Article Title

Implementation of Indigenous Rights in Russia: Shortcomings and Recent Developments


After more than 20 years of active engagement in Indigenous issues, RAIPON, the umbrella organization of the Indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia, and the Far East, was ordered to suspend its activities by the Russian Ministry of Justice in November 2012. Eventually, this order was withdrawn provided that RAIPON changed its statute, which subsequently took place in early 2013. Why such sudden and definitive decisions? Apparently, the measures taken against RAIPON were due to its active engagement to defend Indigenous peoples' rights especially vis-à-vis the Russian extractive industry. A starting point for all possible explanations is thus the existing gap between the legal protection of Indigenous peoples' and its enforcement. The aims of this article are thus to gain a deeper understanding of the legal protection of Indigenous peoples’ rights in the Russian Federation, and to explore the interests and the politics lying behind the government attitude vis-à-vis Indigenous peoples.


Bearing in mind the current difficult situation of the Russian Indigenous peoples, we wish to express our gratitude to all the interviewees who agreed to participate to participate in the preparation of this article. We are particularly grateful also to the anonymous reviewers, whose suggestions and comments have certainly enriched our article. Finally, we would like to thank also Ms. Sadaf Raja and Mr. Samuel Baird for their kind language editing.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Fourth Conference Multidisciplinary Meeting on Indigenous Peoples (EMPI IV), Complutense University of Madrid (Spain), May 9 - 10, 2013.

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