|Russkoye Ustye (English)
Русское Устье (Russian)
|- Rural locality -
Location of the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic in Russia
|Federal subject||Sakha Republic|
|Administrative district||Allaikhovsky Ulus|
|Population (2010 Census)||157 inhabitants|
|Time zone||MAGT (UTC+12:00)|
Russkoye Ustye (Russian: Ру́сское У́стье) is a village (selo) in Allaikhovsky Ulus of the Sakha Republic, Russia. For several decades during the Soviet era, the village was officially called Polyarny (Поля́рный). Population: 157 (2010 Census);
Russkoye Ustye is located in the delta of the Indigirka River, about 80 kilometers (50 mi) from the fall of the main western channel of the Indigirka's delta into the East Siberian Sea of the Arctic Ocean.
The name of the village is probably based on the name of the river channel on which it is located, and which, too, has been known historically as the Russkoye Ustye.  (These days the channel is also known under the name Russkoustyinskoye Protoka that is formed from the name of the village.)
The original channel name, Russkoye Ustye, can be loosely translated as "the westernmost arm" [of the river delta], or the "westernmost river mouth". The noun ustye means "the river mouth", and the adjective Russkoye ("Russian") apparently refers to this channel's being the one located the farthest to the west (i.e., the one closest to [European] Russia). Similarly, the easternmost channel of the delta has been known as the Kolymskoye Ustye, i.e. the river mouth closest to the Kolyma (the Indigirka's neighbor to the east).
History and culture
Russkoye Ustye was settled by ethnic Russians several centuries ago, who mixed to some extent with the indigenous Even people. As no agriculture is possible at this Arctic location, they developed an economy based on hunting, fishing, and trapping. Since the place is north of the Arctic tree line, driftwood brought by the Indigirka was used for construction and for firewood.
Due to the remarkable geographic isolation of the settlement, its residents preserved much of their ancestors' beliefs, customs, and folklore into the 19th and 20th century, which made the village a favorite destination for Russian ethnographers and cultural anthropologists. Linguists visited the place to study the local dialect of Russian, strongly influenced by the Even language.
It is speculated that the original settlers, possibly of Pomor origin, arrived to the delta of the Indigirka as early as the first half of the 17th century. More skeptical researchers believe that the second half of the 17th century would be a more likely time for the initial settlement. According to a legend recorded in the village, the villagers' ancestors originally left the European Russia during Ivan IV's persecution campaigns in the late 16th century, although, as Rasputin suggests, reaching the Indigirka may have taken them a long time.
The first known record of the community of Russkoye Ustye is in the reports of the explorer Dmitry Laptev, who had to spend a winter there in 1739 when his boat was stuck in the ice. A Socialist Revolutionary Vladimir Zenzinov gave an account of the village visited by him in the early 1900s, during his Siberian exile.
It was only between 1928 (when a schoolhouse was built, and a schoolteacher arrived from the outside world) and the 1960s (the arrival of helicopters) that the village became reconnected, to an extent, with the "mainland" culture and integrated into the national economy. The pelts of arctic fox became the principal product sold by the villagers to the outside world.
Historically, the peoples of Russkoye Ustye were spread out over several tens of kilometers, living in solitary houses or tiny hamlets of 3-4 houses (there were six houses in the hamlet where Zenzinov stayed). Around 1940–1942, the authorities arranged for them to move into a single village, which was given the name Polyarny. However, the inhabitants continued to refer to it colloquially as Russkoye Ustye, and this name was officially restored in the late 20th century.
A Siberian writer, Valentin Rasputin, dedicated a chapter of his non-fiction book, "Siberia, Siberia" (originally published in 1991) to the people of this isolated traditional community. Even though the villagers "seemed to be fashioned entirely out of prejudice", he favorably compares their ability to pass moral judgments with the moral relativism of the modern people.
The permanent population of the village was reported as around 300 in 1989, which had shrunk to 180 as of January 1, 2001, and further to 157 residents in the 2010 census.
- "Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года. Том 1" [2010 All-Russian Population Census, vol. 1]. Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года (2010 All-Russia Population Census) (in Russian). Federal State Statistics Service. 2011. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
- Правительство Российской Федерации. Постановление №725 от 31 августа 2011 г. «О составе территорий, образующих каждую часовую зону, и порядке исчисления времени в часовых зонах, а также о признании утратившими силу отдельных Постановлений Правительства Российской Федерации». Вступил в силу по истечении 7 дней после дня официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Российская Газета", №197, 6 сентября 2011 г. (Government of the Russian Federation. Resolution #725 of August 31, 2011 On the Composition of the Territories Included into Each Time Zone and on the Procedures of Timekeeping in the Time Zones, as Well as on Abrogation of Several Resolutions of the Government of the Russian Federation. Effective as of after 7 days following the day of the official publication.).
- Indigirka in Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary
- Russkoye Ustye: Culture
- Russian dialects in East Siberia and Kamchatka. Reviews such publications as: A. Krasovitsky and Ch. Sappok. "The Isolated Russian Dialectal System in Contact with Tungus Languages in Siberia and Far East"; A. Krasovitsky. "Prosody of Statements in the Speech of Old Settlers in the Polar Region".
- А. И. Гоголев. "ИСТОРИЯ ЯКУТИИ: (Обзор исторических событий до начала ХХ в.)". (A. I. Gogolev. History of Yakutia: Review of Historical Events to the beginning of the 20th century) Yakutsk, 1999. (Russian)
- Rasputin, p. 293
- Tatyana Bratkova Russkoye Ustye. Novy Mir, 1998, no. 4 (Russian)
- THE ROAD TO OBLIVION—Vladimir Zenzinov & Isaac Don Levine—McBride Time Magazine, Monday, Jul. 06, 1931. (The review of the book by Zenzinov)
- Valentin Rasputin. "Siberia, Siberia". Translated by Margaret Winchell, Gerald Mikkelson. Northwestern University Press, 1996. ISBN 0-8101-1575-1. Chapter 7, "Russkoe Ustye". On Google Books. (Rasputin's translators transliterate the name of the village as Russkoe Ustye)
- АЛЛАИХОВСКИЙ УЛУС. Русско-Устьинский наслег. Административный центр - с. Русское Устье. (Allaikhovsky Ulus. Russko-Ustyinsky Nasleg. Administrative center—the village of Russkoye Ustye). Includes area map.(Russian)