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Regions with significant populations
Udmurtia (Russia)
 Russia2,201 (2010)[1]
dialect of the Udmurt language
Sunni Islam and Russian Orthodoxy
Related ethnic groups

The Besermyan, Biserman, Besermans or Besermens (Russian: бесермяне, besermyane singular: besermyanin, Udmurt: бесерманъёс, Tatar: Cyrillic бисермәннәр, Latin bisermännär) are a numerically small Finnic people in Russia.

The Russian Empire Census of 1897 listed 10,800 Besermans. There were 10,000 Besermans in 1926, but the Russian Census of 2002 found only 3,122 of them.[2]

The Besermyan live in the districts of Yukamenskoye, Glazov, Balezino, and Yar in the northwest of Udmurtia. There are ten villages of pure Besermyan ethnicity in Russia, and 41 villages with a partial Besermyan population.


According to one theory, the Besermyan are of Turkic origin, possibly being descendants of the Volga Bolgars. In the 13th century during his travel to Mongolia, papal envoy Plano Carpini claimed that the Besermyan were subjects of the Mongols. Russian chronicles sometimes made mention of the Besermyan but it's uncertain whether the term had the same meaning to denote the group as it was a common derivation of the term "musulman" (Muslim).[3] It is likely that the term had broader usage before it became an ethnonym.[3]


The language of the Besermyan is a dialect of the Udmurt language with Tatar influences.

Some Besermyan traditions differ from other Udmurtian customs due to the Islamic influence during the Volga Bulgaria and Khanate of Kazan periods.

According to scholar Shirin Akiner, most Besermyan practice Sunni Islam.[3]


  1. ^ Официальный сайт Всероссийской переписи населения 2010 года. Информационные материалы об окончательных итогах Всероссийской переписи населения 2010 года [Official site of the National Population Census 2010. Informational materials about the final outcome Russian Census 2010] (in Russian). RU: GKS.
  2. ^ Alphabetical list of peoples of the Russian Empire Archived 2012-02-05 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b c Akiner, Shirin (1986). Islamic Peoples Of The Soviet Union. Routledge. p. 103. ISBN 978-1-136-14266-6.