Babinski and Ekostrovski: Saami Pogosty on the Western Kola Peninsula, Russia from 1880 to 1940

Robert P. Wheelersburg and Natalia Gutsol


This multidisciplinary project focused on the Western Kola Peninsula and examined how human activities during the pre-industrial and industrial periods influenced changes in the environment such as pollution in the Imandra Lake watershed. The study concentrated on two Saami reindeer herding pogosty [communities] on the Western Kola Peninsula during the period from the 1880s until 1940. English, Russian, and Scandinavian ethnographies, photographs, and maps dating from the mid-nineteenth through the mid-twentieth century depicted the two pogosty, named Babinski and Ekostrovski, and recent interviews of Saami born in the 1920s and 1930s provided data concerning two decades after the Revolution. The data suggest that the two pogosty underwent significant changes during the study period. These changes resulted from residents adapting to new economic circumstances or from the Soviet program involving relocation and centralization of the reindeer herding communities in the region. Both Babinski and Eko-strovski ceased to exist as Saami reindeer herding communities sometime before World War II.

  • Robert P. Wheelersburg, Department of Sociology-Anthropology Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania 17022

  • Natalia Gutsol, Barents Centre for the Humanities, Kola Science Centre Apatity, Murmansk, Russian Federation

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