Inner Asia 11 (2009): 157–167 © 2009 Global Oriental Ltd Heritage versus Big Business: Lessons from The YUKOSAffair 1 NATALIAL. ZHUKOVSKAYA Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences email@example.com ABSTRACT TwoantagonisticforcesconfrontedeachotherontheterritoryoftheRepublicof Buryatia in 2002. One of them was YUKOS, an international petroleum company,theothertheTunkaNationalPark,alegallyprotectednaturereserveof national importance.The essence of the conflict was the intention ofYUKOS to build a pipeline from Angarsk (a town in the Irkutsk province of Russia) to Daqing(acityintheHeilongjianprovinceinChina)directlythroughtheterritory of the national park, though the law forbade it. The mighty YUKOS, supported bytheGovernmentandPresidentofBuryatia,facedresistancefromBuryatecol- ogists, the administration and personnel of the national park, and the rank-and-file of Tunka district – cattle-breeders, farmers, teachers, doctors, pensioners – all of whom understood that the ecology of the park would suffer irretrievably,compromisingbothitsnaturalrichesandbeauty,andmanycultural andhistoricalobjects:archaeologicalsites,sacredgroves,clancemeteries,places of shamanist and Buddhist worship, etc. The practitioners of the local religions, such as shamans, Buddhist lamas and divinators of mountain spirits, united to organise special rituals and prayers around the places of worship and sacred objects,askingthelocaldeitiesandspiritstodefendtheirworshippers,theirland, and their sanctuaries. Although the final collapse of YUKOS was determined politically, the experience of Tunka has demonstrated that oil magnates should notarrogantlydisregardthepopulationsandculturesoftheterritoriestheyintend toutilisefortheirbusinessactivities. Keywords: Buryatia, national park, petroleum company YUKOS, ecology, shaman,lama,sacredplaces The events described here took place in
Inner Asia – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2009
Keywords: SHAMAN; SACRED PLACES; LAMA; NATIONAL PARK; BURYATIA; ECOLOGY; PETROLEUM COMPANY YUKOS
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