Perevalova E.V., Danilova E.N.

Cauldrons in the cultural traditions of the Ob Ugrians and Samoyeds: à sacral aspect

The ritual attitude towards the cauldron as the sacred vessel can be found in all religious practices. Archaeological and ethnographic materials indicate the incredible versatility and polysymbolism of the cauldron in the cultures of the Ob Ugrians and Samoyeds. The first part of this research, which was published in the previous issue of the present Journal, covered the archaeological context along with the functional, morphological and social aspects associated with the cauldron as a unique ethnocultural phenomenon. The second part presented here aims to consider the sacral aspect of the cauldron. The conducted archaeological and ethnographic research was based on a structural-semiotic approach. In this article, we analyse field ethnographic materials collected during long-term fieldwork (1980s–2018) from Northern (Synya, Voykar, Sob, Kunovat, Polui, Ob, Polar Urals), Eastern and Southern (Salym, Yugan, Pim, Tromyogan, Agan, Vakh) Khanty; Northern and Western Mansi (Northern Sosva, Lyapin and Lozva Rivers); tundra and forest Nenets (Yamal Peninsula, Pur and Agan Rivers). The materials of research carried out in Western Siberia and the Urals were also applied. The use of cauldrons in rituals and rites is characterized by a wide diversity and local variability of traditions. Judging by the information presented in the article, the cauldron plays the roles of a divine sacrifice-gift, a guard-talisman, as well as a home-receptacle for gods and the souls of people. The cauldron concentrates the energy of life through participating in the rites of birth-rebirth and the cult of Mother Earth. Besides cult practices, the multifunctional character of the cauldron manifests itself in the funeral and memorial rites of the Nenets, Khanty and Mansi. Cauldrons from burials, as well as products made thereof (masks, mountings, brackets), indicate the social status of the deceased. Cauldrons act as a guard and a receptacle for the soul of the deceased and/or his posthumous image; they are used as an accompanying item and a vessel for preparing ritual food.

Key words: North-Western Siberia, the Ob Ugrians, the Samoyeds, cauldron, energy, symbol, the spiritual and ritual practices.


Goncharov Yu.M.

Housing conditions in Western Siberia in the second half of the 19th early 20th century

The study of housing conditions in Western Siberia in the second half of the 19th early 20th century constitutes an important and scientifically relevant problem of everyday history. Housing conditions are one of the most important indicators of the level and lifestyle of the population. This subject matter has so far received little attention from historians. The study is aimed at identifying the specifics of the housing conditions in an important province of the late Russian Empire. In order to study provincial housing conditions in the second half of the 19th early 20th century, a fairly wide range of sources was used: records of city magistracies; statistical studies, with one-day city censuses being of particular value; memoirs of contemporaries; periodicals, etc. The concept of the dwelling existing in the cities of pre-revolutionary Russia differed slightly from that in rural areas. While in villages the concept of the dwelling, as a rule, meant a ‘family home’, in towns, the concepts of ‘flat’ or ‘room’ were of particular importance. Some townspeople lived in their own houses, others rented out their property (‘apartments’, ‘rooms’ or even ‘part of a room’), while those having no property were forced to rent it. One of the most common types of buildings was a two-family house, whose lower floor was usually occupied by the owners and the upper floor was rented out. Most of the buildings were modest-looking, with many of them being battened and painted. Most often the territory of the yard was fenced, with a large high gate being placed in the middle of the fence, behind which there was a house on the left; outbuildings and sheds on the right; stables at the back of the house; as well as a vegetable garden next to the house. The housing conditions varied significantly among different population groups. Changes that occurred in the housing conditions in the region in the second half of the 19th the beginning of the 20th century were primarily associated with the socio-economic development of post-reform Siberia. Rapid population growth often resulted in slum development. Urban planning reflects new trends, intensified following the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway, which helped overcome the economic and cultural isolation from the central regions of the Empire.

Key words: Siberia, city, the 19th century, the beginning of the 20th century, house, dwelling, estates.


Templing V.Ia.

Consolidation of the rural medical community in the Tobolsk Governorate in the early 20th century

The present article is aimed at studying district congresses of rural doctors from the Tobolsk Governorate, a unique phenomenon in the history of the Siberian medical community. Congresses are considered to be an integral part and development indicator of the corporate social initiative, as well as the professional interaction of medical specialists. On the basis of documents being introduced into scientific circulation for the first time, the author analysed the activity of rural doctors within the paradigm of the general theory of modernisation, as well as characterised the materials of meetings, the range of issues under discussion, main recommendations and results. It is shown that the activity of the medical community was not limited to the work of scientific and practical societies of governorate centres it was much wider and richer. The fact of holding two provincial and a number of district congresses in the Tobolsk Governorate (from 1903 to 1912) was established. District congresses became a place for establishing personal contacts between doctors, sharing opinions and experiences, formulating proposals, which were then discussed at the governorate forum and laid the foundation for administrative decisions. They demonstrated a strong motivation of rural specialists in medicine, which in fact began to develop in Siberia only starting from the late 1880s, for professional consolidation and for the development of common approaches to solving regional problems. The materials of district congresses also prove the formation of a new health model among the rural population, characteristic of modern society. A doctor became a familiar and necessary element of the social environment for a peasant. It should be noted that district congresses were not large-scale, they were not public mouthpieces, did not become the driving force of reforms and the generator of significant public projects. Their history was too short; the level of rural medicine and, in general, the entire medicine of the governorate was too low. Nevertheless, the need for professional consolidation and communication turned out to be so strong that it allowed doctors, albeit with the support of the administration, to carry out serious preparatory work in districts and hold two governorate congresses. Clearly, this constitutes definite evidence of qualitative changes in the state of the local medical community.

Key words: professional community, history of medicine, doctors’ convention, rural medicine, medical station, feldsher station, hospital, non-governmental initiative.


Kisser T.S.

Social movement of Ural Germans in 1989–2019 (ethnic projects and leaders)

The present article considers the history of the social movement of Russian Germans in the Urals, as well as the factors in its formation, on the basis of previously unknown sources (archival and field materials obtained by the author). The Germans of the Urals formed as a single community in the second half of the 20th century, as a result of deportation, labour mobilisation (1942–1946) and a special settlement regime (1948–1955). The author concludes that the modern social movement contributes to the ethnocultural development of the German population in Russia through various projects aimed at the preservation of history, memory, language and culture. As a result of the activists' activities in the Urals, a network of German associations has formed: centres of German culture, meeting centres, national-cultural autonomies, «Rebirth» society, Russian-German houses, etc. The social movement of Ural Germans plays a key role in ethnocultural development. It emerged in the setting of the mass emigration of Germans to their homeland, both ‘from below’ at the initiative of Germans themselves aiming to preserve the history and culture of their people, and ‘from above’ with the aim of unifying and controlling the mood of the German population. Currently, German organisations initiate their ethnocultural projects directed at the preservation of historical memory, culture, language, as well as other foundations for ethnocultural heritage. For example, creative groups have become a place where ethnicity is updated, where Germans feel like Germans, using their native language and preserving folk traditions. In all projects, a significant, if not decisive, role is played by the personal position of leaders. To some extent, ethnic leaders devote themselves to their people and find self-fulfilment in the field of ethnicity, complementing and revitalising it with their initiatives. Our studies show that the ethnocultural potential of Ural Germans is most effectively realised if ethnic leaders, both socio-political and in the cultural sphere, are active, which helps preserve the cultural heritage of the community. The socio-political leaders of Ural Germans represented by E.A. Grib and O.F. Shtraler emerged at the height of the ethnic movement and the establishment of self-organisation of Russian Germans in the late 1990s early 2000s. The areas and motives of their activities, on the one hand, were associated with personal self-realisation and, on the other, were explained by the desire to preserve the ethnocultural heritage of Germans whose number reduced sharply due to mass emigration. Their activities are reflected in numerous projects whose success contributes to the formation of the regional identity of the Germans in the Urals through a system of self-organisation.

Key words: Russian Germans, Ural, social movement, self-organization, national-cultural autonomy, leaders, ethnoprojects.


Iagafova E.A., Bazhina E.V.

Samara Tatars: features of ethnic identification and interethnic interaction practices in a multinational metropolis

The article considers the current features of ethnocultural identification and interethnic relations of Samara Tatars by examining their urban community, which formed in the 18th–20th centuries. The study is aimed at determining the features associated with the formation and preservation of the ethnocultural identity of Samara Tatars, as well as the practice of their interethnic interaction in a metropolis. The research is based on the materials of a field survey of Samara Tatars conducted by the authors in 2017–2019, as well as on the analysis of statistical and published data on the history and current situation in the Tatar community of Samara. The research methodology is based on the concept of ‘ethnic boundaries’ formed in the course of intra-ethnic and interethnic interaction, within which individual and group forms of ethnic identity are manifested. The study focuses on the cultural and linguistic characteristics of the community under study (language, material culture, religious and ritual traditions, etc.), which determine the nature of interethnic contacts and the features of ethnocultural identification in the group. The study revealed that the origin, nationality of parents and ancestors constitute the basis of ethnic identity of Samara Tatars, which, despite the loss of the language, ensures ethnic reproduction of the group. The Tatar language plays a significant role in the formation of ethnic identity and intra-ethnic communication for a significant part of Samara Tatars; however, it is functionally inferior to the Russian language in the private and public spheres. The role of the kinship group is significant; thanks to it, ethnic traditions in diet, as well as in the spheres of religion and festivities are mastered and observed. Despite the fact that a number of elements have lost their original, utilitarian significance in culture, they continue to influence the process of ethnic identification of community members as symbolic markers of ethnicity. Folk heritage, as well as professional culture, make a certain contribution to the foundation for the ethnicity of Samara Tatar. The activities of Tatar public organisations also contribute to transmitting ethnocultural experience to the younger generation. The long history of the urban Tatar community in Samara constitutes a powerful resource for the local ethnocultural identification of its members as ‘Samara Tatars’, as well as an incentive for integration into the modern multicultural space of the region.

Key words: Tatars, ethnic identity, interethnic interaction, Samara, ethnic culture, Tatar language.


Ryazanova S.V.

Fantastic theology of Robert Sheckley: A pseudo-secular world

The article considers one of the views on God existing within the modern Western literary tradition and outside of religious systems. The image of God was chosen as a cultural phenomenon relevant for interpretation, which exists both in religious and secular discourse. The research involved the creative heritage of Robert Sheckley – one of the most popular authors of fantastic literature in the mid-20th century. The analysis was based on fantastic tales, since they provide the opportunity to prove all strategies for social behaviour, as well as different views on life. The image of God created by Sheckley was reconstructed using intertextual analysis, which helps identify original mythological and religious narratives and individual allusions. This provides the opportunity to define the features of Sheckley's individual fantastic theology and find the reasons for using the image of God in secular literature. The analysis revealed that the used religious names, denominations and plots bear only formal similarity with the traditional ones. They are used and interpreted arbitrarily. God is interpreted as being anthropomorphic, pragmatic, partial and not interested in the fate of his creation. Communication with God is described as commercialised and is built on the model of the consumer society. The works of Sheckley indicate the possibility and necessity of contact between the man and God with the obligatory personal participation of the individual. The American writer creates texts that are modernised in terms of the plot using traditional Christian ideas about the spiritual development of people and the need to preserve the Christian value system as a universal one. In this connection, Sheckley offers possible behavioural models for the created image of God.

Key words: Christianity, modern fantastic tales, theology, image of God, Christian ideas, Robert Shekley.