The authors use the ethnographic weak description, i.e. the introspection of personal feelings and impressions, to turn personal reflections into a complete story supplemented with the fragments of narrators’ direct speech and linguistic means that allow to express emotions in words and phrases; thus, the authors reconstruct the concept of the Russian northern rural house and archetypical representations of the traditional rural lifestyle. The article is based on conversations and observations in Siniki, the village in the Ustyansky district of the Arkhangelsk Region, in which the structure of respondents’ houses, their appearances, history of construction and of families were discussed. The distinctive features of the old northern house are determined not only by its architectural forms, organization of everyday-life space (hut) and farm outbuildings but also by its owners’ biographies and destinies for the house reflects cultural identities, family values and memories, and intergenerational connections. The internal structure of the house determined primarily by natural conditions, economic needs and pragmatics of everyday life allows to identify four types of northern rural houses: a hut, a five-wall house, a no-name house and a duplex house. The latter two types represent the most recent housing characterized by functionality, comfort, compactness and the loss of the previously important wide economic multifunctional spaces. Today the new forms of management and organization of the living place and transformations of the rural house by the contemporary villagers (mainly the elderly) are the basis of the rural revival.
The article considers environmental issues in rural areas of some Russian regions throughout the last century. The distinctive feature of this research is that the ecological history of rural areas is reconstructed through the reflections of peasants that are constantly involved and acting in the rural everyday life. The authors analyze a large number of narratives collected in the sociological expeditions during the last 25 years, and suggest to consider the environmental issues in rural areas in different historical periods not only as a continuous search of the societies for their place “in the family of nature” but also as a gradual enclosure of societies from nature. The authors divide the ecological history of Russian rural areas in the last century—early 21st century into four periods approximately equal in duration: “old” or “communal-individual” period (1929–1931); “new” or “collective-farm and state-farm”—from the beginning of collectivization to the late 1950s—early 1960s; “mature” or “late-collective-farm”—from the early 1960s to the early 1990s; “the newest” or “farmer-agroholding”—from the agrarian reforms of the 1990s–2000-s to the present time. The article presents a general picture of the social-environmental situation in a number of key regions of rural Russia during the first three periods. The authors believe that “the newest” or “farmer-agroholding” period in the ecological history of Russian villages needs a special study due to the radical changes determined by it.
Under the limited budget resources, there is an urgent task of their effective allocation. Collection and generalization of statistical data is the most important state task for providing a reliable consistent analytical basis for managerial decisions at all levels — from national economy to the enterprise. Censuses are a very expensive statistical method, which explains high demands on conducting them. In particular, they should include such objects, themes and indicators and consider them in such a structure and form that satisfy the information requests of all groups of census data consumers, which, in turn, requires that the groups of beneficiaries are identified and their requests are clear. The article focuses on the ways to increase the practical value of the All-Russian Agricultural Census by comparing its program with the recommendations of the World Agricultural Census of the FAO Round 2020 and the US Agricultural Census. The author argues that the beneficiaries and requests to the All-Russian Agricultural Census were not studied, that is why the Census program, albeit compliant with the FAO recommendations, is similar to the programs of countries with poorly developed statistical systems. The All-Russian Agricultural Census focuses on the structural data (livestock, territories, etc.) every ten years, while agricultural censuses in the developed countries are more frequent, focus on the most requested pricing information, their objects have a cut-off threshold and the tables include a wide range of features of the objects under study. The huge scale of the All-Russian Agricultural Census increases its costs, leads to contradictions with the Rosreestr, and although identifies the severe problem of the unregulated land use does not help to solve it. The author suggests to apply the project approach to the Сensus to change its emphasis from collecting data to the use of its results.
The article seeks to answer the questions of how and why rural migrants’ attitudes to the elderly change in the large Russian city, and why they stop respecting the elderly. The article is based on the data of in-depth non-structured non-formalized interviews (2007-2016, N = 71, 19 are cited). Respect for the elderly in rural communities is considered a natural consequence of their social nature for rural communities are primary groups, a network of potentially familiar people. Thus, a person that avoids mandatory status actions faces the threat of losing credibility and authority for specific ways of showing respect are just small elements of the complex system of mutual assistance and mutual respect and cannot be considered independent actions. In many cases, key incentives for keeping up the norms of respect in rural/traditional societies are the incentives to construct one’s identity, i. e. to confirm one’s social significance, and to feel oneself an accepted part of the rural community. The practices of respect allow to gain the sense of “we” (and “me” as a part of “we”). Apparently, rural migrants’ norms of respect are either the same or higher than the urban standards, and it is the behavior rather than the attitudes which is deformed slowly and unnoticed by rural migrants. Attitudes to the elderly seem not to change at all if we consider a part of migrants (for example, those who moved to the similar cultural environment or moved for a short time).
The article considers key reasons for townspeople moving to the village as a permanent residence. The author believes that the main reason is that the technological world of the big city forcibly deprives the man of subjectivity and does not allow him to influence continuous plunge into mandatory daily household routine and everyday endless cycle. The daily technological routine of urban life enhances the feeling of hopelessness and even danger of everyday practices, isolates people from each other. Some townspeople believe that rural world can provide them with a place and nature to live as “human beings”. Townspeople try to at least temporarily escape from the technological world that seized them by getting out of the city to visit one’s country house, by taking a journey, by visiting one’s relatives in the village or, sometimes and today more and more often, by moving to the countryside. Townspeople, unlike villagers, consider the village an unusual expolar space that makes them happier and more creative and provides opportunities for activities that are possible only in this new world. The difference of the new world from the urban “mechanized” one is not the degree of mechanization but that the “technology” no longer subjugates the man but frees him from dangers and provides with opportunities to skillfully and effectively master a variety of innovations.
In 2006–2008, the author took part in the expeditions to seven districts of four subjects of the Russian Federation, which were supported by the Russian Foundation for Humanities. The research project included (according to the sequence of field trips): in the Tver Region — Maksatikhinsky and Lesnoy districts; in the Novgorod Region — Pestovsky district; in the Vologda Region — Ustyuzhensky, Kaduysky and Babayevsky districts; in the Leningrad Region — Boksitogorsky district. At that time, the Federal Law No. 131 “On Local Self-Government” was adopted, and we conducted a survey of all heads of municipalities (rural settlements) and heads of operating agricultural enterprises including peasant farms. The results of expeditions were presented at a number of Russian and international conferences, and in numerous publications. The current research aims at studying those mechanisms of interaction of rural business with local authorities that reproduce the rural entrepreneurial stratum. To achieve this goal, we focus on the interaction of agricultural business with local (district and municipal) authorities and on its changes over the past fifteen years; and consider configurations of different interaction factors, which ensure the most effective reproduction of the entrepreneurial stratum in the village, in order to reconstruct models of interaction based on such configurations. Thus, the research focus on regional differences in the policies of local authorities for agricultural production and on their changes determined by the changes of the heads of district and municipal administrations.
The article considers a wide range of issues of functioning and development of rural settlements under the permanent reduction of powers and financial independence of local self-government. Based on the data of the sociological expedition to five municipal districts of the Republic of Tatarstan, the authors show that regional and municipal authorities aim at developing self-organization of local population, which allows to partially offset negative consequences of unitary trends and to expand the possibilities of rural development. The article identifies reasons for the relative failure of regional authorities attempts to create large vertically integrated agricultural holdings in Tatarstan, and features of the large enterprises (former state farms and collective farms) participation in supporting livelihoods and development of rural settlements. Such participation consists of a set of reciprocal, patron-client and market interactions, the ratio between which depends on the specific local historical and ethnocultural context. The authors conclude that even in adverse external conditions the system of rural self-government is capable of initiating self-organization of local communities and of performing functions of a development institution. Thus, the diversity of economic and social practices determined by ethnocultural and religious peculiarities contributes to the accumulation of symbolic, social and cultural capital of rural communities and to its conversion to economic capital, and activates rural-urban exchanges that compensate for the limited resources of rural development.
The round table on the “Assessment of structural changes in agriculture: Methodological approaches and estimated results” was held under the leadership of Natalia Ivanovna Shagaida, head of the Center for Agro-Food Policy, and consisted of two main reports and discussion on them. The first report “International methodological approaches to assessing structural changes in agriculture” was presented by Zvi Lerman, professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Uzun Vasily Yakimovich, chief researcher of the Center for Agro-Food Policy, presented the second report “Assessment of structural changes in Russian agriculture: Hypotheses and research methods”. Professor Lerman conducted a comparative analysis of the dynamics of various indicators of structural changes in agriculture of such post-socialist countries as Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. Professor Uzun was a co-rapporteur of professor Lerman and described structural changes in Russian agriculture paying special attention to the institutional components of agrarian structural changes associated with the interrelation of large and small forms of agricultural production. At the end of the seminar, the discussion focused on the phenomenon of agroholdings as the main factor of diverse and ambiguous agrarian changes in the contemporary Russian agriculture.
Of the three large-scale studies conducted by the Institute of Social Analysis and Forecasting of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the author selected eight most significant manifestations of rural aging and divided them into two groups. The first group presents limitations, while the second — opportunities for aging in the countryside. Elderly villagers, as a rule, do not work, do not study, do not travel, and are sick — these are the restrictions. But they manage the household, take care of themselves, move and keep intimate relationships — these are opportunities. Most limitations and opportunities make pairs. For instance, elderly villagers do not work but manage the household; do not travel, but move; get sick, but keep intimate relationships and take care of their bodies. Only the lack of educational opportunities does not have a positive pair in rural areas. The author believes that continuous education can become a main factor of active aging, that is why it should become an integral part of social policies.
The article considers a wide range of challenges in the implementation of the “farm project” in Russia. The author refers to the initial assumptions of the Chayanov’s theory of family-labor economy to identify objective difficulties and results of the development of farming in Russia. Based on the state statistics and two All-Russian agricultural censuses, the article presents key trends in the development of peasant (farm) economy as compared to other economic actors. The author conducted interviews with farmers, business leaders and representatives of local authorities in a rural district of the Altai Region in 2013–2017. The results of these field studies are presented as a “Kulunda case”, which allowed to identify some typical success and failure stories. The farmers’ stories prove that the family-consumer orientation limits development opportunities and in many cases determines the cessation of farming; while the entrepreneurial and creative motivation prevails in the stories of successful farmers. Successful family-labor farms are gradually turning into family-entrepreneurial and hire employees. Such farms accumulate and provide their heirs with both tangible and intangible assets, primarily in the form of unique local knowledge, which is the main factor of sustainable family business and its further development.