The Republic of Mordovia is located in the centre of the European part of Russia in the Volga basin, at the crossroads of the most important ways from the Central Russia to the Urals, Siberia, Volga Region, Kazakhstan and Central Asia.
The territory of the republic is 26.1 thousand sq. km. The capital of the republic – Saransk – has population of 314.8 thousand people (01.01.2017). The territory of the republic extends for approximately 280 km from the west to the east and from 55 up to 140 km – from the north to the south. Distance from Moscow – 642 km. Mordovia is surrounded by large cities and industrial centres – Nizhny Novgorod (330 km far), Kazan (400 km far), Samara (460 km far), Togliatti (460 km far), Ulyanovsk (300 km far), Penza (140 km far), Ryazan (460 km far).
The attractiveness of the republic’s geographical position significantly increases well-developed infrastructural potential, special place in it belongs to transport communications. The length of automobile roads is 12648 km. On the index of automobile roads with hard-top density Mordovia occupies the 24th place among Russian regions. Operational length of railroads is 550 km. The town Ruzaevka (25 km from Saransk) is a large railway junction of the Kuibyshev railroad. An airport is located in Saransk. It’s landing strip is 2.8 km long and 42 m. wide. The airport is capable to receive air-planes of tonnage up to 100 tons (type TU-154, Boeing-737, etc.). The airport offers comfortable conditions for serving internal and international flights, rendering commercial services in the sphere passengers and cargo transportation; it may be used as dispersal field and provide storage facilities.
 
Mordovia is provided with the whole complex of modern communication facilities. Implementation of up-to-date generation of telephone network ISDN, electronic automatic telephone stations, digital systems of data transmission, Internet access allow the republic to occupy worthy place among the regions of Russia. Mobile communications are active. The system of telemedicine has been implemented. It allows getting consultations from the leading medical centres of Russia. Main industrial zones and settlements are almost entirely gasified.
The population of Mordovia for 01.01.2017 accounted to 809.2 thousand people, 62% of them are town-dwellers. Orthodox Christianity is the dominating religion of the population. State languages are Mordovian (Moksha and Erzya) and Russian. Mordovian language belongs to the Finnish group of the Ural-Altai family. It is spoken by the 1/3 of the population.
The Republic of Mordovia is one of the most densely populated regions of Central Russia. By the index of population density (31.0 people per 1 sq. km – 01.01.2017) it occupies the 8th place in the Volga federal district after the Chuvash Republic (67.5 people per 1 sq. km), the Samara Region (59.9 people per 1 sq. km), the Republic of Tatarstan (56.8 people per 1 sq. km), the Nizhny Novgorod Region (42.7 people per 1 sq. km), the Udmurt Republic (36.1 people per 1 sq. km), the Ulyanovsk Region (34.0 people per 1 sq. km) and the Penza Region (31.3 people per 1 sq. km). Population density in Mordovia is almost 4 times higher than the average in Russia.
 
Mordovia is a multi-national republic. Mordva, Russians, Tatars, Byelorussians, Ukrainians, Chuvashes, Udmurts, Armenians and other people live in its territory. Sustainable political environment in the republic as well as national policy, which is aimed at preserving good-neighbour inter-ethnic relations, development of national culture and traditions of all the people, inhabiting the territory of the republic, in many respects contribute to the existing inter-ethnic consent.

National structure of the population, according to the data of the All-Russian population census is as follows: Mordva – 333.1 thousand people (39.9 %), Russians – 443.7 thousand people (53.2 %), Tatars – 43.4 thousand people (5.2 %), other nationalities – 14.6 thousand people (1.7 %). The indigenous population – Mordva, is ethnically heterogeneous and consists of the two groups: Erzya and Moksha. Ethnonym “mordva” was for the first time mentioned in the work of the Gothic historian Jordan (VI century A.D.).
The country “Mordiya” was familiar to Byzantine Emperor Konstantin Bagryanorodny (X century). Ethnonyms “Erzya” (arisu) and “moksha” (moksel) were found in the message of khazar kagan Joseph (X century) and in travel notes of the monk-traveller V. Rubruc (XIII century). Starting with the XI century ethnonym “mordva” in different spelling was repeatedly mentioned in Russian chronicles (“Tales of bygone years“, XII century).


 
 
 
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