Boreas: MOVE

Association of American Geographers

March 22-27, 2009

Las Vegas, NV

The Changing Geographies of the Arctic and Northern Regions: III

is scheduled on Wednesday, 3/25/09, from 5:20 PM - 7:00 PM in Capri 114, Riviera Hotel, 1st Floor

Timothy Edmund Heleniak - University of Maryland

Andrey N Petrov - University of Toronto


Timothy Edmund Heleniak - University of Maryland



5:20 PM   Author(s): Aileen Aseron Espiritu, Ph.D. - Barents Institute

Abstract Title: '"Resource Curse" in the Arctic: the meaning of oil and gas development for communities in NW Russia and Northern Norway.'


5:40 PM   Author(s): Andrey N Petrov - University of Northern Iowa

Abstract Title: Convergence or Divergence? Comparing Economic Development Policies in the Russian and Canadian North

  • 6:00 PM   Author(s): Alexander Alekseev - Moscow State University

    Vyacheslav Baburin - Moscow State University

    Maria Goryachko - Moscow State University

Abstract Title: Climate change, the Northeast Passage and settlement of the Russian Arctic


6:20 PM   Author(s): Timothy Edmund Heleniak - University of Maryland

Abstract Title: Migration in the Most Remote Regions: Magadan and Chukotka

Abstract: No regions in the world are more peripheral to the core of their state than the regions of Magadan and Chukotka in the far northeast corner of Russia, across the Bering Strait from Alaska. The centralized economic system of the Soviet Union attempted to populate and incorporate these regions into the national economy by overcoming the barrier of distance, through subsides on wages and transport. With the end of the Soviet Union and the centrally-planned economic system, there has been large scale out-migration and economic contraction in these two regions. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the patterns and causes of migration in Magadan and Chukotka, examining patterns of migration to and from them, composition of migration flows, and patterns of internal migration to determine if they are according to standard migration theory. The data to be used will be migration flow statistics, the results of the 1989 and 2002 population censuses, and data on economic structure and transport. Measures from population geography will be computed for these two regions such as indexes of concentration, market potential, and gravity models to determine the extent of change between the Soviet and post-Soviet periods. The policies of the Russian government towards resettlement from the regions of the Far North and relocation within the regions will be examined. This paper is the result of an NSF-funded project titled "Moved by the State: Perspectives on Relocation and Resettlement in the Circumpolar North (MOVE)".

Ghost Towns at the End of the World: The Topology of Loss, Ruination and Remembrance in Chukotka, Russia.

  • 6:40 PM   Author(s): Tobias Holzlehner - University of Alaska Fairbanks

Abstract: Space and place making as significant elements of landscape inhabitation have been thoroughly acknowledged. But what becomes of a place when it has been abandoned? What of the attachment to and the sense of place when one is forcibly removed from the dwelling?  This paper reflects on a case study of forced relocation, which occurred in several villages around Chukotka's East Cape. From the 1930s to the 1960s the inhabitants of native coastal villages of Chukotka have been subjected to a relocalization policy by the Soviet state that left dozens of settlements and hunting bases deserted. For ostensible military and/or economic reasons flourishing native communities were closed and the inhabitants were forcibly relocated to larger villages. As a social history of ghost towns, this paper tracks the life histories of its former inhabitants through the landscape of forced relocation at the high point of the Sovietization of the Russian North. At the same time, contemporary strategies of past inhabitants to make sense and use of the abandoned village sites are considered. The ruins of former settlements are not only places of the past but also play a role in present-day lives as some individuals have moved back into formerly abandoned village sites or have reestablished hunting bases in the vicinity of old settlements. Thus the paper explores notions of abandonment and nostalgia in relation to space and examines stories and strategies of how people in Chukotka come to terms with the ruins of a violent past.