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MAN ON THE MURMAN: ANNALS OF OPENING UP

Дата публикации: 24 ноября 2021
Автор(ы): Alexei KISELYOV
Публикатор: Научная библиотека Порталус
Рубрика: ВОПРОСЫ НАУКИ
Источник: (c) Science in Russia, №6, 2014, C.58-64
Номер публикации: №1637750563


Alexei KISELYOV, (c)

by Alexei KISELYOV, Dr. Sc. (Hist.), Professor of Murmansk State University of the Humanities

 

In 2014 the Truth of the North Publishing House issued a monograph Cultural Landscapes of the Kola North: Structure and Historical Dynamics by Pavel Fyodorov, Professor of the Murmansk State University of the Humanities. Pavel Fyodorov is known for numerous publications on the history of Russian subarctic territories, survey projects, in particular, expeditions studying the cultural memory of local old residents (2012-2013), and for collections of articles on Residents of the North.

 

His new book by Fyodorov is an in-depth research offering the author's understanding of the phenomenon of exploration of one of the most intriguing and beautiful regions of the planet-the land known in the 9th-12th centuries as Bjarmia (or Bjarma-land) or Murman, as Russians used to call it. The author traced the long process of formation and development of cultural landscapes incorporating natural and anthropogenic elements.

 

As the scientist mentioned in the foreword, our compatriots (Novgorodians, first of all) reached the Kola Peninsula not later than the 13th century, a territory rich in fish, fur, etc., and started settling there in about the 14th century. In the subsequent centuries the Moscow State strengthened its positions there thus "paving the way for an urbanization experiment in the transpolar latitudes". Later, this strategy was applied throughout the Russian North.

 

Fyodorov draws a distinct line between the two notions, "colonization" and "development", often used by other researchers as synonyms: the first one means occupation of vacant territories, establishment of colonies; the second one means transformation of the "alien" into "one's own", adaptation, wrouth by individuals and society in a particular cultural landscape.

 

In the first chapter the scientist stated: mankind is recording its history not only on paper or by computer, but also on the terrestrial surface. These records are clear without translation-they are "buildings, different structures, transformations of the relief, etc.", making up the so-called plain-air text with the society as one of its signs, side by side with natural or anthropogenic objects.

 

According to the author, a verbal text is undoubtedly a more informative kind of description of any landscape: "A conversation overheard by a tourist in a tram or at the market, reading of a local newspaper or municipal adver

 
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tisements are no less informative than plain-air bird's-eye views," not to say anything about written documents-diaries of travelers, guide-books, memoirs, fiction, etc.

 

According to Fyodorov, graphic images are reflected plain-air texts that usually survive the landscape itself. For example, photographs, films, pictures, engravings, even the most ancient representatives of this category-petroglyphs*-preserve for a long time. Different kinds of maps showing the state of this or that territory are also very important for studies of cultural landscapes.

 

At the end of the first chapter the scientist acquainted the readers with historical types of the cultural landscape of the Kola North, having united them in three big groups: non-urbanized, urbanized, and transitional. The first type comprises villages and settlements (permanent), country churchyards and landings (seasonal), most of them are located close to the seaside.

 

Speaking of the second group, it is necessary to refer to the author's statement: "The Kola North is the only subarctic territory with abundant urban communities", very different in terms of size, status, professional type, and geographical principle (continental and coastal, i.e. ports), and dynamics of life. The third type incorporates housing estates (smaller than a city and larger than a village) usually attached to an industrial plant, transport infrastructure (airport, railway station, port) or a military object.

 

In the second chapter Fyodorov considered certain points of the Kola Peninsula. Proceeding from the descriptions prepared by other scientists, he stated that the local cultural landscapes count over 8,000 years. In the

 

See: A. Zhulnikov, "Onego Petroglyphs Through Myths", Science in Russia, No. 2, 2009.-Ed.

 

first 7,000 years people came here and settled forever, as a result of which "there was formed a photolandscape that turned into a cradle of the Lappish people*. The most intense dynamics of changes falls on the last millennium". The process of transformations has even more accelerated in the past century.

 

Then, the scientist presented the history of traditional settlements of the Kola North. According to Fyodorov, the photolandscape matched the period when people relied only on the nature. For the region under consideration, it lasted "from the origin of man in the Mesolithic till the 20th century". The aboriginal population-the Laplanders-were seminomads in the old times. They lived in country churchyards moved according to the annual economic cycle and consisting of several buildings called vazhas (united above by a bundle of perches covered with the bark and turf) and later, from the late 18th century,-pyrts or tups (small shells). Such mobile settlement accommodated about 100-250 people.

 

From the 14th century, the Laplanders gradually turned to a settled way of life and began to build log huts like Novgorodians, which was accompanied by changes in the cultural landscape: the "country churchyard turned into a settlement", testified by the custom to build an orthodox chapel or church there. The author points out, "After the first settlements in the Kola Peninsula set up not later than in the 15th century... Varzuga and Umba...a number of settlements appeared along the northern and western coasts of the While Sea in the next century (Ponoi-Varzuga-Umba-Porya Guba-Kandalaksha; Kandalaksha-Knyazaya Guba-

 

* Laplanders-Finno-Ugric people living in the north of Europe, including the White Sea coast (present-day Scandinavia).-Ed.

 
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Kovda). Varzuga and Ponoi were located along river banks, others-on the seaside."

 

The rural landscape differs from the photolandscape by quality of buildings, way of life, and has "three social dimensions". The largest one is a village, and each village is interesting in its own unique way. Let's first of all visit Varzuga (it was first mentioned in the chronicles of the 15th century) located on both banks of the cognominal river. To cross the river, local residents use boats, which is a usual thing in almost every family.

 

The left bank of Varzuga is a real ancient northern settlement (Nikolskaya) with wooden houses, board walks, and clean narrow streets. The right bank (Prechistenskaya or Uspenskaya) named after the local churches is occupied mostly by identical two-storeyed modern houses.

 

This is the place very popular among tourists from all over the world-they are attracted by unique nature, fresh air, wide open space, perfect fishing, and the Museum of Pomor Traditions. But the most interesting local sight is a church complex on the Prechistenka side where the Church of the Dormition of the Blessed Mother of God of the 17th century (architect-master Kliment) is located, decorated with elegant lace-like carving. The church is 34 m high; the logs it is made of are not nailed, but are fastened by buckles; cupolas are covered with ploughshare like scales (stepped wooden plates).

 

According to specialists, the church in Varzuga is a unique sample of a one cupola tent church in national

 
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church architecture, while for uninitiated visitors it looks like a tall spruce. But nobody, even a person who knows nothing about the rules of architecture, can miss elegance and grace of all proportions of the building. The matter is that when designing the building, Kliment proceeded from the principle of "golden section", according to which a smaller piece relates to the larger one as the larger one to the whole. Indeed, the height of the main object is 13 m, the height of the raising is 21 m, and the height of the whole building is 34 m. Speaking of the layout, it has the traditional form of a Greek cross.

 

It is interesting to note that the church was constructed in the time of the church reform of the Patriarch Nikon* and the subsequent split of the believers, as a majority of local residents supported the old traditions. It is not by chance that the architect Kliment made a decision to build the church in the classical tent style prohibited by new rules. The iconostasis was composed of 84 icons; some of them were especially made for this

 

* The church reform was initiated by Patriarch Nikon in the 1650s-1660s to harmonize ceremonies of the Russian and Greek Churches, which resulted in the origination of numerous old-believer trends.-Ed.

 
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church in 1677 by masters of the St. Trinity Monastery of Antony Siisky (Arkhangelsk Region, Kholmogorsky District), others were drawn by icon-painters of the Solovki Monastery of Our Savior and Transfiguration* and brought here from the church that stood here before. Ending the trip to Varzuga, it is necessary to name one more local curiosity-the 9 m cross installed in 2009 in place of the ancient settlement in commemoration of the 590th anniversary of the village.

 

There is another ancient, once the rich Pomor village of Kuzomen on the bank of the Varzuga River. Presently, it is notorious for its sands, and, to protect itself from ex-

 

See: O. Borisova, "Islands of Prayer and Labor", Science in Russia, No. 4, 2010.-Ed.

 

pansion of sands, local residents started to grow pines. Wild horses brought from Yakutia in the mid-20th century for household purposes are wandering around sand dunes. As locals say, these horses "refused to work". Another version of the northern cultural landscape of the same social environment is Fedoseevka interesting first of all for the size of its population-3 persons, according to the 2010 census.

 

Concurrently, there is a village of Umba, one of the most ancient in the Kola Peninsula, located in the estuary of the cognominal river, on the White Sea coast, that has almost 6,000 residents. Like everywhere in this reserve territory, the village is surrounded by divine nature, lakes with clear transparent water, forests rich in

 
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mushrooms, raspberry, red berry, bilberry, etc., and bogs with cloudberry. Umba is also famous for the Pomor rowing regatta that has been held there since 1998.

 

Fyodorov acquainted the readers with such unique local cultural landscapes as local residents, their traditions, and their role in the development of the region. According to the author, "Contrary to the medieval tradition, monasteries on the Kola Peninsula did not fence themselves in from the environment with thick defensive walls were wooden and low, stronger than anywhere else resembled a rural landscape; such monasteries attached themselves to the surrounding natural and social environment by the mission of overfeeding local aboriginal population".

 

The scientist pointed out: "A number of villages on the southern coast of the Kola Peninsula were formed around monasteries. For example, Kandalaksha* and the neighboring village of Kolvitsa, the former usolye of the Kandalaksha monastery." In place of inherited lands of the Solovki monastery, there were established Kashkarantsy, Chavanga, and Chapoma, near the saltworks of the Monastery of St Nicholas Korelsky-the village of Tetrino.

 

See: N. Golikova, "White Sea Curiosities and Puzzles", in this issue of the magazine.-Ed.

 
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Later, the "state became an element forming the local cultural landscape". In the place where the Kola and Tuloma rivers flow into the Kola Bay, inhabited by fishermen and merchants, the authorities established an office of voivode and built a defensive structure (second half of the 16th century). "This is how the stockaded town of Kola originated, which later became the administrative center of the Kola province. A wooden fortress designed to translate and protect interests of the Moscow Government turned into a dominating element of the whole complex", Fyodorov noted.

 

It should be mentioned that centuries later Kola that has nowadays almost merged with Murmansk* once had a very beautiful 19-cupola wooden Resurrection Cathedral. Unfortunately, it burnt down in the fire of 1854 during the Crimean War of 1853-1856, like most of the local facilities, due to the artillery attack by the British corvette Mirinda.

 

Residents of the north are familiar with the notions "toni", i.e. hunting lands, and "stanovishcha", i.e. temporary settlements on the seaside (first registered in the 14th century). In summer, during a fishing season, the "periphery of traditional landscapes" became rather busy, and deserted in autumn. Thus, the author demonstrated a variety of northern landscapes specifying natural, social (settlements), artificial (roads, including railroads, ports, etc.), sacral (sedtas-sacred stones of the Laplanders, Orthodox churches, burial mounds, monuments) landscapes. In addition to the proposed classification, the sci-

 

See: A. Kiselvov, "Northern Outpost of Russia", Science in Russia, No. 4, 2014.-Ed.

 

entist included into the monograph data on the growth of the local population, development of different trades, transport, and communications.

 

Apart from the main text illustrated by photographs, maps, and diagrams, the monograph by Professor Fyodorov incorporates interesting annexes, first of all, descriptions of country churchyards of Laplanders, temporary fishing settlements, colonies of the Murmansk shore, Trifono-Pech-enegsky Monastery, Murmansk, etc., made by the people who visited this territory in the performance of their duty namely, the Corresponding Member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences (from 1856) hydrographer Vice-Admiral Mikhail Reineke (two-volume book The Hydrographic Description of the Northern Coast of Russia, 1843 and 1850); the traveler and gifted writer Vasily Nemirovich-Danchenko (notes of the 1860s), the special order official Vladimir Kushelyov (The Murman and its Trades, 1885). At the end of the monograph, there are data on the census of 1926 to 2010.

 

Thus, the monograph under consideration demonstrates how people of different epochs organized their life and established settlements, which also changed concurrently with the changing environment-some landscapes disappeared, others exist even today. Beyond doubt, this monograph will become a valuable contribution to national studies of local lore, history and economy, which are of special importance for the researchers of history of the Kola North.

Опубликовано на Порталусе 24 ноября 2021 года

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