Continuity and Change in Rural Russia: A Geographical Perspective

By Grigory Ioffe; Tatyana Nefedova | Go to book overview

of 1994 imported foods did not compete with domestic produce except in the largest cities, after the "butter crisis," when butter was unavailable in stores for several weeks, food stores in small and medium-sized cities became full of imported dairy produce. It appears, however, that on average food imports in Russia do not supplant domestic produce, rather they make up for deficiencies. It is because of this that regional contrasts in food imports' share of consumption are high and related to degrees of regional self-sufficiency. Thus imported food abound in the north and all across the Non-Chernozem Zone, whereas in Chernozem provinces we rarely came across imports in the summer of 1995 among the most basic and frequently consumed foods (Snickers and Bounty do no count -- they have taken all of Russia captive). In part this was because of restrictions on imports imposed by provincial administrations.

Russia is not the first nation in Europe that cannot feed itself. Hyperindustrialized England shared the same lot for 200 years, as did Germany between the two world wars and as does Japan of today. However, Russia's distinction in this regard is that it buys food not in exchange for manufactured products but rather in exchange for petrodollars. It is unlikely that these dollars suffice for 150,000,000 people in the long run. But in the meantime, the fate of Russia's manufacturing will have to be cleared up. Until it is, the type of food dependency that exists today serves as an incubator for virulent nationalism and sabre-rattling.

Finally, as in England of the past, in today's Russia the confrontation between protectionists and freetraders runs high, especially in regard to food. This confrontation has a clear spatial dimension: while the premier agrarian regions are bastions of protectionism, the principal manufacturing regions are on the free-traders' side.


Notes
1.
Van Don Atta (editor and contributor). The 'Farmer Threat.' The Political Economy of Agrarian Reform in Post-Soviet Russia. Boulder: Westview Press 1993.
2.
Wegren Stephen. "Political Institutions and Agrarian Reform in Russia." In 'The Farmer Threat.' The Political Economy of Agrarian Reform in Post-Soviet Russia. Boulder: Westview Press 1993, pp. 121-148.
3.
See, for example, Bogert Carrol. "Why Russia Cannot Feed Itself." Newsweek 15 October 1990, p. 44.
4.
Wegren Stephen. "Rural Reform and Political Culture in Russia." Europe-Asia Studies 1994, Vol. 46, p. 234.
5.
Wegren Stephen. "New Perspectives on Spatial Patterns of Agrarian Reform: A Comparison of Two Russian Oblasts." Post-Soviet Geography 1994, Vol. 35, No 8, pp. 455-481; "The Development of Market Relations in Agricultural Land: the Case of Kostroma Oblast." Post-Soviet Geography 1995, Vol. 36, No 8, pp. 496-512.

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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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