The Soviet Regional Dilemma: Planning, People, and Natural Resources

The Soviet Regional Dilemma: Planning, People, and Natural Resources

The Soviet Regional Dilemma: Planning, People, and Natural Resources

The Soviet Regional Dilemma: Planning, People, and Natural Resources

Excerpt

This book is concerned with regional development, regional differences, and regional policy in the Soviet Union. There is considerable regional inequality in the USSR in respect to natural resources, manpower, and other resources, which gives rise to difficult priority problems for the political leadership. The size of investments in the different regions must thus be carefully weighed, especially if some measure of regional balance is to be maintained.

However, the distribution of resources is a controversial question in the Soviet Union. Representatives of the three major regions--Siberia, Central Asia, and the European USSR--are engaged in an unending effort to augment the flow of resources to their own regions. The activities of these persons--politicians, scientists, and journalists-- must be seen in light of the fact that considerable regional differences still exist in the 1980s in the level of socioeconomic development.

In an earlier book, Soviet Regional Policy: A Quantitative Inquiry into the Social and Political Development of the Soviet Republics, I explored regional differences in the Soviet Union and the changes they have undergone over time. One important conclusion of that study was that absolute differences between the republics remained in the main unchanged throughout the period of the study, i.e., between 1956 and 1973. In the present study, The Soviet Regional Dilemma, I attempt to explain why the differences persist despite the fact that according to official doctrine they should actually have been eliminated.

Chapter 1 proposes a theoretical treatment of regional differences and regional policy. In Chapter 2, the questions posed in the study are defined and the available material weighed. The official Soviet view of regional differences is presented in Chapter 3 by a systematic review of the literature on the subject, and is then compared with the results of both Western and Soviet research.

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