Leningrad: Izdanie Gosudarstvennogo Russkogo Geograficheskogo Obshchestva, 1930. Item #1855
176 p.: ill., 1 folding map, 1 folding table. 26,5x18 cm. In original printed wrappers. Spine worn, with small tears and minor fragments lost, few water stains on front cover, wrappers slightly soiled, some underlines, otherwise very good and clean internally. Printer’s defect on p. 13-14 (leaf slightly torn and damaged before printing; some introductory text affected).
First and only edition. One of 1000 copies. Rare.
The Lopars [lit. “lopari”] is an old Russian name for representatives of the Saami ethnic group living on the Kola Peninsula. Their population remained between 1500 and 2000 people in the 20th-21st centuries.
The traditional life of the Russian Saami began to collapse even before the October Revolution, but the strongest blow to it was dealt in the 1920s–1930s, with active industrial development and forced collectivization on the Kola Peninsula. As a result, the Saami practically stopped engaging in their traditional crafts, while only a few of them were able to master new forms of farming. The traditional culture, economy and way of life of the Saami were almost destroyed. The first Soviet experiments in creating Sami writing date back to the late 1920s. In 1931, an alphabet on a Latin basis was developed, along with other peoples of the North. In 1933–1934 it was reformed, in 1937 the language was switched to the Cyrillic system. After one primer was published, the campaign was abandoned for several decades.
The author managed to witness the traditional Saami life and crafts. Soviet ethnographer Vladimir Charnoluskii (1894-1969) graduated from Petrograd Geographical Institute in 1925. He took part in the Lopar Expedition of the Russian Geographical Society in 1926, then in three expeditions to the Eastern and Northwestern parts of the Kola Peninsula in 1927-1928. In the heyday of Soviet national policy, Soviet authorities “launched a campaign raising the cultural level of nomads, transferring them from a nomadic to a sedentary state and improving their life in general”.
The edition includes a folding map of 1:600.000 scale. It indicates areas and routes associated with collecting firewood, fishing, seal and animal hunting, reindeer husbandry. It determines mixed settlements of Russians, Nenets, Izhma Komi, Saami, including winter and summer ones, as well as abandoned locations. The monograph is richly illustrated with photographs of the Saami people, their houses, deers and crafts, and children’s drawings of deers provided by two local educators.
The book includes a list of Saami and Saami-Russian words used by the author. A bibliography lists 52 sources.
Worldcat shows copies located in LoC, Harvard, Columbia, Princeton, California, Illinois, Wisconsin, Chicago, Cornell, Temple, Washington, Alaska Fairbanks Universities and American Museum of Natural History.