Issue 1 (74)

Year 2022 Number 1(74)
Pages 109-115 Type scientific article
UDC 94(571.1)“17/19” BBK 63.3(253.3)5
Authors Turov Sergei V.
Summary In terms of scale and devastating consequences, floods are the most dangerous thing among natural disasters. The article is an attempt to assess their impact on the settlements and economic development in the Ob-Irtysh river system within the West Siberian region in the 18th — early 20th centuries. Floods which had high waters were associated with spring floods, but the water could not subside until the fall or even before the ice break. There were also catastrophic ones with a very high level. In addition, some complications such as long high-water cycles accrued at the time when the level and frequency of flooding increased. During severe and catastrophic floods settlements and agricultural land were flooded, livestock died, houses and outbuildings were destroyed or rendered unusable, and communication routes were interrupted for a long time. In the north of the region (Lower Ob region) during catastrophic floods, fishing trade was almost stopped and the opportunities for cattle breeding in the flooded floodplain were sharply reduced. Floodplain agriculture fell into decay during high-water cycles in the southern boreal forest area. The population of coastal areas tried to protect themselves from flooding with storage dams, but they were not built everywhere and often could not withstand the pressure of water. The only effective means of flood defense was relocation to high river banks. Therefore, the floods in 1912 and 1914 years provoked the relocation of the Irtysh River low-cost residents of the Tobolsk province. The authorities facilitated this relocation. Assistance was provided to flood victims, even though not so often. In these conditions, the population often had to rely only on themselves and God’s help. Thus, for example, in the city of Berezov the cult of St. Epiphanius was formed. On his Memorial Day people asked the higher forces for help in eliminating the consequences of the flood. But the most effective tool in combating floods was folk natural science knowledge. Over the long history of life on the river, the Russian population has developed omens, which helped them to judge the level of the upcoming flood. Among the enlightened part of the local population, there were ideas about the cyclical nature of catastrophic floods.
Keywords Western Siberia, floods, hydraulic structures, natural science knowledge, religious traditions, environmental history

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