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Voices of Hunters on Socialist Modernisation: From a Case Study of the Udehe in the Russian Far East

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In this paper I discuss how different the socialist modernisation of the equipment and techniques of indigenous hunters in Siberia and the Russian Far East was from the 'snowmobile revolution' in Finland and Alaska, and what the results of this modernisation were. In this discussion I analyse hunters' performance and narratives observed and collected in my field research on the hunting culture of the Udehe, one of the indigenous minorities in the Primor'e region in Russia. As a result, I conclude that socialist modernisation had delocalised the fundamental materials for hunting activities such as fuel, equipment for transportation and weapons. However, the serious techno-economic differentiation that had been observed in the case of the Saami in Finland seldom occurred among the indigenous hunters, because socialist egalitarian policies and standardisation of products often provided equal access to the modernised equipment. Especially in the case of the Bikin River basin, where I did my field research, differentiation between the Russian and indigenous hunters was not observed. However, the delocalisation of the fundamental equipment and materials thoroughly deprived them of the alternatives that consisted of the more traditional and pre-modern equipment and techniques. This factor seriously influenced their social and economic conditions after the collapse of the Soviet Union.


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