Kola Sámi Assembly

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The Kola Sámi Assembly (Kildin Sami: Куэллнэгк нёарк Са̄мь Соббар; Russian: Саамское собрание Кольского полуострова) is an elected assembly established in 2010 by the Sámi people of the Kola peninsula in Russia on the model of Sámi parliaments in Nordic countries. As of 2018, it was not recognised as a political or legislative entity by the Russian federal nor local Murmansk Oblast governments under the pretext of "combatting separatism"; it remains a purely representative organ with unclear relations with the government, because establishing new legislative organs requires amendments to Russian federal and regional legislation.[1][2][3]


On 14 December 2008, the 1st Congress of the Russian Sámi was held with the participation of the Kola Sámi Association and the Association of Sámi in Murmansk Oblast to establish a framework for creation of a Russian Sámi parliament, the Sami Parliament of Kola Peninsula.[3] A suggestion to have the Russian Federation pick representatives to the new assembly was voted down by a clear majority. The Congress also chose a Council of Representatives tasked with working to establish a parliament and to otherwise represent Russian Sámi.[4]

Two years later, the 2nd Congress of the Russian Sámi convened in Murmansk on 12 December 2010, to elect members to the new Kola Sámi Assembly.[3] The aims of the assembly are to represent the Sámi people and to work towards a recognised Russian Sámi Parliament.[5] According to one commentator, however, "in the ... Assembly, the Kola Sámi have achieved their most unifying and representative structure to date;" the extent to which the Murmansk regional authorities are prepared to work with this body remains unclear.[2][5]

During preparation for the planned 3rd Congress of the Russian Sámi in 2014, Russian authorities worked to establish a new gathering, the Congress of the Indigenous People of the Northern Kola – Sámi, with the goal of sidelining the Kola Sámi Assembly in favor of a new organization more aligned with local governmental officials.[6]


On O.S. 25 January 1868 (N.S. 6 February 1868), the Kola Sobbar (Кóладаг сóббарь) was established as the first elected body to represent Russian Sámi.[2][7] Although there is no direct lineage between the Kola Sobbar and the Kola Sámi Assembly, it is cited as an example of a prior Russian Sámi elected assembly.[8] By coincidence, the Kola Sobbar met on the same day as what would later be declared the annual Sámi National Day across Sápmi.[9]

Links with Sámi parliaments in other countries[edit]

Full participation for the Kola Sámi Assembly in the Saami Council depends upon Sámi parliaments in the other Nordic countries accepting the Kola Sámi Assembly as a "Russian Sámi Parliament".[5] Since Russia does not recognize the assembly, the Kola Sámi Association and Association of Sámi in Murmansk Oblast are both seated as members of the Saami Council and have representation on the Sámi Parliamentary Council.[10] Initially, the Russian Sámi were granted observer status in 2000, but three years later they were allowed to be participating observers.[11]

In 2012, members of the Kola Sámi Assembly and other Russian Sámi associations visited the Sámi Parliament of Norway in Kárášjohka to learn more about its structure and operations as part of a competency building tour.[12][13][14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Fourth Opinion on the Russian Federation - adopted on 20 February 2018", Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, Council of Europe, 20 February 2018 item 141, p. 54
  2. ^ a b c Berezhkov, Dmitry (15 December 2017). "One hundred years of the Sami self-determination in Russia". Artic Consult. Retrieved 22 June 2020.
  3. ^ a b c Artieva, Alexandra (20 November 2014). "Sami Parliament of Kola Peninsula: fight for right to self-determination". Barents Observer. Archived from the original on 11 August 2015. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  4. ^ Somby, Liv Inger (17 December 2008). "RUSSLAND: Samene vil ha et eget Sameting" [RUSSIA: The Sámi want their own Sámi Parliament]. Gáldu: Resource Centre for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on 17 February 2012.
  5. ^ a b c Berg-Nordlie, Mikkel (2011). "Striving to Unite: The Russian Sámi and the Nordic Sámi Parliament model" (PDF). Arctic Review on Law and Politics. 2 (1): 52–76. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 June 2014.
  6. ^ "Russia: Kola Saami Congress held amidst massive state pressure, authorities push back against Saami Parliament". Copenhagen, Denmark: International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs. 28 November 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2020.
  7. ^ Overland, Indra; Berg-Nordlie, Mikkel (2012). Bridging Divides: Ethno-Political Leadership among the Russian Sámi. New York City, New York: Berghahn Books. pp. 31–32. ISBN 978-0-85745-668-7. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  8. ^ Kalstad, Johan Albert (2009). Дорогой надежд: политика Российского государства и положение саамского народа в России (1864-2003) [Costly expectations: The policy of the Russian state and the situation of the Sámi people in Russia (1864–2003)] (in Russian). Murmask, Russia: Мурманское книж. изд-во. ISBN 978-5-85510-328-1.
  9. ^ Lukashevich, Alexander (6 February 2020). On Sami National Day (PDF) (Speech). 1258th Plenary Meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council. Vienna, Austria. Retrieved 22 June 2020.
  10. ^ "About the Saami Council: Member Organizations". Saami Council. Retrieved 22 June 2020.
  11. ^ Berg-Nordlie, Mikkel. Fighting to be Heard – in Russia and in Sápmi: Russian Sámi representation in Russian and pan-Sámi politics, 1992-2014 (PhD). Tromsø, Norway: UiT The Artic University of Norway. hdl:10037/11405.
  12. ^ Kropp, Sabine; Aasland, Aadne; Berg-Nordlie, Mikkel; Holm-Hansen, Jørn; Schuhmann, Johannes (2017). Governance in Russian Regions: A Policy Comparison. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing. p. 202. ISBN 978-3-319-61702-2. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  13. ^ Karlsbakk, Jonas (1 December 2008). "Fighting for Sami parliament in Russia". Barents Observer. Kirkenes, Norway. Retrieved 22 June 2020.
  14. ^ "Saami Assembly in Murmansk Oblast". Indigenous Peoples in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region. Archived from the original on 24 March 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2012.

External links[edit]