Liskevich N. A. Emotions in the Historical Narratives of the Ialutorovsk Komi

Nina A. Liskevich
Institute of the Problems of Northern Development, Tyumen Scientific Centre, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Tyumen, Russia


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ABSTRACT. The article deals with the emotional perceptions of the Komi of the lower Tobol basin resulting from their interaction with other surrounding ethnic groups, especially the Siberian Tatars. Komi (or Zyrians) had been migrating to Yalutorovsk district of Tobolsk Province from the 1840s and until the beginning of the twentieth century, mainly from Vologda Province. The modern Komi have kept in their memory the stories of their arrival and adaptation in the new land; these folk stories are confirmed by archival sources. The main topics of the stories are everyday contacts between Komi and Siberian Tatars, land disputes, xenophobia and demonization of the «other», perceptions and assessments of the cultural differences between the groups, the exploits of their leaders, the labor of their ancestors and the possibility of marital relations. At the initial stages of contact, the Komi relations with the local population were accompanied by prejudice, hostility, aggression and conflicts which evoked feelings of anxiety, insecurity and fear (especially in women and children). These negative emotions were counterbalanced by elation and joy for the abundance and fertility of land, pride in getting the land entitlement and hope for a better future. Such emotions as gratitude for help in their household matters, sympathy to their problems and interest in their economic skills contributed to the expansion of cooperation between the Komi and neighboring Tatars. Subsequently, the social distance was manifested primarily in the absence of interethnic marriages. Komi prejudice against these marriages was due to the religious and cultural differences between them and the Tatars, and was expressed in indifference or disgust to the people and potential shame of disapproval of such relations by the local community. However, starting from the last third of the twentieth century one can observe the levelling of cultural differences and blurring of boundaries between the settlements of Komi and Tatars. 

KEYWORDS: Komi, Zyrians, Siberian Tatars, Yalutorovsk district of Tobolsk Province, cultural interaction, historical memory 



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