The paradoxes of smallholders in contemporary Russia

Wegren S., Trotsuk I.V. The paradoxes of smallholders in contemporary Russia // The Russian Peasant Studies. 2019. V.4. №4. P. 22-49.

DOI: 10.22394/2500-1809-2019-4-4-22-49


Contemporary Russian smallholders—lichnoe podsobnoe khoziaistvo (LPKh)—are characterized by a number of paradoxes. At the core of these paradoxes is that the role of LPKh in the agricultural system is changing and its future is uncertain. As agricultural production in Russia becomes more concentrated in fewer companies, as supply lines are strengthened, as regulation of sanitary and veterinary conditions become more comprehensive, and as Russian companies are more integrated to global markets, LPKh is falling behind on each dimension. Already in production decline, smallholders are likely to experience continued marginalization into the future. The prospects for reversal of marginalization are poor. It is difficult to see how smallholders’ downward drift in Russia, either relative or absolute, can be stopped. LPKh in Russia lack resiliency in that operators have few levers to mitigate the effects of an increasingly hostile economic environment or to reverse the restrictive policies that emanate from regional governments. Moreover, contemporary urban consumers do not depend on LPKh output as before and the sector does not help the state attain its goals, which means that the LPKh sector is not a priority. The Russian case adds to the development literature by showing a smallholder sector that is making progressively less contribution to economic growth. Further, smallholder-large farm relations are competitive in a way that smallholders cannot possibly win. The household sector will continue to produce food for self-provision but its contribution to local food supply is likely to decline.


Russia, smallholders, household plots, household gardens, post-soviet agriculture

About the authors

Wegren Stephen, Professor of Political Science, Southern Methodist University, Dallas (USA). P.O. Box 750333, Dallas, TX 75275-0333.
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Trotsuk Irina V., DSc (Sociology), Professor, Sociology Chair, RUDN University; Senior Researcher, Center for Agrarian Studies, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration. Prosp. Vernadskogo, 82, Moscow, Russia, 119571.
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


Read 982 times Last modified on Mar 15 2023

Russian Peasant Studies. Scientific journal

Center for Agrarian studies of the Russian Presidental Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA)

Hard copies of the journal can be purchased at the Delo e-store or by subscription in the "Press of Russia" Agency (subscription index - Т81017).

Friends and Partners

Rosa Luxemburg foundation
was a partner of Russian Peasant Studies before it was removed from list of approved foundation in 2022


Here you can make free subscription to mailing list of our Journal.
Subscription allows to receive letters with links to download latest Volume and articles in PDF.