Continuity and Change in Rural Russia: A Geographical Perspective

By Grigory Ioffe; Tatyana Nefedova | Go to book overview

12
Polarization of the Rural Activity Space

Based on our account of the evolution and current situation of the Russian countryside, both Chernozem and non-, polarization appears to be pervasive, geographically the most pronounced trend of its development. Exurban and outlying areas are growing increasingly different; the transitional belt between them, the semi-periphery, continues to share some characteristics of both even as the gap grows more pronounced.

The crisis of the 1990s affected these segments of the countryside differently. Economically weak collective and state farms in the periphery were impacted first; by 1994 the wave of crisis had reached strong socialized farms of the exurbia, and by 1995 many technologically advanced poultry and pig-breeding farms located close to large cities came to a halt. At the same time the outlying areas were completing a switch to subsistence farming that survived as a result of a symbiotic relationship between socialized farms and PAF.

The extent to which the exurban rings of heightened agricultural land use intensity and core-periphery contrasts are pronounced depends upon two major factors: the population's pressure on the land and the size of an urban center. The former factor is colonization-related, and the historical east-west and the largely natural north-south gradients of population density play the greatest role in this regard. In sparsely settled areas, however, the polarization is reaching a higher level than in the densely settled ones. The size of the city contributes to the polarization as well, with less accessible segments of the countryside falling prey to seemingly irretrievable rural depopulation.

These underpinnings of polarization are visible in Figures 12.1 and 12.2. Both are fragments of the same land-use intensity map, compiled by Tatyana Nefedova, based upon summing up standardized estimates of several production inputs (fixed assets, labor, fertilizers, and livestock); with the

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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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