Khakass Tatar in Russia

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Khakass people are a collection of the five nomadic Turkic-speaking tribes of Kacha, Kyzyl, Sagai, Beltir, and Koibal. The Khakass live in Siberia northwest of the nation of Mongolia.

Despite efforts to Christianize them by the European Russians, Khakass today are about one half followers of folk religion and the other half Sunni Muslims.

The traditional occupation of the Khakass is that of nomadic herders. They take care of cattle, sheep, goats, horses and camels. The Soviet government tried to make the Khakass into a people who lived in one place. These efforts were partly successful.

More and more Khakass families are using Russian as their first language. The Khakass language is in danger of disappearing over the next few decades. Dozens of Siberian languages have ceased to be spoken as Siberians become Russified.

A Khakass New Testament became available in 2019.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Many Khakass no longer practice their own customs. They have adapted to the Russian culture and speak the Russian language. In the next few decades, the Khakass people may cease to be a distinct people.

Some Khakass farm the land, work in factories, mines and in the lumber industry. Some Khakass still practice their ancient occupation of nomadic herders. When the green plants of one area are exhausted, the herders move their animals and tents to another place. This movement makes it hard for Khakass children to receive an education. Some Khakass young people are leaving the old lifestyle and moving to cities to take advantage of economic and educational opportunities.

Much of the food of the Khakass consists of milk and milk products. The Khakass trade surplus animals, meat and milk for rice and other items they cannot make for themselves like cell phones and appliances. The Khakass tend to have large families. It is the adult sons’ responsibility to care for elderly parents. Unfortunately, many children die before the age of ten because the Khakass often do not have access to modern medicine. The village shaman is the person a Khakass first sees for a medical issue.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Today young Khakass people are rapidly becoming secularized. Few of the present generation of Khakass youth have an interest in religion. Nearly half of the Khakass claim to be Sunni Muslims. Their brand of Islam is heavily influenced by folk religion. Other Khakass practice ethnic or folk religion. They believe that spirits inhabit the objects of nature such as rocks, rivers, trees, animals, and the sky. These spirits can bring harm on the people if the spirits are not appeased and honored. The shaman connects the Khakass with the spirit world. He provides rituals, prayers, and offerings to appease the spirits.

Only a tiny fraction of the Khakass claim to be Christ followers.

What Are Their Needs?

Most of the Khakass have never heard a clear presentation of the gospel. Teams of believers can provide modern medicine to the Khakass. Most of all the Khakass need to trust in Christ as their Lord and Savior. He alone can forgive their sins and free them from their fear of evil spirits.

Prayer Points

Ask the Lord to send workers to the Khakass of Russia.

Pray the Lord gives them Khakass leaders the desire to read the New Testament.

Pray that Khakaas children would be able to learn how to read and write.

Ask the Lord to raise up strong churches among the Khakass of Russia in this decade.

Scripture Prayers for the Tatar, Khakass in Russia.


Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

Additional Info
Global Prayer Digest: 2008-03-21
Global Prayer Digest: 2011-03-10
People Name General Tatar, Khakass
People Name in Country Tatar, Khakass
Natural Name Khakass Tatar
Pronunciation kah-KAHSS Tah-tar
Population this Country 74,000
Population all Countries 76,000
Total Countries 4
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 1  (per
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
Alternate Names Khakass; Yenisei; Yenisei Tatar
People ID 18884
ROP3 Code 114826
Country Russia
Region Europe, Eastern and Eurasia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Khakasiya Republic: north of Altai mountains; Krasnoyarskiy Kray, north; Kemerovskaya Oblast’; scattered throughout Russia.   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Country Russia
Region Europe, Eastern and Eurasia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Khakasiya Republic: north of Altai mountains; Krasnoyarskiy Kray, north; Kemerovskaya Oblast’; scattered throughout Russia..   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Primary Language Khakas (74,000 speakers)
Language Code kjh   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Khakas (74,000 speakers)
Language Code kjh   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Khakas

Primary Language:  Khakas

Bible Translation Status:  Unspecified

Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Online Scripture / Portions General / Other
Audio Recordings Oral Bible Stories Story Runners
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Khakas Jesus Film Project
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels Bible Media Group/LUMO
General Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
Mobile App Download audio Bible app as APK file Faith Comes by Hearing
Text / Printed Matter Bible: Khakas YouVersion Bibles
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 1.10 %)
2.00 %
Ethnic Religions
58.00 %
0.00 %
40.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
0.0 %
100.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source Anonymous 
Map Source Joshua Project / Global Mapping International  
Profile Source Joshua Project  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more