Yakutia’s Men Today: Widowing Wives and Longing for Life?

Lilia Vinokurova

Abstract


Notwithstanding the rather positive demographic statistics of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), many men, especially in the rural parts of the Republic, are challenged by severe health problems, unemployment, and changes in their status within the family. The author analyzes these processes on the basis of official statistics, survey materials, and interviews that she conducted in rural communities in several districts. She connects this analysis with a description of changing patterns of marriage and divorce, familial life and childcare. Life expectancy of men went down in the 1990s and has persistently been much lower than that of women, hence the title of the article. Traditionally attaining their authority from their being fathers, hunters, and breadwinners, Sakha and other indigenous men now appear to be less secure about their social identity, which leads to a certain degree of passivity and even apathy. The author acknowledges that men in rural areas have started to organize themselves, trying to solve these problems by reviving ethnic traditions of the peoples of the North.

                                       


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