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The Barents Observer offers an interesting view on how the Ukraine war impacts Sámi native people on the Kola Peninsula and across Siberia and the Far East. For example, soldiers fighting for Moscow in Ukraine include men from many of the indigenous groups of the Russian north, including the Sámi on the Kola Peninsula. When today’s Sámi’s ancestors were herding reindeer inside the Arctic Circle, state borders didn’t exist and they were free to move from east to west, from inland to coast, fishing, hunting, farming, and herding.
The Norway, Russia border was agreed upon in 1826, while Norway was at the time part of Sweden. Finland, also previously ruled by Stockholm, became a Grand Duchy under Russia in 1809. Real trouble for reindeer migration and the Sámi nomads came in the 1920s after the revolution and with Stalin’s closure of borders to the West: throughout Stalin’s terror regime, and the following Cold War, the Sámi groups on the Kola Peninsula had little, if any, contact with brothers and sisters in the three Nordic countries. Today the Sámi are witnessing a second ‘Iron Curtain’ dividing Europe’s Arctic indigenous peoples. Read more on The Barents Observer