WATCH: “Oil and Indigenous Peoples in the Russian Arctic”-talk by Laura Henry
The rapid growth of the oil and gas industry in the Russian Arctic is crucial the country’s plans for continued economic growth and international influence. However, many of these sites of extraction are located in close proximity to the country’s Arctic Indigenous communities and overlap with their territories of traditional use, such as reindeer herding, hunting, and fishing. In this talk, Professor Henry examines how oil companies interact with indigenous peoples and when they come into conflict and when they reach agreement. Examining several cases in the Russian Arctic and sub-Arctic, Henry considers how local communities navigate a complex political context in which global rules and standards that prioritize indigenous rights and environmental protection interact with domestic laws and institutions that tend to advantage industry. Research in Russian indigenous communities in the Nenets Autonomous Okrug, the Komi Republic, and on Sakhalin Island also illustrates how expectations based on the Soviet era shape how communities engage extractive industries in order to ensure their economic and social well-being.
Laura A. Henry is a Professor in the Department of Government and Legal Studies at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. Her research investigates Russia’s post-Soviet transformation, focusing on state society relations, environmental politics, and the interaction of transnational and local actors. Henry’s current book project (Bringing Global Governance Home) compares how NGOs from the BRICS countries use global agreements on climate change, HIV/AIDS, and deforestation to leverage policy change at home. Henry is the author of Red to Green: Environmental Activism in Post-Soviet Russia (Cornell University Press, 2010) and the co-editor of Russian Civil Society: A Critical Assessment (M.E. Sharpe, 2006). Her work has appeared in Environmental Politics, Global Environmental Politics, Post-Soviet Affairs, and Europe-Asia Studies, among other journals. She has been a Watson Foundation fellow and a Fulbright Scholar. Her research has received support from the National Security Education Program, the Social Science Research Council, and the International Research and Exchange Board.