Rehabilitation of the Northern Home: A Multigenerational Pathway

  • Yulia V. Zaika
Part of the Springer Polar Sciences book series (SPPS)


The very beginning of Soviet times was marked by repressive politics of the state, targeting different individuals including prosperous peasants (kulaks). While being rich but hard-working farmers, these families were seen as one of the most important bases for the economic growth of the country. The ‘soft’ collectivisation to consolidate individual land and farms was therefore suggested by state economists and rejected by Stalin. Instead, the expropriation measures and repressive policies (dekulakisation) were largely applied throughout the country, dramatically influencing people’s destinies. A large number of peasant families was relocated to the harsh northern environments in order to build the industrial potential for the country’s prosperity. Later on, subsequent rehabilitation measures undertaken by the post-Stalin government brought little to no relief for the acceptance and understanding of this new Northern home. But this is a changing reality which spreads through several generations.

This chapter is an autoethnography of a member of a family which has been forcibly relocated by the state during early 1930s from Pskov to the Murmansk region. It discusses the development and evolution of identity and the sense of the Northern home through four generations of a single family, from the painful disastrous relocation of great grandparents to the harsh unfriendly Arctic environment, and finally, towards the peaceful triumphant acceptance of the sweet Northern home by their great grandchild.


Russia Northern home Arctic identity Relocation Rehabilitation 



This research was not financially supported by any funds or grants, but emotionally and mentally supported by my family members. I want to thank all of them for letting me write about our story and to share some very personal nuances of our private lives. I love them with all my heart.

I also want to thank my dearest friend Dr. Nikolas Sellheim for setting the idea of autoethnography in my head, for listening to my concerns and being patient. His motivation was the trigger for development of my self-identification and self-reflection.

The very special Thank You goes to Carl Ballantine and Kyle Mayers for helping me with editing and polishing the text and finding the better words to express my story.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yulia V. Zaika
    • 1
  1. 1.Khibiny Research and Educational Station, Faculty of GeographyLomonosov Moscow State UniversityKirovsk, Murmansk RegionRussia

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