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Persistence and Disappearance of Traditional Patrilocality

Matrimonial Strategies and Postnuptial Residence Patterns in Two Eastern Siberian Communities of the Twenty-First Century

Vincent Zvénigorosky, Dariya Nikolaeva, Georgii Romanov, Aisen Solovev, Nikolai Barashkov, Éric Crubézy, Sardana Fedorova, and Christine Keyser

This article describes current matrimonial strategies and residence patterns in two communities in the Sakha Republic. In Tolon, a rural settlement in central Sakha, community exogamy is predominant and patrilocality is detectable in postnuptial residence patterns. In the sub-Arctic town of Khonuu no gendered residence patterns are observed. Khonuu has an airport and serves as a regional capital. In Khonuu matrimonial decisions follow the immigration of men and couples rather than traditional strategies connected with horse- and cattle-based subsistence. This article discusses the possible biological, historical, and cultural reasons that explain the observance or lack of observance of traditional marriage in the contemporary Sakha Republic.

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The Concept of Manhood in Post-Socialist Siberia

The Sakha Father as a Wise Hunter and a Pastoralist

Hiroki Takakura

This article analyzes the family relationships of the Sakha people with particular focus on the concept of the father, both in a historical setting and in a contemporary context. The aim of this article is to shed light on alternative aspects of the life of Sakha pastoralists and to examine them within the broader historical and cultural perspective. Unlike previous studies on manhood and gender in post-socialist Russia, I suggest that the realization of a masculine identity as a father was possible, and that it has been transmitted through the generations, even during the socialist era. Hunting as a mode of minor subsistence and the perception of the socio-ecological environment related to it has been crucial for the preservation of the status of a man among the Sakha.

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Stars without the money

Sakha ethnic music business, upward mobility and friendship

Aimar Ventsel

The Sakha have had their own popular music since the 1970s. During the Soviet era, music culture was controlled by the state. Starting in the 1990s, new pop-music institutions and venues emerged and new entrepreneurs entered the music business as club owners, managers, producers, DJs, etc. In this article, I examine multiple social relations in the music business. Music has become a possibility for village youth to leave their villages and gain fame as artists. The Sakha music world contains various networks where criminal structures, artists, businessmen and media are interlinked. Through this linkage, music is used to gain a community's support for semi-legal business activities. At the same time, both the artists and producers present themselves to the public as the custodians of Sakha 'national' culture. The article discusses ways in which the artists' popularity is connected to their position in the music business, and how ethnic symbols are used to gain success.

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Transformation, Post-Modernism, and Community

The Case of Sakha (Iakutiia)

Tatiana Argounova-Low

This issue of Sibirica focuses on one of the Siberian regions—The Republic of Sakha (Iakutiia). This in-depth presentation has two main goals: we hope to provide the readers with a more detailed look into the current situation in the republic and to start a new initiative of the journal to take close-up looks at various Siberian regions. For Siberian studies Sakha represents an interesting case: on the one hand, its experience and developments are unique, its recent political and economic changes are setting an example of potential way to devolution; on the other hand, the republic’s experiences are typical of those in any other Siberian peripheral region.

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Beyond Belief?

Social, Political, and Shamanic Power in Siberia

Marjorie Mandelstam Balzer

An analysis of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) in the Russian Federation reveals a variety of village and urban reactions to crises of faith and power. The significance for group identity and instances of synergistic group belief are discussed. The transition that has seen amorphous underground shamanic practice lead to the institutionalization of shamanic cosmology is reflected in the recent opening of a temple in the Republic's capital, Yakutsk, and in the various groups that adhere to charismatic healers and seers. Debates about faith, as well as fragmented faith epistemologies, are described. The data derive from over 25 years of intermittent fieldwork in the Republic and with the Sakha diaspora. My approach is situated at the crossroads of medical-psychological anthropology, political anthropology, and new religious movement analysis.

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Local legacies of the GULag in Siberia

Anthropological reflections

Marjorie Mandelstam Balzer

This essay, based on field notes from 1976 to 2013, explores resonances of the GULag and exile system in Siberia, focusing on often ignored indigenous peoples in villages and towns. Interethnic relations, diverse community relationships with prison camps, and dynamics of Russian Orthodox and pre-Christian spirituality are explored. Debates about how to understand, teach, and memorialize the significance of the Stalinist system are analyzed, as are issues of shame, moral debilitation, and cultural revitalization. Featured cases include the Khanty of West Siberia, Sibiriaki of West and East Siberia, plus Éveny, Évenki, Yukagir, and Sakha of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia). The author argues that what local people have chosen to emphasize as they reflect on and process the GULag varies greatly with their and their ancestors' specific experiences of the camps and exiles, as well as with their degrees of indigeneity.

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Natsionalizm

Enemies and Scapegoats

Tatiana Argounova-Low

This article is about natsionalizm as an instrumental concept used manipulatively in the Soviet state by the ruling elite. It argues that accusations of natsionalizm in the Soviet Union served a particular purpose of manipulation and punishment. An instrumental character of accusations turned the victims into enemies and sacrificial scapegoats in order to prove the righteousness of the Soviet society. This article uses case studies from the recent history of one of the Russian republics, Republic of Sakha (Iakutiia).

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Anna Edmundson, Margo Neale, Michèle Rivet, Brett Mason, Katie Kyung, Rebecca Gibson, Alison K. Brown, Tatiana Argounova-Low, Maria Lucia de Niemeyer Matheus Loureiro, Charlotte Hyltén-Cavallius, and Fredrik Svanberg

MEETING REPORTS

Return of the Native: Contestation, Collaboration, and Co-authorship in Museum Spaces, Australian National University, 18–19 June 2015

Access Is a Human Right: The Federation of International Human Rights Museums Conference, Te Papa, Wellington, 23–25 September 2015

PROJECT REPORTS

Narrative Objects: The Sakha Summer Festival and Cultural Revitalization

Object, Document, and Materiality: Outline of an Ongoing Research Project

Museums Beyond Homogeneity: Museums and Diversity in Sweden

Open access

Csaba Mészáros

Arctic Pastoralist Sakha: Ethnography of Evolution and Microadaptation in Siberia Hiroki Takakura (Melbourne: Trans Pacific Press, 2015), 254 pp. ISBN: 978-1-920901-49-3. Anthropological studies focusing on environment and nature began gaining

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A Booming City in the Far North

Demographic and Migration Dynamics of Yakutsk, Russia

Svetlana Sukneva and Marlene Laruelle

Many cities of Russia’s Far North face a massive population decline, with the exception of those based on oil and gas extraction in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District. Yet, there is one more exception to that trend: the city of Yakutsk, capital of the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic, whose population is booming, having grown from 186,000 in 1989 to 338,000 in 2018, This unique demographic dynamism is founded on the massive exodus of the ethnic Yakut population from rural parts of the republic to the capital city, a process that has reshaped the urban cultural landscape, making Yakutsk a genuine indigenous regional capital, the only one of its kind in the Russian Far North.