Report on violations of indigenous peoples’ rights in the Russian Federation: «Acts of intimidation, criminalization and other types of activities with the aim to prevent human rights work of indigenous activists in Russia»

  • The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples
  • UN Permanent Forum on indigenous issues
  • UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
  • Commissioner for human rights of the Council of Europe
  • High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the European Commission

By Dmitry Berezhkov (Arctic Consult, director) and Pavel Sulyandziga (International fund “Batani”, chair of board)

26 June 2019

Indigenous peoples in Russia

Indigenous peoples inhabit huge Arctic and Asian territories of the Russian Federation. The definition of “indigenous” without the numerical qualification does not exist in Russian legislation. So according to the Russian law, the term “Indigenous small-numbered peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East of the Russian Federation” is a collective term for more than forty Indigenous peoples with a population of less than 50,000 each. The number of the Indigenous peoples of the Russian North is less than 0.2% of the Russian population in total and about 250 – 300 thousand individuals. At the same time, Indigenous peoples of the Russian North historically inhabit huge territories covering around two-thirds of the Russian territory from the Kola Peninsula in the West to the Bering Strait in the East. Their traditional livelihood is based on fishing, hunting, reindeer husbandry, and gathering. More than two-thirds of them continue to live in rural areas where these activities are indispensable sources of food and income. Due to their traditional livelihoods, most of Indigenous peoples of the Russian North, especially those who preserve a nomadic way of life, need much more territories for subsistence than other populations. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and its infrastructure, economy, and forms of governance, the dependency of Indigenous peoples from traditional economies increased and became even more important than in Soviet times. Indigenous peoples in Russia remain one of the poorest parts of the population and their social and economic development, as well as their life expectancy, is far below the national average.

Russian version

Source – Arctic Consult

Our report at Cultural Survival

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