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On the Run in Siberia$
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Rane Willerslev

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816676262

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816676262.001.0001

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A Post-Soviet Nightmare

A Post-Soviet Nightmare

Chapter:
(p.18) (p.19) 2 A Post-Soviet Nightmare
Source:
On the Run in Siberia
Author(s):

Rane Willerslev

Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816676262.003.0003

In this chapter, the author reflects on the deterioration of the conditions in Siberia following the collapse of Communism in the Soviet Union. He describes Zyryanka, which turned into a ghost town, the result of a brutal ideological project that was supposed to turn the uninhabitable Siberia into a workers’ paradise. Yakutia in general, and the Kolyma region in particular, has become one of the most crime-plagued areas in the former Soviet Union. More recently, there have been reports of extensive organized crime activity in Yakutia, and Zyryanka in particular is infamous for its high murder rate. The author also narrates his trip to Nelemnoye, a village where the Yukaghirs live and virtually everyone makes a living from hunting sable, together with his friend Uffe Refslund Christensen, who was also his partner in the Danish-Yukaghir Fur Project that they were pursuing. Finally, he cites the dismissal of Kolya Shalugin as director of the Teki Odulok obshchina (commune) for alleged corruption.

Keywords:   organized crime, Siberia, Communism, Soviet Union, Zyryanka, Nelemnoye, Yukaghir, hunting, Uffe Refslund Christensen, Kolya Shalugin

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