Indigenous Urbanization in Russia's Arctic

The Case of Nenets Autonomous Region

in Sibirica
Marya Rozanova Professorial Lecturer, George Washington University, USA

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This article presents the social, economic, and political factors that contribute to the ongoing urbanization of the Nenets indigenous communities (“communities-in-transition”) in the Nenets Autonomous Region. Focusing on the preconditions for “indigenous flight” from traditional rural settlements to urban areas, the article analyzes key indicators—demographics, language proficiency, education level, and occupational sector, as well as social cohesion, interethnic relations, and political inclusion in the larger urban context—to describe the adaptation and integration processes of these new city dwellers. Based on the fieldwork in the region, the article also presents individual life strategies and career choices of indigenous youth and describes the role of gender in indigenous urbanization.

Contributor Notes

Marya S. Rozanova, PhD, is professorial lecturer at the George Washington University (GWU) and Advisor to the Rector at the Russian State Hydrometeorological University (RSHU). Dr. Rozanova holds an MA in Philosophy from St. Petersburg State University, an LLM from the North-West Academy of Public Administration, and a PhD in Philosophy from St. Petersburg State University. Since 2014, Dr. Rozanova has been organizing advanced educational courses and conferences, conducting public surveys, and collaborating with indigenous communities and their leaders in Russia's Arctic regions. She is currently teaching a course about the Arctic in International Affairs at GWU. Her research interests include Arctic international and regional governance as well as Arctic indigenous urbanization and empowerment, gender resilience, and migration trends. Email:

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