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Igor Popov

Atendency to colonize the Arctic is considered as one of the main trends of Russian history ( Laruelle 2012 ), and the development of the Arctic was one of the foremost political and economic topics of the Soviet Union. The special projects for

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Arctic Circumpolar Civilization

Philosophical Approaches to the Concept

Sviatoslav Shachin

This article analyzes the concept of an Arctic circumpolar civilization and focuses on contradictions inherent within the concept. Some of these antinomies are the nomadic character of the traditional Arctic civilization and the traditional academic approach that takes a sedentarist perspective; the rich worldview of the Arctic residents and its inadequate reflection in the rational paradigm of cognition; and issues surrounding sustainable development and the global crisis of humanity, which leads to instability worldwide, including in the Arctic. The article proposes method of dialectical synthesis for resolving such antinomies.

TRANSLATED BY TATIANA ARGOUNOVA-LOW

Open access

Nikolai Goncharov

This article proposes a view of the Allaikhovskii district (Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)) located in the Russian Arctic as a “laboratory” in which various actors (the state, regional authorities, local communities) have been actively working on the production of food security. Based on both field experience and published literature, I describe a multilayered process of foodscape formation in this region. The unique elements that characterize the foodscape of the district are the nonautomated modes of food production caused by territorial isolation, unsatisfactory infrastructure, the high price of food delivery, and environmental changes. All these factors create fragile foodscape; the life of local residents can be characterized as “being with risk,” which inspires certain compensatory measures implemented by different layered actors. The impossibility of creating a consistent and reliable system of subsistence thus reinforces a “laboratory” regime of permanent experiments to maintain food security. The Arctic laboratory is not located in separate place with specialists (as in the case discussed by Bruno Latour) but distributed throughout the actors and their activities connected with their lifestyles in this specific territory.

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Indigenous Urbanization in Russia's Arctic

The Case of Nenets Autonomous Region

Marya Rozanova

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.

Open access

Dreams of Prosperity – Enactments of Growth

The Rise and Fall of Farming in Varanger

Marianne Elisabeth Lien

were seen as inefficient in relation to welfare and prosperity. As I have travelled through this Arctic landscape in winter, when winds can pull you over and halt any attempts to move outside, I have often wondered how it could occur to Paus that

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Mobility and Infrastructure in the Russian Arctic

Das Sein bestimmt das Bewusstsein?

Nikolai Vakhtin

This special issue of Sibirica arose from a 2015 panel that was part of the annual conference at the European University at St. Petersburg (EUSP). The panel—Mobility and Infrastructure in the Russian Arctic: Das Sein bestimmt das Bewusstsein? 1

Open access

Frida Hastrup and Marianne Elisabeth Lien

we probe in this thematic section. The Nordic Arctic region is a site of significant resource extraction and production, but resource practices in the region pose particular questions: how do national commitments to notions of commons, egalitarianism

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Alla Bolotova, Anastasia Karaseva, and Valeria Vasilyeva

“There are no roads in the North” is a common stereotype about the Russian Arctic. 1 Social scientists working there often become annoyed by this postulate, not only because it presumes an essential immobility of the local population that is far

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Tatiana Vagramenko

Wanner 2008 ; Wanner 2007 ; Zigon 2011 ). Siberia and the Russian Arctic became one of the most striking spots of postsocialist changes on the Russian religious map, and they were associated with an increasing presence of various Protestant

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Protecting Indigenous Rights from Mining Companies

The Case of Ethnological Expertise in Yakutia

Violetta Gassiy

The Arctic is one of Russia’s treasures. However, Arctic economic development means that business is invading lands that are sacred to indigenous peoples. As a rule, regional authorities are interested in tax revenues from subsoil users, prompting them to decide the culture-or-mining dilemma in favor of the latter. But this does not mean that the price of this encroachment on indigenous lands remains uncalculated. Since its establishment in 2010, Yakutia’s Ethnological Expertise Committee has developed a tool for assessing the damage caused to indigenous communities by subsoil users. The problem of getting businesses to compensate indigenous communities has yet to be solved. This article seeks answers to the problem of fair compensation methods and explores modes of partnership and cooperation on traditional lands.