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Sensory Perception of Rock Art in East Siberia and the Far East

Soviet Archeological “Discoveries” and Indigenous Evenkis

Donatas Brandišauskas

indigenous people who use it on a daily basis. In this article, I demonstrated how prominent rock art archeologists of East Siberia and the Far East were guided by their sensory perceptions and interpretation of the rock art. Soviet scientists considered

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Large-Scale Hydrocarbon-Related Industrial Projects in Russia's Coastal Regions

The Risks Arising from the Absence of Strategic Environmental Assessment

Vassily Spiridonov

World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Russia has monitored several large-scale hydrocarbon extraction and transportation projects on the Russian shelf, revealing the chaotic nature of this large-scale industrial activity. An analysis of the early stages of project implementation has shown that, contrary to the claims of project designers, the projects are starting to have diverse, tangible, and often negative impacts on the natural and human environments. Risks can be grouped as follows: the loss of or damage to unique natural and cultural phenomena, major accidents, and indirect and cumulative effects on the environment or human communities. The author argues that completion of a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) before these projects began may have helped to significantly reduce these risks, and considers possibilities for institutional development of SEA in Russia, based on trans-sectoral partnership.

Open access

The Baikal-Amur Mainline

Memories and Emotions of a Socialist Construction Project

Olga Povoroznyuk

The Baikal-Amur Mainline (BAM) is the longest northernmost railroad crossing the regions of East Siberia and the Russian Far East to link the Eurasian countries with East Asia. The history of the BAM starts with early construction projects dating

Open access

(Re)Constructing the Baikal-Amur Mainline

Continuity and Change of (Post)Socialist Infrastructure

Olga Povoroznyuk

second track and people are coming here … the BAM is regaining popularity. —SL, RZhD company manager, Yuktali, 2017 1 The Baikal-Amur Mainline (BAM) is a railway line built in the 1970s and 1980s in the northern areas of East Siberia and the Russian

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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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The movement for Siberian regional and national autonomy in the early 1920s

Dina A. Amanzholova

This article examines the movement for the achievement of national and regional autonomy for the indigenous peoples of Siberia. Concentrating on East Siberia, the author discusses the various conflicts between advocates of autonomy - political, territorial and cultural - in the region, and the various warring factions during the Revolution, Civil War and the early 1920s. She demonstrates how the native peoples did not necessarily understand the political ambitions of the leaders and politicians. She also demonstrates how difficult it was for the general principle of national self-determination to be achieved with so many conflicting interests during a period of nation-wide upheaval and civil war. Underlying this were also the perennial contradictions between the political aims of the centre and the local interests of the outlying regions and peoples. In conclusion, the author suggests that many of the problems of Siberian autonomous movements in the early twentieth century re-appeared at its end.

Open access

A right to remoteness? A missing bridge and articulations of indigeneity along an East Siberian railroad

Peter Schweitzer and Olga Povoroznyuk

The Soviet Union and its successor states have been avid supporters of a modernisation paradigm aimed at ‘overcoming remoteness’ and ‘bringing civilisation’ to the periphery and its ‘backward’ indigenous people. The Baikal–Amur Mainline (BAM) railroad, built as a much‐hyped prestige project of late socialism, is a good example of that. The BAM has affected indigenous communities and reconfigured the geographic and social space of East Siberia. Our case study, an Evenki village located fairly close to the BAM, is (in)famous today for its supposed refusal to get connected via a bridge to the nearby railroad town. Some actors portray this disconnection as a sign of backwardness, while others celebrate it as the main reason for native language retention and cultural preservation. Focusing on discourses linking the notions of remoteness and cultural revitalisation, the article argues for conceptualising the story of the missing bridge not as the result of political resistance but rather as an articulation of indigeneity, which foregrounds cultural rights over more contentious political claims. Thus, the article explores constellations of remoteness and indigeneity, posing the question whether there might be a moral right to remoteness to be claimed by those who view spatial distance as a potential resource.

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Temporality of Movements in the North

Pragmatic Use of Infrastructure and Reflexive Mobility of Evenkis and Dolgans

Vladimir N. Davydov

grateful to National Geographic , whose project “Culturally modified rocks and woods in East Siberia: Perception and use of rock art, carvings and decorations among Orochen-Evenki reindeer herders and hunters” helped me to work in southern Iakutiia in

Open access

Sensing the Life of Material

Mammoth Ivory and Craftsmen's Work

Tatiana Argounova-Low

– 362 . Digby , Basset . 1925 . The Mammoth and Mammoth-Hunting in North-East Siberia . London : H. F. & G. Witherby . Fordham , Damien , Stuart Brown , H. Reşit Akçakaya , Barry Brook , Sean Haythorne , Andrea Manica , Kevin

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On the Trails of Free-Roaming Elephants

Human-Elephant Mobility and History across the Indo-Myanmar Highlands

Paul G. Keil

, ed. Tim Ingold and Jo Lee Verngunst (Hampshire: Ashgate, 2005), 1–20, here 12. 21 Piers Vitebsky and A. Alekseyev, “Casting Timeshadows: Pleasure and Sadness of Moving among Nomadic Reindeer Herders in North-East Siberia” Mobilities 10, no 4 (2015