Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences
Anna Sirina


The Evenks. General information (endonyms, ethnographic groups, population according to the latest census, settlement)

Evenks are a Tungus-Manchu people of Siberia and the Far East. The total number of Evenks according to the 2020 All-Russian Population Census was about 39.2 thousand people (in 2010 was 37.8 thousand people). A unique phenomenon is that the Evenks, despite their small numbers, surpass all Siberian peoples in terms of the vastness of their developed territory. In 2020, about 9.1 thousand Evenks lived in the Siberian Federal District (10.2 thousand in 2010), which is approximately 23% of all the Evenks. Of these, in the Krasnoyarsk Territory (mainly in the Evenki and also in the Taimyr Dolgano-Nenets municipal districts) – 3.6 thousand people (4.4 thousand people in 2010); in Buryatia – 3 thousand people, Transbaikal Territory – 0.9 thousand people. (1.4 thousand people in 2010); in the Irkutsk region – 1.1 thousand people (1.3 thousand people in 2010), in Tyumen region – 0.07 thousand people; in Tomsk region – 0.04 thousand people (0.1 thousand people in 2010). Most Evenks live in the Far Eastern Federal District (29.7 thousand people), which is more than 75% of the number of all Evenks. In Yakutia in 2020, 24.4 thousand people were counted (21 thousand people in 2010); Khabarovsk Territory – 3.7 thousand people (4.1 thousand people in 2010); Amur region – 1.4 thousand people (1.5 thousand people in 2010); Sakhalin region – 0.17 thousand people (0.2 thousand people in 2010); in Primorsky Krai about 0.1 thousand people. In all subjects of the Russian Federation, the Evenks constitute a minority; they live mainly in rural taiga and mountain taiga or forest-tundra and tundra areas, in multi-ethnic settlements. Evenks also live in cities: for example, in the territory of Yakutsk, the 2020 census counted 5 thousand people, in Moscow - about 0.1 thousand people.

Evenks (called the Tungus before 1931) are Tungus Manchu people living in Russia, Northeast China, and Mongolia. They settled in small groups over a vast territory from the Urals to the Pacific Ocean, from the Arctic Ocean to Mongolian steppes and Northeast China. In Russia, Evenks live in the catchment areas of the largest Siberian rivers: the Yenisei, the Lena, the Amur, and their tributaries. Since the 19th century, the westernmost Evenk group has lived in the catchment area of the Lower Irtysh’s right-hand tributaries.

Evenks are unique in that despite their small numbers (the 2010 Census put the number of Evenks in Russia at 37.800) they exceed all other Siberian peoples in the size of their settled territory. 10.200 Evenks live in the Siberian Federal District; 4.000 Evenks live in the Krasnoyarsk territory (majorly in the Evenk and the Taymyr Dolgan-Nenets municipal districts); 3.000 Evenks live in Buryatia, 1.400 Evenks live in the Trans-Baikal territory; 1.300 Evenks live in the Irkutsk region; 100 Evenks live in the Tomsk region). 27.000 Evenks live in the Far Eastern Federal District (21.000 Evenks in Yakutia, 4.100 Evenks in the Khabarovsk territory, 1.500 Evenks in the Amur region; 200 Evenks in the Sakhalin region; 100 Evenks in the Primorye territory). Evenks are a minority in all regions of the Russian Federation, and they live primarily in rural areas in multi-ethnic settlements.

Evenks’ most popular endonym, Ewenki , became their official ethnonym in the late 1930s. Other endonyms include the Oroqen among Trans-Baikal and Amur Evenks, the Ile among the Katanga and Upper Lena Evenks, the Mata among Olyokminsk Evenks, and the Kilen among the Evenks of the Okhotsk coast. There are also other Evenk endonyms.

Around 30,900 Evenks live in China (the 2010 Census), they have primarily settled in the Hulunbuir district in northeastern Inner Mongolia and Heilongjiang and Liaoning provinces. In China, the Evenk ethnicity also includes the Solon (mainly in the Ewenki Autonomous Banner), Evenks proper ( Ewenki-Yakute , Yakute in Chinese, their endonyms are Yako and Yeke ), and the Hamnigan; the Census counts Oroqen Evenks separately (8.700 people). Data on the numbers of the Hamnigan in Mongolia (primarily in the Selenge aimag) range from 600 to 2.000 people.

In Russia, they mostly speak Russian. 12.7% of Evenks (55.5% in the Amur region and 53.3% in the Evenk district) preserve the Evenk language; they also speak Yakut and Buryat.

The Evenk autonomous area was established in 1930 with the village of Tura as its administrative center. The Area was dissolved in 2007, and its territory became part of the Krasnoyarsk territory as the Evenk Municipal District.

The Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) has Evenk ethnic ulus (districts): the Anabar (Dolgan-Evenk), Zhigansk, and Olenyok ulus . Further, there are also Evenk ethnic naslegs ( naslegs within ethnic ulus are not listed): Bellet (Aldan ulus ), Bulung, Bykovsky, Khara-Ulakh, Tumeti (Bulung ulus ), Zhigansk, Lindine (Zhigansk ulus ), Sadyn (Mirninsky ulus ), Yengrinsky (Neryungri district), Kyuptsy, Petropavlovsk, Ezhantsy (Ust-Maya ulus ), Zharkhan, Kindigir, Tyanya, Chara (Olyokminsk ulus ), and the Bauntovsky Evenk district in the Republic of Buryatia.