Bravina R.I., Petrov D.M.


The study of the origin of the Yakuts focuses on the ethnic history of their alien Turkic-Mongolian ancestors. Issues of mutual ethnocultural influence of local and alien ethnic groups and identification of autochthonous tribes who took part in formation of the Yakut people are not fully researched. Yakut legends mention the tribes «which became wind», Khara-Sagyly, the mysterious «long-headed» Sakha, the bellicose Tumats/Jirikinei, etc. The question of their ethnic identification is one of the most complex and not fully developed within the issue of ethnocultural genesis of the Yakuts. Some researchers (A.P. Okladnikov, S.I. Tokarev, I.V. Konstantinov, I.E. Zykov and A.I. Gogolev) consider these autochthonous tribes as the Tungusic peoples. According to a hypothesis by A.N. Alekseev and S.I. Nikolaev-Somogotto, an aboriginal layer in the Yakut culture was probably represented by paleo-Siberian and pre-Samoyedic tribes. A successful study of this issue was largely impeded by the lack of informative and sufficiently reliable sources. This problem has been partly solved due to new archaeological discoveries in the last decade, especially to that of a multi-layered man site in Ulakhan Segelenneekh on the Olekma river and thanks to the data of modern molecular-genetic researches. An attempt of a paleoethnic reconstruction of the original culture of the autochthonous tribes of Yakutia and of a comparative historical analysis of ancient traditions and cultures of indigenous peoples of Northern Asia was made in the article combining the data on folklore, toponymics, ethnography, archaeology and ethnic genetics. Integrated research data tell about the presence of ancient ethnocultural links between ancestors of the Yakuts and modern Ural peoples of Western Siberia. The tribes from historical lore and Yakutian legends are said to be aboriginal population of the north-western border of Yakutia, successors of the local archaeological cultures of the Late Neolithic and the Paleometal Age. The material given describes ethnocultural complex processes that took place in ancient Yakutia, which contributed to the formation of the Yakut ethnos and its culture.

Key words: Yakutia, Yakuts, ethnocultural genesis, autochthonous tribes, Samoyeds, Paleo-Asiatics, archaeological cultures, the Neolithic, the Paleometal Age, the Middle Ages.


Rud’ A.A.


The study is based on the author's field research conducted in 2002–2016. The research area covers a part of territories traditionally inhabited by the Eastern Khanty in the Middle Ob region, including basins of the rivers Agan, Trom-egan, Pim, Lyamin, Bolshoy Yugan and Malyi Yugan. In the last 30 years, the industrial development, urbanization of the Middle Ob region led to large-scale changes in the culture of the Eastern Khanty, based on traditional nature use. That changes affected all aspects of indigenous culture, including relations between a human and fire. Today, fires in the forest and traditional settlements of the Eastern Khanty are more frequent in the Middle Ob region. Nowadays, weakening of traditional norms of delicate handling of fire is one of the causes of fires. Inaccurate handling of fire during industrial activities and visits to the taiga by urban people is another cause of fires. In addition, cases when the Khanty set fire to forest huts of urban residents take place. Archaic models of attitude to fires in the practical and religious spheres are preserved among the Eastern Khanty, living in the taiga and practicing traditional nature use. The practice of preserving places of human habitation and feeding landscapes (deer pastures and hunting grounds) from fires is still maintained. The traditional practice of using controlled fire to stop forest fires is used. In the last two decades, the Eastern Khanty are a the forefront of discussing the construction of industrial facilities in places of feeding landscapes, in connection with the potential threat of fires. Until now, fires in the religious sphere have been perceived by informants from the standpoint of traditional ideas about the activities of deities of fire. Representations of purifying, destroying and protective functions of fire have been still occupying an important place in the world view of the Eastern Khanty. There are differences in the assessment of the consequences of fires at abandoned settlements and cemeteries by the native inhabitants. In some cases, the Eastern Khanty consider the occurrence of fires in terms of traditional religious views, despite the objective reasons of their appearance. The transformation of religious beliefs is observed in the functioning of religious objects after they are damaged by fires, which is a vivid example of adaptation of the culture of the Eastern Khanty to modernity.

Key words: the Eastern Khanty, attitude to fire, consequences of fires, economic practices, religious beliefs, pantheon of traditional deities, transformation of world view, adaptation strategies.


Adaev V.N.


The article describes burning practices used by native northern hunters-gatherers and reindeer herders of Western Siberia as a potential factor of impact on surrounding landscapes. In this sense, the research focuses primarily on aspects of practical importance in the fields of cultural ecology and ethnoarchaeology. Controlled burning of grass, shrubs, and deadwood has been a very effective landscape management tool, though not a common practice among northern natives of Western Siberia. It helped certain groups restore the productivity of berry bushes, attract wild ungulates and create better conditions for reindeer herding and travelling, as well as protect the territory from devastating forest fires. There are some Western Siberian ethnic groups which traditionally have had more freedom in the use of fire (Evenks) and others whose actions in this field have been rather rigidly regulated by traditional rules and beliefs (Ob Ugrians and Selkups). The Tundra and Forest Nenets probably combined their culture features with both of the mentioned groups. This allows us to suggest a version that a relatively freer use of fire is generally a typical feature of the nomadic population. Several areas were discovered in Western Siberia, where the peoples of the North had practiced intentional burning (or supposedly could do it) in order to obtain additional economic benefit from their lands — the Konda river valley, the Upper Taz river area and the interfluve of the Demyanka and the Turtas. The local Khanty and Mansi groups of the Konda river valley adopted this use of fire from the neighbouring Siberian Tatars or Russians in 1860–70s. Simultaneously, it was also a real paradigm shift in the spheres of traditional beliefs and land use practices of the Ob-Ugrian communities. The last two areas mentioned were associated with local groups of Evenks, the people who were brought into disrepute in Siberia and the Far East as arsonists of the taiga. As ethnographic data shows, on the one hand, that was a prejudiced opinion, on the other hand, there were factors that contributed to its formation.

Key words: Siberian ethnography, human-modified landscapes, ethnic land-use practice, cultural ecology, ethnoarchaeology, indigenous knowledge.


Stepanova Î.B.


The article was written based on the expedition to the Northern Selkups in Krasnoselkupsky district of Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Area in March 2016. The author managed to observe the Reindeer Herders' Day in three villages of the district — Ratta and Tolka villages, located in the upper reaches of the Taz River, and the village of Krasnoselkup in the middle reaches of the Taz river. Krasnoselkupsky district embraces almost the entire Taz river basin with the exception of lower areas, which are an ancestral territory of residence of the Northern Selkups, one of the low-numbered peoples of the North. The size and composition of the population of the settlements, which hosted the Reindeer Herders' Day, differ significantly, so the festival in each of the villages has its own special features. Reindeer herders' days in Krasnoselkup district are an important element and a state policy instrument in respect of indigenous low-numbered peoples of the North. The festivals help the Selkups improve their financial situation, give an incentive to reindeer husbandry, contribute to the preservation of traditional culture and strengthen national self-awareness, improve Selkups' relationship with the authorities. At the same time, reindeer herders' days reflect people's mood, determine the state of Selkup reindeer herding and, more broadly, the economy, and also serve as an indicator of effectiveness of the modern state social policy in relation to the Selkups and other indigenous low-numbered peoples of the North in Krasnoselkup district. Reindeer herders' day is neither an original Selkup tradition nor an innovation. The idea of the holiday originated in the depths of the Soviet era and, being successful, moved to the next era as one of the particles of its immense heritage , where it was further developed. The article introduces into scientific circulation and analyzes field materials on a topic that until now has not been examined in detail either in national or in foreign anthropological science.

Key words: ethnography, history, the Selkups, reindeer, holidays, social policy, legacy of the socialist era.


Liskevich N.A., Masharipova A.H.


The process of development and structuring of space by Komi resettlers in Ivanovo Volost of Yalutorovsk Uyezd of Tobolsk Governorate in the XIX — beginning of the XX century is analyzed based on field research materials, documents of management and record keeping from the state archives of Tyumen and Chelyabinsk regions, published narratives of researchers of the late XIX — early XX century and of contemporary regional ethnographers. The background and history of resettlement of the Komi to the territory of the Lower Tobol River basin, the practice of land use and the arrangement of a new place of residence are described. The main elements of the acquired space are singled out. They are residential, sacred, economic and natural spaces. Their characteristics are given. Territorial and economic adaptation of the Komi resettlers in the territory of the Lower Tobol River basin, taking into account traditions of natural management and ethno-cultural attitudes, related primarily to arrangement of permanent and temporary settlements, deforestation and farming. Formation of the cultural landscape was accompanied by structuring (organization) of the inhabited space. Names given to natural and anthropogenous geographic objects highlight significant elements of space, reflect their location, show the functional purpose and idea of the use of natural resources, corresponding names of people and significant events, structure of the settlement, location of amenity and religious buildings and places. The territory that was developed and «marked» in this way was codified by a system of symbols within residential, sacred, economic and natural spaces that played a part of basic address identifiers that helped accurately determine the location of a necessary object, the path and orientation in space, and also reflected the degree of compliance of the immigrants on a new territory of residence and contributed to the preservation of collective memory.

Key words: the Komi, the Zyrian, Ivanovo Volost of Yalutorovsk Uyezd, resettlers, land use, space structuring.


Ermakova E.E.


The article studies special aspects of venerating the «Saviour» crucifix from Kamenka village in Tyumen region. The cross was measured using the method by D.V. Pejemsky which enables us to typologically organize venerated objects. The article examines paleography and iconography of the cross. On the whole, it is concluded that the crucifix combine orthodox and old-rite aspects due to a specific character of ethnic and religious structure of the local population. According to the analysis of a marking stamp on the crucifix, it is concluded that the cross might had been manufactured for a chapel in Sorokino village or for a church in Kamenka village. Besides, it is suggested that the name of the crucifix is locally related to annual sacred processions with the Holy Image of the Saviour Not-Made-by-Hands from Tyumen city to Kamenka village and the surrounding country. The article presents a detailed analysis of the history and the modern state of the «Saviour» crucifix veneration, mostly through narratives of the native population. On the one hand, worshiping the cross reflects a mass popular tradition of shrine veneration typical of the innates. It dates back to the mid and the end of the XX century when a crucifix was kept indoors in the houses of Sorokino village inhabitants. The crucifix was used during crisis states in the community (offering prayers with a cross in the fields in case of a drought), or in a separate household (praying aimed to recover health). By the present time, the cross has been renovated and exhibited in the church of Kamenka village but the specificity of its veneration assumed a new aspect. It results from dynamic churching of those worshipers who are forming a new ritualism of the crucifix. In connection with the revival of parishes, the practice of the crucifix veneration is oriented towards the church canon and mainly corresponds to the task a modern individual sets for religion to be a method of healing and achieving health and well-being.

Key words: venerated crucifix, religious culture of Siberian peasants, churching of a shrine.