The permanent transformation of the Russian local self-government comes to its logical end. The trend of management centralization including the ‘upward’ transfer of the powers of local authorities, combined with a decrease in their financial resources, determines the transition to the system of ‘single public authority’ as declared in the new version of the Constitution of the Russian Federation. The author’s description of these changes’ impact on the organization of everyday rural life and rural development challenges is based on semi-formalized interviews with representatives of local authorities in three regions of Siberia. According to the respondents, the redistribution of power resources in favor of the regional level and the reduction of the local self-government powers threaten the ability to effectively solve local tasks, primarily those of the rural development. The not always justified transfer of urban (corporate) management standards to rural areas inevitably leads to manipulations with statistical reports and data which serve as the basis for decisions on the distribution of budgetary funds. Administrative reforms did not solve but rather exacerbated both the direct financing of the local authorities work and the allocation of resources for rural development projects. The co-financing of initiative projects by the population and local businesses did not deliver the expected results. ‘Digitalization’ of management activities by uniform patterns which ignore local features rather creates an additional burden on local administrators than saves costs or increases decisions’ efficiency. The identified trends determine new significant risks for rural life and development. To reduce such risks to reasonable limits, we need deep, carefully thought-out and well-balanced changes in the rural self-government institutions.
The article presents the results of the assessment of Russia’s food security in 2020–2021 based on the available statistical data and sociological monitoring of the population’s ‘food well-being’ conducted since 2015 by the Center for Agro-Food Policy of the RANEPA. The authors believe that the pandemic risks for Russian agriculture were limited, and agricultural production ensured a high level of food self-sufficiency. Although the physical access to food remained at the same level, the economic access has deteriorated; however, Russian families managed to keep their usual diet by redirecting the money saved due to the pandemic restrictions to food consumption. Rising food prices have become the most important problem under the crisis, and to solve it, the Russian government has used a wide range of measures — from reducing duties on food imports and temporary bans on food exports to setting marginal retail prices for certain food products. The sociological assessment of the population’s ‘food well-being’ (the all-Russian telephone survey) showed that the families’ requirements to the access to food are rather modest due to the huge credit of patience and sustainable practices of adaptation to the objective social-economic restrictions. Given the achieved indicators of Russia’s food self-sufficiency according to the Food Security Doctrine, the state should shift its focus from food self-sufficiency (and increasing exports) to the economic access of the population to food.
Throughout the history of the state, marginal groups have been a challenge for its effective functioning and development. One of the most widespread and numerous marginal groups in the world is an ethnic group of Gypsies. For many centuries, they live with other peoples but remain cut off from the state and its social institutions. However, under globalization and the Gypsy emancipation, the situation is changing. In some countries, social stigmatization and discrimination of the Gypsies still exclude them from social processes, but there are cases of their successful social integration (for example, in post-Soviet countries). The article considers the current situation of the Gypsies on the Crimean Peninsula, reasons for their social isolation, and features of their interaction with the society. The author also analyzes the Gypsy migrations in the region, factors of their resettlement, and features of their social-economic integration into the Crimean society.
The authors systematize the types of circumstances which explain the objective change in rural (in particular farmer) generations of new Russia. Farming is considered in the double linguistic perspective — as a general definition and as a name of agrarian economic practices in their historical evolution. The authors examine the specific form of the legislative consolidation of the concept of farming, which directly indicates its transitive social-cultural mission; analytically assess the potential of the generational approach to the study of farming; suggest some key features of the new farming world and the ways of life which the next generation of farmers would choose. The authors conclude that the existing farming ‘society’ has accumulated a potential of changes which have already passed the initial approbation and can ensure the development of various, including very promising, activity models, forms and patterns for the future.
In the presentation at the scientific seminar “Agrarian reform in the former USSR countries” of the Center for Agrarian Studies (Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration) on November 24, 2021, the author presented the results of the comparative studies of agrarian reforms in the post-Soviet countries. Based on an extensive analysis of scientific research and international and national statistics, the presentation explains changes in the reforming of the agrarian sector in various post-Soviet countries, identifies factors that determined changes in the initial tasks of reforms, and results achieved so far, some of which can be considered quite paradoxical. The author emphasizes the importance of both the institutional political paradigm as a basis of reforms and the prevailing branches of the agrarian economy, which inevitably determine an optimal economic direction for the development of the agrarian sector. The empirical analysis conducted by the author raises some questions that remain open, for instance, whether reforms can help to skip over a step in the agrarian evolution, or how sustainable are those economic forms that develop within a specific national economy.
The article considers European initiatives and development programs for mountainous areas, and also changes in the approaches to the development of rural areas in the international debates. The author examines the structure and tasks of the EU rural development strategies and programs, the macro-regional and state mountain policies. The author suggests a typology of the national mountain policies’ development in European countries, and provides references on the contemporary development programs for mountainous areas focusing on the main factors of rural transformation. The article also presents a list of projects in mountainous rural areas of the EU by country.
Based on the results of field studies, the authors consider the post-Soviet transformations of the territorial organization of suburban rural areas in the depressed Far Eastern region (Birofeld and Valdheim rural administrations of the Birobidzhan district in the Jewish Autonomous Region). Transformations of rural areas are considered as determined by multidirectional factors divided into “external” (general) and “internal” (local). The article describes an impact on the countryside of such “external” factors as urbanization, changes in the specialization of agriculture and in the administrative-territorial and municipal structure, optimization of social services, changes in rural infrastructure and external institutional conditions for development. When considering the “internal” (local) factors of transformations, the authors identify differences in the social structure of migrants from Birobidzhan to the suburban countryside. The changes in the structure of the rural population by spheres of employment and prevailing sources of income are presented as a result of the combination of factors. Some changes in the lifestyle of the rural population are described. Based on the assessment of the impact of different factors on the depopulation, the authors suggest some management measures. The authors conclude that the Birobidzhan district is a rare Russian example of the agricultural suburban territory in relation to the regional center, of the countryside with a reducing number of functions.
Many countries face a shortage of labor resources and try to provide agricultural employment by attracting labor migrants from abroad. A ‘review’ of the role of labor migration in the development of agriculture requires a thorough analysis of migration statistics, since illegal migration is widespread, and there are no statistical records on seasonal workers. Therefore, migrants seem to make up an insignificant part of those employed in agriculture. However, the current global situation —the coronavirus pandemic—revealed a shortage of workplaces for labor migrants. In the pre-pandemic period, millions of foreign workers entered the Russian Federation every year. Under the pandemic, to attract migrants to agriculture and food production system of other countries became difficult, which highlighted their important role in the economic development. Therefore, the impact of the pandemic on the foreign labor market entered the agenda of international politics and measures to combat the covid-19 that limited migration, thus, determining a shortage of workers in agriculture and the underestimation of their contribution to national economies of other countries.
On the example of Chuvashia (Batyrevsky district), the author considers the stages and factors of the transformation of rural settlements in general and of particular rural settlements in the pre-revolutionary, Soviet and post-Soviet periods. The author identifies a relationship of various transformation factors at different stages of the rural settlement development. In the pre-revolutionary period, this development was determined by the ecology of the territory and demographic resources, in the Soviet period—by the administrative-territorial transformations and “external shocks” (wars, famine, etc.), in the post-Soviet period—by the scale of the population outflow to large cities, institutional conditions and ethnic structure. The survey in rural areas of Chuvashia revealed the differentiation of villages on the basis of their ethnic structure and other features. Based on the analysis of the statistical data and field observations, the author presents a typology of rural settlements in the multiethnic region, taking into account a set of characteristics of the village as determined by the prevailing ethnos (the time of the settlement’s foundation, its administrative status, population dynamics in different periods, economic well-being, the development of social infrastructure, the scale of migration outflow, etc.). Examples of the selected types of settlements: Chuvash central villages, Chuvash villages—‘local centers’, Chuvash ‘ordinary villages’, Tatar central villages, Russian villages with former industrial specialization, etc. In the post-Soviet period, transformations of different types of rural settlements were influenced by factors of internal and external nature in different proportions. Thus, the social-economic situation in the Chuvash settlements is determined by a relatively high birth rate and employment opportunities in agriculture due to the preservation of the share distribution of land. In Tatar villages, the social-economic situation depends rather on the manifestation of ethnic-psychological features of the population —the most regulated, closed and cohesive societies are economically more successful and sustainable concerning external factors.
Many works consider the state of agriculture and the settlement system, especially the post-Soviet transformation of the countryside. The main patterns of its contemporary development are well-known—they are the center-peripheral and transport-geographical differences in the stability of rural settlements and the efficiency of agriculture. The article aims at identifying the relationship of two indicators —population density and agricultural area—on the example of the Bezhetsk district in the Tver Region. The authors describe the settlement system of the district, analyze its spatial changes during the last 160 years, compare the indicators of population density and the area of cultivated land. Based on the research results, the authors make conclusions about the evolution of the settlement system and the transformation of the territorial agricultural development, about the relationship between the population density and the area of agricultural land used, and about the factors of sustainability of rural settlements’ features on the Bezhetsk district.