The Permians are a branch of the Finno-Ugric peoples and include Komis and Udmurts, speakers of Permic languages. Formerly the name Bjarmians was also used to describe these peoples. The recent research on the Finno-Ugric substrate in northern Russian dialects however suggests that in Bjarmaland there also lived several other Finno-Ugric groups besides the Permians.
The ancestors of the Permians inhabited originally the land called Permia covering the middle and upper Kama River. Permians split into two groups probably during the 9th century.
The Komis came under the rule of the Novgorod Republic in the 13th century and were converted to Orthodox Christianity in the 1360-70s. In 1471-1478 their lands were conquered by the Grand Duchy of Moscow that later became the Tsardom of Russia. In the 18th century the Russian authorities opened the southern parts of the land to colonization and the northern parts became a place to which criminal and political prisoners were exiled.
The Udmurts came under the rule of the Tatars, the Golden Horde and the Khanate of Kazan until their land was ceded to Russia, and the people where Christianized at the beginning of 18th century.