Vestnik arheologii, antropologii i etnofrafii   ¹ 1 (52)  2021



Golovnev A.V., Danilova E.N.

Soviet version of ethno-expertise: reports of Northern ethnographers of 1950s–1980s

The article provides an overview of the ethnographer-to-government reports (n = 106) published in five issues of the “Ethnological Expertise: Peoples of the Russian North” series. These documents, which represent valuable sources on the history of the northern populations and the national policy of the Soviet government from the mid-1950s to the early 1990s, contain information on demography and distribution of the indigenous groups, economy of collective farms, material status of collective farmers (earnings, living conditions, subsistence, provision of clothing), characteristics of their culture and life, education, and health care. During the analysed period, the monitoring of ethnic communities was carried out as a planned long-term expertise under a unified program throughout the entire territory of the Soviet North. The requirement for this large-scale and continuous survey served as the motive for the creation of the North Sector in the Moscow division of the Institute of Ethnography of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, where each specialist was assigned to a particular population (or group of peoples). Preparation of reports for the central and local authorities was a state order and the responsibility of employees of the Institute of Ethnography, who conducted field research in the North and Siberia. The analysis of the documents shows that ethnographers, generally following the ideological and political guidelines of the authorities, tried – in some cases rather decisively to correct the policy of the Soviet state in relation to the peoples of the North. Based on their own expert surveys, they criticized the transition of nomads to a settled way of life, the introduction of southern agricultural branches in the North, the lack of ethnographic knowledge among administrators; they discussed and proposed innovations in economy, technology, material culture, etc. The Soviet ethno-expertise encompassed, on the one hand, ethnographic data supporting socialist ideology, on the other – elements of academic evaluation; it served as a kind of transmission between the interests of the Soviet state and the northern peoples.

Key words: ethnography, North, Siberia, USSR, people, ethnological expertise, applied research, socialism, sedentarization, nomads.


Veremenko V.A.

«On the proper keeping of linen and clothes»: organization of laundry in urban noble-intellectual families of Russia in the second half of the 19th early 20th century

The article is aimed at characterization of the ways of laundry organization in the urban noble-intellectual families of post-reform Russia, identification of the extent of innovations in this area, and of the degree of transition of this activity from the field of domestic labour to social production. The sources of the research include paperwork of laundry facilities, statistical data, numerous housekeeping manuals and instructions for laundry organization, memoirs, diaries and house books of urban nobles, especially noble women, and, finally, fiction and publicistic writings of this period. The study follows a methodological approach that combines research methods characteristic for the history of everyday life (first of all, historical reconstruction method), the theory of sociocultural dynamics, and the theory of “topochron”. The author concludes that, despite the significant increase of personal participation of educated housewives in household chores, which took place at the end of the 19th beginning of the 20th century, this change did not extend to laundry, which was completely delegated to a special person laundress. The employee herself could act as a single-family domestic servant, a worker who served in a laundry establishment or an independent day laborer who offered her services to all concerned. Moreover, the first group laundresses domestic servants was extremely rare in the post-reform period. Washing could be carried out both “at the owners’ home”, and “on the side”. “Home washing”, which provided a theoretical opportunity for the employer to control the employee’s activities, was regarded as more preferable, both in terms of service quality and price. Active development of the laundry networks in the late 19th early 20th century, some of which used machine washing, had little impact on lives of educated citizens. The laundries were oriented, first of all, to work with institutions, and among the “citizens” their services were mainly used by small noble-intellectual families who did not have an opportunity to invite a day labourer. Throughout the post-reform period, handwashing continued to be the most popular way to care for clothing, and the nature of the laundress’s labor remained virtually unchanged, still staying “backbreaking” and extremely poorly mechanized.

Key words: noble-intelligent families, mistress, domestic servants, laundress, laundry, mechanization, clothing, washing, rolling.


Lysenko Yu.A., Rygalova M.V., Yegorenkova Y.N.

The Russian language as a mechanism for integration of the General Government of the Steppes of Russia into the common empire area (second half of the 19th early 20th century)

The problem of homogeneity and integrity of the Russian Empire state territories became topical in the se-cond half of the 19th century. Its resolution was reflected in the administrative and legal integration, based on the policy of Russification and introduction of the Russian language in all spheres of life of the society. The purpose of this article is to reconstruct the mechanisms and particularities of the implementation of this policy in the Central Asian outskirts of the Russian Empire the Governor-Generalship of the Steppes. The study is based on a wide range of hsitorical sources regulations and paperwork, most of which have been identified in archives and introduced into the scientific discourse for first time. It has been revealed that the implementation of the Russification policy in the Steppe Territory followed two directions. The first one involved the introduction of paperwork management in Russian language into the local governments system. This process iniciated very actively in the beginning of the 20th century after the settlement of the legal status of the Russian language in the Russian Empire. Applicants for the positions of volost, aul and kishlak rulers, which were elective, were required to pass an exam on Russian language knowledge the prior to the ballot. Failure in the exam would immediately disqualify the candidate from further electoral process. The second important direction of expanding the influence of the Russian language in the Steppe Territory was the educational policy related to the formation of a secular school education system and the mandatory inclusion of the Russian language course into the educational process. A network of Russian-Kyrgyz, Russian-aul, and missionary schools, Cyrillic-based alphabets for regional languages, educational-methodological literature in Russian were created in the region. The Russian language course became compulsory in programs of Muslim metebas and madrassas to raise the effectiveness of the Russification policy. Until the end of the imperial period, regional authorities failed to form a staff of ethnic officials who could speak Russian. The level of knowledge of the Russian language in the rest of the indigenous population remained extremely low, which was due to unpopularity of the Russian school system. Thus, it can be stated that the potential of the Russian language as a means of integration into the common empire space was not fully utilized. At the same time, it cannot be denied, that Russian culture, historically close to Muslim peoples of the Central Asian region, embodied in the imperial educational system, played a positive role, acting as a conductor of their involvement in the achievements of European civilization.

Key words: Russian Empire, Steppe Territory, Russification, Russian language, local government, school.


Bushmakov A.V., Riazanova S.V.

Adrian Pushkin: Perm experience of the bureaucratic messiahship

This paper presents to the reader’s attention a unique case of a local “messianic” prophecy which combines features of folk religious movements and principles of functioning of the bureaucratic machine. The manuscripts of civil servant and merchant Adrian Pushkin, who lived in the 19th century in the city of Perm (Kama region, Western Ural), are considered as a variation of development of popular religion which includes a messianic-apocalyptic narrative. This places the provincial clerk closely to founders of the alternative to the official Orthodox discourse movements in the Russian Empire, as well as new religious movements of the later period. The aim of this paper is to determine the place and the role of Pushkin’s revelation in the religious space of that historical period. The main sources of the research are local archival documents which include business correspondence, personal letters, photographs, also documents related to Pushkin’s psychiatric examination and his subsequent expulsion to the Solovetsky Monastery, letters and family photos of the “prophet”, and service notes. The research method is based on the phenomenological approach with elements of hermeneutical analysis. The new revelation was founded on biblical text well known to the Perm messiah, and its content was provided by the social and historical context. The targeted audience for the new prophet was the middle strata of the society, comfortable for him. The preferred way of communication involved the tools of the bureaucratic system of pre-revolutionary Russia. The development of the new interpretation of Christian teaching was based on individual choice of the revelator and mediated by already initiated processes of secularization of public life. Traditional narratives and imagery of the sacred books of the Orthodox tradition were placed by the messiah-bureaucrat in the context of local space of the region and the country, and were interpreted through realities of personal life. Open criticism of the official Church was combined with a complex of mythological ideas. The main accents of the prophetic text were apocalyptic and chiliastic, related to the personal and professional crisis experienced by the author. The latter was triggered by the abolition of serfdom and destruction of the habitual environment and self-realization system. The style and content of Pushkin’s text represent a mixture of theological concepts and elements of folk narratives based on the biblical tradition. As a result of the textual development, the signature myth was formed, rooted formally in Christian dogmas and associated with folk religious culture.

Key words: national Orthodoxy, messianic ideas, Perm province, religious prophecy, folk religion, individual religion, Messiah.


Bodrova Î.À., Razumova I.À.

Modern technologies in representation and preservation of the Kola Sami ethnic culture

The paper is based on the latest comprehensive study of representations of the Sami people in Murmansk Region. The aim of the article is to describe and analyse the representations, which are considered as a product of the sociocultural practices which use specific technologies. The latter are regarded as methods and tools of practices aimed at preservation of ethnic culture, including its construction. The subject of this study is textual, visual, objective and animated forms of representations of the Sami culture, as well as interactive and other technologies for imaging and branding of Murmansk Region, preservation of cultural heritage of the Sami, and marketing of regional and ethnic products. For the first time, regional sociocultural practices of actualization and conservation of the tangible and intangible heritage have been analyzed using materials of the Kola Sami culture. The study involved ethnographic field research methods, content analysis of regional printed and network media, description of expositions of the regional ethnographic museums, Sami private collections and archives. The analysis was based on the framework of constructivism methodology of ethnic studies, actor-network theory, sociology of things and memory studies. It has been determined that museums and mass media appear as collective authors of representations. The main commissioner of the technologies of representation and preservation of ethnic and cultural heritage of the Kola Sami of Murmansk Region is the regional government, which uses public and media practices as a managerial tool for the economic and social development of the Region. In the context of development of the ethnocultural tourism, the Sami historical and cultural heritage acts as a very attractive touristic resource which requires new sociocultural technologies, such as various forms of visualization and objectification of ethnic cultural elements, museumification and commercialization of material objects, symbolization and branding of the Sami culture. Sami self-presentations dominate in modern public space and discourse since 2010. At the same time, heteroethnic presentations demonstrate sustainable linguistic modes to describe and to portray Kola Sami people. Construction of cultural models results in reformatting of the Sami ethnic culture, changes of functionality of its elements, and appearance of new ethnocultural forms.

Key words: Sami people, Kola Peninsula (Murmansk oblast), ethnic representations, visual identity, material culture, exhibiting, commemoration, branding.


Avdashkin A.A.

«Chinese» greenhouses in Russian rural space (case of Chelyabinsk Region)

The focus of this article is the problem of formation and development of “Chinese” greenhouses in 2009–2020. The development of migrant infrastructure in rural areas virtually has not been analysed yet by scientists. The purpose of this study is to trace the formation and evolution of ideas about “Chinese” greenhouses among residents of a large Russian region using the example of Chelyabinsk. The source base of the article includes media materials, interviews and archival documents. The regional press is an important source for the analysis of public opinion regarding the “Chinese” greenhouses and concentration of migrants in rural locations. In the summer of 2019, the author gathered a collection of interviews with residents of areas where the “Chinese” greenhouses were operating. Documents from the Chelyabinsk regional archive made it possible to supplement the overall picture of the Chinese migration to the Southern Ural region. The complexity of the study object required the use of a combination of methods. These included free informal interviews, content and discourse press analysis, and historical imagology. Our study shows that the formation of temporary economic facilities in rural areas has been perceived by the population as an irreversible ethnicization of space. This caused an increase of anxiety. In the media discourse and in collective mentality of the inhabitants, the ideas of “Chinese” greenhouses created images of “expansion” and numerousness of Chinese migrants. Around the greenhouses, a complex of notions of threats was formed (seizing and “spoiling” of land, tax evasion, low-quality vegetables, etc.). The concept of “Chinese” greenhouses has incorporated a large number of meanings that are understandable without further explanation: from the organization of rural space to a set of markers defining closed locations. Today there are practically no “Chinese” greenhouses in Chelyabinsk Region, they remain as a media, but not a spatial object. What was left out of sight of most observers is the temporality of the greenhouse complexes, the lack of any infrastructure for their long-term existence. Therefore, even theoretically, the “Chinese” greenhouses could not develop into full-fledged settlements (Chinatowns) in rural areas.

Key words: “Chinese” greenhouses, Chinese, rural space, migrants, ethnicity.


Dzhanyzakova S.D.

«I prefer to work for myself»: the entrepreneurship for migrants from Central Asia in a Siberian city (the case study of Tomsk)

Together with educational migrants, foreign citizens from Central Asian republics come to Tomsk for the purpose of earning, focusing on construction business, market trade, and wage labour and entrepreneurship services. The article presents three cases of business activities of labour migrants in Tomsk. Field data was collected in 2016 and 20182019. Research methods include biographical interviews of migrants from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan in their workplace, and ethnographic observation of their enterprise. As a result, the main pathways of the interviewees in entrepreneurship have been identified. It has been found that migrants accumulate experience, develop social ties, form networks around themselves, and only then they go autonomous and open their own business. Moving from one country to another, changing employment areas from unskilled hard physical labour to business ownership in Russia, they demonstrate the ability to respond flexibly to changing hosting society and market conditions. The role of Russian citizenship for opening and registration of business has also been consi-dered. As a result, the strategy of union with locals” has been identified, which provides the business and its owner with social and material resources, as well as juridical legalization. A significant conclusion of the research into migrant entrepreneurship in catering, retail and provision of various types of services is that such businesses do not appear as an ethnic locale and a migrant space, but are rather integrated into the city-wide infrastructure. The activities of such “spots” are primarily aimed at representatives of the local population who live or work in walking distance from the enterprises. The study has revealed that ethnicity and migrant status are used by businessmen depending on the situation, yet they do organize all social networks and connections primarily through interaction with those who are easy, beneficial, whom they trust, with whom they intersect in space, which presents a problem when applying the theory of ethnic entrepreneurship to analyse the Russian case of migrant businesses.

Key words: migrants-entrepreneurs, ethnicity, migrantness, Tomsk.