Scientists have concluded that full-fledged small business was formed among reindeer herders

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Scientists from the Institute of regional consulting and the scientific center for study of the Arctic completed the three-year study on development of entrepreneurship among reindeer herders of Yamal. For the first time the researchers looked at reindeer husbandry in the region not from the point of view of ethnography and traditional nature management, but from the point of view of the fact that nomads of the Arctic are active participants in small business. According to the results of the study, doctor of geographical sciences, the director of the Institute of regional consulting Alexander Pilyasov and a researcher of the sector of cultural anthropology in the center for study of the Arctic Valery Kibenko prepared recommendations that would be interesting for specialists in northern studies and public authorities, as the department of external relations of Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug informs.

The research was conducted among reindeer herders of Yamalskiy, Tazovskiy and Priuralskiy districts, where 60% of private reindeer livestock of the region is concentrated. It makes about 3 thousand aboriginal reindeer-herding farms, the average size of herds of which varies between 150-200 reindeer. Having analyzed the materials of past years, expedition survey of reindeer herders fulfilled by the scientific center of study of the Arctic in 2016-2019, data of own sociological surveys, regional and federal statistics, current legislation, the researchers came to the conclusion that full-fledged small business was formed among reindeer herders in Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug under influence of market reforms.

“Modern Nenets reindeer herders do not seek integration, unity in large reindeer-herding farms. It is essential for them to have their own herd and rely on themselves and their family in their work. Considering such position of tundra-dwellers and established economic relations in the branch, we concluded that measures of state regulation and support for nomads should be aimed at development of an entrepreneurial model with its own arctic specifics”, Valery Kibenko said.

According to the scientists, at this stage of development of reindeer husbandry it is necessary to introduce hybrid forms of state-market coexistence. It needs to shift the focus towards decentralization of decision-making with admission of reindeer herders themselves with consideration of feedback from them on decisions made from above. Training of skills in nomadic arctic business is important.

“A reindeer herder - entrepreneur should have more independence and opportunities to sell own products, and then he will have another kind of responsibility. Regulatory and legal framework and measures of state support should be aimed at stimulating of impulses of responsible entrepreneurship, and not relations of a hired employee of the state farm type”, Alexander Pilyasov believes.

For effective development of the branch the scientists suggest developing grant support for reindeer-herding farms, what is gradually being introduced in Yamal, strengthening insurance institutions in private reindeer husbandry and diversifying sources of income for reindeer-herding farms by development of fish and fur farming, ethnographic tourism.

The research was conducted within the grant from the Russian Foundation for Basic Research. Its results are presented in the first issues of the magazines “Arctic: Ecology and Economy” and “Scientific Bulletin of Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug” published this year. The full publication by the authors of the study can be found here.



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