Russia has 40 recognised groups of what it calls "small numbered indigenous peoples."
Many have managed to hold onto traditional lifestyles, despite the efforts of the former Soviet system to make them conform.
These days, their biggest challenge is the spread of the oil industry through their homelands.
Although Russia enshrines indigenous rights in law, in resource-rich areas the interests of the oil-dependent state are often in direct conflict with the people who lived there long before Russians ever arrived.
Rory Challands reports from Surgut, in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Region, on one indigenous man's confrontation with the system.