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Indigenous rights in Russia: Is title to land essential for cultural survival?




In the Russian North today, indigenous peoples face threats from mineral, oil, and gas development, timber cutting, commercial fishing, and tourism. The life ways and economy of indigenous peoples of the Russian North are based upon reindeer herding, fishing, terrestrial and sea mammal hunting, and trapping. Yet the indigenous movement in Russia has not followed the lead of indigenous leaders in North America, New Zealand, Australia, and elsewhere, who have sought to secure title to lands and waters through the courts when competing industrial interests threatened the livelihood of their people. First Nations (the term used in Canada to refer to indigenous peoples) in Canada and Alaska Natives in the United States have demanded recognition of rights to extensive lands and waters on the basis of prior existing rights as first or original peoples whose rights to land had never been extinguished by law or treaty. The courts, and then the legislative and executive branches, of these governments have recognized the validity of indigenous claims and negotiated or legislated settlements with far-reaching acknowledgement of land and water rights, hunting and fishing rights, self-determination, and participation in land and resource management. In North America, transfer of title to vast areas of land has been a primary (though not the sole) means of increasing the control that indigenous peoples have over their own lives, and group ownership of ancestral lands is seen as an important component in the continuation of distinct indigenous cultures.'

The development of indigenous rights regarding land and resources in Russia diverges sharply from the development of indigenous land rights in the Canadian North and Alaska. Although indigenous leaders in Russia have occasionally asserted indigenous rights to land and resources, to date there has been no serious or sustained discussion of indigenous group rights to ownership of land. Russian law emphasizes rights to use lands for "traditional activities"-hunting, fishing, reindeer herding, trapping, small-scale gardening and plant gathering, handicrafts-and calls for protection of lands and resources where such activities occur; but the law does not anticipate transfer of unrestricted rights to indigenous peoples to use lands and resources as they might choose. Acknowledgement of indigenous title to land may not be politically feasible in the Russian Federation; and perhaps it is not even a preferable route to ensure cultural resilience.

The primary goal of this article is to examine the existing laws in the Russian Federation and to ask whether, if implemented, these laws would obviate the need for large-scale transfer of title from the state to the indigenous minorities of the Russian North. Some of the questions that will be addressed in this article include: (1) Are the existing laws in place to protect indigenous rights in the Russian Federation sufficient to secure cultural continuity and resilience of the distinct indigenous peoples of Russia? (2) Would they prove effective in protecting the life ways of indigenous minorities? and (3) Could Russia avoid expensive and contentious battles over land title by implementing existing laws?

There are substantial risks and costs of initiating indigenous land claims in Russia. The process of securing title to lands has been long and costly in North America. The Canadian government advanced substantial funds to First Nations to enable them to participate in negotiations over vast territories of the Canadian North. One can hardly imagine the Russian Federation providing funds to indigenous minorities to pursue land claims. Additionally, land claims processes may pit one indigenous nation against another, where now a number of indigenous groups live together peaceably. Relocation of settlements and communities in the Soviet period resulted in closing many smaller villages and commingling residents into fewer, larger settlements.3 Thus, today, indigenous nations live in mixed communities in many parts of the Russian North.

Part II of this article first provides a brief background on indigenous peoples of the Russian Federation, next explains the contrasting legal histories of indigenous land ownership in the United States and Russia, and finally discusses the Constitutional basis of indigenous rights in the Russian Federation. Part III considers the relevant international law on indigenous rights-focusing particularly on the United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights4 and International Labor Organization Convention (No. 169) Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries. Part IV discusses recent laws on indigenous rights in Russia and how these laws might be applied to particular controversies. In Part V, the article attempts to address some of these issues through a case study of the Ponoi River. Part VI, advances a proposal for creating a legal training institute on indigenous rights in the Russian Federation. Part VII contains conclusions and recommendations for further research.



The Russian Federation lists forty-four distinct indigenous peoples with populations under 50,000 as having special rights and protections under the Constitution and federal laws and decrees.6 These rights are linked to the category known since Soviet times as the malochislennykh narodov ("small-- numbered peoples"), a term that is often translated as "indigenous minorities" in order to distinguish the Nenets, Evenki, Khanty, Sami, Chukchi, and other indigenous peoples with populations under 50,000 from the large indigenous groups (Komi, Sakha or Yakut, and Buryat). In practice, special protections provided to indigenous peoples are not always limited by ethnic composition and may extend to a wider local community.

Although the total population of indigenous minorities numbers under 200,000,8 First Nations' claims to original title might extend well over a million square miles of land.9 Although indigenous populations are tiny in comparison to the dominant populations now living in the Russian North, the territories used by indigenous peoples are extensive. As anthropologist David Anderson explains, industrial development activity makes "intensive" use of land, while indigenous patterns of land use are "extensive" covering much larger expanses.10 Nonindigenous populations are predominantly concentrated in larger towns and cities in the Russian North with their economy based on industry, while indigenous populations generally reside in smaller settlements or villages (Russian sing. Poselok, or pl. posilki) of only a few hundred, in camps (Russian sing. stoibishche, or pl. stoibishcha) of one or several families, or even nomadically. Roughly 4500 Nenets on the Yamal Peninsula (about half the Nenets population on the peninsula) are semi-nomadic or nomadic, and migrate in a six-season rotational cycle." Many groups in the Russian North are semi-nomadic moving seasonally to different hunting and fishing camps. These groups depend upon different types of environment at differing times of the year, rather than upon exploiting a single commodity to exhaustion. 12

Some have argued that there is no legal basis for land claims in the Russian North. The denial of the existence or continuation of aboriginal title to land was asserted by governments in North America and Australia as well. The First Nations, however, prevailed in the courts, and high court decisions led to negotiated and legislated resolution of claims that resulted in legal recognition of land title to millions of acres of land. 13 Nevertheless, there are significant differences in the legal and social histories of Russia and North America that could make it particularly difficult or undesirable for indigenous leaders in Russia to push for land claims. A brief comparison of the status of indigenous land in the United States and Russia in the early 19th century is illustrative.



At the time that the highest court in the United States defined and acknowledged aboriginal title to land, a relatively new law in Siberia proclaimed state title to all lands and created a new administrative apparatus that brought indigenous people under Russian rule.

The United States Supreme Court first addressed the relationship between the federal government and Indian tribes in the Johnson v. McIntosh decision in 1832.14 In that case, Chief Justice Marshall articulated a concept of Indian title to land that, though limited, remains the basis of "aboriginal title" in the United States today. The Marshall decision treated Indian title as title held by a group (rather than an individual) and endowed that title with proprietary, usufructory, and exclusionary rights, but denied disposition rights:'5

[Indian tribes] were admitted to be the rightful occupants of the soil, with a legal as well as just claim to retain possession of it, and to use it according to their own discretion; but their rights to complete sovereignty, as independent nations, were necessarily diminished, and their power to dispose of the soil at their own will, to whomsoever they pleased, was denied ....16

Property rights were an important subject for the U.S. Supreme Court in a young nation founded on principles of private property and individual freedom. In contrast, in the early 19th century Russia remained under imperial rule. Nevertheless, governance of indigenous groups, and especially collection of taxes from them, necessitated protection of indigenous peoples against exploitation by traders and settlers. In 1819, Czar Alexander I appointed Mikhail Speranskii, "his closest advisor,"17 to be governor-general of Siberia. Speranskii initiated and compiled the 1822 Statute of Administration of Non-Russians in Siberia,"' a statute acclaimed by some as an enlightened approach to native-state relations.'9 The Speranskii reforms served the interests of the state by finding a way to rule remote regions occupied by indigenous peoples through studying and collecting local customary laws and combining these with Russian civil law into a single codified system.20 The 1822 Statute also asserted state ownership over all the land in Siberia and then "granted" possessory rights to the natives.21

The Soviet state replaced the Russian Empire as the ostensible "owner" of the land and eschewed private property as a capitalist concept that prevented creation of an egalitarian society.22 Even today, opposition to private ownership of land remains strong throughout Russia and has probably impeded passage of new land laws that would elaborate rules for the transfer of farm, forest, and other open lands into private ownership.23 If new land laws are adopted by the parliament of the Russian Federation, the legitimacy of the state's claim to title over indigenous lands is likely to remain in question.24


For the first time in Russia, the rights of indigenous minorities were established in the 1993 Constitution. Article 69 of the Constitution states, "The Russian Federation guarantees the rights of small indigenous peoples in accordance with the generally accepted principles and standards of international law and international treaties of the Russian Federation."25

This Constitutional protection has priority over other legislation adopted either at the federal level or by any of the regional governments that are subjects of the Russian Federation. The rights of indigenous minorities that are recognized either as customary international law or by treaties to which the Russian Federation is a party are the supreme law of the land throughout the Russian Federation. Article 15, section 4 of the Constitution states:

The commonly recognized principles and norms of the international law and the international treaties of the Russian Federation shall be a component part of its legal system. If an international treaty of the Russian Federation stipulates other rules than those stipulated by the law, the rules of the international treaty shall apply.26

Although Article 15 gives clear priority in law to treaties to which the Russian Federation is a party, it is more difficult to determine what principles and norms of general international law would override federal legislation. This question will be addressed again when reviewing international agreements to which the Russian Federation is not yet a party.


Two Conventions are especially pertinent to indigenous rights and the rights of ethnic minorities in Russia: the 1966 U.N. Covenant on Civil and Political Rights27 and the International Labor Organization Convention Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries (commonly known as ILO Convention No. 169).28 The Russian Federation ratified the former but is not yet a party to the latter. The following subsections discuss the application of these two conventions in the Russian Federation.


Provisions of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ("Covenant Protocol")29 address the collective or group rights of peoples30 and the rights of individuals who are members of ethnic, religious, or linguistic minorities.3' Article 1, section 1 states, "All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development."32 Section 2 explicitly forbids depriving a people of "its own means of subsistence."33

Parties to the Covenant are committed to undertaking "the necessary steps... to adopt such legislative or other measures as may be necessary to give effect to the rights recognized in the present Covenant."34 The Russian Federation has taken some steps to give force to its international commitments under the Covenant, and the Russian parliament (Duma) has adopted partial measures to implement it. Additionally, some regions of the Russian Federation have adopted laws to ensure indigenous rights, access to natural resources, and a measure of local self-determination. The relevant legislation will be discussed below.

Article 27 of the Covenant addresses individual rights of ethnic minorities. It states:

In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their own religion, or to use their own language [emphasis added].35

Several cases brought before the U.N. Human Rights Committee 36 elaborate the meaning of Article 27. These cases were brought to the Committee under an optional protocol to the Covenant that allows for cases to be initiated by individuals after exhausting domestic remedies.37 Several of the cases involved a determination of the rights of individual Sami in Finland and Sweden. Although the Committee has not found violations of Article 27 given the specific facts of the Sdmi cases, its decisions clarify that Sami are members of a minority within the meaning of Article 27 and that deprivation or erosion of their rights to practice traditional activities which are an essential element of their culture do come within the scope of Article 27.38

The case of J. Lansman v. Finland concerned a challenge by Sami reindeer herders in northern Finland to plans of the Finnish Central Forestry Board to approve logging and construction of roads in a 3000 hectare area used by the Muotkatunturi Herdsmen's Committee as winter pasture and spring calving grounds. The U.N. Human Rights Committee reiterated its previous decisions in Kitok v. Sweden and L Lansman et al. v. Finland establishing the test for a violation of rights of minorities under Article 27 "to enjoy their own culture." The Committee stated, "Measures with only a limited impact on the way of life and the livelihood of persons belonging to a minority will not necessarily amount to a denial of the rights under Article 27."39 The activity that has occurred or been approved for the future must be "of such proportions as to deny the authors [claimants] the right to enjoy their culture in that area."40 Article 27 thus provides a remedy to individuals or family groups.

There are certainly controversies in the Russian North to which the Convenant on Civil and Political Rights might be applied. For example, in the Sami homeland on the Kola Peninsula in northwestern Russia, regional authorities closed a fifty mile (eighty kilometer) stretch of the Ponoi River to local fishing and granted exclusive fishing rights to a commercial company offering catch-andrelease fishing to sport fishers largely from abroad.41 This deprived the local Sami42 of food for their families and community and of their traditional economic livelihood. Thus, closing the fishery to locals may have violated the test articulated by the U.N. Human Rights Committee. Even though Sami from other communities might continue to use other stretches of the river, the disruption to the potential local claimant or claimants could be significant depending upon the nature of their use and their ability to access resources outside the excluded zone.

The Human Rights Committee also has articulated the principle of adequate consultation with the affected members of the minority community. The opinion states:

The Committee recalls the terms of paragraph 7 of its General Comment on article 27, according to which minorities or indigenous groups have a right to protection of traditional activities such as hunting, fishing or reindeer husbandry, and that measures must he taken "to ensure the effective participation of members of the minority communities in decisions which affect them."43

The Committee also set the stage for future claims on the basis that cumulative activities might together constitute a violation of article 27.44 Two issues arise in the context of the Ponoi River: first, whether the deprivation of fishing by Sami, Nenets, Komi, and other minorities is of such proportion as to deny those affected the right to enjoy their culture in that area, and second, whether the Murmansk Oblast Administration took steps to ensure effective participation of the members of the minority communities in its decision to grant exclusive fishing licenses on the Ponoi. Some participation by the Kola Regional Association, state farm representatives, and local officials did occur as is reflected in the signatories to various contracts with licensees.45 But evidence of meaningful participation of the local people and especially the indigenous and ethnic minorities affected is absent from the record, and participation of regional organizations and local mayors does not meet the test set forth by the Human Rights Committee of "effective participation of members of the minority communities."46 Many villagers thought that by the time they were informed of plans to lease the Ponoi, the decision had already been made.

The Ponoi River controversy is not an isolated example of administrative actions in the Russian North that have undermined access by indigenous individuals, families, and groups to hunting and fishing grounds. Extensive areas of reindeer pasture in the Khanty-Mansiisk and Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrugs (Districts) have been turned over to oil and gas enterprises without consultation with or participation of indigenous peoples. Throughout northwestern Siberia, oil and gas development has disturbed pastureland and undermined the ability of indigenous peoples to continue hunting, fishing, trapping, and herding activities. Roads constructed in connection with oil and gas exploration and development destroy and degrade pastureland,47 ancestral burial grounds, and sacred sites, and increase hunting by oil workers on the territory used by indigenous peoples.48

Occasionally, controversy errupts into violence, civil demonstrations, and legal battles. In the fall of 2000, Yuri Vella (Aivaseda),49 a soft-spoken but firm indigenous poet turned activist, was charged as a common criminal for trying to stop LUKoil from dismantling a bridge that connected his stoibishche from the nearby village (and from access to medical facilities, the school, etc). Unable to reason with the oil company workers operating the digger, Yuri Vella slashed the tires of their digger.50 This was only the most recent in a series of struggles in which Yuri Vella has tried to defend his and his neighbors' rights to their territory and has sought to obtain the legal documention of his rights to "clan lands" in order to prevent road building and oil development activities that are disrupting his and his neighbors' ability to continue their "traditional" ways. He has persistently refused money as compensation for

More recent U.N. instruments in the field of the environment also provide a sound basis for interpreting current international instruments and reinforcing the rights of indigenous minorities. Article 10(c) of the Convention on Biological Diversity protects "customary use of biological resources in accordance with traditional cultural practices that are compatible with conservation or sustainable use requirements. . . .,52 Additionally, Chapter 26 of Agenda 21-53 calls upon governments to establish "a process to empower indigenous people and their communities through... recognition that traditional and direct dependence on renewable resources and ecosystems, including sustainable harvesting, continues to be essential to the cultural, economic and physical well-being of indigenous people and their communities."54 Agenda 21, while not legally binding, expresses a consensus view among nations. Furthermore, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has repeatedly advised State Parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD),55 to which the Russian Federation is a party, that failure to set aside land for indigenous peoples may constitute discrimination. A 1999 decision of the Committee declared Australia's amendments to its aboriginal land rights laws removing Aboriginal rights claims to "native title" on vast acres of farmland to be a violation of the Convention.56 These international instruments are only beginning to be used to protect indigenous rights. They might well be employed in future cases and administrative forums to strengthen the case for the protection of indigenous rights to land for continuation of hunting, reindeer herding, fishing, and gathering activities of Russia's indigenous peoples, particularly where these activities are biologically sustainable and in accord with sound conservation practices.57


The Convention Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries (ILO Convention No. 169)58 revises the 1957 Indigenous and Tribal Populations Convention (Convention No.107),59 which applied an outdated assimilationist approach to indigenous and tribal populations. Indigenous organizations sought the newer convention that (within the framework of the states in which they live) provides self-determination and control over their own institutions and economic activities as well as over the land, water, and natural resources upon which retention of their cultures depends. Among the Arctic states, only Norway and Denmark have ratified ILO Convention No. 169.60 Issues of territorial ownership and control have hindered ratification.6' Nevertheless, the trend in international practice increasingly conforms to principles requiring meaningful consultation with indigenous communities prior to administrative actions or approval of activities that would affect them62 or necessitate their relocation.63 Under the convention, indigenous peoples would "have the right to decide their own priorities for the process of development as it affects their lives... and the lands they occupy or otherwise use, and to exercise control, to the extent possible, over their own economic, social, and cultural development" and their participation is assured "in the formulation, implementation and evaluation of plans and programmes for national and regional development which may affect them directly."64

The principles already established in the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights concerning protection of cultural rights are reflected in Articles 2 and 5 of ILO Convention 169. As will be discussed below, the Russian Federation has taken initial steps to carry out the more controversial principles in Article 14 concerning identification of lands that indigenous people traditionally occupy and recognition of rights of ownership and possession to such lands and the resources on them.

Practices in international investment are gradually changing to provide for participation of affected indigenous populations prior to investment commitments and to comply with international norms. The World Bank has established internal procedural and substantive requirements before approving loans that would adversely affect indigenous or local populations. The World Bank's Operational Directive on Involuntary Resettlement,65 for example, establishes procedural requirements for the World Bank Group of international investment organizations in order to avoid or minimize resettlement due to development projects and to ensure equitable resettlement plans. The directive sets conditions that borrowers must meet. It applies not only to displacement of indigenous populations but also to any adversely affected population or ethnic minority, and anticipates provision of land, housing, infrastructure, and other compensation, and specifically accords protection to "pastoralists who may have usufruct or customary rights to the land or other resources taken for the project."66 The directive notes that, "the absence of legal title to land by such groups should not be a bar to compensation."67

The Bank's Operational Directive on Indigenous Peoples68 demonstrates an evolving standard of international practice with regard to protection of indigenous peoples. Rather than making a policy choice between opposite poles of insulating indigenous populations and assimilating them, the Bank's strategy is based on "informed participation of the indigenous people themselves. The Bank's policy requires identification of local preferences through direct consultation, incorporation of indigenous knowledge into project approaches, and appropriate early use of experienced specialists . . .,69 These procedures, while not so uniformly adopted as to have become customary international law, are increasingly used as models for evaluating developments in territories inhabited by indigenous peoples.

The next section considers law and practice relating to indigenous rights within the Russian Federation and the provisions of federal law that incorporate these principles and standards.


The federal government in Russia has responsibility and jurisdiction to regulate and protect the rights of indigenous minorities, and the regional governments ("subjects" of the Russian Federation) must bring their laws into conformity with federal law. The distribution of authority between the central government and the regions is controlled by the Constitution of the Russian Federation.


The distribution of authority has produced considerable friction between the governments of the regions and republics and the central government.70 Article 71 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation enumerates those matters over which the Russian Federation has jurisdiction. Article 72 lists those matters over which the Russian Federation shares jurisdiction with its eighty-nine federal "subjects" (i.e., republics, districts, territories, federal cities, autonomous regions, and districts). Those powers not enumerated in either Article 71 or 72 fall entirely within the power of the subjects of the Federation.7' The jurisdiction of the Russian Federation includes regulation and protection of the rights of "national minorities," a term that includes the indigenous minorities."2 But the federal government and its eighty-nine federal subjects (such as the Murmansk Oblast, the Yamal-Nenets Okrug, and the Republic of Buryatia) have joint jurisdiction over "protection of the rights of ethnic minorities."73 Thus, the federation first and foremost controls and protects the rights of national indigenous peoples, and it must do this pursuant to international law.74 Federal laws that do not contravene the Constitution and that address issues within the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation are superior to conflicting laws adopted or action taken by regional governments.75 Consequently, the federation has the authority and the responsibility to protect the rights of the indigenous minorities against any infringements by the executive bodies of the federal subjects or local governments.

At the same time, federal subjects such as the Murmansk Oblast may adopt their own acts and protect the rights of indigenous minorities as long as their laws conform to the Constitution of the Russian Federation and do not conflict with federal laws protecting such rights. Areas of joint jurisdiction enumerated in Article 72 also include "issues of possession, use and management of the land, mineral resources, water and other natural resources;"76 "management of natural resources, protection of the environment and ecological safety; specially protected natural reserves; protection of historical and cultural monuments;,,77 "land, water and forestry legislation;"' and "protection of the original environment and traditional way of life of small ethnic communities."79 Notably, this is the first time that the Constitution of the Russian Federation declares the importance of protecting the traditional way of life.

The Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), the largest of the "subjects" of the Russian Federation, has used its joint jurisdiction with the Russian Federation not only to elaborate laws for the preservation and revival of indigenous minorities and protection of the environment, but also to entrench these protections explicitly in its own Constitution. With a large Native population of Sakha (Yakut) that is not one of the indigenous minorities (small-numbered peoples) of the Russian Federation and a multi-cultural society often living in comingled communities, it is not surprising that the Sakha Republic has widened the scope of protection beyond the indigenous minorities. Article 42 of the Constitution of Sakha guarantees preservation and revival of the Native and less populous peoples of the North as well as Russian and other "old residents" (people of Russian descent who moved north prior to the revolution and often engaged in "traditional" renewable resource based activities). Article 42 provides for "the inherent rights" of the Native peoples [korennykh narodov] as well as the indigenous "small-- numbered peoples of the North" [malochislennykh narodov Severa]:

[T]o own and to use the land and its resources including tribal agricultural, hunting and fishing zones in accordance with the law [and]

[T]o be protected against any forms of violent assimilation and genocide and encroachments upon ethnic identification, historic and sacred places, spiritual and cultural heritage. 80

The Sakha Republic (Yakutia) moved more rapidly than other areas of the Russian North to implement protection of indigenous rights, especially through the creation of "family-clan obshchinas" or communities. The obshchina concept is derived from the pre-Soviet period of indirect rule by tsarist Russia under the 1822 Charter of Administration of Siberian Aliens.81 The Sakha Republic's approach, however, includes non-indigenous "Russian and other `old residents"' (such as Old Believers) in the system of protection. The Sakha law on obshchinas, correspondingly, allows participation by Natives (Sakha) and old residents engaged in "traditional" activities.82

Questions may arise regarding whether the Sakha law on obshchinas must conform to a later federal law on obshchinas adopted in June 2000 83 that speaks only of indigenous small-numbered peoples as able to create and participate in obshchinas. Arguably, insofar as the protection of the indigenous minorities is not impaired by inclusion of other peoples who live in much the same way as the indigenous minority populations, the Constitution and laws of the Sakha Republic would not appear to overstep the bounds of joint jurisdiction. The regions of the Russian Federation have joint jurisdiction with regard to "protection of the rights of ethnic minorities"84 and "protection of the original environment and traditional way of life of small ethnic communities."85 While Sakha's framework of protection is different (and wider) than that of the Russian Federation, one would need to consider the concrete circumstances of application to a particular community to determine whether the Sakha law is in conflict with federal law. The question of conflict between federal and regional laws may be best addressed by the courts with reference to specific cases.

Two recent federal laws adopted by the Duma further enhance the rights of indigenous minorities. The first, a 1999 Law on the Guarantee of Rights of Indigenous Numerically Small Peoples of the Russian Federation,86 speaks explicitly to land rights of indigenous minorities. The second, a law on obshchinas adopted on June 20, 2000, is silent on the issue of land. Drafts of these laws had been circulated and discussed throughout the 1990s. They continue a pattern established in the Soviet era of protecting lands of indigenous peoples without an actual transfer of title to the indigenous peoples and they set the stage for the continued debate and development of new institutional forms of land protection: territories of traditional nature use ("TTPs") and obshchinas. The next section discusses the 1999 Law on the Guarantee of Rights of Indigenous Minorites. It is followed by a discussion of the pre-existing laws in the transition from Soviet to Russian authority and then by a section on TTPs and obshchinas. The final section of Part V considers ethno-ecological refuges and other alternative models from Kamchatka and northwestern Siberia.


In April 1999, the Russian Duma passed a law that guarantees socio-economic and cultural development to all indigenous minorities of the Russian Federation (not only to those of the Russian North), protection of nature in the traditional places they inhabit, their traditional way of life, economic activities, and occupations. The law calls upon the federal agencies and subjects of the Russian Federation (Russian Federation) to ensure these rights.87 The law acknowledges both group rights and individual rights of indigenous minorities and associations of indigenous minorities to "free possession and use of lands of different categories in the places they traditionally live or engage in traditional economic activities and occupations, and free possession and use of generally available natural resources, in accordance with federal legislation and that of the subjects [republics, oblasts and okrugs] of the Russian Federation."88

The law spells out a number of areas in which indigenous individuals and groups have participatory rights. These include participation in supervising and controlling such lands,89 management of federal environmental protection laws,90 preparation and adoption of decisions on traditional habitat and ways of life,91 and ecological and ethnological impact assessment of federal and regional programs.92 Individuals who are indigenous minorities have the right to set up territorial self-government bodies in places of compact settlement,93 to voluntarily form communities and other associations,94 and to delegate their representatives to the executive bodies of the subjects of the Federation and to local governing structures.95 They may obtain financial and material support from federal, regional and local bodies of government as well as from other types of organizations and individuals,96 and receive state assistance to reform all types of education and rearing of their younger generations in accord with their traditional way of life.97 Article 14 on judicial protection of the rights of indigenous minorities allows the courts to consider traditions and customs insofar as these do not contradict federal legislation and laws of the subjects of the Russian Federation.98 Indigenous minorities have the right to compensation for damages to the traditional living places of indigenous minorities due to economic activities of individuals or organizations of all types (private, state, or collectively owned).99

The 1999 law is consistent with prior practice of protecting traditional living places and acknowledging some form of limited ownership of territories that have traditionally been used for hunting, herding, fishing, and gathering activities. The law, however, does not anticipate the transfer of title in fee simple to indigenous minorities. The law recognizes that indigenous minorities have a set of rights to land that include the right to use the land for traditional activities (but not development rights), some proprietary rights including compensation for damage to the property, and limited exclusionary rights. It is not clear, however, whether protection of nature in the traditional places of inhabitation implies a right to exclude competing or conflicting uses that are destructive to nature. Neither is it clear whether indigenous minorities have the right to veto development decisions under this statute, or only to participate in the process. The law does not speak to disposition rights, but protects against sale or lease by government authorities without participation by indigenous minorities.

This 1999 law directs the organs of government authority at all levels-- federal, republic, provincial, district, and local-as well as organs of local self-management, to protect the lands and resources traditionally inhabited and used by indigenous minorities as well as their way of life and economic activities.10 While the law is not as strong as many indigenous rights advocates had hoped, it does give force of law to some prior decrees and authorizes a process, already begun in some regions, to protect the territories occupied by indigenous peoples with small populations who may be in the minority in their own homelands. One can expect that this law will lead to expansion of the types of institutions for protecting and governing lands and resources in the homelands of indigenous minorities that have been developing in Russia throughout the 1990s.


The 1993 Constitution of the Russian Federation and the 1999 Law on Guarantee of Rights can been seen as entrenching in the Constitution and further elaborating earlier decrees and laws to protect the living places and economic activities of the indigenous minorities. In the early 1990s, the executive branch of the Russian Federation attempted to protect the resource based activities of indigenous minorities. President Yeltsin issued a decree on April 22, 1992, entitled "Urgent measures to protect the places of residence and economic activity of the small indigenous minorities of the North."'02 This decree preceded and may have anticipated the adoption of Article 69 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation. It also implemented in part the U.N. Covenant on Civil and Political Rights discussed above.103 The stated purpose of the decree was twofold: first, to ensure the legal rights and interests of indigenous peoples of the North and to preserve and develop traditional forms of activity in the transition to market relations; and second, to ensure ecological security in districts of industrial use of the North. Vladimir A. Kryazhkov, the leading Russian expert on indigenous rights law, explained, "[t]he decree in essence synthesized and refined, and juridically reinforced a number of government decrees issued previously."104 A decree in the Russian legal order is not as authoritative as a law adopted by the parliament; nevertheless, the decree was consistent with a number of parliamentary acts containing provisions addressing indigenous use of land and resources including the 1991 Law on Environmental Protection, legislative acts on forestry, specially protected natural areas, the animal world, and the Land Code.'05

The Russian Federation's Land Code reinforces the rights of numerically small peoples and minority ethnic groups to use places they inhabit and to continue traditional economic activities without being charged rent.'06 Such lands cannot be allocated for unrelated activities (which might include oil, gas, and mineral development or tourism) without the consent of the indigenous peoples." Furthermore, indigenous minorities and ethnic groups are allowed to use environmentally protected lands and lands set aside as nature preserves to engage in their traditional modes of land use.108 Unfortunately, violations of the rights of indigenous peoples continue, and oil, gas, and mineral development, and other activities that bring foreign currency into the Russian economy prevail over the rule of law. The Murmansk Administration's grant of exclusive fishing rights on the Ponoi (and other rivers) to outsiders for sportfishing without consent or even adequate consultation with indigenous and ethnic minorities conducting traditional fishing and hunting activities in the area is only one example of administrative disregard for the Land Code, other legislative acts, and the 1992 Presidential decree.

Although compliance with and enforcement of the laws protecting indigenous rights to territory appears to be low, some regions of the Russian Federation did begin to implement the 1992 Presidential decree by developing their own laws and regulations to protect traditional living places and activities of indigenous minorities. The 1992 Presidential decree (no. 397) ordered the councils of ministers of the republics of the Russian Federation, and the bodies of executive power of the territories (krai), provinces (oblasti), and autonomous districts (okrugi) in which indigenous minorities live to demarcate the territories inhabited and used by indigenous minorities for their traditional activities. The delineation of these territories was to be done jointly with the regional associations of the indigenous groups of the North. Reindeer pastures, hunting grounds, fishing sites, and other lands were to be transferred without charge to kinship groups or clan communities (obshchiny) and indigenous families connected with traditional branches and trades for their permanent use for traditional activities. The "transfer" of these lands would not trigger a grant of fee simple title from the state, but would accord more than use rights to indigenous peoples. The bundle of rights to be transferred included some proprietary, exclusionary, and disposition rights.'9 The clan communities or families were to be granted preferential rights for conclusion of contracts and receipt of licenses for use of renewable natural resources. The decree declared that the designated lands shall not be subject to alienation (sale or lease) for industrial or other uses not connected with traditional activities without the consent of the relevant indigenous group. The mechanism for such consent, however, was not clear. Furthermore, the decree did not specify whether the whole indigenous group within a raion (district) must be consulted or only those living within the boundaries of a designated "territory of traditional nature use."110

In 1992, the Russian Supreme Court considered this decree in the Svetlaya case."' There, the Svetlaya corporation (a joint venture between the South Korean Hyundai Group and two Russian logging enterprises) challenged a local decision of the Pozharsky Soviet, the district [raion] council, denying Svetlaya permission to cut timber on land within its jurisdiction. The Primorsky Regional Court declared that the District Council had exceeded its authority; however, the Russian Supreme Court reversed the lower court and ruled that a raion had jurisdiction to regulate and supervise natural resource within the district."12

Article 2 of the 1992 Presidential decree addressed environmental concerns. It called for the development of Rules for the Use of Land and Other Natural Resources on the "Territories of Traditional Nature Use" (territorii traditsionnogo prirodopolzovaniya or TTP) of indigenous minorities and permited only production activities consistent with positive conclusions of a state ecological impact assessment (expertiza). 113 The importance of ecological impact assessments was reinforced by a recent decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation. 114 On February 17, 1998, the high court overturned regional directives transferring land without preparation of a state environmental impact assessment. In that case, regional governments with federal approval had transferred "forest land of the First Group" to a category of non-forest land in violation of the Law on Ecological Expertise"5 and the Law on Environmental Protection. "6 The lands transferred by the illegal directives were required to be returned to their original classification. 117


The 1992 decree, together with other decrees and laws, spawned two institutions in the Russian North-territories of traditional nature use (TTPs) and clan communities (obshchiny). While drafts of a federal law on the formation of TTPs have circulated for a number of years, the likelihood of passage in the near future is low. Despite lack of a federal law, however, some regions adopted temporary or permanent laws on the formation of TTPs, including the Koryak Autonomous Okrug (AO)' 18 and Primorsk Krai (Territory). 19 TTPs may be substantial in size (even millions of hectares) and may only be created by the government of a raion, okrug, or oblast. Once created, the designated territory becomes unavailable for industrial activities; however, the relevant indigenous population may agree to such activity. TTPs may provide a relatively secure land and resource base to continue traditional activities while allowing indigenous peoples who wish to develop other sources of income to do so.120 Obshchinas (clan communities), in contrast to Tms, are formed voluntarily by a group of individuals or families who want to pursue traditional types of activities together. Under existing laws in the Sakha Republic and other regions, after formation, the community may apply for a territory or "obshchina" land. The designated land (which is considerably smaller in size than a TTP) remains public land, and the community has rights to use its biological resources for designated activities.121

The new federal law on obshchinas defines them as:

Forms of self-organization of persons belonging to numerically small peoples and joined by blood-clan (family, clan) and (or) territorial-neighbor indications, created for the goals of defense of their age-old surroundings, and the maintenance and development of traditional ways of life, economy, trades and Culture. 122

The new law, as mentioned above, only authorizes creation of obshchinas by indigenous minorities, although it does not exclude non-indigenous participation. 123 Only indigenous individuals who are Russian citizens and eighteen years of age or older may be founders of obshchinas of indigenous minorities; government authorities or organizations may not form such obshchinas.224

Although numerous obshchinas have already been created as a vehicle to protect living places of indigenous minorities and others whose economy is based on "traditional" activities, obshchinas have always had two other important functions: to enhance local self-determination and revitalize indigenous culture. It is too early to determine whether the omission of provisions regarding how an obshchina may obtain rights to lands and waters in the new law will result in clan communities without a land base, or whether the law on obshchinas will be read together with the 1999 Law on Guarantee of Rights to authorize continued transfers of limited usufructory, proprietary, and exclusionary rights to them.

The revival of obshchinas began before the dissolution of the former Soviet Union. An Act adopted on April 26, 1990,125 authorized the creation of ethnic districts, settlements, or village councils in areas where an indigenous minority or ethnic group lives in a "compact" area. This Act provided a means to restore local self-government to indigenous peoples living within regions and districts in which they are vastly outnumbered. Taken together with the Law of Local Selfgovernment, the 1990 Act empowered indigenous and other ethnic minority communities to form self-governing entities.126 Self-governing units could be established even where the ethnic group does not constitute a majority of the population. TTPs, clan communities, and other unions designed to increase local self-government have been created in the post-Soviet period, but their ability to exert real control is constrained by lack of funding from independent regional authorities.

The creation of TIPs could be facilitated by the Duma spelling out mechanisms of regional implementation. Several bills moving through the Duma in 1999 would have provided for implementation. One bill supported by the oil and gas industry and another supported by the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON) offered competing approaches to more detailed legislation regarding TTPs, but neither appears likely to be adopted now.


Some regions of the Russian Federation are pioneering new methods of protecting areas for traditional use of nature, rather than privatizing land and natural resources. In the early stages of the transition from communism to western democracy, western advisors pushed privatization as a panacea to Russia's economic woes. Russians have been understandably reluctant to privatize land, and western advisors are now more cautious about urging privatization before the institutional framework to support a new system of property rights is in place. While the Murmansk Oblast has privatized select sections of the Kola Peninsula's rivers through exclusive leases, it has not carved up sovkhoz land used for reindeer pastures into individual or family parcels.

Other regions, however, have "privatized" lands used for traditional activities in a limited way by allotting former sovkhoz land to individuals or families to be used for traditional economic activities. In Northwest Siberia, the KhantyMansiisk Autonomous Okrug has allocated clan lands to individuals and family groups who may then sign contracts allowing industrial activity on those lands. Indigenous organizations have opposed such transfer of land rights to individuals and sought instead a form of communal indigenous management in which a group of users (not a single individual or family) would need to consent to leases or contracts for timber cutting, oil and gas exploration, or other development. Experience has shown that individuals in the Khanty-Mansiisk region have given consent to industrial activities in exchange for relatively trivial compensation.127

In theory, the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug allows workers to leave the sovkhozes and obtain private allotments, but in practice, the okrug land resources office in Salekhard (as of July 1994) has approved only one allotment of sovkhoz land, and that was a unique case that, as far as is known, has not been replicated. 128 As on the Kola Peninsula, sovkhoz land on the Yamal Peninsula has not been transferred to private herders although sovkhoz members pasture private reindeer and sovkhoz herds together.

This section explores some innovative models developing in Russia for protecting traditional activities while promoting a healthy economy. With the passage in April 1999 of the law "On the Guarantee of rights of indigenous minorities," the regional governments have a clear directive from the central government authorizing and directing them to protect the traditional ways of life, activities, and occupations of the indigenous minorities. While most regions in Russia have not established territories of traditional nature use (TTPs) and regional officials have used the lack of specific federal legislation to delay demarcation of territory for traditional nature use, other regions and republics of the Russian Federation fostered ethnic territories and clan communities (obshchiny)129 well before passage of the new federal law on obshchinas.

The creation of clan communities and the establishment of ethnic territories by the local raion authorities is much more widespread than designation of TTPs. Over 2300 obshchinas had been registered throughout the Russian Federation by February 1997, although many of these either failed or were created only on paper.lso Clan communities transfer use rights rather than title to the land and apply to land, water, and renewable resources used for "traditional activities" including fishing, reindeer herding, hunting, fur trapping, and gathering edible and medicinal plants. Timber cutting is limited to subsistence use, but other activities may be for commercial as well as subsistence purposes. 13 Local (raion) governments in the Buryat Republic and Chita Oblast are given the authority to allot such use rights after consultation with local Evenki associations. 132

Over 200 clan communities had been created within the Sakha Republic by 1997, encompassing tens of thousands, of square kilometers. Over fifty percent of the territory of two counties (ulusy) in the Sakha Republic were incorporated into clan communities. In four of the counties bordering the Arctic Ocean, an average of 32.5% of the territory was contained within an obshchina. 133 The transition to market conditions and drastic price increases has made survival of these communities difficult, thus some consolidation of communities has taken place. 134

Clan communities are an attempt to return to pre-Soviet forms of organizing economic and political life among the traditional residents while maintaining a connection to central and regional authorities. While studies are only beginning to systematically assess the success of clan communities, Fondahl has identified some of the problems that exist with transfer of state farm land to obshchinas: (1) clan communities fall short of protecting the traditional territories of indigenous peoples from conflicting developments, such as mining, upriver forestry, and so forth, adjacent to land; (2) preexisting damage caused by military or industrial activities may have made obshchina lands unusable; and (3) boundaries of traditional territories that once were "flexible and permeable" may not protect continued activities based on renewable resources when they become fixed and rigid. 135 Nevertheless, the widespread creation of obshchinas in the post-Soviet period tests new forms of land rights. Regions that have not yet created obshchinas have much to learn from regions that have.

In 1994, the Chita Oblast passed temporary rules for creating TTPs. Significantly, these avoid ethnic criteria and extend use rights not only to the indigenous Evenk population, but also to non-Evenks who participate in traditional activities such as hunting.136 This might prove to be a useful model for areas such as the Ponoi River on the Kola Peninsula where all residents (Samir, Nenets, Komi, and Pomor) have engaged in traditional fishing and hunting activities. Even where obshchinas or TTPs have not been created, regional authorities may not unilaterally allocate lands and waters within areas of traditional nature use to nontraditional uses (from industrial exploitation to sport fishing) without the consent of the indigenous community.


An idea that has gained momentum within Russia is the creation of ethnoecological refuges with the dual goals of ecological protection and protection of traditional activities. One such ethno-ecological refuge has been established by a union of communities of indigenous peoples on the northwest coast of Kamchatka and along the Tigil River in the Koryak Autonomous Okrug. The Itel' men Revival Council "Tkhsanom" initiated a project to create a refuge that would preserve the unique ecosystem and place of occupancy of indigenous local people. With financial and technical help from the World Wildlife Federation (WWF), an international environmental organization, Tkhsanom developed plans for a TTP that would provide for economic activities consistent with Itel'men culture. On December 2, 1998, the Governor of the Koryak Autonomous Okrug signed an order to organize a territory of traditional nature use (TTP) called Tkhsanom that incorporates over two million hectares of land in which about 7000 people are living traditional lifestyles.137 The order explicitly aims to promote development of both traditional and new environmentally sound uses of nature, encourage the use of ecological knowledge and involvement of indigenous and local people, and create an infrastructure for development of ecological, ethnographic, and recreational tourism. Training of indigenous and local people in order to involve them in protection and use of the territory is a main aim of the TTP.

The protected area includes two previously established zoological reserves (zakazniki) within which management will remain the same. The remainder of the territory and adjacent waters (out to two nautical miles from low tide) constitute a zone of traditional nature use within which the local population living inside the TTP may gather wild plants, hunt and trap fur animals with a license, herd domestic reindeer, and cut wood for subsistence needs. Recreational hunting and fishing are allowed in accord with existing rules, and commercial fishing as well as sea mammal hunting are allowed in accord with existing rules, limits, and quotas.138

The regulations give indigenous minorities of the Koryak AO, as well as the local population living within the TTP, priority to obtain quotas for use of the renewable natural resources. Next, the demands of national (ethnic) enterprises formed according to law must be met, and lastly the demands of others who obtain the right to use the resources on a contractual basis. This appears to give priority for fishing to subsistence needs of the local population, followed by commercial activities of national ethnic organizations and then to non-indigenous users such as sport fishing licensees. Activities unconnected to development of traditional uses of nature are restricted within the TTP as is location of transport (such as road construction) without offical need and off of the general purpose routes. Use of poisonous chemicals, mining, and commercial logging are not allowed. Permits are required to bring guns, trapping equipment, or dogs into the territory, to do scientific work, or to remove objects of natural or archeological heritage. 39 While the regional branch of the state committee on environmental protection of the Koryak AO supervises implementation of the regulations for the TTP, "management is to be conducted together with the Council of Itel'men Revival" and "all questions of changes in the protection regime and territorial control must be coordinated with [the Council]."140 Thus, the TTP is not only a model for an ethno-ecological reserve but also for a co-management regime in the Russian North.

Another mechanism being used to create ethno-ecological zones is through changes in the purposes and administration of parks. Rather than excluding and even removing native peoples from within park boundaries, as has happened too frequently in the past, park boundaries are being drawn to include native peoples pursuing traditional hunting, gathering, and fishing activities for a living. One such park was created in the Khanty-Mansiisk AO in 1997. Covering the upper reaches of the Kazym river, the Noomto Nature Park encompasses 721,800 hectares of tundra and many lakes, including Noomto for which it is named. Noomto Nature Park is administered by a board of directors appointed by the Okrug Administration.141 Protection of territories within the framework of the existing national and regional park system may result in more permanent protection against industrial development than does designation as a TTP or obshchina. The historical record of park management in many nations, however, is one of eventual eviction of local inhabitants or gradual erosion of their rights and degradation of the resource base until living within the park boundaries becomes difficult or impossible. 142 The trend in stakeholder influence on park policy, however, is changing in some countries. One study of Canadian national parks shows that the influence of entrepreneurs has declined over the last century while the influence of environmentalists and, since the 1960s, of aboriginal peoples has increased. 14 Several national parks in Canada now have added co-management to the administration of the park ensuring an increased involvement of First Nations (indigenous peoples) from whose homeland the park was carved.'4


The situation of the Sami on the Ponoi River on the Kola Peninsula (introduced briefly in section III.A. above) illustrates the difficulties indigenous peoples in Russia face today despite the guarantees in the Constitution of the Russian Federation and federal laws.145 The failure to protect indigenous ways, however, stems not from inadequacy of the written law, but rather from the failure to implement existing laws. If the existing laws are not implemented, claims for transfer of title to land and water into private ownership of indigenous families, groups, or First Nations may result. First, this section considers the potential application of existing law to the introduction of sportfishing on the Ponoi. These exclusive leases issued to an outside sportfishing enterprise have raised concerns about whether local and indigenous residents have been deprived of access to vital resources without fair compensation or benefits in kind to the local communities.

Prior to the Murmansk Administration's decision to lease the Ponoi to private sport fishing interests, the authorities failed to engage in meaningful consultations with the local population of the Lovozero district or with the particular village communities most affected by the leases, much less to obtain the consent of the indigenous minorities. A visit by the executive director of the Circumpolar Conservation, Evelyn Hurwich, to Kanevka revealed a startling lack of consultation with or priority given to indigenous and local users of the river's fish resources.146 According to Jelena Sergejeva, a researcher at the University of Helsinki, the Kola Sami Association condemned the 1992 Murmansk Oblast Decree opening rivers and lakes of the peninsula to competitive leasing and "demanded its withdrawal," but Sami protests "had no effect."147 Consultations directly with those who had fished the Ponoi for a livelihood and for family and community needs did not occur. General community meetings in advance of any contract negotiations as well as a local referendum on sport fishing licenses would have been more likely to lead to "effective participation of members of the minority community" as envisioned in the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and could have addressed community concerns.

Presidential Decree no. 397 declared that the traditional territories inhabited and used (for fishing among other uses) by indigenous minorities are to be allocated without cost to the kinship groups of families connected with traditional branches of the economy for their permanent use, that indigenous groups are to be granted preferential rights to make contracts and to receive licenses for use of resources, and that the territories are not to be allocated for uses not connected with traditional activities.

The 1999 federal law on guarantees of rights to indigenous minorities is not so specific as the earlier executive order regarding preferential rights; nevertheless, it continues a long line of legal authority acknowledging the prior rights of indigenous minorities to use and enjoy the traditional places they inhabit, to continue their way of life, economic activities, and occupations. The protections afforded indigenous minorities and traditional users under the 1999 federal law and other laws of the Russian Federation need not be obstacles to the creation of an economically viable sport fishing operation on the Ponoi River. But the terms of licenses, the choice of licensees, and financial arrangements would be likely to result in more direct benefits to the local population if the Murmansk Administration had complied with federal and international law.

The Murmansk Administration did not accord the requisite legal rights to the Sami and Nenets population of the Kola Peninsula. On the Ponoi, local people (Sami, Komi, Pomors and others) were not only forbidden to fish in the eighty kilometer stretch leased to the Ponoi River Company but also were required by regional laws to pay for licenses to catch a limited number of fish outside the lease area. A short news article indicated in August 1998 that the restrictions on local fishing on rivers in the Lovozero raion would be changed to re-open the stretches of river leased to sport fishing tourist companies so that the local population could fish for salmon following the close of the tourist season, and that the RUZ-system (fish counting fences) would be restored to use. 148 These reported changes may be a small consolation to locals as the exclusive sportfishing lease period extends from June though September and since the river freezes by the end of September or beginning of October.

Compensation was provided to the sovkhoz for several years, but compensation was not provided for the loss of cultural rights and legal access by local people (indigenous and nonindigenous) to the waters of the Ponoi, nor for restrictions on traditional activities including hunting and fishing in the affected area. It is unclear how many of the local people participate in continued commercial fishing activities. At the time of the Circumpolar Conservation Union's consultations, sovkhoz workers had not received salary for more than nine months.149

For purposes of compliance with the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the question remaining is whether the loss of access to a sizable stretch of the Ponoi has had only a limited impact on the way of life and livelihood of Sami and Nenets, or whether the impact of the sport fishing leases have been substantial enough to amount to a denial of rights under Article 27.150 Following passage of the April 1999 law, the Murmansk Administration not only has clear authority, but also an obligation to delineate the traditional territory of nature use and to protect the traditional uses (including subsistence and possibly commercial fishing by locals).

As the experience on the Ponoi River illustrates, the rule of law is not well established in Russia. Laws on the books are frequently ignored, and residents of remote communities have neither the power nor the resources to demand enforcement of their rights. Here and elsewhere in the circumpolar north, the failure to apply laws for the protection of indigenous peoples leads to "criminalization" of local indigenous populations who cannot survive without "poaching" resources that should be accessible to them legally.

Protection of indigenous and ethnic minorities and their traditional activities is not a new concept in Russia. As discussed here, laws from the pre-Soviet period to the present have acknowledged the special status of indigenous minorities. 151 Some autonomous okrugs bear the names of the peoples indigenous to the region (Khanty, Mansi, Yamal Nenets, Nenets, Koryak, and others). Although these regions have lost significance as territories in which indigenous peoples are self-governing, various laws from the last years of Soviet authority as well as Presidential decrees and laws adopted by the new Russian Federation aim to restore a measure of self-determination and protection to the indigenous peoples. The need to implement and enforce laws protecting the land and resources that provide the basis for hunting, fishing, herding and gathering has become more urgent in the post-Soviet period as land and resources formerly held in state ownership are increasingly privatized.


Local peoples are beginning to claim their rights under the law and assume responsibility to determine their own future. Indigenous minorities increasingly recognize that a stable economy and cultural endurance will only come about when they play a role in shaping the governing institutions. To date, however, the leading advocates of indigenous rights within Russia have not promoted or sought a process similar to that used in Alaska or the Canadian North whereby fee simple title to extensive lands would be granted to indigenous peoples.

There was little or no experience during the Soviet period or even during tsarist times with privately owned land. The current generation of leaders, indigenous and non-indigenous, have lived in a society that shunned private property in favor of state ownership of land and resources. In the post-Soviet era, many state assets (including factories, farms, livestock, and equipment) have been transferred into private hands. Nevertheless, people continue to resist privatization of land. In the Russian North, private ownership of reindeer did not vanish during the Soviet era. Although the state appropriated reindeer or purchased them (at unfairly low prices) in order to stock state farm herds, individuals continued to own small herds (comingled with the state herds).152 In the early days of transition to a market economy, the number of privately owned reindeer on the Yamal Peninsula rose dramatically until, in the mid 1990s, privately owned reindeer outnumbered state-owned reindeer by more than two to one. A transition to private ownership of land, on the other hand, has not occurred, nor has it been a goal for indigenous peoples. In northwest Siberia, and especially in the Khanty-Mansiisk region, which is riddled with oil and gas rigs, family and clan lands have been delineated. 153

There, privatization of land has been advantageous to oil and gas interests. The administration identified and alloted plots of "clan" or family land [rodovye ugodiya] to individuals. Then, oil and timber interests "purchased" drilling or timber cutting rights usually for trinkets-a snow mobile, cash, vodka. Developers and regional authorities have, up to the present, exerted unfair bargaining power and frequently operated in violation of law. In a legal analysis of economic agreements made between indigenous northern minorities and industrial enterprises in the Khanty-Mansiisk Autonomous Okrug, a regional representative of the public interest law firm Ecojuris detailed numerous violations of federal and regional laws regarding transfers of clan lands in the Surgut area to an oil and gas exploration enterprise.154

In contrast to the Khanty-Mansiisk A.O., indigenous leaders to the north on the Yamal Peninsula have not allocated specific lands to individual families. In the 1990s, a few individuals on Yamal sought to separate their pasturelands from state lands using existing laws, but only one succeeded. 155 On Yamal, pasturelands are shared by numerous reindeer herding brigades that migrate hundreds of miles from the southeastern end of the peninsula (or even from the mainland across Ob Bay) north and west to summer grazing grounds along the coastline of the Kara Sea. Breaking up the sovkhoz management of these state owned pastures would result in a radical revamping of ownership and reindeer herding. The sovkhoz members benefit by the continued basic support from the state farm that guarantees each sovkhoz worker (women are paid as "tent workers") a small salary. The salary and the sovhoz organization help to support the continuation of a nomadic herding life. As one sovkhoz director has pointed out, conversion of the state farms to a cooperative form of ownership would risk the loss of political and material support from state authorities. 156

In addition, the state has shown little willingness to relinquish disposition rights. While Russian scholars have studied the Canadian and Alaskan land claims and even translated parts of the Canadian comprehensive claims agreements, none have urged adoption of the models of western counterparts. The course that has been charted to date is one that countenances the historical differences in Russia and urges modest steps to expand property rights of indigenous minorities using institutions unique to the Russian North.157 Perhaps this is due to the influence of the anthropologists, sociologists, biologists, and ecologists that have actively worked with indigenous peoples in Russia. Until recently, there were almost no lawyers with any appreciable knowledge of northern indigenous peoples. Those lawyers who were concerned had few opportunities to travel to remote homelands outside Moscow, St. Petersburg, and other cities. Perhaps the low status of lawyers during Soviet times and the inability to use the courts to strengthen individual, let alone indigenous rights, discouraged indigenous people from seeking professional legal training.

The use of the courts to enforce environmental laws began in the post-Soviet period with the emergence of public interest environmental law firms. Several public interest organizations based in Moscow are breaking new ground in using the courts to enforce environmental laws. They are training lawyers and lay people throughout Russia to understand and use existing environmental and indigenous rights laws and have been actively engaged in development of new laws. EcoJuris has been in existence the longest and has an excellent track record. In 1999, two other organizations emerged: Jureco [Public Center for human rights and environmental defense] and The Rights Center RODNIK.158 Together with the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, RAIPON, these organizations are using existing laws to bring about political and legal change. Dr. V.A. Kryazhkov, Professor of Juridical Science and Consultant to the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, has compiled two books containing federal and regional laws pertaining to indigenous minorities and has published articles that lay the foundation for increased implementation and enforcement of these laws. 159 Using this body of knowledge, indigenous peoples may be able to protect their lands and gain a strong voice in decisions over use, access, exclusion, and transfer of lands and resources upon which they depend.

At a conference on Key Problems of Indigenous Peoples of the Russian Federation held in Moscow in September 1999, Dr. Kryazhkov stressed the need for a major program of legal training not only of lawyers and specialists but also of indigenous people and administrators charged with carrying out the relevant laws. Such a program would include study of mechanisms to implement law, simulation exercises in which natural resource managers and indigenous people play each other's roles, and discussions designed to increase all parties' understanding of the interests and perspectives of others.160 Participants in the conference confirmed the need for a well-funded, long-term program of studies on indigenous rights law, for legal training in institutes of higher education, and in communities and administrative centers accessible to indigenous people living in remote regions. Both RATON and the Russian Reindeer Herders Union have confirmed the need to strengthen the law and legal rights of indigenous peoples and stressed the importance of training to bring law to bear in daily life. The two main goals of the legal training institute would be:

1) Implementation of existing laws protecting indigenous rights by providing training, textbooks, clinics, and exchange visits; and

2) Development of a new pattern of federal-regional-indigenous relations in the Russian North that replaces paternalism with partnership.

The legal training institute on indigenous rights would serve:

1) Government officials, including administrators and officials of local selfgoverning bodies;

2) Leaders of indigenous organizations (including the regional associations represented in RAIPON and the Union of Russian Reindeer Herders);

3) Indigenous students studying at universities and institutes; and

4) Public leaders in a position to explain laws and legal procedures to their people.

The program as envisioned might include training courses in Ekaterinburg, Khanty-Mansiisk, Magadan, Salekhard, Yakutsk, and other regional centers; preparation of a textbook; preparation of a manual on indigenous rights in the Russian Federation and wide dissemination of this primer on indigenous rights and procedures to pursue legal rights; a clinic where students under the supervision of lawyers and legal experts would provide advice and assistance to indigenous minorities; internships and exchange visits between indigenous peoples of the Russian Federation and other circumpolar states. There is a need for a comprehensive comparative analysis of alternative institutions for promoting self-determination and self-government and for protecting the resource and land base of indigenous peoples. Indigenous students and leaders have shown a keen interest in exploring such models as the Canadian comprehensive claims, Nunavut, Alaskan oil laws and contracts, the Greenland Homerule Government, and the Sami parliaments. The program of legal training envisioned here would dramatically improve prospects for implementation of existing laws protecting indigenous rights.

The examples provided in the Sakha Republic, the Koryak Autonomous Okrug, the Khanty-Mansiisk Autonomous Okrug, the Buryat Republic, and Chita Oblast discussed briefly in this paper demonstrate that local peoples can make use of existing laws in the Russian Federation to replace Soviet structures with new institutions to protect nature and cultures. Administrative officials and indigenous people throughout the Russian North need opportunities to compare their own experience with that of other regions of Russia, as well as to explore the experience of indigenous peoples in other nations. Creation of a comprehensive program of research, curriculum development, training, and exchange would increase the prospects for implementing and enforcing existing laws. Only then could indigenous peoples assess prospects for existing law to ensure cultural survival by protecting herding, hunting, and fishing territories.


A key problem for indigenous peoples in the Russian North has been the lack of an effective rule of law securing their rights. Throughout the Russian North, indigenous and local people are being denied rights to fish, hunt, use pastureland, or exercise control over resources upon which they and their ancestors have depended for centuries. An understanding of the rights of indigenous peoples under international law and under the Constitution, federal, and regional laws of the Russian Federation should inform future decisions regarding resource development, river use, and resolution of issues regarding compensation to local communities. As shown here, laws from the tsarist period up to today have attempted to provide security to indigenous peoples who depend on land and resources to continue traditional activities including hunting, herding, fishing, and trapping. Soviet and subsequently Russian Federation laws address cultural, economic, linguistic, and other rights of indigenous minorities. While existing laws may need revision to clarify and elaborate these rights, the larger problem has been a failure to implement existing laws.

As we enter the new millennium, however, there are four signs of change that mark a new era in protection of the land and cultures of indigenous minorities in the Russian Federation: (1) adoption by the Russian Parliament of a law on guarantee of rights of indigenous minorities in April 1999; (2) increased use of the courts to enforce existing laws; (3) increased attention by Russian scholars and activists to indigenous rights; and (4) the rise of an indigenous rights movement within Russia with knowledgeable and effective indigenous leadership.161 These developments will lead to new demands for protection of lands and waters used by indigenous peoples but not necessarily to claims for recognition of native title to lands as in Canada and Alaska. In large part, the success of current efforts to implement existing law may defuse demands for a land claims process that would result in fee title to aboriginal lands.

From a North American perspective, full ownership of lands traditionally used by indigenous peoples in the Russian North would facilitate self-determination and enable indigenous people to determine the scale and pace of industrial development on those lands while also yielding indigenous peoples a greater share of the rents from development. Indigenous title to lands would shift the balance of power, increasing the bargaining strength of indigenous owners and enhancing their ability to defend their lands and resources.

On the other hand, when Alaska Natives gained title to almost twelve percent of the lands of Alaska, they lost aboriginal rights to hunt and fish and gave up potential claims to much larger areas. Likewise, Canadian land settlements required extinguishments of aboriginal claims. The history of contacts between Native peoples of Russia and the outsiders who came to reap the riches of the northern area 162 holds parallels and contrasts to land claims in North America. But the mode of protecting land rights of indigenous peoples in Russia has not mimicked the course of North American and European jurisprudence. Rights have been based on the types of activities that indigenous people engage in as a way of living and the corresponding need for protection of nature inherent in reliance on renewable resources.

From an indigenous perspective, people "belong to the land"-the land does not belong to people. But this does not mean that hunters, herders, and fishing people do not know where the borders of their territories are located as well as those of their neighbors. The concept of title to land may not be important or even useful to a nomad, but once an oil company stakes a competing claim or a sport fishing outfit contracts for an "exclusive lease," the family dependent on that territory may begin to define rights in a new way. What was the tsar's responsibility to the native peoples whose land he claimed for the state? What was the Soviet Union's duty to the indigenous people whose land it converted into "state farms"? What is the Russian Federation's responsibility to indigenous peoples today?

In 1993, the responsibility of those in authority for "protection of the original environment and traditional way of life of small ethnic communities"163 was acknowledged for the first time in the Constitution of the Russian Federation. Is it paternalistic and naive to try to protect traditional life ways? Why do so many Russians continue to oppose privatization of land? Is it possible to foster not just cultural survival but cultural resilience of indigenous nations? This article has explored the developing law in the Russian Federation to understand how and why the course of law regarding land rights of indigenous peoples in Russia diverges from that of North America. The Russian Federation is on its own path to working out the relationship of indigenous peoples, their land, and the law. If a new land code departs radically from that path toward a course of privatization of land throughout Russia, that path could easily switch courses as indigenous leaders demand rights to land sufficient to compete with industrial and outside interests. But for the moment, funding, research, and education should target rapid implementation of international norms and the existing Constitutional, federal, and regional laws in Russia for the protection of indigenous peoples.


1. The United States Congress ordered title to forty-four million acres of land in Alaska and payment of US $962.5 million to be granted to Native corporations under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 (ANCSA) in exchange for extinguishment of undetermined aboriginal rights to land as well as aboriginal hunting and fishing rights. Alaska Native Claims Settlement, 43 U.S.C. 1601 (2000). The Canadian government took a different approach to resolving First Nations claims, choosing to negotiate "comprehensive claims" rather than to legislate a solution. As a result, Canada has transferred title to vast areas of land to indigenous peoples and created numerous co-management bodies to guide management of fish and wildlife, national parks, and other natural resources.


2. The Nunavut Land Claims Agreement covering Canada's eastern and central Arctic took seventeen years to negotiate from the date of the first detailed proposal in 1976 to signature by Inuit and government representatives on May 25, 1993. See Jack Hicks, The Nunavut Land Claim and the Nunavut Government; Political Structures of Self-Government in Canada's Eastern Arctic, in DEPENDENCY, AUTONOMY, SUSTAINABILITY IN THE ARCTIC 21, 22, 25 (Hanne Petersen & Birger Poppel, eds., 1999).


3. Collectivization and resettlement efforts began in the 1930s and continued into the 1960s. In the northernmost regions such as Chukotka and Yamal, consolidation of production associations into collective and state farms began in earnest in the 1940s after the Second World War, and consolidation of collectives into larger enterprises occurred in the 1950s and 1960s. See Anna M. Kerttula, ANTLER ON THE SEA: THE YUP'IK AND CHUKCHI OF THE RussiAN FAR EAST 15-16 (2000); Debra L. Schindler, Indigenous Peoples and Development in the Chukchi Autonomous Okrug, INSROP Working Paper No. 51, 22-23 (Lysaker, Norway: Fridtjof Nansen Institute, 1996); and Andrei V. Golovnev et al., Indigenous Peoples and Development of the Yamal Peninsula, INSROP Working Paper No. 112, 28-29 (Lysaker, Norway: Fridtjof Nansen Institute, 1998).

4. U.N. Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, G.A. Res. 2200, U.N. GAOR, 21st Sess., Supp. No. 16 at 52, U.N. Doc. A/6316 (1967).

5. ILO Convention No. 169, June 27, 1989, 28 LL.M. 1382 (entered into force Sept. 5, 1991).


6. During Soviet times, the official list of "small-numbered peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East" included 26 groups. In the post-Soviet era, groups previously not listed as separate peoples sought to be identified as distinct groups, and the list grew to 32. On March 24, 2000, 12 more were officially listed bringing the official number of indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia, and the Far East to 44. SEVERNYE NARODY RossiI NA PUTI V NovoE TYSYACHELETIE [NORTHERN PEOPLES OF RussIA ON THE PATH TO THE NEW MILLENNIUM] 4, 5 (PV. Sulyandziga & O.A. Murashko eds., 2000).

7. Ob osnovakh gosudarstvennogo regulirovaniya sotsialno-ekonomicheskogo razvitiya severa Rossiyskoy Federatsii [On the fundamentals of the state regulation of the social-economic development of the Northern regions in the Russian Federation], Federal Law of June 19, 1996, No. 26, p. 3030, art. I, part 6, reprinted in STATUS MALOCHISLENNYKH NARODOv ROSSII. PRAVOVYE AKTY. KNIGA VTORAYA 110 (V.A. Kryazhkov, compiler, 1999) [hereinafter Kryazhkov, STATUS II]. The large indigenous groups are not accorded the same rights under laws of the Russian Federation although they would be considered indigenous peoples under international law. Some writers now use the term "aboriginal peoples" to refer only to the "numerically small peoples of the North" and then translate the Russian term korennye parody as "indigenous peoples" (numerically small peoples of the North plus the Komi, Sakha, etc.). Here, we use "Native peoples" to mean korennye parody and "indigenous minorities" to refer to small-numbered peoples.


8. According to the 1989 census, the population of northern indigenous minority peoples in Russia totaled 184,500, about 1.5% of the total population. 1989 All-Union Census of the USSR. Detailed demographic, linguistic, and geographic information on indigenous populations in northern Russia is compiled in Winfried K. Dallmann, Indigenous peoples of the northern part of the Russian Federation and their environment, INSROP Working Paper No. 90 (Lysaker, Norway: Fridtjof Nansen Institute, 1997).

9. Existing maps provide data that could be useful in determining the location of indigenous lands in Russia. Over the last half-century, agricultural research enterprises in Russia developed an enormous body of research on reindeer pastures and employed this data to organize and manage reindeer herding. Cartographers prepared detailed, hand-colored botanical maps (at a scale of 1:100,000) of seasonal reindeer pastureland in Russia. The maps, field research data, descriptive and statistical material show vegetative associations and change from 1954 to 1996. The maps and data cover all the northern regions and provide a baseline for future monitoring of roughly 328 million hectares (1.3 million square miles) of reindeer pasturelands. Interview with Dr. AX Komarov, General Director, Soyuz Olenevodov Rossii (Reindeer Herders Union) & Natalia V. Beljaeva, Doctor of Biological Science, Senior Scientific Employee, AEROSYOMKA, Moscow (May 2000).


10. David G. Anderson, Northern Sea Route Impact Assessment: Indigenous Peoples and Development in the Lower Yenisei Valley, INSROP Working Paper No. 18 - 1995, IVA.1. (Lysaker, Norway: Fridtjof Nansen Institute 1995): 4-9.

11. ANDREI V. GOLOVNEV & GAIL OSHERENKO, SIBERIAN SURVIVAL: THE NENETS AND THEIR STORY 8 (1999). 12. Anderson, supra note 10, at 4, 5.

13. See supra notes 1 & 2. For detailed background on indigenous rights in Canada, see generally ABORIGINAL PEOPLES AND THE LAW: INDIAN, METIs AND INUIT RIGHTS IN CANADA (Bradford W. Morse ed., 1985). On indigenous rights in Alaska, see DAVID S. CASE, ALASKA NATIVES AND AMERICAN LAws (1984).

14. Johnson v. McIntosh, 21 U.S. 543 (1823).


15. Generally, proprietary rights are possessory rights that entitle the owner to keep, reinvest, or apportion the value. They expose the holder to risk of losses but entitle the holder to compensation for damage to the property. Exclusionary rights allow the holder to exclude certain groups from using the property, to grant permits to use the property and to receive the fees or rents from such use. Disposition rights entitle the holder to dispose of (sell or lease) the property. See Gail Osherenko, Property Rights and Transformation in Russia: Institutional Change in the Far North, 47 EuRoPE-AsiA STUDms 1077, at 1086-87 (1995). The author has used these four categories to describe the set of rights encompassed within the meaning of "property rights"; they are defined and elaborated in Got,omrEV & OSHERENKO, supra note 11, at 118-119.

16. McIntosh, 21 U.S. (8 Wheat) 543, 574.


17. NIKOLAI VAKHTIN, Native Peoples of the Russian Far North, in MINORITY RIGHTS GROUP INTERNATIONAL REPORT No. 5, at 10 (1992). This thirty-seven page report is an excellent primer and overview on the history of indigenous minorities of Russia and contact with outside authorities. It has been an important document in bringing the plight of indigenous peoples of the Russian North to the attention of the English-speaking world.

18. Polnoe sobranie zakonov Rossiiskoi imperil, PSZ 29, 126 in THE STATUTES OF 1822, PSZ, vol. XXXVIII(1822-1823): 342-565. This law is sometimes translated as Statute on the Natives. This statute is described and discussed in MARC RAEFF, MICHAEL SPERANSKY: STATESMAN OF IMPERIAL RUSSIA, 1772-1839, 270-9 (1957).

19. VAKHTIN, supra note 17 at 9. Vakhtin called the statute "an exceptional legal document in which an attempt was made to protect by law the native population of the land that was being colonized and to give those who were settled the same rights as Russian peasants." He added, "[I]t also showed a sincere desire to preserve the native economy against Russian capitalism and to protect the original culture."

20. For a wider discussion of "The Epoch of Speranskii," see GoLovNEV & OSHERENKO, supra note 11, at 45-47, 59-67.

21. RAEFF, supra note 18, at 275; GOLOVNEV & OSHERENKO, supra note 11, at 61.


22. See Lorenz G. Loffler, Land Rights as Instruments of Social Transformation: The Case of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (Bangladesh), in INDIGENous PEOPLEs, ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT, IWGIA Document No. 85 (1997) (explaining that "no socialist state would, at the time when the [Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948] and the subsequent covenant were drafted, accept anything which could be construed as legalizing individual or group rights in landed property").

23. G.E. Bystrov, Zemel'naya reforms v Rossii: pravovaya teoriya i praktika [Land reform in Russia: legal theory and practice], 4 GosuDARSTvo I PRAvo 46-58 (2000)


24. A full examination of the validity of the Russian Federation's claim to title over lands used and occupied by indigenous peoples is beyond the scope of this article.

25. Article 69, Constitution of the Russian Federation as approved by the National Referendum, Dec. 12, 1993, translated by Federal News Service, Washington, DC, in 16 CoNsTrr[rts OF THE COUNTRIF OF THE WORLD (Albert P. Blaustein & Gilbert H. Flanz, eds., 1994) [hereinafter KONST. RF].

26. KoNsT. RF, supra note 25, art. 15, 4 (1993).


27. U.N. Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 999 U.N.T.S. 171 (entered into force Mar. 23, 1976, art. 28 entered into force Mar. 20, 1979) [hereinafter Covenant on Civil and Political Rights]. The Covenant, together with decisions of the Human Rights Committee discussed below, may be located at humanrts (last visited Jan. 23, 2001).

28. ILO Convention No. 169, June 27, 1989, 28 IL.M. 1382 (entered into force Sept. 5, 1991), available at (last visited May 15, 2001). The Convention was adopted by the General Conference of the International Labor Organization at Geneva.

29. Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, art. 2, G.A. Res. 2200A(XXI), 21 U.N. GAOR, 21st Sess., Supp. No. 16, at 59, U.N. Doc. A/6316 (1966), [hereinafter "Covenant Protocol"].


30. Id. art. 1.

31. Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, supra note 27, art. 27.

32. Id. art. 1, sec. 1.

33. Id. art. 1, sec. 2.

34. Id. art. 2, sec. 2.


35. Id. art. 27.

36. The Human Rights Committee is established under Article 28 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Covenant Protocol, supra note 29. The Committee monitors compliance with the treaty, examines and comments on state reports, and hears complaints of violations from individuals. It is a body of eighteen independent experts (who work part-time) elected by state parties. For a description and critical review of the Committee, see Makau wa Mutua, Looking Past the Human Rights Committee: An Argument for De-marginalizing Enforcement, 4 BUFF. Hunt. RTs. L. REv. 211, 211-60 (1998). The Committee does not have independent enforcement powers; thus, its effectiveness in bringing serious violators into compliance has been limited. Nonetheless, it is charged with monitoring compliance with the treaty, and its decisions provide guidance to the courts of the member states.

37. Covenant Protocol, supra note 29, art. 2.


38. Jouni E. Lansman v. Finland, Communication No. 671/1995, U.N. Doc. CCPR/CSS/D/671/1995 (1996), available at (last visited Apr. 17, 2001); I. Linsman v. Finland, Communication No. 511/1992, U.N. Doc CCPR/C/52/D/511/1992 (1994); Kitok v. Sweden, Communication No. 197/1985, U.N. GAOR, 43rd Sess., Supp. No. 40, at 207, U.N. Doc. A/43/40, Annex 7(G) (1988).


39. J. Lansman v. Finland, at 10.3. 40. J. Lansman v. Finland, at 110.4.

41. Circumpolar Conservation Union, The Ponoi River Report: Sport Fishing in the Kola Peninsula (1999) (unpublished report), chapter 7 of this Report is available at ponoi-eng.htm (last visited Apr. 27, 2001) [hereinafter The Ponoi River Report]. The author of this article was a major contributor to this report. Information throughout this article on the Ponoi River fishing controversy comes from this report.


42. The Simi have long been recognized in federal law as one of the small-numbered indigenous peoples of the North, but only in November 1997, were they officially singled out and named by the Murmansk Oblast Duma in a law regulating and protecting the rights of national minorities in accord with the Constitution of the Russian Federation and federal law. This law, Article 21 of the Code of the Murmansk Oblast, calls on the organs of state power of the oblast to facilitate the Native peoples of the Kola North, specifically naming the Semi, "in realization of their rights for preservation and development of their native language, national culture, traditions and customs." Ustav (Osnovoy zakon) Murmanskoy Oblasti, Prinyat Dumoy Murmanskoy oblasti 26 noyabrya 1997 g (Izvlechenie] [Code of Murmansk Oblast, passed by the Murmansk Oblast parliament 26 Nov. 1997], art. 21; reprinted in Kryazhkov, STATUS If, supra note 7, at 244. The third section of Article 21 states: "In historically established areas of habitation, Sami enjoy the rights for traditional use of nature and [traditional] activities."

43. J. Lansman v. Finland, at 10.4.


44. J. Lansman v. Finland, at 110.7.

45. Information regarding signatories to contracts is contained in The Ponoi River Report, supra note 41, at sec. 1.4.

46. J. Lansman v. Finland, at 110.4.

47. Bruce C. Forbes, Tundra Disturbance Studies, III: Short-term Effects of Aeolian Sand and Dust, Yamal Region, Northwest Siberia, 22 ENVTL. CONS. 335-44 (1995).


48. For one particularly poignant account of damage by oil workers to indigenous residents, see Yeremei D. Aipin, Not by Oil Alone, Moscow NEws WEEKLY No. 2, at 9,10, reprinted in IWGIA Newsletter, (Copenhagen, 1989) 57, at 136-43. A number of first-hand accounts of conditions in the Russian North written by indigenous people are collected in ANXIOUS NORTH: INDIGENOUS PEOPLES IN SOVIET AND POST-SOVIET RUSSIA 201-205 (Alexander Pika et al. eds., 1996).

49. Vella (sometimes transliterated from Russian as Vaella) is his Nenets family name, and the name under which he writes; Aivaseda (or Ayvaseda) is the family name recorded in his Russian passport.


50. E-mail correspondence from Olga Yakovleva, Rights Center RODNIK, to Gail Osherenko (Oct. 27, 2000) (on file with author). The criminal case against Ayvaseda was dropped on November 30, 2000. Public letter of Olga Yakovleva to supporters. This letter and other reports about the Aivaseda case are reproduced at (last visited Feb. 15, 2001).

51. Interview with Natalia Novikova, anthropologist and member of the governing board of The Rights Center RODNIK, in Norwich, VT (Feb. 5, 2001). See also GOLOVNFV & OSH_, NKo, supra note 11, at 106.

52. United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), June 13-14, 1992, 31 ILM 818 (entered into force Dec. 29, 1993). The Russian Federation signed the CBD along with 156 other states and the European Community in Rio de Janeiro, June 13-14, 1992, and ratified the Convention on April 5, 1995.


53. Agenda 21, Adopted by the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development, Rio de Janeiro, June 13, 1992. U.N. Doc. A/CONE 151/26(vol. 3), at 16, Annex 2 (1992).

54. Id. ch. 26.3(a)(iv).

55. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, Jan. 4, 1969, 660 U.N.T.S. 195, reprinted in 5 I.LL.M. 352 (1966).

56. See United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination Urges Australia to Suspend Implementation of Amended Act on Aboriginal Land Rights, U.N. Doc. HR/CERD/99/29 (Mar. 18, 1999), at 1, 2, available at (last visited


Sept. 7, 2000). Committee members continued to express concern about issues of land rights and the legality of amendments to Australia's Native Title Act of 1998 during its 56th session in March 2000. See Press Releases of March 21, 22, and 24, issued by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Descrimination, at http:ll (last visited Apr. 9, 2001). I am grateful to Professor Russel Barsh for bringing these additional international conventions and instruments to my attention and for his comments on an earlier draft of this article.

57. The interests of indigenous peoples and environmentalist often converge, and indigenous peoples organizations have successfully lobbied for inclusion of provisions in international agreements that promote their rights. The interests of indigenous. peoples and environmentalist, however, are not identical. The environmental agreements accordingly reflect an environmentalist perspective that could fall short of an indigenous community's desire to pursue environmentally sound industrial or extractive development on their lands. Professor S. James Anaya articulates the points of convergence and divergence in Environmentalism, Human Rights, and Indigenous Peoples: A Tale of Converging and Diverging Interests, 7 Bury. ENVTL. L.J. 1, 9-11 (1999/2000).


58. ILO Convention No. 169, supra note 28.

59. Indigenous and Tribal Populations Convention, ILO Convention No. 107, June 5, 1957, revised by ILO Convention No. 169, supra note 28, available at 107&submit=Display (last visited Apr. 17, 2001).

60. ILO Convention No. 169 supra, note 28.

61. Regarding the issue of ratification by the former Soviet Union, see letter and enclosed memorandum from N.N. Bessmertnykh, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union, to G.S. Tarazevich, Chairman of the Committee on National Policy and Inter-ethnic Relations under the Soviet of Nationalities of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR (May 28, 1991) in ANxIOUS NORTH 63-4 (Alexander Pika et al. eds., 1996). For a discussion of obstacles to ratification by Sweden and measures necessary for Sweden to comply with the convention, see Svensk Statens Offentliga Utredninger [Swedish State Commission Report] SOU, 23-32 (1999). See also TROND THUEN, QUEST FOR EQUrrY: NORWAY AND THE SAAMI CHALLENGE 231 (1995).


62. ILO Convention No. 169, supra note 28, art, 4-6.

63. Id. art. 16.

64. Id. art. 7.1.

65. World Bank Operational Manual, OD 4.30 Involuntary Resettlement (June 1990).

66. Id. art. 3(e).

67. Id.

68. World Bank Operational Manual, OD 4.20 Indigenous Peoples (Sept. 1991).


69. Id. sec. 8. Bank projects require preparation of an indigenous peoples development plan "based on full consideration of the options preferred by the indigenous people affected by the project." Id. sec. 13, 14.

70. For a discussion of federalism issues that have come to the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, see HERMAN SCHWARTZ, THE STRUGGLE FOR CONSTITUTIONAL JUSTICE IN POST-COMMUNIST EUROPE, 151-54 (2000). Thirty percent of the Constitutional Court's caseload involves issues of federalism. See id. at 160.

71. This provision serves a similar function as the reserve clause in the U.S. Constitution that states that powers not expressly allocated in the Constitution to the federal government are "reserved" to the states.

72. KONST. RF supra note 25, art. 71 (c).


74. Id. art. 69.

75. See id. art. 76 (addressing questions of conflicts of laws).

76. Id. art 72(1c.)

77. Id. art. 72(1e).

78. Id. art. 72(1j).

79. Id. art. 72(1l).


80. REP. OF SAKHA (YAKUTIA) CONST. art 42 (1992), in CONSTITUTIONS OF DEPENDENCIES AND SPECIAL SOVEREIGNTIES 8 (Albert P. Blaustein et al. eds., 1994).

81. NEOTRADITIONALISM IN THE RUSSIAN NORTH: INDIGENOUS PEOPLES AND THE LEGACY OF PERESTROIKA 65-66 (Aleksandr Pika, ed., 1999). As explained there, "the term 'clan' in Siberia obscured a different form of social organization: the territorial obshchina, consisting of groups of relatives, by blood and marriage, through various genealogical lines. The obshchina is a universal form of social organization of peoples found at the pre-class or pre-industrial stage of social development. The significance of the obshchina as a universal form of economic territorial organization, and as a structural unit for survival [zhizneobespecheniel, autonomy, and the reproduction of the ethnos is especially important for minority peoples seeking to preserve their cultural and economic distinctiveness." Id. at 65.


82. 0 kochevoy rodovoy obshchine malochislennykh narodov Severa. [Law of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)], Dec. 23,1992, art. 2.3, reprinted in STATUS Mnt.ocetsLENNYKH NARODov Rossn. PRAVOVYE Arr I DocumENTY [Status of small-numbered peoples of Russia. Legal acts and documents] 283 (V.A. Kryazhkov, comp. 1994), as modified Ob izmeneniyakh i dopolneniyakh Zakona Respubliki Sakha (Yakutia) 0 kochevoy rodovoy obshchine malochislennykh narodov Severa [On changes and additions to the Law of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) On the nomadic clan obshchina of numerically small peoples of the North], Sakha Republic Law No. 105-1, 9 Apr. 1996.

83. Ob obshchikh printsipakh organizatsii obshchin korennykh malochislennykh narodov Severa, Sibiri i Dalnevo Vostoka Rossiiskoy Federatsii [On common principles of organization of obshchinas of indigenous minorities of the North, Siberia and the Far East of the Russian Federation], No. 104 FZ, June 20, 2000.

84. KoNsT RF, supra note 25, art 72(lb).


85. Id. art 72(11).

86. 0 garantiyakh prav korennykh malochislennykh narodov Rossiiskoi Federatsii, [On the Guarantee of rights of indigenous numerically small peoples of the Russian Federation], No. 85 FZ, Apr. 30, 1999 [hereinafter Russian Federation Law No. 85].

87. Id. The law may also apply to "other individuals who are not indigenous minorities but permanently live in the areas of traditional habitat of indigenous minorities, in accordance with the laws of the RF." The subjects of the Russian Federation in the relevant living places suggest a unified list of the indigenous minorities, but the federal government must confirm the list. Id. art.1.


88. Id. art. 8.1(1). For a short summary article, see Russia: Duma Approves law on Ethnic Minorities. ITAR-TASS, Mar. 5, 1999, available at 1999 WL 12589989.

89. Russian Federation Law No. 85, supra note 86, art. 8.1(2).

90. Id. art. 8.1(3).

91. Id. art. 8.1(5).

92. Id. art. 8.1(6).

93. Id. art. 11.

94. Id. art. 12.

95. Id. art. 8.1(7).


96. Id. art. 8.1(4). 97. Id. art. 8.1(9). 98. Id. art. 14. 99. Id. art. 8.1(8).

100. The frequent use of the term "traditional" in Russian law does not constrain a people from adopting modem technologies; indeed, these were widely introduced into the traditional economy during the Soviet period. For a thoughtful discussion of the use and meaning of "traditional nature use" see Olga Murashko, Traditional Nature Use and Traditional Knowledge: The Rights and Responsibilities, available at http:/ (last visited Apr. 8, 2001).


101. Russian Federation Law No. 85, supra note 86, art. 4.

102. 0 neotlozhnykh merakh po zaschite mest prozhivaniya i khozyaystvennoy deyatel'nosti malochislennykh narodov Severa, [On Urgent Measures for the Protection of the Places of Residence and Economic Activity of the Numerically Small Peoples of the North] Ukaz Presidenta Rossiyskoy Federatsii no. 397, Presidential Decree No. 397, Apr. 22, 1992, Vedomosti. Rossiyskii, 1992, No. 18, at 1009.

103. U.N. Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, supra note 27, arts. 1, 2, & 27.


104. VA. Kryazhkov, Land Rights of the Small Peoples in Russian Federation Legislation, 20 PoLAR GEOGRAPHY 85, at 89 (1996) [hereinafter Kryazhkov, Land Rights].

105. For a discussion of each of these laws, see Kryazhkov, Land Rights, supra note 104. 106. Id. at 88. (citing art. 51 of the Land Code).

107. Id. (citing art. 28 of the Land Code).

108. Id. (citing arts. 8, 9, 90 & 94 of the Land Code).


109. See Osherenko, supra note 15 and accompanying text. 110. Presidential Decree No. 397, supra note 102.

111. The case of Svetlaya v. Pozharsky Soviet (Nov. 29, 1992) was not officially reported. A news report of it appeared at Russia: Court Ruling Sounds Death Knell For Foreign Logging Firm, Inter Press Service, Dec. 1, 1992.


112. Cymbre Von Fossen, The Evolution of a Comprehensive Environmental Strategy in the Russian Federation, 13 Wis. INT'L L.J. 531, 558 (1995). See also Hugh Fraser, Think Local, Act Global: Battles Between Remote Russia and International Investors, ThE FiNANciAL TIMES (London), July 7, 1993, at 14; TED Case Studies: Siberian Logging, (last visited Apr. 27, 2001).

113. Article 2 of the decree also set a deadline (the end of 1992) for presentation of proposals for creation of national parks and reserves in the districts of the Far North and for preparation of draft statutes "On the Legal Status of the Indigenous Peoples of the North" and "On the Legal Status of the Ethnic District, the Ethnic Rural


and Village Councils, Tribal and Kinship Councils of the Indigenous Peoples of the North." A bill on the Legal Status of Indigenous Minorities passed the first stage of adoption by the lower house of the Russian Federation Parliament (Lower Parliament House Decision 4633, Nov. 11, 1995), but the law was not passed in the Federal Council (Upper Chamber of Parliament). Following a convoluted journey through legislative committees even former proponents opposed it as amended. For a discussion of the draft law, see Zoya Sokolova and Anatoly N. Yakovlev, Assessment of Social and Cultural Impact on Indigenous Peoples of Expanded Use of the Northern Sea Route, INSROP Working Paper No. 111-1998, IV.4.1 (1998). See also Vakhtin & Krupnik, supra note 19 for a discussion of efforts over seven years to adopt a law on the status of indigenous peoples of the Russian Federation.


114. Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, Decision GKPI97-249 (Feb. 17, 1998). The case is summarized in Environmental Victory! The Russian Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Forests, RUSSIAN CONSERVATION NEws, Spring 1998, at 11-12. The full text of the decision was e-mailed to Osherenko by Eco Juris and translated by Gail Fondahl (on file with author).

115. "Ob ekologicheskoi ekspertize, [Law on Ecological Expertise]" FZ 174 (Nov. 23, 1995), art. 11.

116. "Oh okhrane okruzhaushchei prirodnoi sredy, [Law on Environmental Protection]" FZ 2060-1 (Dec. 19, 1991), as amended Feb. 21, 1992 (FZ 2397-1) and June 2, 1993 (FZ 5076-1).

117. See supra note 114.

118. "O territoriyakh traditsionnogo prirodopol'zovaniya v Koryakskom AO [On territories of traditional nature use in the Koryak AO]," Zakon Koryakskogo AO [Law of the Koryak AO], in Kryazhkov, STATUS II, supra note 7, at 259-270; "O vremennom polozhenii o territorii traditsionnogo prirodopol'zovaniya v Koryakskom AO [On temporary statute on territory of traditional nature use in the Koryak AO]," Reshenie Soveta Narodnykh deputatov Koryaskogo AO [Decision of the Koryak Council of Deputies], Dec. 20, 1992, in Kryazhkov, STATUS I, supra note 82, at 305-8.


119. "Vremennoe polozhenie o territorii traditsionnogo prirodopol'zovaniya malochislennykh narodov Primorskogo Kraya [Temporary statute on territory of traditional nature use of small-numbered peoples of Primorsky Krai]," Utverzhdeno Resheniem Malogo Soveta Primorskogo Kraevogo Soveta narodnykh deputatov [approved by the decision of the Small Council of the Council of deputies of Primorsky Krai], Aug. 25, 1993, No. 316, in Kryazhkov, STATus II, supra note 7, at 220-224.


120. Gail A. Fondahl, Freezing the Frontier: Territories of Traditional Nature Use in Northern Russia, in 47 PROGRESS IN PLANNING 307, 307-19 (1996) [hereinafter Fondahl, Freezing the Frontier]; see also GAIL A. FONDAHL, GAINING GROUND: EvENKis, LAND AND THE REFORM IN SOUTHEASTERN SIBERIA (1997) [hereinafter FoNDAHL, GAINING GROUND].

121. See FoNDAHL, GAINING GROUND, supra note 120. 122. Op.cit. supra note 83, FZ 104 (June 20, 2000), art. 1.

123. Id. art. 8. The general assembly of members of an obshchina of indigenous people may decide to include non-indigenous people as members, so long as those admitted are engaged in traditional activities and trades of indigenous peoples. Id. art. 8, sec. 4.

124. Id. art. 8, sec. 2.


125. This Act is entitled "O svobodnom natsional'nom razvitii grazhdan SSSR, prozhivayushchikh za predelami svoikh natsional'nykh gosudarstvennykh obrazovaniy ili ne imeyushchikh na territorii SSSR [On unhindered ethnic development of the citizens of the USSR who live outside their ethnic areas or have no such areas within the territory of the USSR]," Zakon SSSR [Law of the USSR], Apr. 26, 1990, NoVYE ZAKONY 167-72 (1990).

126. For the pertinent articles, see Kryazhkov, STATus I, supra note 82, at 126.


127. Aleksey P. Zenko & Marina A. Zenko, Protection of Ethnoecological Areas of Indigenous Peoples in a West Siberian Nature Park, 22 PoLAR GEOGRAPHY 150,150 (Apr.-June 1998).

128. Osherenko, supra note 15, at 1092-1094.


129. See TRADITSIONNOE PRiRODOPOL'zovANIE EOV. OBOSNOVANIE TERR1TORIY V CHITNSKOY OBLAST [Traditional nature use of the Evenkis. Bases for territory in the Chita Province) (V.S. Mikheev ed., 1995), cited in FONDAHL, GAINING GROUND, supra note 120. The legal basis for clan communities and TIPs existed in a number of federal decrees including the 1992 Presidential Decree no. 397 and in a 1991-95 state program Gosudarstvennaya programma razvitiya ekonomiki i kul'tury malochislennykh narodov Severa v 1991-1995 godakh. Sovershenstvovaniye national'no-territorial'nykh obrazonvaniy i ikh yuridicheskogo statusa [State program for the development of the economy and culture of the numerically Small Peoples of the North in 1991-1995. Improvement of national-territorial formations and their juridical status] Postanovelnie Kabineta Ministrov SSSR i Soveta Ministrov RSFSR [Resolution of Cabinet Ministry of the USSR and Council of Ministers of the RSFSR] No. 84, Mar. 11, 1991.

130. Gail A. Fondahl, Land Claims in Russia sy North, in CONTESTED ARcTc 78 (Eric Alden, et al. eds., 1997), quoting Olga Murashko [hereinafter Fondahl, Land Claims]; see also email correspondence from Gail Fondahl (May 18, 1999) (on file with author).


131. Fondahl, Land Claims, supra note 130, at 77.

132. Gail Fondahl et al., Negotiating Aboriginal Territoriality in the Russian North: Research in Sakha, Presentation at the International Congress of Arctic Social Scientists, Copenhagen (May 1998), 93. (on file with author) [hereinafter Fondahl, Negotiating Aboriginal Territoriality].

133. Id.

134. See S.I. Boyakova, VN. Ivanov, & G. Osherenko, et al., Influence of the Northern Sea Route on Social and Cultural Development of Indigenous Peoples of the Arctic Zone of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia), INSROP Working Paper No. 49 (1996), at 48.

135. Form, GAINING GRouND, supra note 120, at 78, 79.

136. Fondahl, Freezing the Frontier, supra note 136, at 307, Fondahl, Negotiating Aboriginal Territoriality, supra note 132, at 89-117, 126-31.


137. POSTANOVLENE, N. 317, Dec. 2, 1998. "Ob organizatsii territorii traditsionnovo prirodopol'zovaniya (TTP) "Tkhsanom" v Tigil'skom rayone Koryakskogo AO {On orgainzation of the territory of traditional nature use (TTP) 'Tkhsanom' in Tigil District, Koryak, A.O.]," reprinted in SEVERNYE NARODY ROSSII NA PUTI v NOVOE TYSYACHETTE, supra note 6 at 175.


138. O.N. Zaporotskiy & 0. A. Murashko, Kak Mozhno realizovat konstitutsionnoe pravo na zashchitu traditsionnogo obraza zhizni i iskonnoy sredy obitaniya [How can the Constitutional rights on protection of traditional ways of life and traditional places of inhabitation be realized], in SEVERa NARODY RosSIA NA PU v NovoE TcHEl.ETm, supra note 6 at 158-177.

139. Olga Murashko, Etnoekologicheskiy refugium - odin iz putey sokhraneniya traditsionnykh prirodnyh resursov i territoriyprirodopol'zovaniya korennykh malochislennykh narodov Severa, Sibiri i Dal'nego Vostoka [Ethnoecological refuge - one of the ways of protection of traditional natural resource and territories of nature use of aboriginal people of the North, Siberia and the Far East], and attachments, Zhivaya Arktika [Living Arctic] No. 1-2 (1998):8-18. The attachments include the order "Postanovlenie" signed by Governor Bronevich on Dec. 2, 1998 and supplementary rules "Polozhenie. . ." at 19-20; reprinted in Kryazhkov, STATUS I, supra note 82, at 272-3.

140. Polozhenie o territorii traditsionnogo prirodopol'zovaniya "Tkhsanom" [Decree on the territory of traditional nature use 'Tksanom"]. Utverzhdeno postanovleniem gubernatora Koryakskogo Avtonomnogo okruga ot 2 Dekabrya 1998 [Approved by declaration of the Governor of the Koryak Autonomous Okrug on Dec. 2, 1998] g., section 1.3, in Kryazhkov, STATUS I, supra 82, at 272-3.


141. Zenko, supra note 127, at 151.


143. Philip Dearden & Lawrence D. Berg Canada's National Parks: A Model of Administrative Penetration, 37 ThE CANADIAN GEOGRAPHER 194-211, fig. 1 (1993).

144. For a discussion of the negotiations over establishment of national parks in the Canadian Arctic in the context of Native land claims, see Terry Fenge, National Parks in the Canadian Arctic: The Case of the Nunavut Land Claim Agreement, 21 ENVIRONMENTS 1, 21-36 (1993).

145. See The Ponoi River Report, supra note 41.


146. Id.

147. Jelena Sergejeva, The Situation of the Sami People in Kola, in INDIGENOUS AND TRIBAL PEOPLES' RIGHT -- 1993 AND AFTER 176-88 (Eyassu Gayim & Kristian Myntti eds., 1995).


148. Mestnye snova budut s semgoi, [Locals will have salmon again] POLYARNAYA PRAVDA Murmansk: Aug. 28, 1998.

149. See The Ponoi River Report, supra note 41.

150. In order for those affected to pursue their rights before the Human Rights Committee, they must first seek remedies available through the administrative bodies and courts of Russia. A discussion of such remedies is beyond the scope of this paper.


151. See Kryazhkov, Land Rights, supra note 104, at 85-98. 152. See Got.ov-NEV & OSHERENKO, supra note 11, at ch. 6.

153. However, documents of ownership were not issued to all the accepted "owners" of family and clan lands. Yuri Vella (Aivaseda), discussed earlier, has yet to receive the documentation acknowledging rights to his


family's lands although there is no factual dispute over his ownership. Interview with Natalia Novikova, Norwich, VT (Feb. 5, 2001).

154. A.K. Veselov, Pravovaya Otsenka `Ekonomicheskikh Soglashenii', Zakluchaemykh Mezhdu Malymi Narodami Severa i Proizvodstvennymi Predpriyatiyami v Khanty-Mansiiskom Avtonomnom Okruge RF [Legal Evaluation of Economic Agreements Made Between Small Peoples of the North and Industrial Enterprises in Khanty-Mansiisk A.O., R.F.], Nov. 24, 1999.

155. See GOLOVNEV & OSHERENKO, supra note 11, at 127-28.

156. Interview with Dmitri Khorolia, Norwich, VT (Feb. 1999 & May 2000).



PERESTROIKA (Aleksandr Pika, ed., 1999). Translated from Neotraditsionalizm na rossiiskom severe. Moscow 1994.

158. RODNIK and Jureco are both offspring of EcoJuris as staff members of EcoJuris left to form these new non-governmental organizations. RODNIK focuses particularly on indigenous rights cases and training programs in indigenous rights law and legal anthropology. It is composed of lawyers and anthropologists who have worked on environmental and indigenous issues.

159. V.A. Kryashkov, Land Rights of the Small Peoples in Russian Federation Legislation, 20 PoLAR GEOGRAPHY 85, 89 (1996). See also Kryazhkov, STATUs I, supra note 82; Kryazhkov, STATUS II, supra note 7. 160. The proposal for development of an indigenous law training institute in the Russian Federation


discussed here is based on Dr. Kryanzhkov's remarks at the September conference and on the author's discussion with him in Moscow on September 20, 1999.


161. See GOLOVNEV & OSHERENKO, supra note 11, at 112.



163. KNOST. RF, supra note 25, art. 72(11).




* Senior Fellow, Institute of Arctic Studies, Dartmouth College, 6214 Fairchild, Hanover, New Hampshire, USA. J.D., University of California, Davis, 1975, B.A. Principia College, 1969. Other works include GAIL OSHERENKO cg ANDREI V. GOLOVNEV, SIBERIAN SURvIvAL: THE NENETs AND THEIR STORY (1999); and POLAR POLITICS: CREATING INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL REGIMES (Gail Osherenko & Oran R. Young eds., 1993). For any questions or comments about the article or the sources cited herein, please contact the author at


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