Theory

Rodoman B. Russian cultural landscape: Theoretical and practical implications of the concept // The Russian Peasant Studies. 2021. V.6. №1. P. 13-25.

DOI: 10.22394/2500-1809-2021-6-1-13-25

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The author argues that the precise final definitions (recognized and universal) are often less important for scientists than the key features of the studied phenomena. Therefore, the author suggests to combine different concepts in order to get a working and temporary definition of the cultural landscape. The article presents this term as non-evaluative, mainly typological, non-taxonomic and ‘real’, which allows to consider its borders with the natural landscape as mobile, conventional and relative due to the fact that both landscapes are affected by human activities. The author describes factors and trends in the development of the cultural landscape, and regionalization as a tool to study and preserve it. The Russian cultural landscape is primarily determined by the interaction of the state with nature due to the obvious shortage of self-organized local communities. The author identifies endogenous (internal) and exogenous (external) factors in the (self)-development of the cultural landscape, which can be either stimulating or hindering. As the main features of the Russian cultural landscape the author considers its historically developed rhythm and ability to self-recover, which differ by country and region. Centuries of the military-colonial despotism and unprecedented centralization of the supreme power have turned the Russian space into a totalitarian landscape with the hypertrophied radial connections and the suppressed peripheral connections, which is embodied in the administrative-territorial division and determined the extraordinary social-economic, geographical, ecological and territorial polarization. The Russian landscape has a very specific feature – the so-called ‘inner periphery’, or hinterland (relative and ubiquitous): these are territories located closer to the country’s cores than to its outskirts but with all negative features of the outskirts. This inner periphery plays an important role in the preservation and development of the natural landscape as a potential basis of the territorial ecological framework, but to ensure such a role we need a comprehensive cultural-historical regionalization.

 Landscape, cultural landscape, administrative-territorial division, etatization of landscape, anisotropic landscape, ecological potential of administrative borders, social-economic polarization, hinterland, inner periphery, regionalization, cultural-historical areas.

Rodoman Boris B., DSc (Geography).
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Chayanov A.V. What will our national economy be like after the war? (Article of A.V. Chayanov) // The Russian Peasant Studies. 2021. V.6. №1. P. 6-12.

DOI: 10.22394/2500-1809-2021-6-1-6-12

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This article by A.V. Chayanov was published in the edition of the Moscow Union of Consumer Societies “Cooperative Rural Calendar for 1918” (Moscow, 1917, pp. 42–44). The article is of interest mainly as a short, impressive, journalistic, rapid forecast of the possible evolutionary directions of the Russian economy and society in the short-term and mid-term national-economic perspective. This is a polemical political-economic article due to Chayanov’s reflections on the interpretation of such concepts as ‘state socialism’ and ‘socialism’ in general, on the meaning of ‘public reason’ in the ongoing and future reforms, and also due to Chayanov’s forecasts of the Russian economic development as determined by such multidirectional economic, political and social factors as the state debt that had multiplied during the war, the weakening impact of inflation on the economy, and the after-war tasks of transferring the economy to a peaceful track. In his positive forecasts, Chayanov put special hopes on the awakening social and productive forces of the Russian peasantry. Chayanov believed that the growth of culture, labor productivity and cooperation among the peasantry would allow to find a way out of the impasse of the 1917 economic devastation. Although, as the later historical events showed, Chayanov’s belief in ‘public reason’ and the corresponding humanistic socialist prospects for Russia did not come true, he systematically identified the key dominants of both revolutionary and evolutionary transformations of the huge peasant country under the great social-political upheavals of the 20th century. 

 Agrarian reform, A.V. Chayanov, state socialism, cooperation, peasantry, public reason, World War I, revolution.

Chayanov Alexander V.
Afanasenkov Vladislav O., Researcher, Chayanov Research Center, Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences; Junior Researcher, Research Laboratory of Economic and Social History, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration. Vernadskogo Prosp., 82, Moscow, 119571, Russia.
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Round table “In memory of Teodor Shanin” // The Russian Peasant Studies. 2020. V.5. №4. P. 39-77.

DOI: 10.22394/2500-1809-2020-5-4-39-77

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On the final day of the Chayanov International Conference (October 22–23, 2020), the round table was held in memory of Teodor Shanin, a remarkable agrarian scientist and researcher of A.V. Chayanov’s legacy. The round table was dedicated to both the memory of Professor Shanin who passed away on February 4, 2020, and to his 90th birthday on October 29, 2020. More than 60 scientists and students from different regions of Russia and the world watched presentations of friends, colleagues, and students of Shanin at the round table held online due to the pandemic. The round table was opened by Professor Shulamit Ramon, the widow of Teodor Shanin, who spoke about the worldview dominants of his life and work, his intellectual connection with Russia. The British colleagues of Teodor Shanin—Professors Henry Bernstein, Mark Harrison and Judith Pallot—spoke about directions of the main academic research and discussions which started in the 1970s on social differentiation of the peasantry and referred to the ideological legacy of Lenin and Chayanov; Teodor Shanin made a huge contribution to these debates.
The French scholar Aleksey Berelovich focused on the features of Shanin as a political scientist and a brilliant analyst of the political processes of Soviet and post-Soviet Russia. Russian colleagues of Teodor Shanin—geographer A.I. Alekseev, historian V.V. Kondrashin, sociologists V.G. Vinogradsky, O.P. Fadeeva, I.E. Shteinberg, A.M. Nikulin, D.M. Rogozin, and A.A. Artamonov—shared their personal memories of Shanin and provided a comprehensive description of his interdisciplinary methodology of agricultural research. Agrarian scientists from South Africa—Boaventura Monjane and Ruth Hall, and India—Sima Purushotaman—emphasized the importance of Shanin’s legacy for the study of the peasant development in the regions of Africa and Asia. Most presentations stressed and analyzed the intellectual connection of Professor Shanin with the Russian agrarian research of Marxists, populists, and the Chayanov school. 

Shanin, peasantry, agrarian sociology, social differentiation, Russia, Marxism, populism, Chayanov 
Alekseev Alexander I., DSc (Geography), Professor, Faculty of Geography, Lomonosov Moscow State University. 119991, Moscow, Lenin Hills, 1.
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Artamonov Alexander A., Leading Specialist, Center for Agrarian Studies of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration. 82, Prosp. Vernadskogo, Moscow, Russian Federation, 119571.
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Berelowitch Alexis, University Paris—Sorbonne (Paris IV). France, Paris-5, Rue VictorCousin, 1.
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Bernstein Henry, Emeritus Professor, School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London). London WC1H 0XG, United Kingdom.
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Fadeeva Olga P., PhD (Sociology), Leading Researcher, Institute of Economics and Organization of Industrial Production, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Prosp. Lavrentieva, 17, Novosibirsk, 630090, Russia. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   
Hall Ruth, Professor University of the Western Cape, X17, Bellville, 7535.
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Harrison Mark, Emeritus Professor, Department of Economics, University of Warwick. Coventry CV4 7AL, United Kingdom.
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Kondrashin Viktor V., DSc (History), Professor, Head of Center for Economic History, Institute of Russian History Russian Academy of Science. 117292, Moscow, D. Ul’yanova St., 19.
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Monjane Boaventura, Post-Doc, Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa.
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Nikulin Alexander M., Head of the Chayanov Research Center, Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences. 119571, Moscow, Vernadskogo Prosp, 82.
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Pallot Judith, Emeritus Professor, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford. Oxford OX1 3QY, United Kingdom.
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Purushothaman Seema, Professor, Azim Premji University Survey. 66, Burugunte village, Bikkanahalli main road, Sarjapura, 562125 Bengaluru.
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Ramon Shulamit, Professor, School of Health and Social Work, University of Hertfordshire. Hatfield AL10 9AB, United Kingdom.
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Rogozin Dmitry M., Senior Researcher, Institute of Social Analysis and Forecasting, Russian Presidential Academy for National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), 119034, Moscow, Prechistenskaya Nab., 11 bld.1.
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Shteinberg Ilya E., PhD (Philosophy), Associate Professor, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education. Sretenka St., 29, Moscow, 127051, Russia.
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Vinogradsky Valery G., DSc (Philosophy), Senior Researcher, Center for Agrarian Studies, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration. 119571, Moscow, Vernadskogo Prosp., 82.
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Bernstein H. Shanin, Chayanov and peasant studies of Russia and beyond // The Russian Peasant Studies. 2020. V.5. №4. P. 32-38.

DOI: 10.22394/2500-1809-2020-5-4-32-38

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This text is based on the presentation at the roundtable in memory of Teodor Shanin (Moscow, 23 October 2020) and on the recent author’s paper in press, which surveys Shanin’s work of the 1970s and 1980s. The author provides a guide to tracing Shanin’s main themes and issues. First, the family farm is usually if not invariably featured first in Shanin’s characterizations of peasants as a general or generic type. Second, Shanin sought explanations of peasant household reproduction in his model of ‘multidirectional and cyclical mobility’ against the ‘biological determinism’ linked to the organization-production school and against the ‘economic determinism’ of Marxists. Third, Shanin emphasized “life of a small community within which most of the peasant needs of social living and social reproduction can be met”, but he aimed to avoid a romantic view of the mir. Fourth, Shanin believed that “the definitions of peasantry, which view it as representing an aspect of the past surviving in the modern world, seem, on the whole, valid”, and that rural society can be understood in terms of labour and capital flows which are broader than agriculture. Fifth, Shanin wrote that the triple origins of Marx’s analytical thought suggested by Engels—German philosophy, French socialism and British political economy—should be supplemented by the Russian revolutionary populism. Sixth, Shanin argued that the concept of ‘peasant mode of production’ had too many heuristic limitations to be sustained. Finally, Shanin’s vision of an alternative to both capitalist development and the projects of Soviet style was firmly rooted in the legacy of Chayanov.

Shanin, Chayanov, peasant economy, organization-production school, populist, peasantry, peasant mode of production

Bernstein Henry, Professor Emeritus, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG, UK; Adjunct Professor, School of Humanities and Development Studies, China Agricultural University, Beijing.
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Worobec С.D. The influences of A.V. Chayanov and Teodor Shanin on the English-language historiography of peasants in the Russian Empire // The Russian Peasant Studies. 2020. V.5. №4. P. 8-31.

DOI: 10.22394/2500-1809-2020-5-4-8-31

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In the 1980s, various influences were at play in producing a groundswell of interest in the Russian Empire’s peasantries, not least of which were the works of A.V. Chayanov and Teodor Shanin. The interdisciplinary social history movement, which eschewed traditional political history and its focus on elites, arose in the 1960s. The initial interest in biographies of Russian revolutionary men and women and histories of the nascent Russian working class and labor movement in order to explain the revolutions of 1905 and 1917 were suddenly supplemented and eventually displaced by an avid interest in peasants. The article examines the conclusions that the first-wave of scholarship on the peasantries of the Russian Empire produced. It shows how the ideas of Chayanov and Shanin remained dominant but were challenged by archival sources, histories on the micro- and regional levels, and attention to household tensions, gender issues, craft production and non-agricultural trades, growing literacy, as well as out-migration and return migration. By the mid-1990s, it became impossible to talk about a generalized autarkic, insular, cohesive as well as egalitarian Russian peasant society with traditional mores and customs that rebelled spontaneously because of its immiseration. The post-structural turn had furthermore begun to chip away at the veracity of statistics produced in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and to question depictions of peasants which tended to emphasize their dark, primitive, and seemingly backward nature. Although this turn almost dried up interest in Russian peasant studies, a steady stream of historical works began to appear again in the first decade of the twenty-first century. We now have a firmer grasp of an economically and socially differentiated peasantry, the contours of the normal political accommodation that peasants made with the state (instead of always resisting it), and peasants’ utilization of the legal system to challenge their neighbors and family members. Furthermore, we know how a moral economy operated between the state and its peasant taxpayers and how and why zemstvo statistics produced Chayanov’s brilliant model of the dominant middling peasant household. At the same time, the agency with which Chayanov and Shanin infused the peasants has taken center stage in historical analyses.

Chayanov, Shanin, peasantry, Russian empire, Russian peasant society, peasant household, peasant commune, traditional political history, post-structural turn, moral economy

Worobec Christine D., Distinguished Research Professor Emerita, Northern Illinois University. 1425 W. Lincoln Hwy., DeKalb, IL 60115-2828.
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Afanasenkov V.O. Grain production in the provinces of Siberia (in the late 19th – early 20th centuries). On the relative indicators of yield statistics developed by the Central Statistical Committee of the Ministry of Internal Affairs // The Russian Peasant Studies. 2020. V.5. №3. P. 6-46.

DOI: 10.22394/2500-1809-2020-5-3-6-46

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The article considers the relative indicators of yield statistics developed by the Central Statistical Committee (CSC), based on the data from four Siberian provinces —Yenisei, Irkutsk, Tobolsk and Tomsk—for 1896–1913. The author analyzes food norms in the pre-revolutionary statistical literature and practice, and unifying coefficients for cereals, explains the need for such indicators, presents and examines the rows of per capita yields for each of the Siberian provinces. Based on the comparisons with the current statistics consisting of voluntary correspondents’ answers, the author questions the reliability of the CSC’s data. The article also considers the number of livestock in the Siberian provinces, possible methods and techniques for summing up the number of different types of livestock, and the fodder norms and sets presented in the literature. The author describes features of the production of basic feeds as recorded by the yield statistics of the CSC (potatoes, hay, straw, feed grain) and as calculated with the production indicators based on the CSC’s statistical data and expert estimates (cake, chaff). Yearly data on livestock and feed production is grouped into six-year periods, from which averages are calculated for comparison. The author provides several interpretations of the results related to the reliability of the CSC’s crop statistics and to the possibility of its use in further historical research.

agrarian history, per capita yields, Siberia, statistics of animal husbandry, yields statistics

Afanasenkov Vladislav O., Junior Researcher, Research Laboratory of Economic and Social History, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration. Vernadskogo Prosp., 82, Moscow, 119571, Russia.
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Chayanov A.V. Main Ideas and Methods of Social Agronomy (Part 2) (Article of A.V. Chayanov) // The Russian Peasant Studies. 2020. V.5. №2. P. 6-55.

DOI: 10.22394/2500-1809-2020-5-2-6-55

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The second part of Chayanov’s book Main Ideas and Methods of Social Agronomy consists of chapters presenting the specific features of the Russian social-agronomic work among the peasantry. In the first chapters (published in the previous issue of the Russian Peasant Studies), Chayanov focused on the strategic and worldview aspects of social agronomy; in the second part, he analyzes tactical directions of social-agronomic work: methods of oral, social-agronomic propaganda; conversations, lectures, courses and agronomic consulting; agricultural exhibitions, demonstration plots, model farms and peasant excursions; agricultural warehouses, rental points and grain-cleaning stations; organizational work of the agronomist; social agronomy and cooperation; the equipment of the agronomic station; registration and evaluation of social-agronomic activities. In all these chapters, Chayanov shows how creative the work of the social agronomist should be, how many diverse and unexpected challenges he faces when interacting with peasant communities, audiences and households. The interaction of social agronomy with another influential institution—agricultural cooperation—is of particular interest. Chayanov analyzes in detail the contradictions and distinctions in the work of agronomists and cooperators, in their common tasks of developing and improving the peasant life. Despite the fact that the book was published a hundred years ago, it is not only of historical interest but presents many valuable answers and practical recommendations for the contemporary agricultural consulting and rural development activists.
The publication with comments was prepared by A.M. Nikulin.

social agronomy, peasants, agricultural education, agrarian reform, agricultural cooperation

Chayanov Alexander V.

Editor: Nikulin Alexander M., PhD (Economics), Head of the Center for Agrarian Studies, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration; Head of the Chayanov Research Center, Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences. 119571, Moscow, Vernadskogo Prosp, 82.
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Translator: Trotsuk Irina V., DSc (Sociology), Senior Researcher, Center for Agrarian Studies, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration; Researcher, Chayanov Research Center, Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences. 119571, Moscow, Vernadskogo Prosp, 82.
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Vorbrugg A. Ethnographies of slow violence: Studying the effects of rural disintegration // The Russian Peasant Studies. 2020. V.5. №1. P. 31-52.

DOI: 10.22394/2500-1809-2020-5-1-31-52

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The article considers the nexus of slow violence as a concept, research focus and problem—on the one hand, and the practices and politics of ethnographic fieldwork and writing—on the other hand. It highlights two aspects; first, the epistemological alliances between researchers and research participants which confront forms of violence that as if remain partly elusive to both sides; second, the multi-temporal ethnographies that work through drawn-out and complex timescapes of violence by tracing cross-temporal connections. The notions of fieldwork are still defined mainly in spatial terms, and so the issue of slow violence is an important reminder to pay more attention to the temporal dimension. The article demonstrates how rural dwellers make sense of complex changes and loss by using the ruins of disintegration as signifiers, and how researchers can draw on this in their analysis. It is based on the ethnographic research conducted in rural Russia which shows how the concept of slow violence helps to make sense of and to make visible the forms of loss and dispossession that often remain elusive in academic and public representations of the Russian countryside.

slow violence, multi-temporal ethnography, politics of representation, politics of fieldwork, rural Russia

Vorbrugg Alexander, Postdoctoral Researcher, Institute of Geography, University of Bern (Switzerland). Hallerstr. 12, 3012 Bern, Switzerland.
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Translator: Trotsuk Irina V., DSc (Sociology), Senior Researcher, Center for Agrarian Studies, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration; Researcher, Chayanov Research Center, Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences. 119571, Moscow, Vernadskogo Prosp, 82.
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Chayanov A.V. Main Ideas and Methods of Social Agronomy (Part 1) (Article of A.V. Chayanov) // The Russian Peasant Studies. 2020. V.5. №1. P. 6-30.

DOI: 10.22394/2500-1809-2020-5-1-6-30

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The book by Alexander Chayanov Main Ideas and Methods of Social Agronomy is one of his key interdisciplinary works written and published at the beginning of the October Revolution and the Civil War. In this work, the economist Chayanov is a social philosopher considering the rural evolution as determined not only by the market and the state but mainly by the will and knowledge of rural households that can be led to the sustainable rural development by the organized public mind (a kind of a synonymous for civil society). Its most important social institution in the rural sphere is social agronomy. Chayanov emphasizes that social agronomy is one of the youngest social institutions. It appeared in the late 19th century in Europe and North America and in three decades turned into an influential movement uniting agrarian scientists, agrarian activists and a huge number of peasants striving for agricultural knowledge for more productive and cultural development of their households.
In this book, Chayanov is not only a social philosopher but also a social activist and organizer, teacher and psychologist. The book is based on his seminar, ‘Social Agronomy and Agricultural Cooperation’, which incorporated many years of personal communication with peasants, agronomists and agrarian scientists about dissemination and application of agrarian knowledge by peasants.
We publish the first five chapters of the book about the tasks and methods of social-agronomic work, its program and organization. For the contemporary reader, this publication is not only of historical interest. Chayanov’s ideas are still relevant for the effective interaction of professional agrarians with the rural population, peasants and farmers in the organization of agricultural knowledge, agricultural cooperatives and agricultural consulting. 
The publication with comments was prepared by A.M. Nikulin.

social agronomy, agricultural evolution, peasants, state, agrarian reforms, agrarian knowledge, agricultural cooperation

Chayanov Alexander V.

Editor: Nikulin Alexander M., PhD (Economics), Head of the Center for Agrarian Studies, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration; Head of the Chayanov Research Center, Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences. 119571, Moscow, Vernadskogo Prosp, 82.
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Translator: Trotsuk Irina V., DSc (Sociology), Senior Researcher, Center for Agrarian Studies, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration; Researcher, Chayanov Research Center, Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences. 119571, Moscow, Vernadskogo Prosp, 82.
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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

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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

Wegren Stephen, Professor of Political Science, Southern Methodist University, Dallas (USA). P.O. Box 750333, Dallas, TX 75275-0333.
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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.
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