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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Indigenous Of Russia, The Silent Victims Of Putin's War

The number of indigenous people in Russia has been declining for decades, but the war in Ukraine has accelerated the trend. Already vulnerable, indigenous groups are more likely to be mobilized and bear the brunt of Western sanctions.

Photo of an indigenous woman with children gathers snow for melting in the Yamalo-Nenets autonomous area of Russia

An indigenous woman with children gathers snow for melting in the Yamalo-Nenets autonomous area of Russia

Sonya Savina

While Russia continues its supposed mission to “denazify” Ukraine, back on home turf its own indigenous people are bearing what may be the heaviest consequences of the Kremlin’s war.

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There are 47 indigenous groups living in Russia, some of them with populations of less than a hundred or even a few dozen. The 2021 All-Russian Population Census showed that the number of indigenous people has substantially declined in the last 10 years.

Russian independent news site Vazhnyye Istorii (Important Stories) reports on certain groups that were already on the verge of extinction, and how their situation has gotten even worse after Russia unleashed a full-scale war in Ukraine.

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