Campaign improves life for the Khanty

Towards the end of 2000, Survival issued an alert to its supporters, asking them to write letters in support of the reindeer-herding Khanty of Siberia. The Khanty, a semi-nomadic people who have traditionally depended on their reindeer herds for almost every aspect of their lives, were threatened by oil companies driving them off their land, destroying the environment and making it unable to sustain the Khanty's reindeer. Survival asked its supporters to write to politicians, and also to the Russian company LUKOIL. Survival itself also lobbied the oil companies and the authorities to respect the Khanty's rights to reject oil and gas drilling on their land, and to pay full compensation for the destruction they had already caused.

Many Survival supporters wrote in support of the Khanty. In early 2001, the president of LUKOIL wrote to Survival saying that he had received so many letters calling for respect of the Khanty's rights that they could not possibly respond to them all individually. The local indigenous organisation, RAIPON, said that, 'They received a crazy number of letters and faxes with indigenous peoples' support.'

The results were positive – since then, the Khanty feel that the both the companies and the government have been treating them with more respect and have been better at fulfilling their promises to them. RAIPON thanked Survival supporters, and told us 'After your campaign in Khanty-Mansiysk region the situation is becoming better.'

Survival continues to work with the Khanty.