|BULLETIN # 38|
XVII group of interns
TABLE OF CONTENTS
meet our group|
Siberian Peoples’ Olympics
Time for Practical Action
Problems that Ivankino People Face
The Main Thing Is Not To Lose Hope
Nenets District: the Yasavey Association of the Nenets People
Poachers Feel Free and Easy in the Reserve
THE KUMANDIN INDIGENOUS PEOPLE:
A Legend about the Kumandin
A People Finding its History
Beyond the Good and the Evil
Does Russia Need the North?
Draft Law on Territories of Traditional Nature Management
Meeting at the Museum of Oriental Peoples’ Arts
Union of Reindeer Herders of Russia
|Please meet our group||
congratulations to you on the occasion of the publication of new issues of
the Information Bulletin. We,
Group 17 interns, have prepared them. The
time of our internship coincided with notable events: the 4th
Congress of the Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia, and the Far East
and the passing in third reading by State Duma deputies of the law on
traditional nature management territories.
And, of course, this is the first spring in the third millennium. All that has inspired us to publish two issues of the
information bulletin on end: # 38 and # 39.
Also, we will publish issue # 40.
Vasilyevna Pynko, television journalist of the
Evensk, Magadan Oblast, CineTeleVideo Local Administration, is a deputy of
the Northern Even District Duma. She
wants the district to have its own developed local industry.
She values such qualities in people as integrity, fidelity to one’s
principles, honesty, and humanity.
Alekseyevna Satlayeva is an educator/instructor
at the Youth Tourism Center in the city of Gorno-Altaisk, Republic of Altai. Olga is the chairperson of the Kumandin People Revival Youth
Union. She is a Master of
Sports Candidate in Orienteering. Here
in Moscow she misses pure mountain air and mountaintops a lot.
Vasilyevna Rychim is a librarian at the rural
House of Culture in the village of Tavayvaam, Chukchi Autonomous District. Irina is a member of the Managing Board of the Anadyr City
Association of Indigenous Peoples. She
believes that it is necessary to know the psychology of every person for
better mutual understanding and improved relations.
Her idea of the best vacation is a vacation in the wild.
Kipriyanovna Taybarey is a postgraduate
student at the chair of ethnoculturology of the A.I. Herzen Russian State
Pedagogical University, St. Petersburg.
She is lively, visionary, and romantic.
She is a student of the culture of her people.
She is interested in the English language.
She wants to get into research.
Sergeyevich Sychin, a beginning businessman,
lives in the village of Ivankino, Tomsk Oblast.
Yuriy is the youngest intern. He
has not served in the military yet and wants to do that being part of the
border guard troops. Good luck
to you, Yuriy! You have the
world before you.
Ivanovich Baglich is a hunter and fisherman
from the village of Bakhta, Turukhansk District, Krasnoyarsk Territory.
He goes in for soccer and volleyball.
He loves nature and its delicate handling. He is cheerful and emotional. He believes that life should be approached easier.
Siberian Peoples' Olympics
4th winter Olympics of the Peoples of Siberia took place on
February 14-18 in the capital of the Altai Territory.
More than 800 strongest athletes from 12 Siberian regions came to
Barnaul. A taiga animal, the
sable, is the emblem of the Olympics. The
opening ceremony took place in the Palace of Sports and Entertainment. A salute was fired in honor of the athletes after the solemn
athletes competed for three days in nine events: orienteering, cross-country
skiing, biathlon, polythlon, ice and grass hockey, and winter soccer, as
well as downhill skiing and skating. Team
placing took into account best results in only six events.
a result of long and stubborn struggle, Krasnoyarsk athletes again showed
the best score, and the placing was this:
Krasnoyarsk Territory – 129 points.
next Winter Olympics of Siberian Peoples are planned to be held in 2003 in
Kemerovo Oblast. I sincerely
hope that in the next Olympics the Republic of Altai will improve its
showing and will occupy a worthier place.
would like to give sincere thanks to coaches, who are fanatical in their
profession and are serving a noble cause.
Without them, without their energy, such competitions would hardly
have been possible.
Time for Practical Action
4th Congress of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East of the Russian Federation
4th Congress of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia, and the
Far East of the Russian Federation, with 330 delegates from various regions
attending, took place in Moscow on April 12-14, 2001.
Representatives of the government of the Russian Federation, the
State Duma of the Russian Federation, the Federation Council, the Russian
Academy of Science, embassies of the countries of the Arctic region, and
various nongovernmental associations took part in the congress.
N. Kharyuchi, president of the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of
the North, Siberia, and the Far East, made a presentation at the congress.
The agenda included these questions: on the activities of the
Association’s Coordination Council; on the strategy and tactics of the
Association and its role in the movement of the indigenous peoples until
2005; reports by members of the Association’s Coordination Council;
presentations by delegates and invitees; report by the Association’s
auditing committee for the period in review; on amending the Charter;
adopting final documents; and election of the Association’s president,
auditing committee, and a representative at the UN Permanent Forum for
Indigenous Issues. Also, the
congress heard the report by V.A. Kirpichnikov, deputy minister for the
affairs of the Federation and ethnic and migration policies, “On state
indigenous policy in modern conditions.”
Mr. Kharyuchi’s report and Mr. Kirpichnikov’s report spoke about the
difficult situation in northern regions.
At the same time, as the deputy minister noted, “in a short period,
the Russian legislation passed more statutory acts than did other northern
the legislation concerning indigenous peoples, as seen from presentations by
delegates, is practically ineffective in the localities for the lack of
enforcement mechanism. The sore
points are still the same: the questions of nature management and relations
with industrial companies.
was said about the fact that Federation components ignore Article 13 of the
Federal Law “On guaranteeing the rights of the indigenous peoples of
Russia,” which gives the right to the power agencies of Federation
components to introduce quotas for representatives of indigenous peoples in
legislative agencies of local governance.
The number of indigenous representatives in the legislative agencies
of Federation components is steadily reducing, president Kharyuchi noted.
He also stressed that it is necessary to create a Ministry for the
Development of Northern Territories, and the head of the ministry should
have the status of vice premier; the Association has repeatedly gone with
such a suggestion to the government level.
In my opinion, while there is no such an institution, there will be
no strict supervision over the implementation of socioeconomic programs for
the development of indigenous peoples or an established mechanism for the
movement of funds. In his
report, the Association’s president said that regional power agencies and
ministries report about commissioned facilities, including housing, and
information from the localities says that the situation is deteriorating by
the year, and inspections confirm the latter.
few speakers were listing the problems facing indigenous peoples in the
regions, and many more had suggestions of how the situation in the
localities can be improved, how people can be made more active in solving
many problems, and how the creative potential of the youth can be increased. This shows that indigenous peoples today no longer want to be
beggars, but instead they affirm themselves and gain recognition at all
levels of state power as well as at the national and the international
all the vice presidents of the Association (11 in number), Mr. Kharyuchi
noted, “have displayed organizational skills and public spirit while doing
their job.” Indeed, that was
conspicuous at the congress and in the course of its preparation, as well as
during the seminar that the Association held on federal legislation on the
rights of indigenous peoples of the Russian Federation ahead of the
vice presidents P.V. Sulyandziga, M.A. Todyshev, L.I. Abryutina, I.M.
Taksami, and G.M. Volkova have shown much involvement.
Hopefully, they will now direct their energy, organizational skills,
and expertise to the regions and at the same time will be going more
insistently and actively to the federal and the international levels.
Kharyuchi, reelected president for the next term, said that “the time of
arrogance and emotions is receding into history.
Time has come for practical action.
It is wonderful that more and more of our people come to realize that
our fate is in our own hands. Together
we have always been and will be strong.
Also in the future, we will continue walking our road as a united
I want to note that there is an obvious lack of mutual understanding between
some of its top managers, vice presidents, in the Association.
That may lead to slowing the processes that must now be in full swing
in the regions and even to negative consequences.
This should not be present in the Association at the stage of its
coming into being, let alone the stage of its self-assertion.
Problems that Ivankino People Face
village is on the middle Ob River in Kolpashevo District, Tomsk Oblast.
the year 2000, it was 3,000 years since our ancestors settled on this land,
400 since the earliest explorers came, and 300 years since the native
population adopted Christianity.
indigenous people since olden times practiced hunting, fishing, herding, and
trading and used to take wagon trains with fish and furs to the city of
Tomsk and would exchange their products for flour, sugar, and industrial
the establishment of Soviet Power, the village came to called ethnic, and
the lands around belonged to the Ethnic Rural Soviet [council], but with the
formation of state farms, all the lands were taken away and the reservoirs
were handed over to the local fishery.
The local people were simply forced to go to work at these
enterprises, which made the Selkup gradually begin to leave off their
traditional way of life. In the
long run, the Ethnic Soviet was liquidated.
In 1991, on the request of the villagers, the decision was made to
establish an Ethnic Rural Soviet/Council.
The Rural Council held title to 8,213.25 hectares [20,294.66 acres],
and the reservoirs remained under the fishery.
The Rural Council’s Administration turned a deaf ear to the opinion
of the people that reservoirs be put under the jurisdiction of the Rural
Council. In 1995, when the Rural Soviet/Council was reorganized into a
Rural Administration and, in 1997, into a Rural Territorial Administration
(RTA), the word “ethnic” was dropped from the name of the village.
When the top management changed at the Rural Territorial
Administration, a representative of the local population, Sergey
Nikolayevich Sychin, was elected chairman.
He was sincerely interested in the solution of the problems of his
people. Change for the better
began to be felt in the village. Jointly
with the Duma [legislative assembly], a decision was made to restore
Ivankino’s status of ethnic village.
The village’s Administration went to the district Duma with the
suggestion of giving to the ethnic RTA the territories of ethnic nature
management. The district Duma,
citing the lack in Tomsk Oblast of a law on territories of traditional
nature management (the only region lacking such a law), went with the
suggestion to the oblast Duma, but the oblast Duma, citing the lack of the
law on the federal level, rejected the request of assigning the territory of
traditional nature management.
this time, the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North,
Siberia, and the Far East was distributing collections of laws guaranteeing
the rights of indigenous peoples – these documents made the resumed
negotiations with the district Administration much easier and were helpful.
The district authorities, headed by V.I. Shafrygin, were convinced
from the very beginning that the lands and the reservoirs around the village
must belong to the territory of the Ethnic Rural Council. As a result, Decree # 1312, signed on December 19, 2000,
handed the lands and reservoirs to the Ivankino Municipal Ethnic Territorial
Administration, with the total area of 11,179 hectares [27,623 acres].
The following step was the village Administration’s request to the
Upper Ob Fishery Protection Administration for an industrial fishing
license. The fishery protection
administration approached the village’s request with understanding and
suggested the best way to do the paperwork.
People breathed with relief. At
last the lands and waters belong to their original masters.
all the work and constructive negotiations, dialogue with the district
Administration did not stop. It
continued and is continuing still today.
New difficulties emerged in the question of reservoir use permits.
The RTA was perplexed when two months later the district
Administration issued Decree # 172 of March 6, 2001, on making the
reservoirs available for use by the Rybozavod, Ltd., an enterprise that
would practice industrial fishing in these reservoirs, although the first
decree of the head of Kolpashevo District has not been annulled.
The RTA has asked the district Administration about the legality of
the decrees, but no response has come back yet.
is desirable that a dialogue between the authorities and the local people
continue and lead only to positive results and that State Duma deputies pass
laws making the life of indigenous peoples easier.
if such problems as land contain many difficulties that are at times fairly
hard to overcome, other questions, relating to social problems, are being
addressed and improved. Thus,
for example, a significant step was the Administration’s assistance in
funding the trip of children from the village to Moscow for an examination
at the Pediatric Institute, for which I would like to express personal
appreciation to the head of the district Administration, V.I. Shafrygin.
The Main Thing Is Not To Lose Hope
will tell you about an acquaintance of mine.
Her name is Olga Sergeyevna Okko from Kanchalan.
She is a kind, warm-hearted, and cheerful person.
I got acquainted with Olga in 1997 in the city of Anadyr, when we
worked together as teachers at the Golden Key kindergarten.
Kids love her. She had
moved to the city in 1996. She
had a reason to do that: her younger daughter, Valentina, needed special
training by a speech therapist and a psychologist.
From 1996 until 1998, Olga had provisional residence registration.
During that period, she was taking her daughter through medical
examination. The medical
commission confirmed that the girl needed special training by specialists
that are unavailable in Kanchalan. Olga’s
registration expired, and then her problems began. She is dismissed from her job and is not paid the
child-support allowance; she is refused residence registration in the city,
as the municipal Administration has prohibited registering migrants from
villages. Olga has gone to many
offices: to the head of the municipal Administration, the president of the
Okrug Association, and the head of the district Administration of the
village of Kanchalan, but everywhere she is refused: “Go to the municipal
Administration.” In 2000, she turned to Roman Arkadyevich Abramovich.
While he was still State Duma deputy, he promised to consider her
problem and solve it positively. Today,
Mr. Abramovich is the governor of the Chukchi Autonomous Okrug.
Hopefully, he will not let Olga Okko face her problems alone. Only, when will it all be settled? Soon, we will hope. I
wish Olga to have good health and to retain the hope for better times.
Nenets District: the Yasavey Association of the Nenets People
growth of ethnic consciousness has been occurring lately.
The knowledge of one’s history and one’s language and culture is
just as necessary as the knowledge of one’s name.
The Chinese have this saying: “If you do not know what village you
are from, you will never know what village you are going to.”
Every person belongs to an ethnic group.
The belonging with an ethnos determines your place in this world,
which is established through the worldview of your people.
Unfortunately, the many years of Soviet policies have led peoples of
the North to forget the culture of their ancestors and drift away from it,
but I want to believe that we will overcome this oblivion.
One of the components defining ethnicity is ethnic
self-consciousness, and it has always ranked higher than the other criteria
(language, culture, territory, etc.). So,
if today we speak about and view ourselves as a people, then it is not all
we face many socioeconomic difficulties.
These have led many regions of the North to extreme poverty.
In the first place, they have affected the indigenous peoples with a
traditional lifestyle. Laws concerning the rights of indigenous peoples – “On
general principles of community organization” and “On guaranteeing the
rights of the indigenous peoples of the Russian Federation” – have been
issued recently, and a law on traditional nature management is forthcoming.
Doubtless, these laws will help the peoples of the North and the Far
East. They are the three
toeholds that will enable us to address vitally important questions.
Also, nowadays much depends on us.
Only we ourselves can and must overcome our problems, without waiting
for the coming of the “big” and “almighty” ones, capable of doing
everything in our stead.
the current circumstances in the Nenets Autonomous District, it is possible
to say that there are many unsolved problems.
One of them is the assignment of a quota for the representation of
small peoples in legislative bodies. A.I.
Vyucheyskiy, president of the Yasavey Association of the Nenets People, has
repeatedly raised this matter at the Assembly of Deputies of the Nenets
Autonomous District. Regrettably,
no support has been given to the issue.
The appeals of the 4th and the 5th congresses
of the Nenets people to the Assembly of Deputies suggest “determining ways
and forms of actual representation of the Nenets people in the work of
bodies of power and government and fix them legislatively.” A refusal, and a fairly convincing one at that, followed.
The refusal was on the grounds that most of the deputies in one way
or other represent the interests of the Nenets people.
Undoubtedly, no one can doubt that each one in this majority of the
deputies represents certain interests and that they take into account the
interests of the Nenets as their constituency.
However, when we talk about actual representation in power agencies,
we mean that the person must be an ethnic Nenets, as no one but a
representative of this people can know and understand better the problems of
his or her ethnos. When selecting our representative, we guide ourselves by
personal and psychological traits; that is, we select a person to whom it is
the easiest for us to turn for help. Every
Nenets must think about this important question and address the Assembly of
Deputies of the Nenets District with the initiative on assigning a quota of
Nenets representation in this legislative entity, for example, two out of 15
deputies must be representatives of the Nenets people.
When addressing this matter, we can follow the example of the
Khanty-Mansi and the Yamal Nenets Autonomous Districts, where the practice
has existed for quite a few years now.
In those regions, many questions concerning the rights of indigenous
peoples, duly represented, are successfully taken into account and
the Yasavey Association is planning new ways of addressing the tasks that
this nongovernmental entity faces in implementing programs directed at
developing socioeconomic and cultural relations of indigenous peoples in
interaction with power agencies and other structures, including oil and
other industrial companies. First
of all, we need our internal unity and we need to develop a single new
operation layout that would enable the Association to be viewed, not as an
appendix in an organism and even not a charitable asylum, but as an
organization that carries in itself functions of territorial and social
governance of the Nenets. That
means that we will be able to address many such questions together.
We are on the eve of the times of new relations, where there are no
“solicitors” and “givers” and where there is mutually beneficial
partnership creating conditions for equality and justice.
For that, it is necessary to build new positions that depend on us.
True, this is a difficult road, where everyone must participate and
make a contribution. Only together will we be able to achieve results.
Poachers Feel Free and Easy in the Reserve
Russia has presented shocking results of an inspection at the Central
Siberian Biosphere Reserve, organized by the State Ecology Committee of the
Russian Federation and the Fishery Service Inspectorate of Turukhansk
District, Krasnoyarsk Territory.
in the reserve, as the inspection showed, has become a norm and is done not
only with the connivance of the protection service wardens but often with
their assistance, the Social Information Agency reports. The special unannounced helicopter investigation of the
Russian Federation Inspectorate for Environmental Protection, prepared in
conditions of strict secrecy, turned out to be especially efficient at
randomly picked stations on the reserve.
For example, on the Swan Station, there were discovered traps,
nonstandard ammunition, and devices used in harvesting pine nuts.
On two stations, there were found recently used traps for catching
sturgeons. In flight from one station to another, the inspectors spotted two
Buran snowmobiles carrying a butchered elk carcass and fish.
As it turned out, two passengers of the snowmobiles were fishery
me add that last year’s inspections discovered poacher huts, fish tackle,
skins, and skinned sables. All
that leads to the conclusion that poaching in the Central Siberian Reserve,
created in 1985, has now turned into a well-adjusted trade among the
is a scandal that simple indigenous inhabitants of Turukhansk District are
banned from entering the reserve, whereas those who are supposed to protect
these beautiful places and care about the multiplication of the natural
riches themselves undermine the balance in the animal and plant world.
THE KUMANDIN INDIGENOUS PEOPLE:
A Legend about the Kumandin
long ago, during the Flood, Kumandin tribes came on rafts and landed on
mountaintops. The water slowly
receded, the enormous rafts stayed on the mountaintops, and the people
settled on the slopes of the mountains.
These are sacred for each tribe.
then people have been saying that the Kumandin are children of the
legend is handed down from generation
A People Finding its History
history of the Polovtsians is little-known and has not been of much interest
to the Russian historian until now.
Recently, the question arose in connection with the desire to
understand common ethnic roots and a national idea understandable to all the
peoples of Russia.
The search leads to certain historic reflection, requiring,
undoubtedly, a more profound analysis.
Polovtsian state, situated in the Great Steppe, from Hungary and Romania in
the west to the spurs of Tian Shan in the south and the Yellow Sea in the
east, was a union of state formations, different in form and content, but
identical in type.
The Polovtsians were divided into three portions: the Western, the
Central Asian, and the Eastern ones.
They included the Kimak, the Kumandin, and the Kyrgyz Khaganates [medieval
Turkic states headed by a khagan,
a khan] and the Bulgar and the Kipchak Khanates.
By their type, they were military democracies.
center is the Kuman Khaganate, known in ancient times as the So (or Kuu)
country, located on the territory from the middle Irtysh to the Yenisey.
According to a legend, the founder of the So/Kuu country was the
progenitor of the Solto tribe named Eshteki (the tribe has apparently given
the name to the modern village of Solton [Altai Territory]).
His first grandson is associated with the emergence of the Lebedin
– Kuman (Kuu) tribe and the second one, with the Kyrgyz.
The founders of the Kyrgyz Khaganate lived between the Abakan (Abu)
and the Yenisey (Gyan-Kem).
The Kumans were the ancestors of the Kazakh (the Kimak Khaganate) and
the Bashkir (the Bulgar Khanate).
They participated in three flows of ethnogeny.
left “wing” was the Kimak Khaganate, the right one was the Kipchak.
The flight of this steppe Polovtsian “bird” bound in the 5th-13th
centuries westward was involved in the flow of the Great Migration of
Peoples, divided into four waves: the first one was Scythian, the second one
was Hunnish, the third one was Polovtsian, and the fourth one was Mongolian.
The reverse flow eastward had two waves: the first one was Tartar (13th-16th
centuries) and the second one was Cossack (16th-18th
flow stopped after entering the old course, without leaving graves or
records, but still there has remained an historic trace in every people of
Kumans/Cumans/Polovtsians are the most ancient Ugrian people of the steppe,
the forest-steppe, and the taiga portion of Southern Siberia.
They are little-known to the modern historian.
Territorially, the Cumans are divided into three portions: the
western one – the Black Sea area and the Bulgar Khanate; the Central Asian
one – the Kimak Khaganate and the Kipchak; and the eastern one – the
Kuman and the Kyrgyz Khaganates.
state of the Cumans/Polovtsians existed until the defeat of the Polovtsians
on the Kalka river (May 31, 1223) by the Mongol-Tartars.
The remains migrated to Hungary and Romania, and a portion mixed with
The Central Asian and Urals Polovtsians later merged with
Persian-speaking tribes and the Tartars.
The Western Polovtsians – the Kumyk – live in the Caucasus, and
the Eastern Polovtsians – the Kumandin – in the Altai, and, summing up
the history, span 1,500 years.
Beyond Good and Evil
Western Europe, they were called the Cumans, and in Russia, the Polovtsians.
They would appear in spring, with the high water, on the Itil river,
and, when the high water receded, would ford it and move on to Hungarian
steppes, to Polonia, and the Byzantine Empire.
The westward-bound “blitzkrieg” would begin by passing over the
southern steppes, inhabited by ferocious, warlike neighboring nomads: the
Turks and the Uighurs. With the
fall of the Hunnish power (290 BC – 48 AD), their westward movement began.
left wing of the Cuman army moved over the Chelushman and the Ukok Plateaus,
and the right wing moved over the West Siberian country.
Having united, the Cumans/Polovtsians skirted the Kimak Khaganate,
moving northwestward to the Kipchak steppes. There, on the shores of the Itil, they would join with the
right wing – the Kipchak army – and move onward.
defeated in the 5th century BC the remains of the Hun tribes (the
Ostrogoths and the Visigoths), the Cumans settled in the Black Sea steppes.
The history of “blitzkriegs” is brief: the Ancient Turk Khaganate
(7th-9th centuries), the Uighur Khaganate (785-840),
the Persian-speaking countries and the Ancient Russian state (5th-12th
“blitzkrieg” technique was determined by the speediness of a separate
combat, the basis of which was high skill of shooting, a special design of
the bow, and good training of the warriors.
The bow shooting technique “from the ear” (with the range of up
to 700 meters [765 yards]) and “from the eye” (range of 350-400 meters
[380-440 yards]) enabled the Cumans at a distance of more than a kilometer [less
than a mile] from a “left wing – center – right wing” formation
carry out an envelopment.
an attack, about 300-400 meters were needed for acceleration. High rate of bow shooting (one shot in seven seconds) with
the density of 12 arrows in the first series of shots was used when
approaching the enemy. The
remaining three shooting series (36 arrows) were used in the envelopment. “Squeezing” an enemy numbering 1,000-2,000 persons on an
area of 1-2 hectares [2.5-5 acres] ensured success in the battle.
did not distinguish between Life and Death,
KUMANDIN KHAGANATE was a military-democratic organization of nomadic and
seminomadic tribes that lived in the steppe and the forest-steppe zone
between the Irtysh and the Yenisey. Unlike
the Turks, the Cumans/Polovtsians governed themselves on the basis of “kan”
(blood), not relationship (seok).
The geographic center of the khaganate was located between modern
Solton and Biysk.
host of the Cumans/Polovtsians was divided into units.
Each unit used the horses of the same color: white, gray, black,
sorrel, taupe, and mottled. The
thousands-strong army was cemented by iron military discipline.
Every warrior had to have 5-6 war horses in addition to household
ones and pay a tax “per bow” on the spoils.
The following law was effective: “He who takes out a sharp weapon
against one of his own shall die.” For
breaking the line of riders, “he who moves forward by three arrow shots,
shall pay one horse, two shots, one sheep, and he who moves forward by one
shot shall pay five arrows.”
be continued in Information Bulletin # 40.
Does Russia Need the North?
gave the Russian leadership the right to disregard the northerners this
way?” “It is a violation of
the Constitution when laws are passed that reduce the rights and freedoms of
man and citizen!” “Duty
tour – what is it? An
all-Russia labor stint?!” “We
are not prepared to the passing of the Labor Code.”
Such were the opinions of deputies, researchers, and representatives
of various nongovernmental associations at the parliamentary hearings that
took place on March 23, 2001, in Moscow on the topic of “The Northern
Aspect in the Labor Legislation of the Russian Federation.”
question of labor relations in the north is undoubtedly a complicated one,
requiring balanced decisions. This,
first of all, means improving labor legislation, which must, by legal means,
contribute not only to the preservation and attraction of the labor
potential to the North of Russia but also to the improvement of the
socioeconomic situation of northern territories.
The main indices that characterize the state of the market, such as
the level of unemployment, tension on the labor market, and the duration of
unemployment in a number of regions of the North, are much higher than the
national average. Especially
bad is the situation on the labor market of indigenous peoples.
want to cite the example of unemployment in our district, Northern Even,
Magadan Oblast. The total
population of our district is 4,500 persons.
As of 01.01.01, our district had 233 unemployed registered with the
Employment Center, including 141 persons belonging to indigenous peoples, or
60.5 percent of all unemployed. In
the ethnic villages of Gizhiga, Garmanda, Topolovka, and Verkh-Paren, the
percentage of the unemployed of this category amounts to 75 percent, 85
percent, 85 percent, and 97 percent, respectively.
In the district, a total of 1,793 persons are involved in economic
activity, and 606 of them, or 34 percent, are indigenes.
peculiarity of the indigenous labor market deserves a special focus, as the
indigenous peoples have found themselves in the most disadvantaged
situation. First of all this is
conditioned by low adaptability to market conditions, seasonal nature of
traditional occupations, and the lack of necessary education.
For example, only 69 indigenes are industrial workers in our
district, whereas the total number of industrial workers there amounts to
main statutory acts regulating labor legal relations in the North of Russia
are the Code of Labor Laws of the Russian Federation and the Law of the
Russian Federation “On state guarantees and compensations to individuals
working and living in Extreme North and like regions” of February 19,
implementation of the “northern” law in most cases in unsatisfactory, as
a result of which the actual level of state guarantees and compensations to
people working and living in the Extreme North and like areas has dropped
and is continuing to fall, according to many speakers.
The extreme conditions are not compensated by relatively high wages.
The incomes of a significant portion of the population are below the
minimum food basket in the Northern Even District in January 2001 cost 1,300
rubles, which is higher than the national average (725 rubles) by the factor
average per-capita subsistence level in the district (including food and
nonfood products, services, and utilities) amounts to 3,360 rubles and is
higher than the national average (1,285 rubles) by the factor of 2.6.
living-standard indicator is average per-capita income.
In the district, this amounts on average to 1,080.5 rubles, which is
smaller that the oblast average (2,973.1 rubles) by the factor of 2.8.
In ethnic villages, the average per-capita income amounts to 850
rubles in Gizhiga, 866.6 rubles in Garmanda, 716.6 rubles in Topolovka, and
533.3 rubles in Verkh-Paren. High
prices of food and essential goods (which are double or treble compared with
Magadan), constantly growing prices of services (for example, the cost of a
vacation for one person who travels to Moscow and back amounts to 27,600
rubles), delayed paychecks, etc. – all this taken together leads to poorer
living standards and level of well-being of people living in northern areas.
above indices alone show that the northerners live in extremely unfavorable
conditions. The living
standards of indigent families, pensioners, the poor, and the unemployed is
much lower than the average indices. There
are quite a few families with many children in our district that live and
survive on 200-300 rubles per month. And
such families are growing in number.
North also has the reverse of the medal: its extreme natural and climatic
conditions, that government spokesmen so often mentioned at parliamentary
hearings. For some reason, they
spoke about the effect of these conditions in application to people working
in the North as duty tour. In
particular, much was said about this category of people facing difficulty
adapting to the conditions of the North and that these people experience a
One feels an urge to ask the government: “Do you think that other
citizens, those working in the North permanently, do not experience the
“moral-and-psychological syndrome,” when they are practically abandoned
to survive on their own? Examples
are not far to seek. All know
how difficult is the winter of 2001 for Russia’s northern and Far Eastern
regions. Precisely “is,”
because the winter there is not over yet: one and a half winter months are
still ahead. Coal, diesel fuel,
and food – all that is carried to those regions to be consumed practically
immediately upon delivery. The
federal budget often contains groundlessly small amounts for these purposes,
and to avoid negative consequences, federation components are forced to
attract other sources, at times, also federal ones, only meant for other
purposes. As a rule, these
funds are insufficient to fully provide population centers with fuel and
food. As a consequence, northerners are forced to live through
winter under the threat of extinction – electric power in their houses is
cut all the time: in the Northern Even District, for example, these cuts are
a daily phenomenon, and they last for 18 hours a day or longer.
It has already become a tendency that coal delivery to the district
drops by the year. Such
villages as Verkh-Paren and Topolovka have switched to stove heating
entirely. With such a state of
affairs, the same fate awaits other population centers as well.
the fuel and energy crisis in the country hits the northerners the
strongest. Housing and communal
problems (high utilities and electricity tariffs; electric energy is short
– coal and diesel fuel are brought in insufficient amounts, and buildings
are not repaired on time for lack of needed materials, and, as a
consequence, there are low temperatures in apartments, schools,
kindergartens, hospitals, offices, etc.) are increasingly becoming vital.
these problems taken together are the cause of the
“moral-and-psychological syndrome” in northerners, irrespective of
whether they reside there permanently or come to the North on duty tour.
Growing unemployment and growing number of the poor as well as the
growth of such social diseases as excessive drinking and alcoholism,
tuberculosis, and cancer – this is a list of social problems in the North,
which grows yearly and needs to be addressed, first of all on the federal
level. It is also necessary to note such facts as the dropping birth
rate and mass emigration of the population from northern regions.
In 1997, the Northern Even District had a population of 5,500, and by
the end of 2000, it had dropped to 4,500.
The birth rate per 1,000 people was 14.2 in 1997 and 6.2 in 2000.
mortality stood at 17.2 in 1998, 22.7 in 1999, and 35.7 in 2000.
indices in the district increasingly turn negative, which also must suggest
passing laws aimed at improving the socioeconomic standards of the
the State Duma Committee for the Problems of the North and the Far East was
quite right to note, with the lack of a mechanism developed by the
Government of the Russian Federation by which the government would
compensate to the citizens living and working in northern regions/areas the
expenses relative to additional physiological costs and the high cost of
living influenced by geographic and climatic factors, the existing approach
may lead to a depopulation of northern territories, migration of the
northerners to areas that are more favorable climatically, workforce
outflow, shutdowns, and destruction of infrastructures in population centers
that took many years to build.
draft Labor Code of the Russian Federation has been developed in keeping
with the plan of law drafting work of the government of the Russian
Federation for 1998 in order to put legal regulation of labor relations in
line with the changed socioeconomic relations in the country.
VIII of the Code of Labor Laws of the Russian Federation determines the
grounds, types, procedure, and conditions for providing guarantees and
compensations – work in extreme natural-and-climatic conditions of the
government of the Russian Federation suggests in the Code on the federal
level to resolve the provision of state guarantees and compensations only to
individuals working in the North on duty tours.
The circle of guarantees and compensations includes the payment of
the district coefficient, a percentage increment, and an additional annual
what concerns guarantees and compensations to individuals working and living
in northern regions permanently, the components of the Russian Federation
and employers, proceeding from financial resources, may introduce types of
guarantees and amounts of compensations by passing laws and/or do it in
individual and/or group labor contracts as well as regional or territorial
agreements. As a result,
“northern” guarantees and compensations for individuals permanently
working and living in the North are no longer state ones or mandatory ones.
closing I would like to express the hope that the government will still face
the North and the peoples that live there, not only the workforce
that in the opinion of some representatives of ministries and agencies fills
the state’s purse – the gold, oil, and fish industry workers.
Equally useful to the state are teachers, physicians, bakers,
shoemakers, and people of various other professions who make life in the
North possible. Everywhere in
speeches by high-level statesmen one hears that people are the main value.
Yet, it turns out to be a mere slogan.
Until the state turns to face the people, it will not be a strong
Draft Law on Territories of Traditional Nature Management
first meting of Group 17 interns in the State Duma of the Russian Federation
was with Galina Pavlovna Fyodorova, adviser of the State Duma Committee for
the Affairs of Nationalities. That
day, March 21, a plenary session of the State Duma gave second reading to
draft law “On territories of traditional nature management.”
Fyodorova explained to us the voting procedure.
She told us about the stages that this draft law has gone through,
about the difficulties with which one article after another were pushed
through the Duma, about the many articles rejected by Duma deputies, and
about the shape in which the draft finally reached second reading. Of course, the final version differs greatly from its
original form, Ms. Fyodorova said, but still, it is better than nothing, and
it is very good that we will have such a law.
We also learned from Ms. Fyodorova that work on the draft began 10
years ago and that she has been involved in dealing with it for the past
with Ms. Fyodorova, we watched on the Duma internal television the
discussion of the draft law. We
saw Ms. Fyodorova’s sincere excitement and anxiousness.
One can only guess about the amount of strengths and energy of the
Committee for the Affairs of Nationalities working group that went into this
April 4, the deputies passed the draft law in third reading. Then the Federation Council passed the draft law.
We hope that the President of the Russian Federation will soon sign
it into law.
Law “On territories of traditional nature management” is so necessary to
us, indigenous peoples, who practice traditional occupations on the native
land of our ancestors in order to preserve our peoples.
Meeting at the Museum of Oriental Peoples' Arts
March 28, 2001, a meeting took place with Mikhail Mokovich Bronstein, chief
of the Sector of the North, and Yuriy Aleksandrovich Shirokov.
They told us about the history of the building currently housing the
museum: in 1812, it suffered in a fire and was rebuilt.
Then it belonged to the famous Moscow dynasty of the Lunins and later
belonged to a commercial bank. In
the 1930s-1950s, it was a communal apartment.
In the 1960s, the building was handed over to the museum, after which
an overhaul took place, and the halls were reconstructed in accordance with
present, the museum holds more than 300 masterpieces.
It has works of art from India, China, Iran, Japan, and Mongolia, as
well as paintings, drawings, and sculptures from the Caucasus and Central
Asia. For example, paintings by
Niko Pirosmanishvili, Martiros Saryan, Mazal Ruvim, Aleksandr Volkov, and
museum has a sector dedicated to the North.
It represents such regions of the Russian Federation as Chukotka,
Sakha, and the Amur River Valley. From
Chukotka, there are archeological finds of “old rotating points” of the
18th century and hunters’ outfits as well as works of the Uelen
Bone Carving Workshop: sculptures of walrus fangs, engraved and frilly fangs
depicting scenes of the people’s life (hunting, ceremonies, and
folktales). From the Republic of Sakha, there are old women’s
adornments and ritual objects. The
Amur River Valley is represented by articles made by the peoples inhabiting
the territory: a Nanai rug (embroidered with a traditional design) and
ethnic clothing (sewn together of fish skin and embroidered).
until mid-April 2001, an exhibition of paintings by the well-known artist
Nikolay Roerich and paintings of his son, Svyatoslav Roerich, will be open.
the excursion, the museum workers invited the interns to a tea party, and
each one of us spoke about himself or herself, his or her region, and the
culture of his or her people. At
parting, we posed for a picture and wished Messrs. Bronstein and Shirokov
creative successes, health, and an expansion of the northern sector in the
Union of Reindeer Herders of Russia
interesting to us, Group 17 interns, has been the meeting with Aleksandr
Venediktovich Komarov, vice president of the Union of Reindeer Herders of
Russia. Many northerners appear
to know Mr. Komarov, especially reindeer herders in Chukotka and Magadan
Oblast, where he had worked for about half a century and dedicated almost
his entire life to reindeer herding. Therefore,
it is not through hearsay that Mr. Komarov knows the problems of reindeer
herders. He began as a simple
veterinarian at a reindeer state farm.
For many years, he headed the work of the Magadan Oblast government
Agro-industrial Committee and was Magadan Oblast deputy governor for
the Union of Reindeer Herders of Russia, Mr. Komarov does much work drafting
the Program of Reindeer Herding Development in Russia until 2010, which must
help reindeer herders stabilize the situation in the localities.
the past few years, when a wave of reorganizations in reindeer herding and
other traditional sectors in the North swept, more than 26,000 jobs have
been lost. The reindeer
population in Russia has fallen drastically: while in 1990, there were
2,260,000 reindeer, in 2000 there remained only 1,240,000 heads, which is
almost a 50-percent reduction. In
some regions, the reindeer population dropped by the factor of four or more.
What is to be done to preserve reindeer herding, you will ask?
of all, conditions need to be created for people to be able to work,” Mr.
Komarov says. For that, it is
necessary to develop an entire complex of measures to involve all those who
are capable of working and can produce something in the traditional process.
Reindeer herding products are in much demand in the entire world:
they are fur, kamas shin skin, dry
prickets, antlers, endocrine glands, etc.
An important task is to help reindeer herders sell it all at a profit
or find a market for the products. Other
tasks, that are no less important, must be addressed on the ground.
Mr. Komarov sees that as follows:
Registering all the unemployed and assisting all those in need of
Medical prevention activities, assistance to those who are often ill, and,
when necessary, disability retirement (as a rule, many reindeer herders have
such chronic diseases as rheumatism, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory
system diseases, etc.);
Solving the issue of reindeer herder work compensation;
Encouraging preservation and growth of reindeer population;
Periodic health improvement for reindeer herders (tickets to sanitariums and
travel for treatment and payment for travel expenses);
Creating conditions to enable reindeer herders meet periodically; and
Training the youth to work in traditional sectors.
best option,” Mr. Komarov believes, “is when learning takes place in the
is very important to solve the issue of funding the material and technical
basis of reindeer herding enterprises.
Every reindeer herding team and every reindeer herder must have the
necessary supplies for normal work: basic field equipment, guns, binoculars,
portable stoves, tent canvas, radio stations, first-aid kits, etc.
“Of course, reindeer herders must be provided with clothes and
boots. All that must be
accounted in every reindeer herder team,” Mr. Komarov says.
Union of Reindeer Herders of Russia is currently drafting various statutory
acts and programs, interacting with the Ministry of Agriculture, State Duma
deputies, ministries of republics, federation components, and, of course,
workers of reindeer herding enterprises and reindeer herders themselves.
meeting at the Union of Reindeer Herders of Russia has shown us that Moscow
has such people as Mr. Komarov, who take the development of reindeer herding
close to heart and do all they can to improve the life of the reindeer
you, Mr. Komarov for the fact that there exists the Union of Reindeer
Herders of Russia, and we want its voice to be heard all over the Russian
North and want it to have ever more influence on state power agencies.