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Koryo-saram (Russian: Корё сарам; Hangul: 고려사람) is a Korean term used by ethnic Koreans as a self-designation in Russia and the former Soviet Union. The total population is estimated to be around 500,000.

Most Koryo-saram are descendants of Korean peasants who emigrated to Russia during the final years of the Joseon dynasty.


The "Koryo" comes from the Goryeo dynasty of Korea. "Koryo-saram" is usually what the ethnic Koreans in Russia refer to themselves as. Before the breakup of the Soviet Union, "Soviet Korean" was very widely used. However, in Korea, they are called Goryeo-in (Hangul: 고려인; Hanja: 高麗人), since "Koryo-saram" also refers to people from the Goryeo period.


Most Koreans in the former Soviet Union speak Russian as their mother tongue. However, there are many who speak a dialect of Korean called Koryo-mar (Hangul: 고려말, Goryeo-mal; Russian: Корё мар), which is derived from the Hamgyeong dialect of North Korea. Koryo-mar is significantly different from Standard Korean, thus speakers of Standard Korean and Koryo-mar report difficulties in conversation.


Koryo-saram, despite having adopted Russian name orders (given name, patronymic middle name, inherited surname), still retain their original Korean surnames. A few examples are Kim, Lee (Yi), Tsoi (Choi, Choe), Khan (Han), Kan (Kang), Pak (Park) to name just a few.

Notable Koryo-saram