In recent decades the number of domestic reindeer stock across indigenous communities in the Siberian taiga have fallen dramatically. While this has been viewed as a crisis, this paper discusses how reindeer herders are adjusting their traditional herding strategies to modern conditions. A methodology of contextualization is used to evaluate five reindeer herders’ communities situated in different regions of Eastern Siberia. Changes in Siberian reindeer herding are analyzed according to three main types of contexts differing as to the period of their formation: a) traditional contexts that pre-existed the Soviet system, b) contexts formed in the Soviet time; and c) contexts created by post-Soviet reforms. Under modern conditions reindeer stock reduction is important relative to the economic context, but the role of reindeer herding in cultural and political contexts is increasing. The slow formation of “buffer” social contexts makes the taiga reindeer herding communities’ condition vulnerable.
This article analyzes the semantic structure of domestic deer herd names in Alutor, a Kamchatkan language spoken by a semisettled group of Koryaks. The structure of the lexicon shows a variety of names of herds and parts of herds according to sex and age of a deer and the relative location of a deer in the herd, and of names of harnesses and parts of harnesses. Herd names and names of parts of reindeer harnesses represent composite lexemes consisting of simple nouns. All Alutor names in the present article are explained in their contexts, as well as in the hierarchical organization of the hypero-hyponymic groups in which synonym relations and relations of variation are being observed.
By a twist of fate, Noglikskii District in northeastern Sakhalin Island, the Russian Far East, has ended up at the epicenter of huge multinational offshore oil and gas developments. The two most advanced of these are the projects Sakhalin-1 and Sakhalin-2, whose operators are Exxon Neftegaz Ltd. (ExxonMobil) and Sakhalin Energy Investment Company Ltd. or Sakhalin Energy (Shell) respectively. Sakhalin-2 started production in 1999, while Sakhalin-1 started production in 2005. Further projects to develop the oil and gas reserves of Sakhalin’s northern shelf are still in the exploratory phase. Another major oil company—British Petroleum (BP)—is planning to take part in Sakhalin-5, togetherwith its Russian partner Rosneft’. The Sakhalin-5 Project is focused more on Noglikskii District’s northern neighbor, Okhinskii District. As expected, Northern Sakhalin is experiencing significant consequences from these projects: ecological, social, and also cultural, as indigenous peoples still practice their traditional livelihood activities in northern Sakhalin. This article explores the local changes wrought by the Sakhalin offshore oil and gas projects in Noglikskii District. After providing a background to Noglikskii District, its people, history, and natural environment, the article focuses specifically on the relationship between the oil and gas extraction activities of the Sakhalin-1 and Sakhalin-2 projects and the reindeer husbandry and hunting activities of the local populations. The article describes efforts by the companies to mitigate negative project impacts and to promote development opportunities. Company-community and company-contractor relations are also discussed.