The authors consider the term ‘rural areas’ and believe that such territories should not be defined as administrative-territorial units. The article presents another interpretation of ‘rural areas’ on the example of classification developed for the Tver Region. This classification is based on three features: the type of territory, its functions, and the development of rural settlements network; recreational potential can be an additional criterion. The combination of these features allowed the authors to identify 11 types of rural areas and to describe the distribution of territories and rural population of the Tver Region by typological groups.
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.