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The Ulch (Russian: ульчи, obsolete ольчи; self designation: нани, nani) are an indigenous people of the Russian Far East who speak a Tungusic language, Ulch. Over 90% of Ulchis live in Ulchsky District of Khabarovsk Krai, Russia. According to the 2002 Census, there were 2,913 Ulchs living in Russia — down from 3,173 recorded in the 1989 Census, but up from 2,494 recorded in the 1979 Census, and 2,410 recorded in the 1970 Census. According to the 2010 Census there were 2,765 Ulchs in Russia.

Alternative names:
Ulch, Ul'chi, Ulchi
Total population
2,913 (2002 estimate)
Regions with significant populations
Ulch language, Russian
Shamanism, Russian Orthodoxy
Related ethnic groups
Orok, Itelmen, Evenki, Negidals, Nanai, Udege, Manchus, Ainu

In terms of cultural anthropology, the Ulch do not constitute a homogeneous group.[citation needed] They are sometimes considered grouped with other so-called "Paleosiberian" peoples, also known as the "Amur-Sakhalin group" (like the Ainu, Chukchi, Nivkh and other Tungusic peoples like the Oroch).

According to a study by Balanovska et al. (2018), present-day Ulchi males belong to Y-DNA haplogroups C-M217(xM48, M407) (18/52 = 34.6%), C-M48 (18/52 = 34.6%, including 9/52 = 17.3% C-M86/F12355(xB470, F13686), 4/52 = 7.7% C-F13686, 1/52 = 1.9% C-B470, and 4/52 = 7.7% C-B93(xGG_16645386), the last of which is a deeply divergent branch belonging to C-M48(xM86)), O-M175 (8/52 = 15.4%, including 6/52 = 11.5% O-M122(xP201), 1/52 = 1.9% O-M119, and 1/52 = 1.9% O-P31), Q-M242(xM120) (3/52 = 5.8%), N-M231 (3/52 = 5.8%, including 1/52 = 1.9% N-M231(xM128, P43, M178), 1/52 = 1.9% N-M2118, and 1/52 = 1.9% N-B479), I-P37 (1/52 = 1.9%), and J–M267(xP58) (1/52 = 1.9%).[3]

The population genetics of the Ulchi are linked to 7,700 year old remains from Chertovy Vorota Cave ("Devil's Gate") and are also genetically similar to an East Asian genetic component within Native Americans. The Ulchi do not appear to have originally possessed the "Ancient North Eurasian" (ANE) genetic component found in Native American, Central Asian, South Asian, and West Eurasian (European and Middle Eastern) populations; the Ulchi are also genetically distinct from the more numerous East Siberian groups in modern times, such as Mongolian and Turkic peoples.[4][5]

Interior of a Mangun House, drawing by Richard Maack ca. 1854-1860

A genetic analysis in 2016 showed that the Ulchi are related or at least influenced by the Ainu and their ancestors the Jōmon people. According to the study, the Ainu-like genetic contribution in the Ulch people is about 17,8% or 13,5%.[6]


  1. ^ Russian Census 2010: Population by ethnicity (in Russian)
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ E. V. Balanovska, Y. V. Bogunov, E. N. Kamenshikova, et al. (2018), "Demographic and Genetic Portraits of the Ulchi Population." Russian Journal of Genetics, 2018, Vol. 54, No. 10, pp. 1245–1253. ISSN 1022-7954.
  4. ^ Siska, V; Jones, ER; Jeon, S; Bhak, Y; Kim, HM; Cho, YS; Kim, H; Lee, K; Veselovskaya, E; Balueva, T; Gallego-Llorente, M; Hofreiter, M; Bradley, DG; Eriksson, A; Pinhasi, R; Bhak, J; Manica, A (2017). "Genome-wide data from two early Neolithic East Asian individuals dating to 7700 years ago". Sci Adv. 3 (2): e1601877. Bibcode:2017SciA....3E1877S. doi:10.1126/sciadv.1601877. PMC 5287702. PMID 28164156.
  5. ^ Siska, Veronika; Jones, Eppie Ruth; Jeon, Sungwon; Bhak, Youngjune; Kim, Hak-Min; Cho, Yun Sung; Kim, Hyunho; Lee, Kyusang; Veselovskaya, Elizaveta; Balueva, Tatiana; Gallego-Llorente, Marcos; Hofreiter, Michael; Bradley, Daniel G.; Eriksson, Anders; Pinhasi, Ron; Bhak, Jong; Manica, Andrea (2017). "Genome-wide data from two early Neolithic East Asian individuals dating to 7700 years ago". Science Advances. 3 (2): e1601877. Bibcode:2017SciA....3E1877S. doi:10.1126/sciadv.1601877. PMC 5287702.
  6. ^ Rienzo, Anna Di; Nakagome, Shigeki; Jeong, Choongwon (2016-01-01). "Deep History of East Asian Populations Revealed Through Genetic Analysis of the Ainu". Genetics. 202 (1): 261–272. doi:10.1534/genetics.115.178673. ISSN 0016-6731. PMC 4701090. PMID 26500257.