Do young people need their own law?

Our new Finnish-Russian co-financed research project “Live, Work or Leave? ” looks at young people’s understanding of wellbeing compared between Finland and Russia. So far one of the differences between the two countries was that in Finland there is a law on young people (nuorisolaki), in force since January 2017. In Russia so far there are youth policy programmes on different levels. This may change in 2018, as the Russian Federal parliament discusses the adoption of such a law. However, so far the Russian government is opposed to such a law.  The main problem that this law should solve is a problem of definition: in Russia there is no law defining who counts as “youth”, what is the object of youth policy, what is a young family, what is a youth organisation. In our project we shall keep track and find out the fate of this law project. Most importantly, we will find out what are the conditions that young people would like to have for feeling well in Arctic industrial cities. On top of that, we hope that we can compare Finnish and Russian youth policies in its specific implementation in Arctic industrial cities.

New Forms of Law and Governance for and from the Arctic

This in an invitation to a seminar on adaptive law and governance in the Arctic.

IMG_1490
Researcher Ivanova (left) studying native fisheries governance with the Lariny family in the Russian Far East, Kamchatka

On August 17-18, 2016, Arctic Centre of the University of Lapland (http://www.arcticcentre.org/EN) will organize a seminar, which will look at research approaches to explore the role of law and other institutions in governance of natural resources in the Arctic. We will also explore how institutions coping with Arctic challenges have evolved, how changes in Arctic law and governance influence Arctic residents’ life and Arctic societies as collectives, and whether these developments and Arctic governance experiences could provide lessons for other regions. A detailed background paper can be found here and on our “lectures and events, Rovaniemi” page.

Distinguished Prof. J.B. Ruhl from Vanderbilt University Law School, will be with us and share his experience on adaptive law and governance.  (http://law.vanderbilt.edu/bio/jb-ruhl)

We invite abstract proposals (max. 500 word) for presentations from interested scholars from all disciplines. After the seminar, papers based on selected presentations are aimed to be published together as a special issue in high-level international journal.

Expenses: Thanks to the support from Academy of Finland Strategic profiling funding, there are no seminar fees and the Center will pay for participant’s lunch, coffee and dinner in seminar days. Participants are responsible for travel expenses and accommodation.

Send submissions: Raija.Kivilahti(at)ulapland.fi:

Deadline: 1 June 2016

Notifications of acceptance: 15 June 2016

Registration is open until 17th June. To register, send an email to Raija’s email above.

Organising committee

Jukka Similä                                  Florian Stammler                               Soili Nysten-Haarala

Prof, Adaptive Law                      Prof, Anthropology                             Prof, Russian & treaty Law

Black Gold or black dirt in East Siberia? Arctic Extractive Industries PhD programme holds course in Neryungyi, Republic of Sakha Yakutia

It was a fascinating week that the Extractive Industries Group spent in Neryungryi, Yakutia, one of the Soviet Union’s youngest single industry towns, established in 1975.

The Uarctic Thematic Network “Arctic Extractive Industries” thank the North Eastern Federal University, Faculty of Law and department for Northern Studies, for organising of a great course in our pan Arctic Phd programme, which was held from November 9-15 in Neryungri, on the basis of a technical institute NEFU.
We were 6 professors/teachers and 9 PhD students in the team, joint in the course lectures by students from the Neryungryi technical institute, a branch of Russia’s North Eastern Federal University (Yakutsk).

The course participants in Neryungryi technical institute of North Eastern Federal University, Russia
The course participants in Neryungryi technical institute of North Eastern Federal University, Russia

Within the first 15 years of its existence, the population of the town skyrocketed already up to 100 000 inhabitants, but once the construction of the town and the coal mines (in the Soviet Union all open pit) was finished, the Soviet Union was in the middle of perestroika, and as much as half of the population left again. We just experienced the celebrations for the 39th birthday of the city. How many of us come from such a young place? Now Neryungryi is a compact town of 50 000 people,

Neryungryi today
Neryungryi today

with mainly two companies working there in coal mining: Yakutugol, owned by its parent company Mechel Mining, running the main open pit in town, and recently started a giant new coal development in the taiga, the Elginski deposit, which will be producing with a few thousand fly-in fly-out workers four times more coal than all of Neryungryi did in the Soviet Union – with a town of a 100 000 people! The second company here is Kolmar, which belongs to a wealthy Russian enterpreneur called Gennadi Timchenko. At their Denisovski deposit, they produce coal from underground mining, at a price per tonne of 1800 roubles. Recently the coal price collapsed to 1400 roubles, making this development unprofitable. Nonetheless, Timchenko has enough financial cushion to just stop producing coal, and instead investing a lot of money into building new mines and processing plans, just for the future! The company has high hopes, especially for Chinese and Japanese prices to go up, and invested into hiring more permanent staff, currently a bit more than 900.

The open pit mine because of which Neryungryi was established
The open pit mine because of which Neryungryi was established

Interestingly, they decided not to organise fly-in / fly-out work force. All their employees live locally in Neryungryi, as the fly-in / fly-out model was not considered reliable for this kind of production. Instead, they hired recently 260 refugee coal miners from the Ukrainian Donbass mining area. Here they also feel the political changes in Russia’s relations with the West, as the company has to change from importing western mining technology to chinese technology. According to the main engineer at Kolmar, Chinese equipment satisfies their needs too.
This kind of information we got as a group on our excursion to the industry sites. The visitor to South East Siberia gets a different view of regional development at the small village of Iengra, where Evenki herders herd some thousand reindeer in 10 herds of the local collective enterprise (still called sovkhoz by herders), and a number of private herding groups (obshiny).

Evenki reindeer herders from Iengra drove 3 hours from the forest to see us as a group and talk about land use
Evenki reindeer herders from Iengra drove 3 hours from the forest to see us as a group and talk about land use

Interestingly, their nomadic life was not as much subject to Soviet modernisation policies as in other areas, even in North Yakutia. The Iengra Evenki seem to have continued nomadic migrations with families all the way through the Soviet Union, while their children still go to the boarding school – a system that was discontinued in other areas, such as in Chukotka or parts of the Nenets Autonomous Okrug.
Interestingly, the biggest problems that the Evenki have with industry is not with coal mining, but with gold mining. The latter is organised very differently from the coal mining – namely in smaller companies with less significant gold extraction licences. They get their claims allocated mostly from the district municipality, whereas the reindeer herders are registered with the village council. This means for them that on paper they do not even compete for land with the gold mining (artel, priiski). This industry – as Alexandra, a chairperson from the Iengra culture house says – does not really care what is going on around them. In other words, corporate social responsibility is not even properly known as a concept. On the other hand, both of these livelihoods – herding and mining – are so far spatially not too much overlapping, as the land around Neryungryi is rather sparsely populated.
A bit further away from Neryungryi, an hour’s drive, there is a hot spring, which was a popular excursion trip among our PhD course group too. At a mild minus 35 degrees centigrade we all enjoyed a warm bath, with our hair getting frozen immediately.

Minus 35 outside, and plus 35 in the water was a real treat for all the participants
Minus 35 outside, and plus 35 in the water was a real treat for all the participants

The programme organisers Aitalina Ivanova and Mikhail Prisyazhyi from Yakutsk (North Eastern Federal NEFU) University did a great job in dividing our days between sessions and excursions, so that the participants really felt how it made sense to have an extractive industries PhD school at a site where the industry is actually active in extractive practices. A warm thank you to both of them, and the whole team organising what was a remarkable course event within our phd programme on extractive industries.
More on the programme can be seen at our separate website,  in Russian at the news service of NEFU,

http://s-vfu.ru/news/detail.php?SECTION_ID=17&ELEMENT_ID=30162
http://s-vfu.ru/news/detail.php?SECTION_ID=23&ELEMENT_ID=30151
http://s-vfu.ru/news/detail.php?SECTION_ID=23&ELEMENT_ID=30243
http://s-vfu.ru/news/detail.php?SECTION_ID=17&ELEMENT_ID=30253
http://s-vfu.ru/news/detail.php?SECTION_ID=2268&ELEMENT_ID=30221
http://s-vfu.ru/news/detail.php?SECTION_ID=2268&ELEMENT_ID=29890

and of course – as always – Arthur Mason’s visual ethnographic diary of the whole event.

Oil, reindeer herders and flexible Laws on Kolguev

It is time for an anthropology team lecture again, this time focusing on Arctic Extractive Industries, in Rovaniemi, Finland, in the Arktikum building.

Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 1.27.40 AMWe do this in as part of our Uarctic Thematic Network “Arctic Extractive Industries” and welcome all interested people to join us in the discussion.