How can indigenous communities in illiberal regimes benefit from oil production? This paper compares the experience of two indigenous peoples in the Russian Arctic, the Nenets and the Komi-Izhemtsi, in their quest for environmental protection and the development of benefit-sharing arrangements with Lukoil, a Russian oil company. The Nenets people, recognized by the Russian state as indigenous, are marginalized political actors who identified a route to receiving compensation for loss of land and damage to the environment as well as economic benefits under the auspices of Russian law and Lukoil’s corporate policies. In contrast, the Komi-Izhemtsi, despite indigenous status in global institutions including the United Nations and the Arctic Council, are unrecognized as indigenous domestically and initially received no compensation. Their path to benefit sharing was more challenging as they partnered with local nongovernmental organizations and global environmentalists to pressure Lukoil to sign a benefit-sharing agreement. Ultimately, the comparison illustrates how transnational partnerships can empower indigenous people to gain benefits from natural resource exploitation even in illiberal political systems.
Tysiachniouk, Maria; Henry, Laura A.; Lamers, Machiel; and van Tatenhove, Jan P.M., "Oil Extraction and Benefit Sharing in an Illiberal Context: The Nenets and Komi-Izhemtsi Indigenous Peoples in the Russian Arctic" (2018). Government Faculty Publications. 24.