Reconciliation: Story and Place in Chadan, Research Proposal Example
Words: 5455Research Proposal
The town of Chadan is located in the Chöön-Khemchik district, on the banks of the river Chadan. It was founded as a settlement in 1873, but its development did not start in earnest until the Second World War. This was a defining time for the rest of the country as well. Tuva had been a notionally independent state since its revolution of 1921, but was effectively a vassal state under Stalin. Great contributions to the war effort in terms of soldiers and food to the famine-struck Soviet Union were demanded, and in 1944 Tuva officially joined the Soviet Union. This brought with it a great demographic change. Though Russian immigrants had been instrumental in founding cities and towns in the otherwise nomadic nation, they were still in the minority (Cadiot 2005).
My fieldwork will be focused on the town of Chadan in the Republic of Tuva, in Russia, which has undergone immense transformations since its inception as a town in Soviet times. Demographics have changed from a massive majority of Russians and other nationalities, to consisting almost exclusively of Tuvans and five remaining families. I wish to explore the theories people use to talk about the past and present of the place, to see how struggles over national identity, history, ideology and coexistence is reflected in them. I will work with people who have left, people who have stayed behind, and people who moved in, exploring what role stories occupy in reflecting the issues of an unstable national identity, ideology and attitudes towards the future.
Ethnocentrism is the opposite of cultural relativism, occurring when judgments about one culture are made based on the standards of another culture (Miller 2007). As we observe other cultures, some practices may violate what we consider to be ‘universal human rights’. The term ethnography has come to be primarily associated with qualitative research where the intent is to provide a detailed, in-depth description of everyday life and practice (Sokolovski n.d.). The study will use an ethnographic approach as a qualitative research method to establish an extension of the researcher as a member of the community. Stemming from the Yeniseisk guberniya and the Uriankhayskiy region, a significant number of the Yenisei Cossacks concentrated in Western Mongolia from 1920 to the beginning of 1921 and they camped in Ulyasutay Town, not far from the Tuva border (Tarasov 2008). On 23rd May, 1921 at Khemchik in the Chadan region, 200 of the armed Touvinians attacked the Kazantsev’s camp, dispersing them to Mongolia and in August, 1921, regiment 440 of the Red Army was deployed from Minusinsk to Tuva (Tarasov, 2008).
The Mongolian lords wanted to gain control over Tuva, which had been always considered be a part of Mongolia (Tarasov 2008). Traditionally, Tuva was a region with a mixed hunting and domestic reindeer herding economy, which contained many features typical of taiga reindeer herding, including riding on mounted deer and milking them (Ventsel 2006). In the local economic system, rich reindeer owners focused more on herding and poor people either worked for rich reindeer herders or left their animals in the herds of wealthy people and hunted seasonally for wild reindeer and Arctic foxes (Ventsel 2006). Soviet agriculture incorporated this model into the collective farm ecology (Ventsel 2006). The number of ethnic Russians settling in Tuva had been steadily increasing since 1944 (Hsu 2008). There were two factors in conjunction with the fact that unemployment for young people was very high in Tuva, since the Soviet Union’s colonization policy had caused the traditional animal herding lifestyle of Tuva to diminish, and education in Tuva was leaning towards Russian style, constituted the slow demise of Tuva’s traditional values (Hsu 2008).
As a result of urbanization and industrialization, the Russians were enjoying better quality of life, although there were some Tuvans who believed that the ethnic Russians were doing harm to Tuvan people and Tuva’s ecological environment and desired independence (Hsu 2008). Mismanagement caused by the ethnic ruling class appointed by the Soviet Union, the rise of intellectual opposition, intervention from Soviet troops, and Tuvan people’s desire for Mongolian culture and political independence, all continued to strain the already tense relationship between ethnic groups in Tuva (Hsu 2008). During WWII, Tuva was one of the few places that were safe, relatively prosperous and untouched by famine, and people from the rest of the Soviet Union clamoured to relocate there (Sokolovski n.d.). This caused towns to rapidly expanded and the stimulated the building of collective farms and factories (Sokolovski n.d.).
Due to this movement trend, in 1945, Chadan was granted the status of a town, boasting a population of 4,700 and this swift pace of development continued during the 1950s and 1960s, with the town now being primarily populated by Russians and a plethora of other Soviet nationalities (Sokolovski n.d.). As conditions elsewhere started to improve, many of the immigrants or displaced Tuva residents began trickling out of the country, which continued until the fall of the Soviet Union (Sokolovski n.d.). Many Russians were in a better position to take advantage of the lawlessness and unregulated privatisations during the crisis, which allowed the social divides to grow, and the reaction produced campaigns against ethnic Russians, causing the deaths of several hundred people (Sokolovski n.d.). This exodus of Russians produced a whole history of Russian ethnography and anthropology that could be described as a history of minority research, and all the conflicting views, theories, and conceptualizations of ethnicity or “ethnic reality” have a direct bearing on minority research and relevant discursive formations (Sokolovski .nd.). While the animosity has mostly disappeared, towns like Chadan have been repopulated by ethnic Tuvans, leaving their nomadic lifestyle behind (Granville 2004).
As a result, the Tuva Republic in southern Siberia is one of the twenty-one nationality-based republics within the Russian Federation that was recognized in Russia’s newest constitution of 1993 (Granville 2004). Previously called the Tuva Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (ASSR), the constitution recognized it as Tyva, the regional form of the name, and the current area encompasses 65,810 square miles in the northwest region of Mongolia and directly east of Gorno-Altay (Granville 2004). Tuva’s capital is Kizyl, with other key cities along the banks of the Yenisey River with the western part of Tuva in a mountain basin walled off by the Sayan and Tannu Olga ranges rising up to 10,000 feet (Granville 2004). The massive movements of Russia’s people have left Tuva currently inhabited by more than 64% of Tuvinians with the rest being primarily Russians (Granville 2004). More than 200,000 Tuvinians live in the Russian Federation, while smaller communities related to the Kirhhiz ethnic branch also live in Mongolia and China (Granville 2004). Since physical features common to all the Turkic peoples are hard to discern, the common cultural feature is language and the Turkic languages strongly resemble one another, with most of them being to some extent mutually intelligible (Granville 2004).
The peoples of Siberia fall into three major ethno-linguistic groups, which are Altaic, Uralic, and Paleo-Siberian, and the Tuvinians are one of the Altaic peoples, with the Tuvin language belonging to the Uighur-Oguz group of the Altaic language family, forming with the ancient Uighur and Oguz languages the subgroup of Uighur-Tüküi (Granville 2004). Even if a special “Decree on Languages in the Tuva ASSR” had not been ratified in 1991, stipulating that all academic subjects be taught in Tuvinian, the Tuvinian language would not be forgotten since the indigenous language is widely spoken in rural areas, where 67-70% of Tuvinians reside (Granville 2004). The sanctioned lingua franca of Russian is spoken mainly in Tuva’s four key towns, which were previously subject to Mongol rule as part of the Chinese Empire for roughly 150 (Granville 2004). An independent state called Tannu Tuva was established on August14, 1921, but Tyva still voluntarily joined the USSR in 1944 as an autonomous oblast and did not become an autonomous republic until 1961 (Granville 2004). Tuvinians are mostly engaged in agricultural activities like raising cattle and fur farming and oats, barley, wheat, and millet are the principal crops raised, with farmers from northern China introducing the Tuvinian farmers to vegetable farming (Granville 2004).
However, the majority of Tuvinian people still live as nomadic shepherds, migrating seasonally with their herds and those that have traditionally inhabited the plains live in large round tents called gers or yurts made from bark (Granville 2004). Overall, the primary industrial activity in the Tuvinian Republic is mining, usually for coal, asbestos, cobalt, uranium, and gold, but other industries include processing food, manufacturing building materials, and crafting leather and wooden items because illiteracy is common in Tuvinians society until the advent of the Russians (Granville 2004). Tuvinians in East Asia have never been affected by Islam and, currently, about one third of Tuvinian are Buddhists, one third are shamanists that believe in an unseen world of gods, demons, and ancestral spirits, and the remaining one third are non-religious (Granville 2004).
The idea of anthropological or ethnographic research was established in Russia in the early to mid-nineteenth century through German researchers from perceived romanticized notions of the nation-state (Gray, Vakhtin, and Schweitzer 2003). The vast expanses of Siberian wilderness were populated by several dozen indigenous peoples, alongside with Central Asians and Caucasus natives, providing a natural field for anthropological research (Gray, Vakhtin, and Schweitzer 2003). Siberian anthropology was particularly reinforced by the Jesup North Pacific Expedition of 1897-1902, which was intellectually designed and led by Franz Boas and significantly impacted the first two decades of the Russian anthropological paradigm, incorporating this standard into the international anthropological scene (Gray, Vakhtin, and Schweitzer 2003). As expressed by Gray, Vakhtin, and Schweitzer (2003), even though Siberian ethnography was an international field openly explored at the turn of the 20th century, between 1930 and the late 1980s, Siberia was primarily off limits to foreigners and to Western ethnographers in the process. This allowed Soviet ethnographers to establish a virtual monopoly on Siberian field sites and the fields of Soviet and Western anthropology developed in relative isolation from one another during that period, allowing methodologies and theoretical approaches to diverge (Gray, Vakhtin, and Schweitzer 2003). During glasnost’ and following the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the Siberian field was reopened and several Western ethnographers were finally permitted to conducted field studies (Gray, Vakhtin, and Schweitzer 2003).
The resulting encounter between Western and former Soviet ethnographers in the 1980s and 1990s produced a degree of cultural shock as well new challenges and opportunities on both sides (Gray, Vakhtin, and Schweitzer 2003). However, the influx of tourist magazines beginning in 1923, as well as ethnographers’ lectures, and ethnographic exhibits highlighted the exotic dress, traditional culture, and religious beliefs of the diverse peoples that could be found within Soviet borders and, by the 1930s, these venues presented a different impression of the peoples of the USSR as a nation currently experiencing a phase of abnormally fast economic and cultural growth, but were still in need of assistance to surmount the powerful pull of traditional beliefs and customs (Hirsch 2003). By the 1930s, these magazines, lectures, and exhibits became significant contributors to the rapid economic and social modernization of all the lands and peoples within Soviet borders (Hirsch 2003).
Political anthropology is valuable for comprehending the political processes in modern societies that are attempting to convert to a democratic system of government (Kurti 2010). In Chadan, following WWII, such an attempt was made to formalize the political anthropology as the interdisciplinary line between political science and anthropology. The current state of global politics has placed communist states into a minority position due to the transitional climate of democratic multiparty politics, which has made it all the more important to recognize the means by which socialism manifested itself visually in particular cultural forms so that we can also trace the trajectory of its national variants (Kurti 2010). In the USSR, political anthropology was regarded as a bourgeois science that served only imperial colonialism, which clashed with the Marxist view that politics is an institution to be considered by the state or class society and the ethnographic discipline specializing in the study of pre-state structures could not use the word ‘political’ (Kradin 2010). This led to the creation of the potestary ethnography, derived from the Latin word potestas meaning power and the term perestroika has progressively come into use with the Russian political anthropology scholars (Kradin 2010).
Incorporation into Russia meant loss of some land, many resources, and much dignity and modern Tuvans struggle for ecological clean-up, boundary changes, and political autonomy or outright secession (Balzer 1992). It is estimated that over 10,000 Russian refugees fled across the Altai Mountains since 1989 and the Tuvans numbered around 206,629, accounting for 64% of their republic in 1989 (Balzer 1992). Nevertheless, the country declared its sovereignty as the Tuvan Socialist Republic in 1990 with their provincial orientation being increasingly Mongolia (Balzer 1992). However, by the early 1990s, Russia was on the verge of state failure and demands for sovereignty from Russia threatened to split the Federation along ethnic lines like the Soviet Union (Balzer 1992). Russia’s republics had begun appropriating power during the late Soviet era of glasnost and perestroika (Giuliano 2003).
The collapse of the USSR accelerated the rate in which the republics asserted control over local natural resources, demanded their autonomy, defied federal laws, and instigated republican presidencies (Giuliano 2003). Furthermore, the republics decided to impose sanctions against federal elections and hold referenda on sovereignty that had given encouragement to a process that seemed likely to end in state disintegration (Giuliano 2003). An examination of the political state in Russian republics during 1988-1994 insinuates that the correlation between local ethnicity and nationalist support was extremely complex, with levels of nationalist support diverging between such extremes as non-existent to extremely high within the republics, and these shifts continued within the republic for a number of years (Giuliano 2003). With this in mind, the fieldwork will be based on groundwork and contacts from a three month stay in Tuva and Khakassia last year. A couple, given the names G and B, are both Russians, have lived their entire lives in Chadan, and are among the five ‘Russian’ families left.
Like many other Siberians they are not comfortable with the Russian label. G in particular objects, stating: “…we are all mixed blood here, we are not Russian, we are Russian speakers.” A group of primarily women, of Russian, Buryat and mixed ethnicity, who all grew up in the town during the 1950s and 1960s and left over the years for different parts of Russia, now gather every summer in Chadan at the Ustuu Huree festival (a music festival centred around local folk music, originally intended to rally support for the reconstruction of a Buddhist monastery destroyed under Stalin’s rule). Another couple, N and S, moved to Chadan after the fall of the Soviet Union while their younger relatives were still living as nomadic cattle herders. They have ‘retired’ to the village, and ‘retired’ their yurt to the backyard with its skeleton now a frame for climbing flowers.
When talking about the place, all of them use the location as a canvas and testing ground for wider social theories about the world, easily adapting it to narratives about communism, capitalism, nationality. Land tenure and resource management is a central issue in Tyva. Particular attention is paid to the segment of Tyvan people who have continued a traditional style of life-the herders and hunters who are now living in new political and economical conditions. Even though their numbers are not big, the people in the nomadic culture play an important role in social life in Tyva. Tyvan herders are not pure nomads as Tyvan society has undergone significant transformation shifts due to the historical impact of various nations and cultures, such the Chinese Empire, the Russian Empire, and the Soviet Union.
The economic factors relative to the study of the organization of modern nomadic Tyvan households is particularly important in post-Soviet period in order to clarify whether official legal rights to land must be established and the modern economic constraints have forced many people to sell some of their domestic animals (Arakchaa 2009). The conditions prevalent in existing mixed economies have significantly affected how the traditional strategies for the use of resources are maintained as a result of the social and economic changes due to the post-socialist era in different parts of Tyva (Arakchaa 2009). Furthermore, there are questions regarding the extent that traditional herding and hunting lifestyles are managed or preserved and how these preservation tactics relate to the protection of Tyvan culture and identity (Arakchaa 2009). The main two types of property relations that describe and characterize Tyvan lifestyles are livestock in relation to the Tyvan household economy, and land and it is necessary to examine the changes in property during the Soviet and Post-Soviet periods (Arakchaa 2009). As a result, Tyvans are looking for solutions to the current social and environmental problems and developing strategies to remedy their present situation by taking into account the ideas about property in Tyva as well as how Tyvan customs and spiritual-emotional connections to the land are created and perpetuated (Arakchaa 2009). How Tyvans relate to the imposition of the Russian and western concepts of property as well as the influence of the Russian culture should also be considered (Arakchaa 2009).
Once the official proposal is approved, the entire research will be conducted within the span of twelve months. The first two months of the work will be spent reviewing and collecting the literatures using on line data bases to gather educational reviews, inter-library services, and personal contacts with colleagues in the field. The search and analysis will be used to sort out the useful results of our research. This may take approximately two additional months. Known and new results ascertained through the study will provide the utilities of work and this process may take approximately four months. During the final stages, empirical data will be presented to give a realistic perspective, which may require one month. Transcribing the material and composing the dissertation may take one month. The additional time will remain as a cushion to ensure that all segments of the study remain within their allotted timeframes.
Examining the use of qualitative research designs such as case studies, historical research, interviews, and ethnography revealed these processes explore a central phenomenon and are characterized with an emerging design, which evolves with the researchers understanding of the situation. The qualitative methodology was more suited for this study because correlational research examines and quantifies the relationship between variables using a numerical index. Reviewing existing instruments for data collection allows researchers to select a current version that meets good validity and reliability scores. The examination procedures for this paper will be reviewable and based on qualitative methods. Evaluative inspection is extraordinarily explored in regulation to deduce the impression of a specific social intervention or system expected to resolve a social dilemma (Babbie 2007).
Qualitative methods are exploited within research backgrounds to convert information to a mathematical diagram that is simple to analyze (Babbie 2007). This amendment will connect the strengths in each of these examination progressions to organize a comprehensive investigation regarding the anthropological and ethnographic details of the peoples of Chadan. According to Creswell (2008), the process of collecting qualitative data consists of more than simply collecting data and “…you decide on what participants you will study” (p. 150). The aggregate data will be quantified and then analyzed according to its categorizations. This study will organize, prepare and analyze data by using descriptive and inferential statistics including correlation coefficient by using statistics.
Pie graphs, histograms, bar graphs, frequency distributions, and cross tabulations will be included in the descriptive statistics. According to Creswell (2008), “Descriptive statistics present information that helps a researcher describe responses to each question in a database as well as determine overall trends and the distribution of data” (p. 638). Inferential statistics such as correlation coefficient will be used to determine various attributes of the data collected. The aggregate data will be quantified and then analyzed according to its categorizations. This study will organize, prepare and analyze data by using descriptive and inferential statistics including correlation coefficient by using statistics.
A deciphering sample of the population of participant’s allows the researcher to use inferential statistics (Creswell 2008). The description and measure between two or more variables using scores will be performed by correlation coefficient. Evaluation of available empirical discovery will allow determinants that will cause a reaction to the principle research inquiry and confirm or invalidate the speculations through supporting specifics established within the existing literature. A literature examination for relevant academic journalism will distribute a referential establishment that will be generated to show the applicable particulars.
Results of a t-test for independent means will be used to determine the significance of the correlation. The t-test (two-tailed) of independent means will be used to determine the significance of the correlation coefficient. The significance level (alpha level) will be set at .05 for rejecting the null hypothesis. The p value will be computed and the determination will be made if it falls within the critical region. The p value will be compared with the value in the table found in a statistic book in relation to the t-test using the significance level (two tailed) and the degrees of freedom (Creswell 2008). The decision about rejecting or failing to reject the null hypothesis will be made.
Anthropological research in Chadan, Siberia, and all of Russia is undergoing drastic disciplinary transformations, primarily changes of the study object and changes in attitudes towards ethical aspects of the anthropological research in being conducted (Botev 2002). Accepted field methodology in Russian ethnological research, as well as the programs of such research, were initially to study specific territories, but the rise of the theory of ethnos facilitated the application of these methods to individual ethnic groups or peoples, which caused a multitude of problems, especially in the zones of ethnic contact in Siberia since peoples of different ethnic origins have lived together and influenced one another for centuries (Botev 2002). It is often impossible to tell where the ethnic boundaries lie or if they exist at all within these areas, especially for groups who occupy large territories and consist of several distant groups, such as Evens, Evenki, or Nenets (Botev 2002). Since most of Siberia is considered as part of the zone of ethnic contact, and indigenous demography has significantly changed over the last five decades due to influenced by the high mobility of the population, research that considers only one ethnos is ultimately pointless because it is often impossible to define the object (Botev 2002). Primarily, this propensity is gradually being surmounted due to the implementation of collaborative research projects that have yielded convincing results, and facilitated a transition from studies of indigenous populations to studies of all populations, resulting in part from the positive influence of Western anthropologists (Botev 2002).
Another remarkable aspect regarding current Siberian ethnology is reflective of the complex ethnic composition of modern Siberia, which can not be classified within traditional dichotomies like “indigenous vs. new-coming” or “oppressed vs. oppressors” and other such categorical inclusions (Botev 2002). Modern indigenous populations are highly structured and stratified to”… include those who prefer traditional subsistence, those who prefer to live in villages, as well as ethnic elites who occupy leading positions in social and power structures” (Botev 2002 p.241). Although Russians were considered as “newcomers”, they were also diversified to include “old settlers” that had lived in the area for the last 300 years, people born in the area from immigrant parents, real newcomers, and temporary and part-time or shift workers (Botev 2002). The social, educational and economic traits of all these groups are diversified and in some places, three groups are defined, which are local administration, local industry, and indigenous population, and all three are currently becoming valid objects of anthropological research (Botev 2002). In addition, ethical conditions of anthropological research have been implemented by both national and international associations of anthropologists and by indigenous communities (Botev 2002).
Regarding this addition, Russians are debating whether such a code can and should be adopted since unwritten rules of conduct in the field have always existed in Russia, although making it a written legal document would require two legitimate parties to agree to it (Botev 2002). As expressed by Botev (2002 p.241), “…the recently established Association of Russian Anthropologists and Ethnologists could be one; the other side is evidently ‘the community’”, but, in Siberia, indigenous communities are very misleading in that many of them were created artificially during the infamous era of forceful relocation of the indigenous people in the1950s and 1960s and many of them exist only on paper, having been reduced to native elites, so there are doubts as to whether these units can be partners in a “contract” of this kind (Gray and Stammler 2002). Although this whole discussion was indirectly initiated by Western anthropologists, their Russian colleagues that are not Russian citizens cannot interfere in local politics and cannot take part in local economic, social, or ethnic conflicts (Gray and Stammler 2002). Both Russian and Western anthropologists seek to make the problems of the Natives known and heard, to help them formulate their needs in the language of the law, to help them in their struggle for rights by becoming the voice of the voiceless (Gray and Stammler 2002). Although the ethics of anthropological research in Siberia remains a difficult issues for Russian and non-Russian researchers, shared cultural, language, and educational projects with and for indigenous people provide one possible solution (Gray and Stammler 2002).
For this enquiry, I have decided that the majority of the research will be based existing literature as well as participant observation, interviews and personal histories. A literature review will be undertaken to look at the results of previous studies in related areas and appropriate chapters in relevant textbooks will also be consulted to provide an assortment of relevant, current information. The dissertation will also describe the process by which the questionnaires were composed and how it is related to the research question. The data collected from questionnaires and interviews within this enquiry will be critically analyzed and correlations between this and other studies will be evaluated. The basic principles of the research question will be scrutinized with specific care to remain objectively non-judgmental and present only the facts as they are gathered through the research.
This will allow the research to be ethically conscientious and ensure that it will not detrimentally affect any participants. All participants will be included in the study under the terms that they are partaking in the exercise on the basis of voluntary informed consent without being coerced. Since there are only five remaining ‘Russian’ families in Chadan, which is not a large sample for a questionnaire-based study, inferential statistical tests, like chi-squares, will not be used to analyze the data because the sample size is too small. In addition to the questionnaires, interviews with residents will also be used to gather pertinent details from the sample group. I will use a proxy to conduct the interviews conducted by residents so as not to taint the information gathered and to encourage participants to be more open since I am a stranger to the community.
Primarily, the data collected will consist of notes that focus on participant observation, interviews and personal histories. I will make sure to keep an open mind when collecting and deciphering the data gathered to allow for correct interpretation, even one that negates my hypothesis that providing incentives of further professional development would solve the recruitment and retention problems, that it is not going to be enough on its own, or any number of contradictory outcomes. For qualitative research, the usual method for analysis is to code the raw information, like interview transcripts, field notes from observations, and the questionnaires, by identifying occurrences of similar phenomena and grouping them into initial codes under thematic headings which will organize the evidence in relation to the research question (Kane, 2008). Throughout the course of the research, steps will be taken to ensure that readers can have confidence that the findings of this study are accurate, and not the product of prejudice or bias. All questionnaires and interviews will contain the same questions worded in the same manner to maintain construct validity and ensure the methods are repeatable.
The small sample group may prevent the determinations from being generalizeable in that the sample group may or may not be representative of the wider population of educators. The size of the sample group will warrant further research. Although the substantive data collected through the literature review may support the initial hypothesis and present findings that can be repeated and whether there were any additional questionnaires and follow-up interviews administered. Although this is not primarily an observational study, observations will be collected through field notes and coded into the data stream for interpretation in conjunction with the responses gathered from the empirical data to present a more accurate illustration of the information to increase the dependability of the findings. Primarily, the concept of reliability usually applies to all research methods and refers to whether an instrument gives accurate readings on repeated measurements under similar conditions although some investigators refer use terms ‘confirmability’ and ‘trustworthiness’ when referring to the findings of qualitative studies.
Ethical considerations will be central throughout the research process. The planned enquiry will be conducted in accordance with all ethical standards. This includes everything from the purpose of the research and how the research will benefit those that are being researched to issues of confidentiality and anonymity during the writing up process. The questionnaires and interviews will be conducted via proxy and no names or personal information will appear on the transcripts. This will ensure anonymity is maintained. Only subjects willing to participate on their own will be interviewed or given a questionnaire to answer to make sure no coercion is used to obtain results. In addition, matters drawn from other sources, such as the literature review, will be incorporated in a factual manner, without drawing any inferences or conclusions from the data and reporting just the facts.
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