The village of Topolinoe is located in the Tompo District of the Republic of Sakha, some 500 km to the north-east from Yakutsk. The village is situated on the south-eastern fringe of the Verkhoyansk mountain range, on the left bank of the river Tompo, around 600m above sea level. It was founded in the early 1970s to replace the old village of Tompo, which had been the main settlement of Tompo Ėvens since the late 1940s.
There are approximately 900 people living in the village, some 800 of which are ethnic Ėvens, the others being mostly Sakha (Yakuts) and Russians. Apart from hunting, which is still an important form of subsistence, the main occupation of Tompo Ėvens is reindeer herding. Despite the adversities of the post-Soviet era, the number of reindeer belonging to the people of Topolinoe has remained comparatively large: in summer 2009, there were roughly 20,000 animals organised in 16 herds. The herds and the herders roam the taiga throughout the year along the mountain rivers of the Verkhoyansk and the Suntar-Khayata ranges. They are concentrated in three groups – the south-western group around the river Baray, the northern group around the Adyča River, and the eastern group close to the river Suntar.
These three pasturing grounds correspond to the locations of the historical groups of Ėvens which the Soviet administration first united in the Tompo District in the early 1930s and then settled together in the village of Tompo during the sedentarisation campaign in the late 1940s. These are the Baray Ėvens, who used to roam the taiga in the west, the Adyča and Memel Ėvens in the northern and in the central parts of the region, and the Suntar Ėvens in the east.
The joining of different clans has had interesting linguistic consequences. The older speakers of Tompo Ėven are still aware of the differences between the three groups: Baray Ėven shows affinities with the western dialect of Sebjan-Küöl and displays strong Sakha influence, Adyča Ėven represents a variety of the northern Indigirka dialects, while Suntar Ėven belongs to the group of dialects spreading from Oymyakon to the Sea of Okhotsk. In the speech of the middle generation, which is also the last generation to have learned Ėven as their mother tongue, the differences seem to have levelled off, giving rise to a new variety with a dominant Adyča component.
In spite of the preservation of the traditional subsistence pattern and the teaching of Ėven at school, inhabitants of Topolinoe under thirty have only a limited or no knowledge of their heritage language.