The project kicked off in connection with the industrial development of the West Siberian and Timan-Pechora oil and gas Basin territories (Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District, Nenets Autonomous District and the Komi Republic), its assessment initiated by development company Shell.

Peoples inhabiting the area are included in the list of indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East of the Russian Federation, i.e. Nenets, Selkup, Khanty and Mansi people. The start of the industrial project implementation required developing an interaction program between the interested parties. Ethnological research became part of the work.

The study took place in all three subjects of the Russian Federation examining the indigenous minorities, the Komi and the Russian old-timer population. Research topics included the dynamics of the peoples’ numbers, migration processes, traditional types of economic activity, interethnic contacts, and major socio-economic problems. Sources of information included documentary sources and interviews with population representatives and local authority employees. The study also acknowledged the national organizations that directly influence the social and economic development issue solutions. The result analyzes the problematic situation arising due to the industrial development of oil and gas resources.

The survey revealed that the elements of indigenous culture, i.e. clothing, belief system, respect and care for sacred places, family structure, were valuable for the preservation of traditional systems of nature use. Thus, “EthnoExpert” offered the customer a systematic scheme for regulating the relations between reindeer herding communities and industrial companies. The recommendations included risk assessment for reindeer husbandry, a list of measures to reduce risks and measures for damage compensation, and a program to promote the socio-economic development of the indigenous community.