Mordva (Мордовия) Nesting Doll. Unusual vintage mini matryoshka doll. Made in USSR stamped in purple on the bottom of the first doll. Excellent condition. 2¾" to ¾".
Refer to Collector's Guide to Nesting Dolls by Michele Lefkovitz, p. 51. She has a section on dolls from the Mordva region with pictures. This one is pictured on p. 54.
The Republic of Mordovia, or Mordvinia, has been a federal republic of Russia since 1994. When this doll was made - in the late 1980's - Mordovia had been part of the Soviet Union since the 1930's and was known as Mordovian Autonomous Socialist Soviet Republic (Mordovian ASSR). The republic is located in the eastern part of Russia. The Mordvins are predominantly Christian and are related to the Mari and the Finns.