Universal Declaration of Human Rights

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Source: Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights - Russian Federation


Native Name
(vepsan kel’)

Total Speakers

Usage By Country
Republic of Karelia (Prionegskiy district), Leningrad oblast ( Podporogsky, Tikhvinski, Lodeynopolsky, Boksitogorsky districts) and Vologodsk oblast (Vytegorsky and Babaevsky districts). Small groups of Veps also reside in some districts of Irkutsk oblast.


The Veps language (also known as Vepsian, natively as vepsan kel’), spoken by the Veps, belongs to the Baltic-Finnic group of the Finno-Ugric languages. In 2009 the language was included in the list of the disappearing languages of UNESCO.

According to the location of the people, the language is divided into three main dialects:

  • Northern Veps (at Lake Onega to the south of Petrozavodsk, to the north of the river Svir, including the former Veps Autonomous Rural district)
  • Central Veps (in the Saint Petersburg region and Vologda Oblast)
  • Southern Veps (in the Saint Petersburg region).  

The Northern dialect seems the most distinct of the three; however, it is still possible for speakers of one dialect group to understand those of another.

Received 10/13/2009
Posted 10/22/2009
Checked 10/22/2009