Recent demographic statistics for Siberia revealed a disturbing trend. When asked to state their nationality for the census at the end of 2010, a striking number of residents of large Siberian cities — Tyumen, Omsk, Novosibirsk, Kemerov, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk and Yakutsk — said that they were not Russian, not Ukrainian or even Tatar, but “Siberian”.
“I consider myself a Siberian,” the Krasnoyarsk blogger Alexander Konovalev, creator of the Internet-action group WE’RE SIBERIANS! told Russian Reporter magazine. “ I’ve traveled a lot around Russia and know that we’re different. I actually think that we don’t know who Russians are. Under the Soviet rule, we lost the Russian culture and became “the Soviet people”.
“Today, a Russian is a kind of abstraction. A Siberian is more concrete. When I lived in India, people often asked me, ‘Why I didn’t look like the other Russians who were there?’ And it was simpler for me to explain that I was a Siberian while they were Muscovites. Then the Indians understood.”
Read More at Siberia, the new promised land | Russia & India Report.
Story by Konstantin Gegalov