Roosi’s Siberian Stories. Estonian Settlements VII

November 26, 2015

Estonian Settlements is a serial publication of studies of the folklore of Estonians in the diaspora, with an introducion to the research, comments and anthologies from the areas, as well as a register.

The seventh part in the serial Estonian Settlements provides a colourful overview of Upper Bulanka and Upper Suetuk, two villages in the southern part of Krasnoyarski Krai in Eastern Siberia; their living conditions, settlement history, traditions and customs. Upper Suetuk was founded as a colony for Lutheran deportees in the 1850s. Upper Bulanka, founded in 1861, was the first wholly Estonian settlement in Eastern Siberia.

The stories were written down by Rosalie Ottesson, also known as Ottessoni Roosi (1899–1979), who had an excellent memory. She hailed from the Siberian village of Upper Bulanka, a village with old traditions. Roosi’s memories hold traditional stories, songs and incantations that were part of everyday life at the time.

Roosi was young in the time of the Bolsheviks coming to power, the radical changes that followed and the Soviet power’s ideological pressure. Roosi Ottesson hoped to build a new, humane society. Her story had two sides to it: a traditional background that she shared with the villagers, and, concurrently, self-denying work in the service of the Soviet Union. This is also evident in her writings, which have been sent to the Estonian Folklore Archives.

Roosi’s Siberian Stories. Estonian Settlements VII. Compiled and edited by Anu Korb. Published by EKM Teaduskirjastus 2015, 304 pages.