Sart Kalmyks

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Sart Kalmyk
Regions with significant populations
 Kyrgyzstan 12,000 (2012)[1]
Oirat dialect of Mongolic languages, Kyrgyz language
Sunni Islam
Related ethnic groups
Mongols, especially Oirats

The Sart Kalmyks are an ethnic group of the Oirats, who live in Issyk Kul Province, Kyrgyzstan. Their population is estimated to be c. 12,000. They are descendants of the Ööled tribes, who moved to the territory of the Russian Empire after the fail of the Dungan revolt, some part inhabited the area during the rule of the Zunghar Khanate.[2] They used to speak in a dialect of the Oirat language, but now completely switched to the Kyrgyz language. As a result of the long co-inhabitance with Kyrgyz people their incorporation into Kyrgyz nation occurred, and now the Kyrgyzs consider them to be one of their tribes. Today majority of them identify themselves as Kyrgyz. They belong to the Muslim faith.[3]


Kalmyks in Kyrgyzstan are one of the isolated sub-ethnic groups of Oirat people, who live in Issyk Kul Province in the east part of Kyrgyzstan. In 1999 Kyrgyzstan census 5,824 Kalmyks were registered, which is c. 5% of the world population. In 2009 Census there were 3,800 Kalmyks in Kyrgyzstan. Kalmyk people are one of the Mongolian people and speak in the Oirat language. In the 17th century part of the Oirats moved to the European territory, which consist the republic of Kalmykia now. Some little group of Kalmyks and the other Mongolic people lived in the isolation from the main Mongolic area in Xinjiang until the Dungan revolt. After the failure of the revolt in 1881 and return of the Ili region from Russia to China, more than 10,000 Uyghurs, 5,000 Dungans and dozens of Oirat families moved to the territory of the Russian Empire, the territories of the contemporary Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.


Since the 19th century Sart Kalmyks have been living in the east of Issyk Kul Province, where approximately 91,2% Kalmyks of Kyrgyzstan live – mostly in Karakol city and Ak-Suu District. During the last decades some of them moved to Chuy Province and Bishkek in search of a better life. In general, Sart Kalmyks make 1,5% of the population of the province and 0,1% of the Kyrgyzstan population. They are traditionally engaged in cattle breeding.


  • Ferghana Valley: The Heart of Central Asia
  • James Stuart Olson. An Ethnohistorical Dictionary of the Russian and Soviet Empires, 1994
  • S.K. Khoyt. The latest figures about localization and population of the Oirat people. //Ethnogenesis and ethnic culture problems of the Turko-Mongolic nations. 2nd Edition. Elista, 2008. p. 184-195 (Russian)

External links

  • President of Mongolia Received the Kalmyk Citizens of the Kyrgyz, 2012-04-08
  • Demographic tendencies, formation of the nations and interethnic relations in Kyrgyzstan (Russian)
  • Kalmyks of Kyrgyzstan. Bumbin Orn Information Agency (Russian)


  1. ^ The office of the President of Mongolia, Public Relations & Communications Division "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-12-06. Retrieved 2016-12-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ NTV (Mongolia) television, "Mongols in search of Mongols"
  3. ^ B.Z. Nanzatov, M.M. Sodnompilova. "Sart-kalmaks in contemporary Kyrgyzstan". Cultural inheritance of the Central Asian nations. Edition 3: Культурное наследие народов Центральной Азии. Выпуск 3: collection of articles (in Russian) // Ulan-Ude, Publishing House of The Buryat Scientific Center of the Siberian Department of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 2012, pg. 34-37
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