I read the article discussed and thought it’s basic message was actually very bleak. Re-read the last sentence of the above. Therein lies the threat that the authors dance around. If you read the article carefully, I think you will agree that they will not be able to tell a similar story about these Nenets five years from now.
Yes, you’re right. Might be different in five years. But their advice will be still valid. I finally checked the original article. It says:
To conclude, historical experience and current Nenets agency could serve as a stable basis to continue the decades-old coexistence of industrial development and nomadic pastoralism, if a certain number of conditions are met.
Investments by industry must undergo a cost-benefit analysis for the ecological and socio-cultural situation in the tundra, rather than focusing on development of sedentary communities.
If nomads’ suggestions are considered, money would be redistributed away from village housing to increase ecological safety of tundra infrastructure, raising pipelines to allow free movement of humans and animals, more air-based supplies instead of an extended road network, concentration of sprawling infrastructure to minimize ecological damage to tundra pastures and freshwater fish sources, and strict implementation of codes of conduct for herders and workers.
The region is experiencing a pattern of activity that is likely to be repeated elsewhere in the Arctic and have feedbacks to the global system. Now that the conditions for successful coexistence are known, and a reliable knowledge base on both sides exists via this and previous studies, proper implementation could turn the region into an exemplar of global relevance for the future.
I appreciate discussions on this issue. Having worked for more than 10 years in the anthropology with reindeer nomads in the region, what I tried to argue in the research is that we already know an awful lot what could be done to provide conditions for continuous nomadic mobility. Due to an interdisciplinary effort, there was not enough space in this one to elaborate on the anthropological underpinnings of this message. Many of those I know there are keen to continue with nomadism, and they are keen to do it with rather than against the state and industrial activity. But success will depends on the other parties’ will to follow up their nice promises with meaningful action. I am pretty certain that in five years we will still see extensive nomadic migrations and a vital culture between the Arctic Ocean and the forest Taiga zone in West Siberia.