Bogordayeva A.A.


Long-standing traditions of the Northern Khanty and Mansi, which have been preserved to the present day, include making anthropomorphic dolls upon people’s death. A doll appears to be a vehicle for one of the spirits of the deceased person. It was made and dressed during the funeral ceremony. To date, the clothes of the dolls of the dead have not attracted research attention. Defining specifics of such clothing is important for studying the genesis of the images of the deceased, as well as those of guardian spirits. The article analyses the materials collected in the course of field research, as well as information from ethnographic literature of the period in question. A typological analysis of clothing from the images of the deceased allowed the authors to identify its dynamics and to determine its standard and variable features. The data were obtained in the course of fieldwork carried out in 2005–2010 in the territory of the Berezovsky district of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area (Lyapin river basin) and the Shuryshkarsky district of the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area (basins of Malaya Ob and Synya riveres). Overall, 8 images of the deceased were studied in detail. The analysis has revealed that the clothing of dolls is represented by two complexes, i.e. male and female. These complexes are fairly uniform within the territory where they were used. The male complex consists of miniature topwear compliant with the types of men's traditional clothing. Male topwear of Northern Khanty and Mansi includes a malitsa (hooded coat) supplemented with a navershnitsa (tuniclike overcoat worn over a malitsa), a shirt and a belt. Female dolls of the deceased of the Northern Khanty and Mansi are dressed in a fur coat (as a rule made of deer fur), shirts and dress shirts. The style of outer clothing (malitsas and fur coats) is traditional and differs insignificantly from ordinary clothes. At the same time, the style of undergarments male and female shirts is mostly uniform and rather archaic. In ge-neral, the investigated clothing complexes are compliant, in terms of type of clothes worn and their style, with the ethnographic literature of the period under consideration. However, it should be noted that some types of clothing and jewellery, which were previously part of their wear, have ceased to be used. These are cloth robes, fur and cloth soviks (shirtlike hooded fur coat). In addition, modern clothes tend to appear in the images of the deceased. For female images, these are dresses. In case of male images, these are machine-made shirts, which are part of fabric offerings. Thus, it can be asserted that there has been a change in the clothing of dolls representing the deceased.

Key words: funeral rites, cult of ancestors, doll, itterma (image representing the deceased), traditional clothes, Northern Khanty, Northern Mansi, malitsa, sovik, false braids.


Ryazanova S.V., Iurganov F.A.


The article is aimed at defining characteristic features of the modern Komi-Permyan myth existing in the Western Urals (Kama river area). The process of mythogenesis is analysed as part of regional policy of historical memory. This policy includes ideas about creating a collective-past image, some principles behind the education system functioning, as well as legislative regulation of the forms of its presentation. Prerequisites and reasons for the formation of a new national myth at different stages of the historical process are considered. The construction of contemporary national mythology is associated with the processes of national self-identification in the post-Soviet period. New images are based on narratives developing the ethnocultural idea of the Komi-Permyan ethnos and uniting different Komi-Permyan branches. The first step in creating a new myth is associated with the emergence of the Komi-Permyan national movement in the 1920s. The second one coincides with the processes of national self-identification following the decline of the Soviet Union in the 1990s. The image of a Komi-Permyan can be represented as consisting of two parts, including elements of a cultural hero as well as a number of geopolitical and sociocultural ideas of a mythological nature. The most popular mythological image to spread new myth is «chud’» who has been a famous character of local folklore throughout the entire period of West Ural history. Real persons and well-known historical figures, such as Stefan Velikopemcky and Ermak, have joined the Komi-Permyan pantheon of traditional characters. The legendary past is formed via appropriation and adaptation of the facts from the all-Russian history. The new policy of historical memory is based on attempts to present the Komi-Permyan cultural tradition as very ancient and affirm its great value for neighbouring ethnic groups. The Russian population and government are perceived as related to and influenced by the Komi-Permyan culture, whereas Russian science is said to be distorting the history of the Kama area. Characteristic features of the new Komi-Permyan myth include rejecting traditional mythological logic, as well as the timeserving nature of conclusions. The media, local politicians and regional cultural elite have been most active in communicating contemporary Komi-Permyan mythology. The new mythology of the Komi-Permyan ethnos can be characterized as having a constructivist and voluntarist character, as well as being very convenient for validating the uniqueness of the Komi-Permyans in the situation of their national decline.

Key words: myth, social mythology, cultural memory, ethnic consolidation, Komi-Permyans.


Abramov I.V.


In this paper, the phenomenon of weir fishing is considered as a way of the population’s adaptation to lake and river landscapes of the Konda lowland in West Siberia. Weirs have become one of the most reliable ways of subsistence in the boreal climate, as well as an efficient tool for managing biological resources. Using such devices, fishermen are able to control the migration of fish, thereby predicting the amount of catch. The process of building fish weirs was accompanied by land development, i.e., construction of canals and locks, clearing the bed, straightening waterways, etc. All these actions brought the ecosystem into a more stable and predictable condition. The result was an increase in water body productivity, which, in turn, led to a growth of the local community. The Konda river is characterized by alternating low-water and high-water years, which has a major effect on the number of fish and fishing conditions. In view of this, the development of peripheral water bodies with stable hydro conditions is a strategy reducing the risks of fish shortage in the main stream. In addition, the proximity of sources to the estuary (30–40 km in a straight line), characteristic of the tributaries of the Lower Konda, allowed the alternation of resources from different landscape zones and water bodies. Drawing on the census data of 1926, it is demonstrated that Khanty settlements were located not only along the Konda river, but also along small rivers at the outflow of the lake systems, being the best places for community fish weirs. Using satellite imagery and surveys of local fishermen, 111 fishing weir locations on the Lower Konda that have been in use in the past 50 years were established. This was the period of a maximum increase in the use of modernized stationary traps aimed at catching large volumes of fish for subsequent processing in factories. The Konda fish trap design is a segment of the river, blocked on both sides, up to 200 m in length, where fish accumulate. The main fishing period is December January, when the fish leaves the lakes on a massive scale due to the lack of oxygen under the ice and enters the fish traps on the river. The paper identifies a consistent pattern of placing weirs at the source of upstream or flowing lakes within 600 m, which is the most effective position for placing traps. Seasonal fish weirs in tributary junctions and the floodplain of the Konda river ceased to exist in the middle of the 20th century due to timber-rafting and new fishing regulations. Collected ethnographic data (20172018) reveals the irreversible transition of the weir fishing from a subsistence activity to a market-based business. This transition began in the early 20th century and was accompanied by an extensive increase in the number of fish traps as well as a geographical expansion of fishing, which was necessary to meet market demand or, in the Soviet period of planned economy, to achieve the planned target. In the late 20th century, when Soviet production chains collapsed, the villagers had to switch to other work activities and easy-to-use fishing methods. Land development works were also curtailed. In the 2010s, with an increase in the general level of welfare, as well as with the growth of fuel costs and bureaucratic expenses, the number of fish weir sites in the Lower Konda decreased to 13–15. Renewal of fish weirs takes place every 56 years only on those rivers where fish can still bring a sizable income.

Key words: Konda river, West Siberia, fish weir, wood stake weir, fish trap, cultural ecology, wetland archaeology, spatial analyses.


Istomin K.V.


Our previous studies on the causal attributions of events occurring in the lives of Nenets teenagers from nomadic families have shown that, unlike non-indigenous teenagers of the same age from sedentary families, they do not exhibit self-serving attribution bias, i.e. the tendency to attribute more internal, stable and global causes to positive events as compared to negative ones. Since, in accordance with the Learned Helplessness Theory, self-serving bias is a protective psychological mechanism allowing people to maintain a sense of optimism under stress, it has been concluded that the lack of this mechanism in the Nenets makes them less resistant to stress, which results in an increased likelihood of stress-induced depressive states. This could explain the high level of suicides and alcohol consumption among them. However, an additional analysis of the empirical data has shown this conclusion to be premature. It has been found that the lack of the self-serving bias is mainly due to the extremely low stability and globality of causal attributions for both positive and negative events. It can be assumed that the reason for this lies in the holistic cognitive style of the Nenets. Indeed, numerous studies have shown that people with holistic cognitive styles tend to attribute causes of events to immediate situations and situational factors, rather than to general principles and sustainable attributes of the objects and people involved. Since such causal attributions have a low stability and globality, they are less likely to induce helplessness as a result of experiencing a sequence of negative events. Furthermore, even if a sense of helplessness arises, it does not automatically lead to hopelessness, that is to the individual's expectation of negative events and of the absence of positive events in the future. People who attribute the causes of events to concrete situations can maintain optimistic expectations even while believing that they personally cannot prevent negative events or make positive events happen, i.e. while experiencing helplessness. This in itself can provide individuals with protection from stress even if they lack the self-serving attributional bias. Thus, the Learned Helplessness Theory and the anti-stress psychological mechanism it postulates can be lacking cross-cultural validity: the self-serving attribution bias is not the only possible cultural mechanism against stress.

Key words: attribution style, cognitive style, self-serving attribution bias, Nenets, depression, alcoholism, suicide.


Rocheva A.L., Varshaver E.A., Ivanova  N.S.


This article examines integration of second-generation migrants from Transcaucasia and Central Asia (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan) in the Tyumen region, namely their social ties, characteristics of their romantic partners and spouses, language competences and ethnic identifications. The empirical basis for the research included 169 interviews with second-generation migrants and experts conducted in eight localities of the region. This fieldwork constitutes a part of a larger project on second-generation migrants in Russia. This project conducted using both quantitative and qualitative methods is the first all-Russia endeavour to study second-generation migrants aged 1835 years old. The term «second-generation migrants» refers to individuals, whose parents moved to Russia and who graduated from a Russian school, regardless of whether they were born in Russia or moved to Russia at pre-school or school age. The history of the settlement/development of the region in the Soviet period, when the State played a significant role in attracting labour force from different parts of the USSR, contributed to a high level of polyethnicity in the region. This is reflected in a high level of ethnic diversity of the social ties of second-generation migrants at different life stages. Starting from the school years, second-generation migrants in the region continue to communicate in mixed social circles. The share of co-ethnic friends and acquaintances varies but never predominates. Apart from educational institutions, there are two other contexts, which may contribute to changes in the ethnic composition of social circles: mosque and sports activities. Self-identification according to ethnic categories is common but, due to the ethnic diversity of the region, relevant not for all the informants. Romantic relations, which are much more characteristic of male second-generation migrants, are mostly with non-co-ethnic partners. Conversely, marriages are much more often co-ethnic, which reflects the attitudes of the informants’ parents, although the attitudes of the second-generation migrants in this regard vary. All the informants speak fluent Russian, while the level of their parent’s language(s) proficiency can vary.

Key words: second generation migrants, Central Asia, Transcaucasia, Tyumen region, integration, social ties, marriages, romantic partners, ethnic identification, languages.