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Humanitarian sciences in Siberia

2014 year, number 4

CONSUMERS SOCIETY OF THE VILLAGE OF KHE IN THE NORTHERN OB REGION: MEMBERSHIP AND ORGANIZATION OF TRADE IN THE EARLY 1920S

A.A. Nikolaev
Institute of History of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IH SB RAS), Russia, 630090, Novosibirsk, Akad. Nikolaev str., 8
Keywords: consumer society of the village of Khe, consumers co-operation, cooperative unions of Siberia, trade, Northern Sea route

Abstract

The paper analyzes historical experience of consumers co-operatives in the sphere of organization of trade and provision of food and manufactured goods to the population of the North. The author draws attention to one of the most important prerequisites for cooperative societies formation in hard to reach regions - and namely, activities of cooperative unions located in the southern agricultural areas of Siberia where they created their own networks and used the river and sea transportation routes. In August-September, 1919 a large union of consumer co-operative societies (Zakupsbyt) organized exchange of commodities between Siberia and Western Europe via the Ob river and the Northern Sea Route. The consumers society of the village of Khe was formed in the Obdorskiy district of the Tobolsk Okrug of the Ural Oblast in February 1920, on the initiative of the local population leading a settled or nomadic life in the basin of the Gulf of Ob. Specifics of commercial and economic activities of the society was determined by the natural and geographical factors and national composition of population, its lifestyle and needs. The area of its operations covered the villages within the jurisdiction of Soviets of the Khe and Taz settlements and the nomadic population in the tundra of Yamal and Lower Ob regions. This area included 20 rich fisheries while the tundra abounded in fur-bearing animals. Consumer cooperative reached out to a significant share of adult population. By July 1 st, 1925 it had 257 members-shareholders, most of them belonged to the small numbered peoples of the North - the Samoyeds and Zyryans (222 people or 86.4%) who practiced rain-deer herding, trapping and fishing and led a nomadic life in tundra. In the consumer cooperative all managerial functions were performed by representatives (15 out of 33 people) of the Russian settled population. The society spent considerable sums on cultural work among the masses that was a reliable indicator of successful economic activities. Despite the difficult economic situation during the first years of NEP and the districts geographic remoteness the society proved to be quite viable and complied with principles of cooperative organization.