Climate Change and Human Mobility in Indigenous Communities of the Russian North

Executive Summary:

This paper explores the effects of climate change on human mobility (displacement, migration, and planned relocations) in the Russian part of northern Eurasia where Russia claims most of the continuous Arctic shoreline, with a particular emphasis on indigenous communities. The paper is based on almost twenty years of longitudinal research with Viliui Sakha, one indigenous group of northeastern Siberia with a specific focus on local perceptions and responses to the effects of global climate change.

In-depth examination of the effects of climate change on the Viliui Sakha, followed by a survey of responses to climate change and relocation within the Sakha Republic, is supplemented by three ‘mini-case studies’ of other indigenous groups in the Russian North: the Nenets, the Dolgan and Nganasan of the Taimyr Peninsula and the Chukotka-Chukchi and Siberian Yupik. The study then turns to the response of indigenous peoples and the Russian government to these changes and concludes with recommendations for indigenous groups, the government and other groups.

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