Russian Arctic old-timers seek inclusion in the federal list of indigenous small-numbered peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East. Why they consider themselves to be low-numbered people, said Tatiana Shkuleva, chairman of the "Russko-Ustintsy (People of Russkoye Ustye)" public organization.
"At the Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North of Yakutia there is an organization of Russian Arctic old-timers in the village of Pokhodskoye, Nizhnekolymsky District, and the village of Russkoye Ustye, Allaikhovsky District. The first who headed the public organization was Aleksei Gavrilovich Chikachev - a well-known local historian, honored worker of the national economy of the republic," says Tatiana Shkuleva.
In April 2004, the republican law "On the extension of the provisions of the Federal Law No. 82 of 30.04.1999 "On Guarantees of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of the Russian Federation" to Russian Arctic old residents of Pokhodskoye and Russkoye Ustye residents" was adopted. Russian old-timers were included in the category of the small indigenous population of Yakutia because they, along with the distinctive social characteristics and cultural appearance characteristic of the indigenous population, preserve the traditional life-support system, above all, such specific forms of economic activity as hunting, gathering, etc. Today, the organization of Russian Arctic old-timers is headed by Innokenty Novgorodov.
"The public organization "Russko-Ustintsy" was established in 2010, I chair the organization now. The main goal of the organization is to preserve the original culture, customs, beliefs and language (dialect), preserve the traditional way of life, husbandry and crafts, preserve the original habitat," Shkuleva stressed.
Russian old-timers live compactly in Allaikhovsky District and in the village of Pokhodskoye in Nizhnekolymsky District. "If we talk about the number of people, I can only answer about Russkoye Ustye. For today in the Russkoye Ustye live 150 people, in Chokurdah - 50, in Yakutsk – 45," Tatiana Shkuleva shares. "We have established cultural ties with Veliky Novgorod, as we are descendants of people from this ancient city, have preserved a unique layer of Russian culture in far-off Yakutia. We tailored national costumes, we help accommodate our students in a hostel, published five books on the culture and history of Russian old-timers. We implemented four projects on grants, and constantly participate in national events."
According to Tatiana Shkuleva, they are trying to include Russian Arctic old-timers in the federal list of indigenous small-numbered peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East.