Rethinking Local Identities in the Russian North: Youth Seeking Purity

Rethinking Local Identities in the Russian North:
Youth Seeking Purity

Chernysheva N.S.

Junior Researcher, Center for Youth Studies, National Research University Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Andreeva A.S.

PhD Student, HSE University – St. Petersburg, Research Assistant, Centre for Youth Studies HSE University, St. Petersburg, Russia

Kuziner E.N.

Junior Researcher, Center for Youth Studies, National Research University Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg, Russia.

ID of the Article:

Grant RSF № 21-18-00122.

For citation:

Chernysheva N.S., Andreeva A.S., Kuziner E.N. Rethinking Local Identities in the Russian North: Youth Seeking Purity. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2023. No 12. P. 136-145


The paper focuses on how the youth from the ethnic regions of the Russian North reinterprets their local identity. For this study, we have chosen three cities where citizens preserve their ethnic history and culture: Pomors in Arkhangelsk, Karelians in Petrozavodsk, and Komi in Syktyvkar. Referring to the model by P.L. Kroopkin, the authors analyze natural and manmade senses of both territorial and cultural symbols underlying local identities. Singling out the ethnic, urban, and Northern identities in the narratives of young citizens in the three cities, the authors demonstrate how the current social processes create conditions for rethinking local identities. The authors show that the North’ youth’ local identities are linked not to cities but to complex natural and socio-economic agglomerations. Rethinking local identities is guided by the interest in authentic symbols, as dictated by the demand for sacral purity.

youth; local identity; urban identity; ethnic identity; Northern identity; sacral purity; northwest Russia; Russian North


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Content No 12, 2023