The article considers rural environmental issues as an object of sociological research and emphasizes the need to conduct surveys of expert communities. Such an approach allows to identify, follow and analyze the development of various environmental practices typical for rural residents, and to evaluate innovations and initiatives at both households and settlement level. The authors insist on the need to use the previously tested expert questionnaire and to rely on the cases that meet the specific requirements of the study. For instance, in the considered case, the authors faced methodological difficulties when discussed rationality of the environment use and interdependence of available natural resources and everyday human activities. Thus, the article presents a ‘field-tested’ methodology of sociological research focusing on the in-depth analysis of environmental issues in rural worlds.
The article considers the state agrarian policy during the presidency of Lula da Silva (2003–2010) and Dilma Rousseff (2011–2016). This policy was controversial: on the one hand, the Workers’ Party has always supported land reforms and social movements in the agrarian sphere, but, on the other hand, it began to make political and electoral alliances with large agribusiness. Therefore, more than a decade of generally progressive activities determined only insignificant changes in the implementation of key government programs. In some cases, there were even outright failures such as attempts to expand land expropriation to provide landless family farms with land. The political cycle ended with the collapse of electoral alliances and with the impeachment of Rousseff in 2016, which proved political and tactical failures of the Workers’ Party. The article considers government decisions, historical causes of land conflicts, struggles for land and territory, challenges in mobilizing supporters in this struggles. The authors emphasize the content of political discussions (especially under the criminalization of social movements which makes them illegal), economic disputes about the role of agribusiness, and the fierce struggle for land and territorial rights under the progressive governments of the Workers’ Party.
The article considers the features of the contemporary rural development of the Russian ethnic region on the example of the Republic of Tyva. In 2017, according to the official statistics, it was the poorest Russian region by the share of the rural population below the poverty line. This situation was determined by a number of factors exacerbating Tuva’s economic depression: its being a periphery and its remoteness from economic centers, stagnation and impossibility to revitalize the industrial complex, destruction of the agricultural sector, a high share of the shadow economy, and so on. The reason for the economic stagnation is the agrarian path of Tyva chosen by the regional elites, which consists of the support for small archaic agricultural production as an ethnic type of activity. The article describes the vectors of the contemporary rural development of the Republic of Tyva, its economic and ethnic-social features, and changes determined by the large transfers from the federal budget to the regional economy. Today, there is spatial polarization and rural depopulation in the depressed agrarian regions, and the cities remain the main centers of population concentration (mainly the city of Kyzyl).
The article presents the results of the field study in the Ivankovsky rural settlement of the Yasnogorsk District in the Tulа Region. The case study proves the changes of footpaths in rural areas, which can serve as an indicator of the transformations of the rural lifestyle and an indicator of the transformations of the rural areas functions. The study is an example of the micro-geographical-social approach that is not popular in the Russian geography. It is based on in-depth interviews with permanent and summer residents in rural settlements. In-depth interviews were also conducted with representatives of the administration of the Yasnogorsk District and Ivankovsky rural settlement. Rural roads (footpaths) are indicators of the changes in economic activities of rural residents. Due to the increasing motorization of rural areas, footpaths become an outdated way to connect rural areas. Rural footpaths respond very quickly to changes in the economic landscape—respectively, they grow or disappear. Moreover, the growth of the road network indicates the emergence of new forms of rural activities as new residents move to rural areas and use rural territories differently, i.e. change the types of use of rural areas.
The article considers reasons that determine the very possibility of the townspeople moving to the village for permanent residence. The non-standard grammatical form of the question in the title in Russian stresses the double context of the Russian word “why—from what”: on the one hand, it is a pronoun with a preposition (from what) indicating a certain phenomenon; on the other hand, it is an interrogative pronoun (why), a synonym of the adverb “wherefore” asking about reasons for moving to the village. In recent decades, the scale and speed of the civilizational development have changed the functionality of the place of residence, which makes the researchers reconsider their previous approaches to the study of the reasons of migration from the city to the countryside. However, in contemporary sociological works, both Russian and Western, little attention is paid to the issue of the townspeople moving to permanent residence in the countryside, as compared to the studies of the reverse process—the migration of villagers to the city. Based on the analysis of the interviews data, the article focuses on the reasons that determine the possible and necessary decisions of the townspeople to choose a new place of residence under the current conditions of everyday rural life. The author emphasizes that such reasons, which explain a seemingly ordinary and rational fact of the townspeople moving to the village for permanent residence, help to understand the evolution of life practices in both rural and urban social systems.
Local self-government is a structuring element of the institutional environment; thus, its functioning determines the development of territories. The trend of municipal reforming appeared in the countries of Western Europe as early as the mid-1970s due to the general federalization and the empowerment of local authorities. Later similar reforms began in the post-Soviet countries. In 2015, Ukraine adopted the Conception of reforming local self-government and territorial organization of power. According to this Conception, the hierarchy of state power was to be optimized and a new administrative-territorial structure reflecting the contemporary system of social and economic relations in the regions of Ukraine was to be formed. The article considers the evolution of the administrative-territorial and municipal structure of the Ukrainian regions, analyzes the international experience of the reform, and identifies the essence of the municipal reform of 2015 highlighting its strengths and weaknesses.
The article considers the spatial structure of relationships of families in the peripheral settlement Zharkovsky (3 thousand inhabitants) with their children and relatives in other cities and villages. There are 180 members in 90 surveyed families of the village that has been losing population for the last 50 years, and its “diaspora” has spread from Dublin to Vladivostok and from Murmansk to Amman. The children of Zharkovsky’s residents are mostly students in two nearest regional centers—Tver and Smolensk, and also in Moscow and Saint Petersburg; educational institutions in medium-sized and small cities are less popular. Other relatives live in the same cities, but are much more dispersed in the cities of Siberia, the Kaliningrad Region, Belarus, etc. Most of the households under study consist of middle-aged parents or, more often, only of a mother, or elderly parents, whose children have already left the village. The spatial structure of kinship is usually “centrifugal”: the majority of relatives in other places are those who left the village. However, sometimes children live in the village while parents live in other places: these are children who left the villages of the Zharkovsky district, in which their elderly parents still live. Thus, there is also a “centripetal” structure of kinship ties: some residents of the village are recent immigrants from other places.
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.