Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Mordvinians

Mordvinians, a branch of the Volga Finns, chiefly west of the Volga between Nijni-Novgorod and the Don Cossack territory; two sections, Ersia and Moksha (athird, Karatai, are dispersed). They were formerly far more numerous and widespread, and in the 10th century Constantine Porphyrogenetus speaks of them as a very powerful nation inhabiting the land of Mordia in central Russia; but they were reduced by Ivan the Terrible in the 16th century, and since then many have become Russified. Most of them ware pagans till the 18th century, when nearly all became at least nominal Christians (" Orthodox Greeks"), though still practising many heathen rites. Formerly nomads, they are now settled agriculturists, but still speak a Finnish dialect, closely related to the Cheremissian.