Mari is a Uralic language spoken by about 600,000 people in Russia, mainly in the Mari Republic (Марий Эл), and also along the Vjatka river basin, eastwards to the Urals, and in Tatarstan, Udmurtia and Perm. The language used to be known as Cheremis. There are two main varieties of Mari: Hill or Western Mari and Meadow or Eastern Mari. The Eastern variety is the most widely used. There are significant difference between the two varieties. Mari was proclaimed an official language of the Mari Republic, along with Russian, and is now taught in over 200 schools. In a number of colleges, other half the subjects are taught through the medium of Mari.