• Olga Lavrenova Russian Academy of Sciences, Institute on Scientific Information for Social Sciences, Moscow
  • Viktoriya Filippova Russian Academy of Sciences, Siberian Branch, Institute for Humanities Research and Indigenous Studies of the North, Yakutsk
  • Irena Khokholova North-Eastern Federal University, Institute of Foreign Philology and Regional Studies, The Arctic Linguistic Ecology Laboratory, Yakutsk



urban geography, spatial semantics, symbolic landscapes, urban place names, Yakutsk


The article studies the spatial semantics of Yakutsk’s urban text (Sakha/Yakutia, Russia) as a component of the cultural landscape. The research is based on the theoretical approaches of the Tartu-Moscow School of Semiotics, scholarly traditions of post-Soviet cultural (or the so-called “humanitarian”) geography, and modern critical studies of toponymy. The authors analyze spatial semantics and controversial elements of political and cultural symbolism of the urban text, which combines indigenous Yakut, Russian, and Soviet cultural components. With more than four hundred toponymic examples, this case study reveals the semiotic structure of Yakutsk toponymic system as a combination of urbanscape symbolization processes. For the first time, the article empirically shows, with the help of toponymy in the space of a post-Soviet city, the relationship, interaction, and positioning of the three cultures. In addition, the semantics of toponyms is typologized, which allows to quantitatively, qualitatively, and cartographically describe the process of “writing” the urban text.

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How to Cite

Lavrenova, O., Filippova, V., & Khokholova, I. (2023). READING THE SIBERIAN CITY-TEXT: SPATIAL SEMANTICS AND SEMIOTIC POLITICS OF URBAN TOPONYMIC LANDSCAPES IN YAKUTSK (RUSSIA). Journal of the Geographical Institute “Jovan Cvijić” SASA, 73(2), 205–220.