Adaev V.N.

Description of extreme adaptation: huvash settlers of the 20th century in deep Siberian forests

The article is aimed at analysing ethnocultural adaptation that is close to the possible limit. It is proposed to single out extreme adaptation as a separate field of studies in cultural ecology. The term is to be understood as a forced rapid adaptation of an ethnic group to drastically changing environmental factors, occurring under the conditions of high stress for the community. The research is conducted as an ethnographic case study and its data were obtained via semi-structured interviews and archival document review. The study focuses on the history of three Chuvash peasant families who fled the political repression of the 1930s to the adjacent back country — the upper Demyanka River area (Uvatsky district of the Tyumen region, Russia). It was a remote and isolated taiga region covered with dense forests and vast swamps, a land of hunters and reindeer herders where farming was considered to be hard and unprofitable. The Chuvash families were typical farmers who had come to Western Siberia from the European part of Russia in 1900–1920s due to land shortages. The Chuvash, initially poorly adapted to the life in the taiga and inexperienced in forest foraging, managed to cope with the extreme adaptation to a new area over a short time. An important result of the adaptation consisted in the families creating a new local type of the subsistence system with priority being given to agriculture and livestock farming, while hunting and fishing were a complementary part of the economy. Their way of life proved to be very stable and reliable under the most difficult conditions. First of all, the Chuvash laboriously built a strong peasant base of their eco-nomy, in the fullest measure possible, despite all of the local difficulties and efforts required. In addition, the Chuvash increasingly adopted the foraging experience: initially from the neighbouring Russian and Polish taiga settlers, and soon directly from the most skilled peoples in this matter — the Khanty and Evenki. Moreover, while acquiring the skills, the Chuvash were persistent in mastering the subtleties of each trade (sometimes much better than other local settlers), as well as in rethinking and transforming them according to their own experiences and economic preferences.

Key words: Siberian ethnography, cultural ecology, Irtysh region, political repression, forced migration, refugees, peoples of the North.


Bogordayeva A.A.

Features of the Ob-Ugrian cenotaphs according to the ethnographic data of the late 19th — early 21st century

In this study, the author set out to determine the features of Ob-Ugrian cenotaphs of the 19th — early 21st century. Using comparative historical and typological methods, the author analysed the ethnographic literature of this period, as well as field materials obtained during the expeditions of 2005–2010 (Beryozovsky District, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area — Yugra; Shuryshkarsky District, Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area). Expeditionary methods of work included survey, photofixation and observation. As a result of field research conducted near one of the settlements of the Northern Khanty on the Synya River, an ura – a location of cenotaphs and houses for the dolls representing people who died tragically – was studied. An analysis of available materials revealed that, in the period under study, the Northern and Eastern Khanty, as well as Northern Mansi established a tradition of building cenotaphs in the following cases: 1) a person died as a result of a tragic accident (drowning, hypothermia, suicide, etc.); 2) a person died of natural causes (old age, illness, etc.) far from his homeland and was buried in a foreign land. The need to build a cenotaph in the above-mentioned cases was dictated by traditional ideas about human souls and their reincarnations. In general, cenotaphs are no different in appearance from ordinary burials. They also had traditional gravestones, next to which personal belongings of the deceased, inclu-ding vehicles, clothing, etc. were left. The grave and coffin, where people put all the necessary grave goods (clothing, ware, personal belongings), were made in the traditional way as well. The main feature of a cenotaph consists in the body being replaced by the clothes of the deceased (Northern Khanty and Mansi) or a clothed doll (Salym Khanty). In addition, it should be taken into account that formerly the cenotaphs were built away from the cemetery, on its outskirts or even near the place of death (drowning).

Key words: burial rite, cenotaph, the doll depicting the deceased, doll depicting the dead, Khanty, Mansi, burial facility, the grave, necropolis, grave house, shrine, sarcophagus, little house on the stump.


Bobrov I.V., Cherepanov M.S., Shisheliakina A.L.

Orthodox landscape of the Tyumen Region: location, number and demographic composition of urban prayer meetings

Description of regional Orthodox landscapes has been one of the crucial tasks of religious studies in Russia. Despite the growing number of publications on this issue, researchers make a point that this work should be continued in order to identify changes in the characteristics under consideration. The present article was written on the basis of field research conducted in Tyumen, Ishim and Yalutorovsk (Tyumen region, Russia) in 2015–2016 and covers the location, number and demographic composition of Orthodox prayer meetings. In this work, we provide data on the city of Tyumen (including information on churches that have been erected there since 2009), as well as present materials on Ishim and Yalutorovsk for the first time. In addition, we demonstrate changes in the Orthodox landscape of the regional centre using the results of research conducted in Tyumen from 2005 to 2009. In the course of field research, non-participant structured observation was used as the main method, with analysis of Orthodox mass media being used to refine the obtained data. The results show a positive dynamics in the number of faith practitioners in Tyumen. In this work, we described the demographic composition of believers in three cities of the region and determined factors affecting the distribution of believers among urban churches. The number of parishioners in Tyumen churches has increased by more than one and a half times at ferial Sunday liturgies; almost by two times on Palm Sundays; and by a quarter at the Easter services. This growth is associated with the distribution of the increased urban population among new churches built near the expanding residential areas of the regional centre. It should be noted that women of middle and advanced age still constitute the largest demographic groups at urban collective services. In comparison with Tyumen, the churches of Yalutorovsk and Ishim are attended by a higher percentage of elderly parishioners. The main factors affecting the church attendance include the status of a church in the Orthodox hierarchy, the church’s capacity and its location. Most well-attended churches are situated in the downtown, have a special status (cathedral church, Stauropegic church, a church on the territory of an eparchial monastery) and are more spacious.

Key words: Orthodox landscape of Russia, Orthodox Christians, Tyumen region, religious practices, structured observation.


Leibovich O.L.

Bestiary in the party discourse of 1940–1950

The present article covers issues associated with changes in the party language in the late Stalinist era and aims to determine the meaning expressed by the changed linguistic forms in the official communication of CPSU(B.) members in 1946–1953 within the current Perm Territory. In this work, the method of thick description was employed (C. Geertz). The author studied two types of materials found in the archives of regional party organisations: 1. documents prepared by the party authorities (official speeches, fables and feuilletons); 2. requests and complaints addressed to the authorities. The novelty of the study consists in introducing archival materials previously unknown to researchers; revealing the cultural aspect of reviving the fable in the Soviet press; identifying sociocultural functions of fable characters; defining the status of folklore imagery in the political communication of the Perm Territory residents. A historical and anthropological analysis of materials revealed that since the mid-1940s the party language incorporated the folk language full of animal and bird imagery. Apart from editorials and resolutions, the newspaper publications of political nature also included fables. The fable became an important literary genre, constituting an artificial analogue of rural folklore, adapted to the pressing tasks that the party faced: the formation of a mythological worldview among the general Soviet public, as well as the fight against the bourgeois remnants in the consciousness and behaviour of the Soviet people. In line with the literary tradition, the officially approved animals (bears, hares, foxes, etc.) personified vices that had to be eradicated: bureaucracy, conceit, cosmopolitanism, or lack of patriotism, utilitarian approach, egoism, heavy drinking, etc. The introduction of folklore images suggests growing archaisation of the Soviet culture associated with the new party recruits — individuals from collective farm villages and first-generation industrial workers. The archaisation of the language used by the authorities constituted a side effect of the government’s policy of cultural isolation. The studied materials indicate that the ample use of clear folklore imagery in the party language simplified communication between the upper and lower classes of the party in the late Stalinist era. The language of the authorities became more accessible to its recipients. In turn, citizens could use common forms of verbal behaviour when dealing with government institutions. At the same time, the partial replacement of the Bolshevik language, canonised in the Short Course of the History of the CPSU (B.), with fabulous imagery subsequently lead to the depoliticisation of the Soviet culture.

Key words: Ural, 1945–1953, nomenclature culture, party language, folklore images.


Shirinkina N.A.

Senior citizens of the Perm Territory and fears associated with new technologies

The present article covers the formation and functioning of socio-cultural fears that have developed among pensioners from the provincial towns of the Perm Territory (Urals). Fears are considered as stable forms of understanding the current social reality. This reality becomes relevant to people whose habitual way of life (work-life balance) has abruptly changed. The author provides an analysis of various methodological approaches to studying fears in the Russian society. In particular, P. Shtompka considered fear to be the primary emotion accompanying cultural trauma. Reference to the concepts of cultural divide, contradiction of old and new meanings is of methodological importance for this study. The empirical study employed a qualitative approach, with semi-structured focused one-to-one interview being chosen as the research method. The empirical base of the study consists of 22 interviews with the senior citizens of Perm and Kungur (Perm Territory). The selection of informants was carried out in 2018–2019 using the snowball method to form the sample population. Using materials of the interview, consumer fears were grouped according to their causes: 1. credit practices and banking products; 2. growing role of modern technologies in everyday life and its consequences; 3. food. The author makes a suggestion about the causes of fears shared by the third generation. Senior citizens are afraid of new payment methods, payment terminals, queue management systems, mobile devices and household appliances. Fears associated with the use of new devices and technologies are complex. Senior citizens are afraid not only of new devices and technologies but also of the unreliability of information about them. The fears are rationalised with the help of the media, in particular, television, where the fears are supported by authority figures (scientists, doctors). Consumer fears stem from a fixed mindset and deep-rooted stereotypes in relation to everything new and alien. The fear of new social conditions and norms finds its continuation in a wide range of specific household and consumer fears.

Key words: consumer practices, social fear, people of the third age, cultural trauma, digital technologies, household appliances.