Accepted Paper:

Staging ethnicity on regional festivals: Votian and Ingrian cases  

Author:

Ergo-Hart Västrik (University of Tartu)

Paper short abstract:

In this presentation two regional ethnic festivals of Finnic minority groups of northwest Russia will be compared. The aim of the paper is to outline differences and similarities of the festivals focussing on the strategies of representing Ingrian and Votian ethnic identity within these events.

Paper long abstract:

Collapse of the Soviet Union brought along cultural renaissance of various ethnic groups within their own territories. Several Finno-Ugric minorities that were supressed or "invisible" during the Soviet era came to the fore in the late 1990s. New cultural associations were founded that, among other things, opened museums dedicated to ethnic history and ethnography, started to organise regional ethnic festivals, and publish small-scale publications in their native language.

In this presentation two regional ethnic festivals of Finnic minority groups of northwest Russia will be compared. These are festival of Ingrian culture, held annually since 2004 in the village of Vistino, situated in Kingiseppsky Rayon of Leningrad Oblast, and the Votian festival, Luzhitskaia skladchina, organised since 2000 in the village of Luzhicy that is located in the same administrative district. Both festivals are convened on the second or third weekend of July, around the Day of Sts. Peter and Paul.

My analysis is based mostly on the fieldwork carried out in July 2012. The aim of the presentation is to outline differences and similarities of the festivals focussing on the strategies of representing Ingrian and Votian ethnic identity within these events. Attention will be paid to the organisers' agendas and roles, general structure of the events, communication between presenters and audiences, speeches and musical performances of the 'official programme' of the festivals (taking into consideration both linguistic and performative aspects), as well as on the spatial organisation of the festival scenes.

Panel P34
The institutions and practices of nation building of Finno-Ugric minorities in Soviet and post-Soviet settings