The Mokshas (also Mokshans, Moksha people, in Moksha: Mokshet/Mokshat) are an ethnic group belonging to Volgaic branch of Finnic peoples who live mostly on the west side and to the south of the great bend of the Volga river, and along a tributary of the Oka, the Moksha river in Russian Federation. Their native language is Moksha (Mokshan), one of the three surviving Finno-Volgaic branch members of the Finno-Ugric language family. According to the Russian census conducted in 1994, 49% of autochthonal Finnic population in Mordovia identified themselves as Mokshas (more than 180,000). Most Mokshas belong to Russian Orthodox Church, there are also Lutherans and Paganists. Differentiation of Volga Finns into separate groups is believed to began around 1200 BC. In fact they can not be traced earlier as they didn't have ground burial tradition before. According to archeological data bodies in early Mokshan burials were oriented with their heads to the south.
Contributions by Numulunj pilgae, Jarmanj Turtash, and Termer.