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Udmurt ethnic mentality (E. V. Nikitina)

The basis of this paper is a review of historical, ethnographic, ethno-psychological, cultural and philosophical literature relating to the ethnic mentality of the Udmurts.

The Udmurts are the second largest (after the Mordvins) Finno-Ugric people in Russia. In contrast to other Finnish-speaking peoples of the Volga region, consisting of related but very different groups, the Udmurts are quite monolithic and relatively densely settled in the area between the Kama and the Vyatka rivers.

The author reveals some specific features of the Udmurt ethnic mentality that are due to the dependence of the people’s mental constitution from the environment (dark, 'sullen', spruce forest), historical upheavals, social cohesion within communities, joint ceremonial life. The main ethno mental attitude of the Udmurts can be expressed as 'live in harmony'. The essential characteristics of the Udmurt ethnic mentality are considered to be the following: pursuit of traditional values, withdrawal into oneself, ethno nihilism, tolerance and community spirit at the level of psychology 'we — they'.

The Udmurt ethnic mentality is dual (in one situation an Udmurt can be timid, indecisive, taciturn, and in the other — sociable, cheerful, hospitable), which is associated with the deployment of his or her communicative behaviour in two modalities (behaviour of a 'stranger' and a 'friend'). For the Udmurts the culture of high interpersonal relationships is characteristic; being condemned by public opinion is perceived as a 'life collapse'.

Keywords: ethnic mentality, the people of the Volga and the Ural regions, Udmurtia, Udmurt ethnic mentality.

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