Commission for the Study of the Tribal Composition of the Population of the Borderlands of Russia

Commission For The Study Of The Tribal Composition Of The Population Of The Borderlands Of Russia

Commission for the Study of the Tribal Composition of the Population of the Borderlands of Russia

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The Commission for the Study of the Tribal Composition of the Population of the Borderlands of Russia (KIPS) was set up in February 1917 by Sergey Oldenburg under the auspices of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Its aim was to support the war effort as expert-produced ethnographic knowledge was important during a war "conducted to a significant degree in connection with the nationality question".

The commission was composed of twelve leading Russian Ethnographers based in St Petersburg: Aleksey Shakhmatov, Mikhail Diakonov, Nikolai Marr, Vasily Bartold, Vladimir Peretts, Evfimii Karskii from the Academy of Sciences, Sergei Rudenko and Fedor Volkov from the Anthropological Society of St Petersburg University, Andrei Rudnev and Lev Shcherba from the University's Philological Society and David Zolotarev and Nikolai Mogiliansky from the Russian Geographical Society's Ethnographic Division.

The commission was charged with the task of producing maps of those areas which "lie on of both sides" of Russia's European and Asiatic borders and which are "contiguous with our enemies". This included Lithuania, Poland, Galicia, Ruthenia Bukovina and parts of Bessarabia in Europe and parts of Turkestan and the Caucasus bordering Iran.

Different ethnographers advocated different approaches: Karskii wanted to focus on native language, whereas Rudenko favoured more physical anthropology - particularly to assess the suitability of local people...
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