Continuity and Change in Rural Russia: A Geographical Perspective

By Grigory Ioffe; Tatyana Nefedova | Go to book overview
types. Center-periphery contrasts in this area pale next to those of the previous type as well. The south has appeared to be the most responsive to investment. The output per unit of land reached one of the highest levels in the USSR (along with the Baltics and the provinces of Moscow and Leningrad) by the late 1980s. While land use intensity drops eastward, as in previous types, the monotony of landscape and the share of plowland grows eastward as well, exacerbating adverse ecological effects of improper farming techniques. Reduction of humus content, erosion, and overcompression of soil are among the most pervasive of those effects.
The Central Chernozem region (except the province of Belgorod) and Central Volga. This area is a natural forest-steppe and it is clearly transitional between the previous two macroregions in terms of inputs, output, and related factors. While natural fertility and the types of ecological problems encountered bring this region closer to the most favorable type, socio-demographic problems make it closer to the Center and the Northwest. The output per unit of land is slightly above average.
The East, including the southern part of the Volga region and southern Siberia. This is a semi-arid macroregion of low labor and capital- intensive grain farming. Crop harvesting has a low average productivity. Plowland dominates the landscape. Soils have been extensively damaged by deflation exacerbated by the deficiency of woodland belts. Current cultivation practices here are associated with an irretrievable loss of humus.

By and large the above variation is very persistent. It took shape despite overt policy targets and campaigns, all of which had a substantial levelling intention. In fact levelling has succeeded but not to the point of eliminating inter-regional variance. The introduction in the 1990s of something markedly new, that is, of market elements into the rural economy, only accentuated this variance, as we will later see.


Notes
1.
Chelintsev A. N. Selskoye Khoziaistvo Sovremennoi Rossii kak Stadii Selskokhozi- aistviennoi Evolutsii i Kulturnyi Uroven Selskogo Khoziaistva v Nikh. Saint Petersburg 1910, p. 10.
2.
Atlas SSSR. Moscow: GUGK 1983, pp. 130, 152, 154, 174.
3.
Runova T. G., Volkova I. N., and Nefedova T. G. Territorialnaya Organizatsiya Prirodopolzovaniya. Moscow: Nauka 1993, pp. 78-81.
4.
Alexeyev, A.I. Geografiya Selskoi Mestnosti. Moscow: Znaniye 1989, pp. 16-20.
5.
Rakitnikov A. N. Geografia Selskogo Khoziaistva. Moscow: Mysl 1970, p. 210.

-115-

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Continuity and Change in Rural Russia: A Geographical Perspective
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • In Place of an Introduction 1
  • Notes 15
  • 1 - Historical Construction of Russia's Inter-Urban Space 18
  • Notes 34
  • 2 - Russian Agriculture Early in the 20th Century: Social Peculiarities and Spatial Distinctions 37
  • 3 - The Evolution of Russian Agriculture, 1960-1990: Organization and Management Priorities 70
  • 4 - Agricultural Output and Production Factors Prior to the 1990s 87
  • Notes 115
  • 5 - Rural Population Change in 1959-1989 and Rural Infrastructure 117
  • Notes 136
  • 6 - Crisis and Reform in the 1990s: The Economic Aspect 138
  • Notes 174
  • 7 - Crisis and Reform in the 1990s: Social Implications 177
  • Summary 191
  • 8 - The Chernozem Countryside 196
  • Notes 208
  • 9 - The Province of Belgorod 209
  • Notes 221
  • 10 - The Non-Chernozem Zone 222
  • 11 - The Province of Yaroslavl 240
  • Notes 257
  • 12 - Polarization of the Rural Activity Space 258
  • 13 - Urbanites in the Countryside 266
  • Notes 278
  • 14 - Re-Settlers: A New Diaspora? 279
  • Notes 287
  • 15 - Disappearing Crops: A Case Study of Flax in the Province of Kostroma 288
  • Notes 296
  • 16 - Large Mechanized Farms 297
  • Notes 303
  • Conclusion 304
  • Notes 308
  • About the Book and Authors 309
  • Index 311
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