Using recent sociological and demographic data, this article reviews the vibrancy of several ethnic minority groups in the European North of Russia. The article is framed in terms of three paradoxes. The first paradox is that the group thought to be the most vulnerable—the Samis of the Kola peninsula—have the strongest ability to preserve their identity. The second paradox is that the process of de-ethnicization, which refers to the assimilative pressure of urban settings, continues despite institutional structures designed to prevent it. The final paradox is that ethnic revival can be identified in unexpected places relatively independent of the structural factors of language and birthrate that are traditionally associated with ethnic reproduction.