Report: Nogliki


Ksenia Shagal

In the early morning of August 8 the overnight train brought us to Nogliki, where we planned to spend 4 days before moving further to Okha. Nogliki is a big urban-type settlement at the end of the only Sakhalin railway line, which starts in the southern part of the island. The population of the settlement is around 10 000 people, predominantly Russians and Nivkhs, and nowadays it has become a very special place. On the one hand it is just one of the thousands of Russian villages, but on the other hand it is a supplier for the two oil fields located off the coast to the northeast, which fills it with amazing contrasts.

Many houses in the streets look old and neglected, and the roads are bumpy and muddy, but at the same time there are clear signs of emerging infrastructure, which has become essential in the recent years due to the development of the oil industry. Thus, apart from two established hotels, there is now at least one small (and most probably secret) hotel, where we stayed, there is also a glass and concrete supermarket, a cafe with white leather armchairs, and, of course, a night club. During the day the latter serves as a restaurant, so in Nogliki we had a wonderful opportunity to enjoy our lunch right next to the dance floor.

Most of the time in Nogliki we worked at the local library, and many interesting people came there to talk to us. Among them there were a famous Nivkh writer and the author of numerous books and primers Vladimir Mikhajlovich Sangi, probably the most fluent speaker of the East Sakhalin dialect Nadezhda Jakovlevna Tanzina, whose stories we listened to during the Nivkh course in Helsinki, and many other people, including teachers from a local school. One of them, the teacher of Nivkh Anetta Valerjevna Dashieva kindly invited us to see the school she works at, showed us plenty of textbooks and other materials in Nivkh and told us about the Nivkh summer camps that used to be organized in Nogliki several years ago.