Among the things many Russians believe about the Khanty, Stepygin says, are the following:
· They are illiterate and “less intelligence than people of other nationalities.”
· They are “sectarians” because while they keep icons at home, they believe in paganism.
· The Khanty are incapable of living on their own and rely exclusively on money from Russian oil companies.
· They are too “lazy” to keep with developments and use old products like 15-year-old Nokias rather than something newer.
· “The Khanty do not know how to drink and quickly become alcoholics.”
· The Khanty don’t use toilets or keep themselves clean.
· “The Khanty castrate reindeer with their teeth.”
· They are all well-armed and ready to fight others at the drop of a hat. (There is some truth in that.)
Vyacheslav Gavrilov, a Khanty lawyer, points out that “with each year, there are ever more rumors about the numerically small indigenous peoples of the North.” Many are not true, and their spread shows that officials and activists have to do more to inform Russians about what the Khanty and the others really are.
He proposes developing tourism to the region in order to acquaint ethnic Russians living in the North and “residents of the entire country with the [real] way of life of the numerically small peoples”