Treatment of Shorka (Shorets) [RUS31053.E]

No mention of shorka, or shorets, could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

However, there were several mentions of the Shor people in the Russian Federation. The Centre for Russian Studies states:

The Shor ethnic group results from a mix of tribes of Samoyedic, Ket and turkified Ugrian peoples who were living in south-central Siberia. Sustained contact with the Russians began in the 17th c., when a large influx of Russian settlers started. The Shors had by then been known among neighboring peoples as the "Blacksmith Tatars", because they used to supply the others (Oyrots, Kyrgyz and Teleuts) with finished iron products. They were unable to compete with the Russians, though, and most of them turned to hunting fur-bearing animals for a living. They had to pay a fur tax to the Russians, and anti-Russian sentiments grew strong. Russian missionaries worked hard to convert the Shors to Christianity, but what emerged was an ecclectic fusion of folk beliefs and Christian doctrine.
Developments after the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 had a devastating effect on Shor ethnicity. The Soviet government wanted to exploit the rich iron ore and coal deposits. In the beginning, they tried to take measures to protect Shor culture, and established a national region in 1929. But conflicts arose quickly. Shors did not want to cooperate with the Russian geologists in localizing the deposits. And then, when the deposits were found, the government started importing large numbers of Russian and Ukrainian workers. The Shors' share of the population fell from more than 50% in 1915 to only 13% in 1938. In 1939, the national region was abolished.
Shor ethnic identity is in sharp decline, and in 1989, only around 45% of the Shors spoke the Shor language, while virtually all of them spoke Russian (1989).

According to the citation in Ethnologue:

SHOR (SHORTSY, ABA, KONDOMA TATAR, MRAS TATAR, KUZNETS TATAR, TOM-KUZNETS TATAR) [CJS] 9,760 mother tongue speakers (61%) out of an ethnic population of 16,000 (1979 census). Altai Krai, Khakass AO and Gorno-Altai AO, on the River Tomy. Altaic, Turkic, Northern. Dialects: MRASSA, KONDOMA. Mras is the basis for the literary language. Some sources combine Shor and Chulym. Shor is distinct from the Shor dialect of Khakas. A language association has been founded. A chair of Shor was formed in the Pedagogical Institute in Novokuzneck. Christian: Russian Orthodox. Work in progress (1996).

For more information on the habitat, language and history of the Shor please see the attached pages from The Red Book of the Peoples of the Russian Empire available on the Website of the Institute of the Estonian Language (1993).

Memorial Human Rights Center in Moscow, a non-governmental organization "devoted to investigating and publicizing human rights abuses," prepared comments on the Russian Federation's compliance with the Convention on the Elimination on All Forms of Discrimination (CERD) (Mar. 1998). With regard to indigenous peoples:

Article 69 of the Russian Federation Constitution guarantees the right of indigenous small-in-number peoples, and Article 72, par. "m" imposes jointly on the federation and its subjects [components] obligations to "defend the traditional habitats and traditional way of life of the minor ethnic communities." In the legal and practical sense, these questions are really not regulated at the federal level. A draft federal law on the bases for a legal status for the indigenous minority peoples was four times approved from 1993-1997 by the highest legislative body of the land, but not signed by the President. At the present time the draft is being worked on in the Committee on Nationalities Affairs in the State Duma. Further drafting of a federal law on minority ethnic communities is not planned.

Unofficial transcripts of the Working Group of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation held on 29 and 30 October 1997 mention the Shor people among other indigenous groups including Inuit, Saami and Chukchi. A joint statement submitted to the Working Group, on the right to self-determination of indigenous peoples, including the Shor, indicated that that right did not mean a "wish to separate from existing national states" (30 Oct. 1997).

Another transcript included abridgment of statement made by Mr. Mikhail Todychev of the Shor People on 29 October 1997:

... stresses that many indigenous peoples (gave the example of indigenous peoples in Russia) are on the brink of disappearance. States that Article 15, the right to education is crucial for indigenous peoples many of whom are on the brink of ethnic, and sometimes physical disappearance. Stresses that indigenous peoples survival hinges on the survival of language. Notes that in Russia indigenous peoples did not have the opportunity to study in their own language, and moreover did not have anything written on their history until 1929 when the government began to give attention to education and the study of different languages of the region. Recognizes the financial constraints which the Russian government is facing, making it difficult to grant rights under Article 15. States with concern that indigenous peoples in the Russian federation do not have the right to participate in the reform of the education system beginning today, and warns that it might have a negative effect on the education of indigenous peoples. Notes that there is a problem of staff resources, and also that education is becoming increasingly more expensive. Reiterates that it is important that the working group discuss the articles and reach a consensus as soon as possible, agrees with other representatives of indigenous peoples that it is not desirable to have any changes to the draft declaration....

No other reports on the Shor people, nor their treatment, could be found in the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Centre for Russian Studies [Oslo]. 1989. "Ethnic Groups: Shor." [Internet] [Accessed 27 Jan. 1999]

Ethnologue. 1996. "Russia, Asia." [Internet] [Accessed 4 Feb. 1999]

Institute of the Estonian Language. 1993. The Red Book of the Peoples of the Russian Empire [Internet] [Accessed 3 Feb. 1999]

Memorial Human Rights Center [Moscow]. March 1998. "Compliance With CERD in Russia." [Internet] [Accessed 5 Feb. 1999]

Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO). 30 October 1997. "UNPO Monitor." [Internet] [Accessed 2 Feb. 1999]

_____. 29 October 1997. "UNPO Monitor." [Internet] [Accessed 2 Feb. 1999]


Institute of the Estonian Language. 1993. The Red Book of the Peoples of the Russian Empire. pp. 1-6.[Internet] [Accessed 3 Feb. 1999]

Additional Sources Consulted

Cultural Survival Quarterly [Cambridge]. 1997 to 1998.

Eastern Europe and the Commnwealth of Independent States 1997. 1996.

Keesing's Record of World Events [Cambridge].

Langages de l'humanité: une encyclopédie des 3000 langues parlées dans le monde. 1983. Michel Malherbe. Paris: Seghers.

The Languages of the World. 1989. Kenneth Katzner. London: The Guernsey Press.

Russia and the Commonwealth: A to Z. 1992. Andrew Wilson and Nina Bachkatov. New York, NY: Harper Perennial.

World Directory of Minorities. 1997.

Electronic sources: IRB Databases, LEXIS/NEXIS, Internet, REFWORLD, World News Connection (WNC).