Sergey Poteryaev – Land of the Mari people
“The Mari El Republic is an ethnic republic located in the eastern part of the Eastern European Plain of Russia situated in the central part of the Volga River’s flow. The distance between Moscow and the regional capital Yoshkar-Ola is approximately 745 km.
The Mari people are one of the oldest ethnic groups living in the Russian Federation. Finno-Ugric peoples settled the territory in what is now European Russia dating back to prehistoric times.
All Mari speak Russian. However, in the 1920s, two equal literary language norms were established: the language of the meadow Mari and that of the mountain Mari. As in other ethnic republics, these years were marked by an active development in ethnic and cultural identity. The Mari people have a second name: Cheremis. The word cheremis means “white man”. The color white was a sacred color for the Mari. In days of old, they dressed only in bright, white clothing. Translated into English the name of the Mari El Republic means something like “Land of the Mari people”. The Mari have been closely connected with the earth and nature since days of old, particularly with agriculture. Unfortunately, the amount of uncultivated land is growing due to multiple factors in the republic. This fact is reflected in Mari’s lives and well-being.” – Sergey Poteryaev
More of photographer’s works: https://www.flickr.com/photos/poteryaevsergey/sets