The people of the Arctic in the space of Russia: interdisciplinary approaches to the translocal communities  

Zamyatina N.Yu., Liarskaya E.V.



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Thå paper is based on the results of the “Arctic connections: people and infrastructures” project (2018–2021) which was aimed at interdisciplinary study of modern population of the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation. The paper is focused on the study of social support networks and their spatial distribution. We combine socioanthropological (qualitative) and economic-geographical (quantitative) methods of research and analysis; the field data obtained as the result of in-depth interviews and observation of the participants were corroborated by rigorous quantitative analysis of available demographic data. For the anthropological analysis we use the prism of translocality and transnationalism, which enable an understanding of the structure of lives of people who do not reside in only one place but are connected by many ties and relationships to a whole range of localities. The family life of the northerners is often distributed between several localities, scattered across the whole country, and sometimes beyond its borders. The location of these ‘bases’ depends primarily on the configuration of each family’s social networks. We call this ‘a distributed way of life’. The quantitative analysis was carried out using the methodology of calculating the Migration Indices of Proportionality of (spatial) Structure (MIPS) of departures and arrivals of the migrants, proposed by O.L. Rybakovsky. The geographical scope of the study is the entire Arctic zone of the Russian Federation, as well as the regions most connected with the Arctic by migration ties (the southern part of the Tyumen region, Kurgan, Kaliningrad, Belgorod, Kirov Regions, etc.). The results of the study revealed close interregional migration ties between the groups of regions that are significantly spatially separated from each other: 1) between the majority of the regions of the Far North, on one hand, and Kaliningrad and Belgorod Regions on the other; 2) between Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug and the Republics of Dagestan and Bashkortostan; 3) between Yamalo-Nenets Okrug and the Republic of Bashkortostan and the Omsk and Kurgan regions, as well as the south of the Tyumen Region; 4) between Nenets Autonomous Okrug and Kirov Region. The qualitative studies have shown how the migration flows in these areas increase due to established social ties, which in some cases are sustained already for several generations. In the paper, the importance of the influence of interregional social ties, both for the Arctic and for the country in general, is demonstrated. The authors demonstrate how these connections between the “northern” and “non-northern” regions, which are separated by about a 1000 km distance, lead to such close relations which are more characteristic of relationships between a population center and its nearest periphery. This ultra-distant social proximity is a vivid manifestation of the specifics of the Russian North and Arctic.
Keywords: Arctic, migrations, translocal communities, agglomeration of flows, proximity.


Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Accepted: 03.03.2021

Article is published: 15.06.2022


Zamyatina N.Yu., Lomonosov Moscow State University, Leninskie gory, GSP-1, Moscow 119991, Russian Federation, E-mail:,


Liarskaya E.V., European University at St. Petersburg, Gagarinskaya st., 6/1A, St. Petersburg, 191187, Russian Federation, E-mail:,