Summary of Working Paper No. 111-1998

IV.4.1: Assessment of Social and Cultural Impact on Indigenous Peoples of Expanded Use of the Northern Sea Route

By Zoya Sokolova, Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Science; and Anatoly N. Yakovlev, Central Marine Research and Design Institute

The aim of this paper is to analyse the sociocultural living conditions of indigenous peoples of the Russian Arctic, and assess the influence of expanded use of the NSR on these conditions. The study deals with two major problems in accordance with the recommendations set out in the description of Project IV.4.1. The first problem to be dealt with is the social and economic demography of indigenous peoples in the NSR zone. The second one is impact assessment of expanded use of the NSR on indigenous peoples.

Settling, demography and labour potential of indigenous peoples of the Arctic Zone are analysed in the first section of the paper. A study of possible consequences of demographic development of northern peoples is made for the Arctic regions greatly affected by the NSR; they are: Murmansk Oblast, Nenets, Yamal-Nenets, Taimyr, Chukot Autonomous Okrugs and Sakha Republic (Yakutia). The first section also considers traditional economy, health protection, education, government structures and administrative systems. Some steps to be taken for normalisation of the social and economic demography of indigenous peoples are discussed at the end of the first section.

The second problem concerned with positive influence of the NSR on living conditions of indigenous peoples is discussed in the second section of the paper. Four scenarios of the NSR development concerning interests of indigenous peoples are considered with due regard to internal situation in Russia and foreign policy in the Arctic. Commercial activity and positive changes of social conditions of indigenous peoples could be stimulated by the development of international navigation along the NSR. Proper measures to develop transport in areas, where indigenous peoples live, are defined by the Federal Program Economic and Social Development of Small Indigenous Peoples of the North up to the year 2000, 1996. For the purpose of creating effective protection of small indigenous peoples, the RF Government plans in 1998 to determine legislative status and rights of indigenous peoples.