and 9 are Selkups. Local administrations report that as of January 1, 2019, the number of Dolgans in the Dolgan-Nenets Municipal District was 5.6 persons.

The total number of Dolgans, according to the 2020 All-Russian Population Census, is 8,182 people (3,695 men and 4,487 women).




The number of Dolgans increases eastward, in villages with mixed populations: in the west, there are only individual Dolgan families in the center; in the south of the Taymyr Peninsula, Dolgans account for nearly half of the village population, and they constitute an overwhelming majority of the population in the east of the region. For instance, the settlement population in the Khatanga village is almost overwhelmingly Dolgan; only the village of Novaya, along with the Dolgan majority, has some Vadeyev Nganasans.



Official statistics for the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) also record growing numbers of Dolgans. In 2000, the Anabar settlement of Yuryung-Khaya had 858 Dolgans, and in 2014, there were 1,489 Dolgans. These figures reflect not so much a spike in birthrate as changing self- identification. In the Soviet era, Anabar Dolgans were recorded as Evenks (in 1926-1927) and Yakuts (1939) (Filippova 2020: 2286).* Historical memory of Dolgan ancestors of the local population served here as the main force behind growing national self-awareness.