2016–present Visual Anthropology of the North

In cooperation with The Arctic University of Norway (UIT). Led by Stephan Dudeck and Elena Liarskaya. The aim of the project is to develop educational modules in visual anthropology of the North that can eventually lead to a joint course on the topic.


2020–2023: Social Research of the Ob’ Sector of the Northern Sea Route

In cooperation with Tyumen’ State University, as part of the program of Western Siberian Research and Education Center (NOTs).



2018–2021: Arctic Connectivity: People and Infrastructures

RFFR Grant № 18-05-60108, 2018 – 2021).

The project aimed at interdisciplinary study of the modern population of the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation (AZRF). The subject of the three-year study was the interaction of infrastructural (physical and human) ties in the formation of behavioral models of the population of the Russian Arctic. The key methodological framework of the research was the concept of connectivity, the main purpose of the research was to identify and describe the existing connections of the Russian Arctic population, analyze the effects of these connections, their socio-anthropological and geographical consequences. It has been shown that in the absence of human connections, the existence of physical infrastructure does not in itself make geographic points more connected to each other, and vice versa, when physical infrastructure is insufficient and human-to-human contacts are strong, the deficiency of the physical infrastructure is compensated for by the people themselves.


2017–2019: Space and Society of the Arctic Coast of Russia on the Eve of a New Era of the Northern Sea Route.

Ministry of Education and Science Grant № 33.2257.2017/PCh, in cooperation with Tyumen’ State University.

The project is an attempt of social science approach to Northern Sea Route from an interdisciplinary, anthropological and historical, perspective. The focus of the project is on different practices of imagining NSR, in the last 100 years as well as today, from both local and broader political perspective. The team explored the development of the concept of NSR through the lens of historical geography, as well as from social anthropological perspective through research in the coastal communities of the NSR, including ethnographic description of current economic situation, and local infrastructure.

See description of the project in English: Ksenia Gavrilova, Nikolai Vakhtin & Valeria Vasilyeva. Anthropology of the Northern Sea Route: introducing the topic. The Polar Journal, May 2017. Pp. 46–57.


2017–2018: On the Edge of the State: Private Informal Subsistence Economics in the North and the Far East.

Khamovniki Fund Grant № 2016-009, jointly with Far Eastern University, Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, and the State Hermitage Museum.

The research focused on villages in Northern and Eastern Siberia officially defined as depressed and poor. The aim of the project was to describe informal subsistence activities in the areas with rich natural resources and poor transportation facilities. The fieldwork was conducted in five regions: Amur, Tomsk and Murmansk Oblast’, Krasnoyarsk Krai and Republic of Buryatia.


2014–2016: “Children of the 90s” in Modern Russian Arctic.

Russian National Foundation Grant № 14-18-02136).

The project identified and assessed factors responsible for social behavior of the population of the Russian Arctic (Far North) in order to find out how actual and potential changes in the Arctic affect perceived life trajectories of young Northerners. The target group of the research included both indigenous and non-indigenous people, women and men who live in small northern settlements and in larger industrial towns. The key question of the research was why people who belong to the same social and economic strata and live in similar conditions react differently to environmental changes, both natural and anthropogenic. The heuristic value of the project is supported by inclusion of non-economic factors into the analysis of social behavior.

See more in Sibirica, special issue, 2017, Vol. 16, No 3.