Yakutsk
Wjatscheslaw Schadrin

What is happening is a kind of a warning for the whole mankind: the man has become too proud, has stopped considering the Nature’s needs, and is now claiming to be the master and ruler of everything. And this is only the first signal meaning that, unless we change our approaches, things will be getting worse: the disturbed environment and the effects of the global climate warming will lead to more severe natural disasters, like fires, floods, draughts, storms, twisters, tsunamis, etc.

By Wjatscheslaw Schadrin

Wjatscheslaw Schadrin © Wjatscheslaw Schadrin
Let me first describe the situation with the indigenous peoples in Russia in connection with the coronavirus pandemic.
The indigenous peoples of the Russian Federation live in remote regions of the North, Siberia, and the Russian Far East, which are known for their poor transport accessibility and a certain degree of the population’s isolation. In case of virus penetration, the local authorities will turn out to be unable to cope with the epidemic, like in the village of Bogorodskoye, Ulcha district, Khabarovsk krai, and the village of Khongor-Bie, Nama district, Sakha Republic (Yakutia). The pandemic demonstrated a low level of health care in the regions: in many local villages, there are no medical doctors, hospitals, rural health posts, and even simple medications, as there are no pharmacies there.  
As new restrictions were introduced, there appeared dependence of the life of the indigenous ethic groups on the delivery of goods, which may be easily disrupted. This may compromise the entire existence of the indigenous peoples’ settlements. Under conditions of the growing pandemic and the restrictive quarantine measures, the indigenous ethnic minorities found themselves in a difficult economic and social situation, threatening their ethnic and cultural survival and affecting whole settlements, communities and peoples.     
Digital inequality proved to be most significant, as in many settlements there is no internet and no mobile telecommunications. The indigenous people live and carry out traditional activities in remote settlements and territories with underdeveloped infrastructure and limited access to telemedicine and mobile telecommunications.
Rotational workers have become a virus hazard for the local people, who are highly vulnerable. In their territories, mining companies continue their activities, and rotational workers live in base camps while working in their shift. For example, in Yakutia, it was the rotational workers, who worked in the Lensk, Oimyakon, Mirny, Suntar and Aldan districts, who became the carriers of the coronavirus pandemic, the effects of which are especially pernicious for the indigenous people.
In some areas of the indigenous groups’ living, restrictions have been introduced on hunting, fishing, and gathering, the traditional economic activities of these people, which is threatening them with the risk of starvation.
What is happening is a kind of a warning for the whole mankind: the man has become too proud, has stopped considering the Nature’s needs, and is now claiming to be the master and ruler of everything. And this is only the first signal meaning that, unless we change our approaches, things will be getting worse: the disturbed environment and the effects of the global climate warming will lead to more severe natural disasters, like fires, floods, draughts, storms, twisters, tsunamis, etc. New unknown bacteria may wake up, previously dormant in the permafrost, for example, to become an even greater jeopardy. Natural resources may become a curse for the mankind. We must return to the eternal values, like co-existence with Mother Nature, non-violence, sustainability and sustenance instead of limitless consumption, and peace, concordance and mutual respect instead of strife, pride, and intolerance.
 
However, this warning might not work. I am afraid things may follow worse scenarios: the growth of separation and suspicion may lead to disintegration of the European Union and increased tensions in the international relations, the rise in nationalism and xenophobia will shut down the borders, fighting with immigrants with start, in some countries, dictatorial regimes will become established, the spread of the information technologies will result in broad intervention in people’s lives, to be followed by restriction of civil freedoms, the race of technologies, including biological and chemical ones, may lead to expansion of man-made epidemics and of large local disasters.
Yet, I hope that the humanity will find the resources to overcome the challenge and not to cause chaos.
 
There is always hope and I would list several factors which, under certain circumstances, may turn out to be helpful:
  • the fall of the political, economic and financial role of large transnational mining corporations;
  • preservation of the human culture and respect for the world history;
  • the growth of the influence of developing countries and the rising role of the indigenous peoples on the international arena;
  • the global challenges of the mankind putting certain countries to the edge of a humanitarian catastrophe and making the countries unite their efforts in the solution of the problems faced;
  • personalization of the global challenges making every person think about the consequences of the policies the countries are pursuing. This, I hope, will make the people more active and will cause their more active participation in their country’s life.

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