Cover Image for ​Voices of the Nations of Russia - A Sofa Talk with Maria Ochir-Goryaeva​
Cover Image for ​Voices of the Nations of Russia - A Sofa Talk with Maria Ochir-Goryaeva​
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​Voices of the Nations of Russia - A Sofa Talk with Maria Ochir-Goryaeva​

Hosted by Minority Rights Group
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About Event

Join us on 17 October and hear from an inspiring woman about what it means to advocate for indigenous rights in Russia!

Maria Alexandrovna Ochir-Goryaeva is a Russian Archaeologist and Doctor of Historical Sciences, author, corresponding member of the German Archaeological Institute and a specialist on Eurasian Nomads of the Scythian era. She is also a human rights defender fighting for the rights of indigenous groups in Russia.

She studied at the Department of Archaeology of Saint Petersburg (formerly Leningrad) University. The primary area of her research activities is the archaeology of the Early Iron Age nomads – the Scythians and Sarmatians from the steppe zone of Eurasia.  She was among the 11 young scientists of the Russian Federation to be awarded the Medal and Prize of the European Academy of Sciences for young scientists for a series of three articles on the localization of Savromats on the basis of descriptions by ancient Greek writers and an analysis of archaeological materials in February 1993.  In 1999, she was awarded a scholarship by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and worked at the Eurasian Branch of the German Archaeological Institute for two years. In 2004, she lectured at the Universities of Cambridge and Durham within the framework of the Professorship Programme at the invitation of the British Academy of Sciences. In 2005, she was elected a Corresponding Member of the German Archaeological Institute.  In 2011, she was awarded the title of ‘Honoured Scientist of the Republic of Kalmykia’.

Russia is home to about 40 million people, who live in 21 national republics with the status of subjects of the federation, and in four autonomous national districts. Among those are representatives of all world religions: Buddhists, Muslims and Christians among many others. Their native languages are Turkic, Mongolian Finno-Ugric and Caucasian. The territories of the republics and autonomous regions make up 75 per cent of the total area of Russia, where more than 80 per cent of natural resources are extracted. 

Together with Maria, we will discuss why the indigenous people of Russia are so important, what their situation and opinion about the war are, and what their hopes for the future are.

We will meet on our virtual sofa for a conversation between Maria and Anna Alboth, our Europe Media Officer, in our Sofa Talk series. Every time, we try to introduce you to a special woman from a minority or indigenous background. Check out our Facebook page’s videos to see who we talked to in the past! 

Make sure you tune in and hear Maria and Anna and share your favourite quotes using the hashtag #MRGSofaTalk. You can also submit your questions in advance by email at

Where? On Zoom – register above to attend. We will also be live on our Facebook page and our YouTube channel

When? On 17 October, 1-2 pm (Moscow), 2-3 pm (London), 3-4 pm (Paris).

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