Diachenko V.I.

From kip to leather: revisiting the reconstruction of the traditional technology of material processing among the Altai people (early 20th century)

Based on the analysis of literary and archival sources, all stages of hand currying of animal skins, representing the full cycle of technological processes of their transformation into leather among the Northern and Southern Altaians, are reconstructed. The main materials about the work of the Altai tanners are drawn from the sources of the 1930s — the time when traditional leather currying was a mundane task in every family of cattle breeders or hunters. The main techniques of manual processing of hides and the basic stages of their transformation into leather are considered. The purposes and results of each stage of the technological process in the production of leather material are shown: preservation, soaking, grounding, dehairing, impregnation with special solutions for the purpose of fermentation, tanning, softening, and smoke-drying of the skin. Like other pastoral and hunting peoples, the Altaians sewed fur clothing and footwear, for which purpose they used a composition made from fermented crushed liver and brain of animals to loosen the “bakhtarma” (the reverse side of the skin) and preserve the hair on the skin. When currying sheepskin, the Teleuts, who were engaged in agriculture, used grain crops for the same purpose, preparing liquid dough for impregnation and tanning of the skin. Following the currying, the hide (skin) was smoke-dried. Soaked in fat and smoked skin did not harden in the rain and snow, and in summer its smell repelled mosquitoes and parasites. The result of laborious and time-consuming operations carried out by the ancient Altai tanners was the mastery of the technique of producing rawhide and tanned leather, as well as the manufacture of suede, which were used for the production of traditional clothing, footwear, objects of worship (shamanic drums) and everyday life. The southern Altaians even in the first third of the last century preserved the ancient tradition of sheepskin softening by fingernails. Women used their teeth to soften tough rawhide. One of the wooden implements for leather softening — edrek (Rus.: myalka), widely used in the cultures of nomads of the steppes and taiga, — still existed, according to the findings of archaeologists, among the early nomads of the Hunno-Sarmatian epoch (2nd c. BC — 5th c. AD). The results obtained by the study can be used to popularize the knowledge about environmentally friendly technological methods in the production of leather and peculiarities of local Altai traditions in the manufacture of hides by hand.

Keywords: Altaians, rawhide, scraper, tanning, tannins, smoking skins, chamois.


Kiselev S.B.

Nomadic reindeer herding of the Kanin Peninsula and its transformations (the first third of the 20th century — first quarter of the 21st century)

The territory of the Kanin Peninsula is a part of Nenets Autonomous District (the north of European Russia), and it borders on the south with the Mezen River basin. The Kanin Tundra occupies almost the entire area of the peninsula. The Kanin Peninsula is the most western region of traditional inhabitance of the Nenets and Izhma Komi ethnic groups. Historically, the nomadic economy of local reindeer herders was based on combination of reindeer husbandry, hunting and fishing. In this paper, different types of nomadic reindeer herding in the region in the first third of the 20th century and transformations currently occurring in the traditional economy are analyzed. The main research sources are represented by the materials of the Circumpolar Census of 1926/27 and materials of the author’s field studies. In the paper, principal components of nomadic reindeer herding in the region were studied, such as herd size and composition, migrations routes etc. Moreover, the factors determining specifics of the economic structure of the Nenets and Izhma Komi groups are analyzed, namely, the nature of interactions between the nomadic and sedentary populations of the region and the degree of orientation toward the “market” of nomadic economies. Characteristics of three basic types of the nomadic economy (hunting-and-fishing, mixed, and large herding) are given. The economic focus of households was determining the content of all elements of the traditional lifestyle. In the early 1930s, collectivization began in the region, and the nomadic reindeer husbandry started developing within collective and state farms; there existed nomadic reindeer herding. This circumstance greatly affected the nomadic economy of the region. In the early 1990s, collective and state farms were transformed into agricultural cooperatives. Comparing the nomadic economy of the two selected periods, it is concluded that the role of the reindeer husbandry in the occupational structure of the Nenets and Izhma Komi groups is currently increasing due to concentration of the industry within cooperatives. At the same time, the role of other occupations (hunting and fishing) is decreasing along with the loss of the natural foundations of the nomadic economy.

Keywords: European North of Russia, Kanin Peninsula, XX century, Nenets, Komi-Izhemtsy, traditional economy, nomadic reindeer herding.


Smetanin F.A.

Religious leaders as actors in the production of Islamic spaces in Tomsk

The purpose of this paper is to determine the degree of influence of mosques and spiritual leaders, as centers of the “Muslim” religious realm, on the development and distribution of the network infrastructure labeled as “Islamic” and, in a broader sense, of the “Islamic” urban space. The research hypothesis is that religious leaders constitute an informal mechanism of including food courts, shops, and other urban locations in the religious realm. Particular attention is paid to the activities of the religious leaders in integrating social and economic infrastructure into religious networks by distinguishing it as “halal” and “correct”, as well as to the specifics of consumption of goods and services. The work is based on the materials obtained in the course of observation of the spaces of Tomsk marked as “Islamic”. Semi-formalized interviews with the imams and parishioners of the Red and White Cathedral Mosques conducted by the author in 2018–2021 were used. As a result of the study, it was found that there is an “Islamic” identified infrastructure in Tomsk, in the creation and editing of which imams are actively involved. The “nodes” of this infrastructure are mosques, which at certain points in time become not only religious centers, but also connecting networks for promotion of “halal” goods, food and services. Religious leaders, primarily imams of the mosques, facilitate the development of trade, educational, entertainment and other networks which are peripheral to the mosques. The mosque and the imam representing it act as a source of legitimation for these economic networks. The network becomes part of the “Islamic” urban space, while the direct participation of the imam in its activities becomes an important informal marker of integration of a fragment of the infrastructure into the religious network. In addition, competition between the religious communities of the two mosques in Tomsk leads to expansion of “Muslim” networks in the city. Also, the spread of the “Islamic” infrastructure is facilitated by the growing demand for “halal” goods and services from outside the religious realm: among non-Muslims, “halal” is turning into a brand of “environmentally friendly” product.

Keywords: Tomsk, Islam, mosque, social networks, religious field, urban infrastructure.


Poplavsky R.O., Cherepanov M.S., Bobrov I.V., Shisheliakina A.L.

The Protestant landscape of the Tyumen Region: locations, size, and demographic composition of urban church meetings

Modern sociological studies of Protestantism are focused mainly on how communities are formed and develop in the context of their relations with the state and between themselves, personal stories of the believers, and contents and forms of conducting religious practices. Researchers often neglect to describe the numbers and demographic characteristics of practicing believers, and to analyze changes of these parameters over time. In this paper, based on the materials of the field research conducted in Tyumen, Tobolsk, Ishim, and Yalutorovsk in 2014–2016, we identify the locations, demographic composition, and size dynamics of the Protestant prayer meetings. The paper showcases new data on Tyumen accounting for the associations which appeared after 2011 and for the first time presents materials on Tobolsk, Ishim, and Yalutorovsk. Non-participant structured observation was the principal method of the field research. Analysis of photographic documents posted on the web-sites and web-pages of the Protestant associations, as well as interviews with religious specialists were used as additional methods. We observed that there was an increase in the number of Protestant associations from 2008 to 2016: the number of the associations in Tyumen increased by five and about five new communes appeared in the other cities. The most attended weekly prayer meetings were recorded in Tyumen in 2016. They gathered up to 200 people. The largest services in Ishim and Yalutorovsk in 2015 were attended by up to 70 people. The communal prayers in Tobolsk in 2014 were attended by up to 170 people. We have identified the following factors that influence the size of the prayer meetings: ownership of the premises by the association and the period of its activity in the region. Communes who have their own premises are larger than those renting an office or a building of another Protestant association. Also, churches formed in the early or mid-1990s feature the largest numbers of the parishioners. It was found that in all studied cities middle-aged women represent the largest group of the parishioners, which is consistent with the results of research in other Russian cities and towns.

Keywords: Protestant landscape of the Russian Federation, Protestants, Tyumen Region, religious practices, structured observation.


Tychinskikh Z.A.

Where did the Tobolsk and Tyumen Bukharans “disappear” to (historical and demographic characteristic of the ethno-estate group at the end of the 19th — first third of the 20th c.)

One of the significant ethnic components that became part of the Siberian-Tatar community at the later stages of ethnogenesis were Bukharans / Siberian Bukharans. This ethnic group emerged in Western Siberia during the 16th–19th centuries from migrants from Central Asia. Despite the considerable amount of research on the Siberian Bukharans, transformation of this ethno-estate group in the twentieth century and the process of its inclusion into the group of Siberian Tatars remain an underexplored question. The aim of this work is to study the ethno-demographic processes that took place among the Siberian Bukharians at the end of the 19th — first third of the 20th century. Based on the materials of the First General Census of 1897, the All-Union Census of 1926, and other statistical sources, historical and demographic characteristics of the Bukharan population of Western Siberia at the end of the 19th — first third of the 20th century are given. The dynamics of changes in their numbers, settling and composition that had occurred since the end of the 19th century is considered. Special attention is paid to the problem of assimilation of the Bukharans by the Siberian Tatars in the aspect of the question of their “disappearance” in the districts of the Ural Region according to the Census of 1926. It has been revealed that, as a result of the zoning carried out in the 1920s by the Soviet state, the accounting system of the Bukharans and Tatars changed. The problem of the specifics of the tax relations of different estates of the Turkic-Tatar population, which existed earlier, disappeared with the arrival of the new government and the change in realities. The former settlements of the Tatars and Bukharans were distributed according to the territorial principle, since the state no longer saw any differences between the indigenous Siberian Tatars and Bukharans. In this connection, there appeared a “distribution” of the Bukharans and Tatars by districts, which did not coincide with the actual places of their traditional residence. As a result, there was an increase in the Bukharans in the Tarsky district due to the Tatar population of the district, whereas the former Bukharan population of the Tobolsk and Tyumen districts was counted as Tatars in the Census of 1926.

Keywords: Western Siberia, the first third of the twentieth century, population censuses, the All-Union Census of 1926, Bukharans, Tatars, demography.


Zamyatina N.Yu., Liarskaya E.V.

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

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.