Pomors, Pomor’e, and the Russian North

A Symbolic Space in Cultural and Political Context

in Sibirica
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Abstract

Although the European North of Russia is a multicultural region, it is often referred to as a single cultural region. For many centuries there have been common names for this region. Of particular importance were Pomor’e and Russian North. The former term is historical, and the latter is related to a cultural project that emerged in the late nineteenth century. In the 1920s both terms ceased to be widely used, appearing only in academic literature. However, in the early 1990s the term Pomor’e regained some of its earlier prominence and acquired both cultural and political meanings. The revival of the term has led to processes of re-identification, because the long forgotten Pomor identity also started to reemerge. However, the regional authorities considered the revival of Pomor identity and the Pomor movement as a striving for separatism, and a fight with and oppression of the Pomor movement followed. One symbolic element of the struggle was an attempt to counterpose the terms Pomor’e and Russian North and to add a political meaning to the latter.

Contributor Notes

Yuri P. Shabaev is head of the Department of Ethnography at the Institute of Language, Literature and History, Komi Science Center, Ural Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Syktyvkar, Russia). His work includes more than 500 publications of various types on many aspects of traditional culture, identity, history, the current political situation of the Komi and other ethnic groups of Russia. His main sphere of scientific interest is the study of contemporary ethnic and ethno-political processes among the Finno-Ugric peoples of Russia, their ethnic consciousness, and ethnic orientation as well as the impact of ethnicity on political processes.

Igor Zherebtsov is director of the Institute of Language, Literature and History, Komi Science Center, Ural Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Syktyvkar, Russia). His scientific interests include historical demography, history of population migrations, economic history of the northern part of Russia and other regions. He has published extensively on these topics in Russian as well as in other languages.

Kim Hye Jin has a PhD in ethnography from Moscow State University. Currently she is working as an HK research professor at the Institute of Russian Studies, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (Seoul, Republic of Korea). Her academic interests include studies of diaspora, migration, and so on. Her most recent works are “Changes of Komi Reindeer Herders’ Material Culture: From the 1950s to the Post-Soviet Period” (Journal of Slavic Studies 30 (1), 2015); “A Local Group in Search for Identity (Izhma-Komi: Dynamics of Cultural Transformations)” (Sociological Studies (8), 2015); “The Movement for Language Revival and the Language Situation in the Finno-Ugric Republics of Russia” (Journal of Slavic Studies 30 (4), 2015); and others.

Kim Hyun Taek has a PhD in Russian literature from the University of Kansas. He is a professor in the Russian Department, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (Seoul, Republic of Korea) and director of the Institute of Russian Studies at the same university. He has also served as the dean of Cyber Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (2008–2009), president of the Korean Association of Slavic Studies (2010–2012), and dean of the Graduate School of Interpretation and Translation (GSIT)(2011–2013). In 2011, he was awarded the Pushkin Medal by the Russian government.

Sibirica

Interdisciplinary Journal of Siberian Studies

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