Research group: Indrek Jääts, Piret Koosa, Svetlana Karm

Finno-Ugric ethnology has long traditions at the ENM. The museum started to collect items of Finno-Ugrians, linguistic kinsmen of Estonians, already before 1917. Research on Finno-Ugric peoples located in the northern part of European Russia and West-Siberia was favoured by the relatively simple access to them in Soviet period. Several research trips to the eastern Finno-Ugrians were organised almost every year from the late 1960s till early 1990s. Huge collections of ethnographic objects, photographs and drawings were established during this time and the ENM became one of the leading research institutions of Finno-Ugric ethnology not only in Estonia, but in the whole world.

These traditions are valued and continued at the ENM today, although in a different way than in Soviet time. Fieldwork trips are now connected with the research projects of individual scholars and collecting of objects has diminished drastically. Nowadays, the ENM´s scholars focus on interviews and audio-visual recording. A part of this material is made public through documentary films.

Over the last years fieldwork has also been related to the production of the new permanent exhibition about the Finno-Ugric peoples („Echo of Urals“, opened in 2016). In 2010-2015 the ENM´s researchers have visited Udmurts (2010), Karelians (2011), Veps (2010, 2011, 2014, 2015), Khanties and Mansis (2014), Komi (2012, 2013, 2014), and Mari (2012).

The ENM cooperates with other academic institutions (University of Tartu, first of all) at the field of Finno-Ugric ethnology. The ENM´s researchers take part in university’s research grants and target-financed research projects. Cooperation also involves Finno-Ugric museums and researchers in Russia, and Western researchers. The ENM´s researchers are involved in teaching at the University of Tartu and elsewhere.

In last decades the research on Finno-Ugric ethnology was primarily focused on:

Ethnic processes, nationalism and nationalities policy.

The aim of the research project „Rise of Nationalism. Ethnicity, research and politics in inner periphery of Russian Empire from early 19th century till 1920s“ was to study the changes taking place on the ethnic landscape of the Russian Empire. The main factor behind the huge transformation occurring during this period was modernization and nationalism was considered as one of its aspects. The study looked, when and how was the discourse of nationalism imported into the Russian Empire and how did the central authorities react to the emergence of different nationalisms. Researchers were also interested in the Bolsheviks’ controversial relationship with nationalism and focused on the inner periphery of the Russian Empire, which has got less academic attention. An international workshop was held in Tartu as a part of the project, and a volume based on its results was published („Proniknovenie i primenenie diskursa natsional´nosti v Rossii i SSSR v kontse XVIII - pervoi polovine XX vv.“ Tartu: Estonskii natsional´nyi muzei, 2011). The idea was to study different aspects of ethnicity’s proliferation in Russia from late 18th to mid-20th centuries. This project was connected to the history of ethnology and related disciplines. 17


The main objective of the research project „Ethnicity, Nation Building and Nationalities Policy in Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia: The Finno-Ugrians“ was to study complex relationships between nationalities policies and ethnic identity in Russia. First of all, the study dealt with the foundation, functioning and abolition of the lower levels of national territorial autonomy (Komi, Komi-Permyaks, Veps); fixation of ethnic identity during the censuses and in personal documents (Veps, Seto, Võro); and the role of ethnic activists, local museums and regional cultural festivals in shaping the ethnic identity (Veps, Udmurt).

Anthropology of Christianity

This direction of the ENM’s research is focused on Komi Republic in Northern Russia. By exploring the dynamics of post-Soviet religious life and the tensions accompanying the growing religious pluralism, the ENM´s researcher Piret Koosa tackled questions of belonging and discussed the links between religion and ethnic identity. Focusing on the relationship between Orthodox majority and Protestant minority, she analyzed the difficulties a minority religion group has faced in establishing itself as legitimate in the Komi countryside, the strategies of how the group members negotiate their presence in the wider society and how the particularities of the specific social context influence local interpretations and practices of faith.


Rise of Nationalism. Ethnicity, research and politics in inner periphery of the Russian Empire from early 19th century to the 1920s (ETF7010, 2007-2010, principal investigator Indrek Jääts). Research staff: Svetlana Karm

Ethnicity, Nation Building and Nationalities Policy in Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia: The Finno-Ugrians (ETF 9271, 2012-2015, principal investigator Ergo-Hart Västrik). Research staff: Indrek Jääts, Svetlana Karm

"Поля несуществующего": неизвестные источники по истории и культуре финно-угорских народов России (поиск, публикация, популяризация) (Russian Science Foundation research grant 14-18-03573, 2014-2016, principal investigator Aleksei Zagrebin). Research staff: Svetlana Karm

Symbolic Cultural Landscapes: Development and Protection of Local Communities in the Russian North (ERA.NET RUS Plus project CORUNO, 2015-2017, principal investigator Art Leete). Research staff: Piret Koosa

Dynamic Perspectives of Identity Politics - Analysis of Dialogue and Conflict (SF0180157s08, 2008 - 2013, principal investigator Art Leete). Research staff: Piret Koosa

Religious Change in the Postcolonial World (ETF 8335, 2010 - 2013, principal investigator Art Leete). Research staff: Piret Koosa, Svetlana Karm

Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements in Russia (European University of Saint Petersburg, 2010-2012). Research staff: Piret Koosa

Contemporary Finno-Ugric Animism: Functions and Social Context (PUT590, 2015-2018, principal investigator Art Leete). Research staff: Piret Koosa

Organized conferences

2015 Conference Expeditions to the East: Soviet Estonian humanities scholars’ field trips to the Finno-Ugrians

2016 International conference Perspectives of Finno-Ugric museums


Karm, S. (2011). Эхо Урала в Эстонском национальном музее, или музеологический аспект эстонского концепта «финно-угорский мир» – Ежегодник финно-угорских исследований (Yearbook of „Finno-Ugric Studies“), Выпуск 3, Ижевск: Издательство «Удмуртский университет», 98-110.

Jääts, I. (2012). Linguistic kinsmen. In: Pan European Networks: Government. August, 210−213.

Karm, S. (2013). Аудиовизуальное документирование удмуртских религиозных обрядов в советское время. In: Ежегодник финно-угорских исследований (Yearbook of Finno-Ugric Studies), Выпуск 1, Ижевск: Издательство «Удмуртский университет», 78-86.

Karm, S. (2013). Удмуртско-эстонский музейно-этнографический проект: тридцать лет спустя. In: Евразийское межкультурное пространство в исторической ретроспективе. Сборник статей, Ижевск: Удмуртский институт истории, языка и литературы УрО РАН, 85-90.

Karm, S., Zagrebin, A. (2014). Кузебай Герд и его эстонские корреспонденты. In: Вестник Удмуртского университета, Серия 5: «История и филология», Выпуск 1. Ижевск: Удмуртский государственный университет, 118-127.

Karm, S. (2014). Коми-пермяцкая культура глазами эстонских этнологов. In: Черных, А. Лобанова, А.(eds.). Коми-пермяцкий этнографический сборник Серия «Труды Института языка, истории и традиционной культуры коми-пермяцкого народа», выпуск 10, Санкт-Петербург: Издательство Маматов, 40-53.

Karm, S. (2015). Финно-угорские экспедиции эстонских гуманитариев в советское время. In: Ежегодник финно-угорских исследований, № 3, 146-156.

Karm, S., Leete, A. (2015). Ethics of Ethnographic Attraction: Reflections on the Production of the Finno-Ugric Exhibitions at the Estonian National Museum. In: Journal of Ethnology and Folkloristics, Vol. 9, No. 1, 99-121.

Zagrebin, A., Karm, S. (2015). Не/известное этнографическое финно-угроведение: эстонская история. In: Вестник Удмуртского университета, Серия 5: «История и филология», Том 25, выпуск 1, 36-44.

Jääts, I. (2010). De multiples dialectes à une langue d’état. Le changement de statut de la langue komie (zyriène) entre le milieu du XIXe siècle et les années 1930. In: Toulouze, E., Cagnoli, S., Les Komis. Questions d'histoire et de culture, Paris: L'Harmattan. Bibliothèque finno-ougrienne; 18, 87-96.

Jääts, I. (2011). „Little Deeds“ for his peole: Georgij Lytkin (1835-1907) working for emancipation of the Komi language. In: Congressus XI. Internationalis Fenno-Ugristarum. Piliscsaba, 9-14. VIII. 2010. Pars V. Dissertationes sectionum et symposiorum ad linguisticam: XI Congressus Internationalis Fenno-Ugristarum, Piliscsaba: Reguly Tarsasag, 211-214.

Jääts, I., Tammiksaar, E. (eds.) 2011. Проникновение и применение дискурса национальности в России и СССР в конце XVIII - первой половине XX вв / The emergence and implementation of the discourse of nationality in Russia and the USSR from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries. Tartu: Estonian National Museum.

Jääts, I. (2011). Торжество этничности. Введение. In: Индрек Яатс, Эрки Таммиксаар (eds.). In: Проникновение и применение дискурса национальности в России и СССР в конце XVIII - первой половине XX вв. Tartu: Estonian National Museum, 5-15.

Jääts, I. (2012). “The Permiak question”: Bolshevik central authorities, Russian and non-Russian provincial elites negotiating over autonomy in the early 1920s. In: Nationalities Papers: The Journal of Nationalism and Ethnicity, Vol. 40, Issue 2, 241-257.

Jääts, I. (2013). Lugege meid üle. Kagu-Eesti etnoregionalistlikud liikumised ja viimane rahvaloendus. In: Akadeemia, 6, 1076-1110.

Jääts, I. (2015). Count us! Ethnic Activism in South-Eastern Estonia, and the Census of 2011 In: Journal of Baltic Studies, Vol. 46, no. 2, 1-18.

Jääts, I. (2015). Fallen Ill in Political Draughts: The Komi-Permyak Language. In: Marten, H. F., Riessler, M., Saarikivi, J., Toivanen, R. (eds.) Cultural and Linguistic Minorities in the Russian Federation and the European Union: Comparative Studies on Equality and Diversity (Multilingual Education 13) Springer, 107-126. 53

Jääts, I. (2015). Komi rahvusliku territoriaalautonoomia loomine. In: Akadeemia, 1-2, 52-75, 314-342. (Contribution prize of journal "Akadeemia"; humaniora, golden prize)

Jääts, I. (2016). Nõukogude rahvuspoliitika 1960.-1980. aastail: Vepsa näide. In: Akadeemia, nr. 9, 1523-1556. (Contribution prize of journal "Akadeemia"; humaniora, golden prize)

Jääts, I. (2017). Illegally Denied: Manipulations Related to the Registration of the Veps Identity in the Late Soviet Union. In: Nationalities Papers, 2016, 1-28. [forthcoming]

Koosa, P., Leete, A. (2011). Revolt of Grannies: Komi Folk Orthodox Movement Bursylysyas. In: Journal of Ethnology and Folkloristics, 5(1), 45-61.

Leete, A., Koosa, P. (2012). “The Churches were Opened and Lots of Missionaries Arrived”: Dialogue of Komi Identity and Faith. In: Folklore: Electronic Journal of Folklore, 51, 171-190.

Koosa, P. (2013). Sowing the Seeds of Faith: A Case Study of an American Missionary in the Russian North. In: Journal of Ethnology and Folkloristics, Vol. 7, No. 1, 31-48.

Koosa, P. (2013). Gendered Rural Spaces. Studia Fennica. Ethnologica 12. In: Journal of Ethnology and Folkloristics, Vol. 7, No. 1, 154-156.

Koosa, P., Leete, A. (2014). Serving God by Being Neighbourly: Komi Protestants and Local Community Initiatives. In: Suomen antropologi, 39(2), 39-57.

Leete, A., Koosa, P., Vallikivi, L. (2015). Pentecostals and Charismatic Protestants in the Republic of Komi and Nenets Tundra. In: Folklore. Electronic Journal of Folklore 61, 185-192.

Koosa, P. (2016). Evangelical Silence in a Komi Village. In: Ethnologia Europaea 46 (2), 58-73.

Exhibitions, films

2010. Mari pulm / Mari wedding, curator Aleksei Aleksejev, cooperation with Paul Ariste Centre for Indigenous Finno-Ugric Peoples

2010. Kaameraga Udmurtias/In Udmurtia with a camera, curators Madis Kats, Svetlana Karm, in cooperation with Russian Academy of Sciences, Department of Udmurt History, Language and Literature

2012. Eesti filmi rajaleidjad soome-ugri ja põhjarahvaste juures/The pioneers of Estonian film documenting Finno-Ugric and Nordic peoples, curators Enn Säde, Kristjan Raba, cooperation with Estonian Film 100

2012. Ajanihe Marimaa pildid/Timeshift. Pictures of Mari El, curators Arp Karm, Svetlana Karm, cooperation with National Museum of The Republic of Mari El 61

2012. Travelling exhibition Soome-ugri ja samojeedi rahvad / Finno-Ugric and Samoyedic people, curators Indrek Jääts, Svetlana Karm, Lauri Vallikivi

2013. Ühisnäitus Stanislav Antipovi maalid, Soome-ugri muusikamaailm pildis ja Rahvapille Eesti Rahva Muuseumi kogust/Paintings of Stanislav Antipov, The Finno-Ugric world of music in pictures and Folk instruments from the collection of the ENM, curator Svetlana Karm

2013. DVD Eesti etnograafiline film II. Udmurdid / Estonian Ethnographic Film II. Udmurts, author Svetlana Karm, Tartu: Estonian National Museum in cooperation with Russian Academy of Sciences, Department of Udmurt History, Language and Literature

2014. Soome-ugri brändinäitus Karu, Õ ja Joškin kot / Finno-Ugric brand: Bear, Õ and Joškin kot, curators Piret Koosa, Svetlana Karm, cooperation with Kindred Peoples' Programme

2015. DVD Eesti etnograafiline film III. Vepslased. / Estonian Ethnographic Film II. The Vepsians, authors Svetlana Karm, Indrek Jääts, Tartu: Estonian National Museum, in cooperation with Russian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Linguistics, Literature and History Karelian Research Center

2016. Finno-Ugric permanent exhibition Echo of Urals, curators Art Leete (University of Tartu), Svetlana Karm, Piret Koosa, Indrek Jääts, Madis Arukask (University of Tartu), Nikolai Kuznetsov (University of Tartu). Estonian Museum Award for Best Exhibition 2016

2016. DVD Documentary Läbi vepslaste maa: 50 aastat hiljem/Through the land of the Veps: 50 years later, authors Indrek Jääts, Maido Selgmäe, Tartu: Estonian National Museum