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Following Netting: The Cultural Ecology of Viliui Sakha Households in Post-Soviet Siberia

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Abstract

The transition from a communist infrastructure to a market economy presents a great challenge to indigenous agropastoralists of the former Soviet Union. Sakha (Yakut) are a Turkic-speaking people, today numbering approximately 360,000, who inhabit the Sakha Republic of northeastern Siberia, Russia. Rural Sakha practice horse and cattle breeding, a subsistence strategy brought to the northern latitudes by their southern Turkic ancestors in the fifteenth century (Ksenofontov 1992; Gogolov 1980, 1993; Forsyth 1992). Tungus, most notably Evenk, and nonagropastoralist Sakha were the reindeer-herding inhabitants of the Viliui Regions prior to colonization by Sakha agropastoralists. Today rural Evenk, Even, Yukagir, and Dolgan ethnic groups also inhabit the Sakha Republic, where they herd reindeer, hunt, fish, and forage. Viliui Sakha are located in the Viliui River watershed areas of the western Sakha Republic. Along with Sakha of the central regions, they make up the two ethnic enclaves of horse and cattle breeding Sakha, the highest latitude practicing agropastoralists in the world today. Sakha constitute the majority in the Viliui watershed, where one-third of the total Sakha population lives.

The original article Viliui Sakha Post-Soviet Adaptation: A Subarctic Test of Netting’s Smallholder, Householder Theory appeared in Human Ecology vol. 31, No. 4, December 2003.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    This refers to the 11 households that kept economic diaries for me over the course of the research year. See “Research Methods” below.

  2. 2.

    To a large extent the low herd numbers prior to the 1991 Soviet break-up was a carryover from policies of the Khrushchev era that limited households to keeping only one cow and calf.

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Correspondence to Susan Crate .

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Crate, S. (2010). Following Netting: The Cultural Ecology of Viliui Sakha Households in Post-Soviet Siberia. In: Bates, D., Tucker, J. (eds) Human Ecology. Springer, Boston, MA. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-5701-6_14

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