“On the brink of Europe’s ecumene” (Nenets’ life in the township of Varnek)
M.V. Lomonosov Northern (Arctic) Federal University, Arkhangelsk, Russia email@example.com
Don State Technical University, Rostov-on-Don, Russia firstname.lastname@example.org
The article presents results of research of collective self-preservation issue in the societies living in remote inaccessible areas of the European Russia North. The authors took part in an Arctic expedition organized in 2015 by Northern (Arctic) Federal University and cоnducted a study in remote settlements of Arkhangelsk region. Analysis of social practices aimed at cultural self-preservation of the Nenets’ settlement “Varnek” (island of Vaigach on the border of the Barents and Kara Seas of the Arctic Ocean). The authors identify forms of social relations, which have been used by the imperial authorities of the Arkhangelsk province to organize life of the Nenets in the Novaya Zemlya (ban on alcoholic beverages, communal life of former nomadic individualists, organization of school system and health care, spread of Russian life forms, food, clothing), and Soviet policy to include the Nenets in the national legal, social, economic, cultural space. In 1990th this activity was discontinued, but was reproduced in some forms by the population. As a result, township preserves a symbiosis of traditional forms of social life and innovations. The study of self-preservation strategies and practices of the resident population of the northern territories offers concrete empirical data to address reproducing labor force for the Far North. The use of relatively cheap “shift method” (temporary migrant workers) can lead to costly, several times higher than the benefits, government spending on the maintenance of social and cultural infrastructure for the migrant workers and on the negative consequences that can occur when long-isolated people are not united by common socio-cultural traditions.