Faculty Publications

Indigenous Minorities And Post-Socialist Transition: A Review Of Aboriginal Population Trends In The Russian North

Document Type

Book Chapter

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Aboriginal Populations: Social, Demographic, and Epidemiological Perspectives

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The indigenous minorities of the Russian North have had a troubled his-tory over the last two centuries (Diatchkova, 2001; Pika & Prokhorov, 1988; Shnirelman, 1994). Epidemics and poverty in the nineteenth century were complemented by hardships of collectivization, forced sedentarization, and intensive assimilation in the Soviet period (Poelzer & Fondahl, 1997; Skobelev, 2004). Resultant unstable population dynamics during the late Soviet times prompted some demographers to fear that many indigenous minority groups were nearing a complete extinction.2 Along with assimila-tion, this phenomenon was attributed to an unusual demographic transition “stalemate”: while fertility rates were slowly in decline, mortality failed to recede to the expected levels. Although better medical care and socio-economic conditions predictably reduced infant mortality, extraordinary high death rates in the middle-age cohorts were responsible for the shrink-ing natural growth and low life expectancy. Although the most pessimistic scenarios have not materialized, the indigenous minorities still face serious challenges preserving their populations (Bogoyavlensky, 1994; Pika &Prokhorov, 1988; Ziker, 2002).


Department of Geography

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DOI of published version