Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law


(2001) JLP 46: 145-155




I.V. Nam




During a brief period which ended in 1918 Siberian ‘provincialists’ developed policy on the aboriginal issue in theory and practice on the basis of notions of cultural, political and legal pluralism. From 1905 to 1917 within the provincialist group ‘autonomists’ sought the creation of a Siberian Provincial Duma which would include representatives from even small, disappearing aboriginal tribes, together with a Duma for each nation, while ‘centralists’ argued for provincial legislative bodies only for the large indigenous nations. In 1917 the provincialists formulated a programme which combined these views, advocating a wide degree of autonomy for Siberia in a federal Russia, together with territorial autonomy for nations living in compact areas of settlement, and extraterritorial personal autonomy for national minorities and ‘nations without territory’. The Siberian Oblast Duma in January 1918 provided for the establishment of a Ministry for Aboriginal Affairs. The MAA used the services of eminent ethnographers during its few months of existence, which ended in September 1918 when Soviet power was reestablished in the region. The Omsk Government followed policies similar, although not in all respects identical to those of the Duma until late 1918.