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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Food Sovereignty of the Indigenous Peoples in the Arctic Zone of Western Siberia: Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

Bogdanova, Elena; Andronov, Sergei; Morell, Ildiko Asztalos; Hossain, Kamrul; Raheem, Dele; Filant, Praskovia; Lobanov, Andrey


This article presents the challenges facing reindeer herding as being both a profitable business and part of the traditional culture of the nomadic Indigenous peoples in the Arctic zone of Western Siberia which addresses substantial needs of the local population. Reindeer herding products are used as traditional nutrition, and as effective preventive means and remedies for adapting to the cold and geomagnetic activity in the High North. Export trends of traditional reindeer products have decreased local Indigenous peoples' access to venison and had a negative impact on their health. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is especially urgent for the Indigenous peoples to have sufficient access to traditional food and be involved in policy decision-making to maintain this traditional business. We aim to analyze the dependencies of Indigenous peoples on the reindeer produce-exporting "food value chain" and explore how (1) the independence of reindeer herders could be increased in these export chains and (2) how provision of their products to local communities could be secured. The study takes a multidisciplinary approach based on policy and socioeconomic analyses with input from medical research. Primary sources include data collected from interviews and surveys of Indigenous peoples during expeditions to the Nyda settlement, the Nydinskaya tundra, the Tazovsky settlement, the Tazovskaya tundra, the Nakhodka tundra, the Gyda and Gydansky settlements, the Yavai-Salinskaya tundra, the Seyakha settlement, the Seyakhinskaya and Tambeyskaya tundras located along the southern coast of the Ob Bay, the northeast coast of the Yamal Peninsula, the Tazovsky and Gydansky Peninsulas, and the Shuryshkarsky district. Data were collected during the summers and winters of 2014-2020.


food sovereignty; reindeer herding; food value chain; Indigenous peoples; COVID-19 pandemic; the Arctic; Western Siberia; Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug

Published in

International journal of environmental research and public health
2020, volume: 17, number: 20, article number: 7570
Publisher: MDPI

Authors' information

Bogdanova, Elena
Northern Arctic Federal University (NARFU)
Andronov, Sergei
Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Urban and Rural Development
Hossain, Kamrul
University of Lapland
Raheem, Dele
University of Lapland
Filant, Praskovia
Association of the Reindeer Herders of Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug (YNAO)
Lobanov, Andrey
Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation

Associated SLU-program

Sámi and reindeer husbandry related research

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG3 Good health and wellbeing
SDG2 Zero hunger

UKÄ Subject classification

Food Science
Human Geography

Publication Identifiers


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