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

Annotation

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.

Keywords

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

About the authors

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

Annotation

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.

Keywords

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

About the authors 

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

Annotation

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.

Keywords

Russia, smallholders, household plots, household gardens, post-soviet agriculture

About the authors

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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Chayanov A.V. On differentiation of the peasant economy (Article of A.V. Chayanov) // The Russian Peasant Studies. 2019. V.4. №4. P. 6-21.

DOI: 10.22394/2500-1809-2019-4-4-6-21

Annotation

This article by A.V. Chayanov was first published in the journal, “Paths of Agriculture” (1927, no. 5, pp. 101-21).This is a revised version of his report presented at the beginning of 1927 in Moscow at a discussion on the social-economic differentiation of the Soviet peasantry. Many prominent scientists participated in this discussion, including representatives of the two most important, ideological trends in Soviet agricultural science: on the one hand, Marxist agrarians (L.N. Kritsman, V.S. Nemchinov, Ya.A. Anisimov, I.D. Vermenichev, K.N. Naumov), and on the other hand, the so-called “agrarian neo-populists” (A.V. Chayanov, N.P. Makarov, A.N. Chelintsev).
In the report, Chayanov presents a new interpretation of the social-economic differentiation of the peasantry in Soviet Russia, which differs from the differentiation of the peasantry in pre-revolutionary Russia. According to Chayanov, after the destruction of the landlord and capitalist economies by revolution, the main reasons for the differentiation of the Soviet peasantry in the 1920s were regional contradictions in the peasant population distribution. On the one hand, peasants concentrated in the central, black earth regions, and on the other hand, they moved to the markets of sea ports and large cities. Chayanov argued that in this way, four types of relatively independent, family economies emerged from the mass of semi-subsistence peasant economies: farming, credit-usurious, commercial seasonal-working, and auxiliary economies.
Moreover, unlike the famous Marxist, three-element, agrarian scheme —“kulak– middle peasant–poor peasant”—which was developed by the school of L.N. Kritsman, Chayanov developed a more complex, six-element scheme of the differentiation of peasant economies: capitalist, semi-labor, well-to-do family-labor, poor family-labor, semi-proletarian, and proletarian. Based on this scheme, Chayanov suggested a number of economic policy steps for the systematic development of agricultural cooperation, primarily in the interests of the middle strata of the Soviet peasantry.
In the discussion of peasant differentiation in 1927, the arguments of Chayanov and his colleagues from the organization-production school were more convincing and justified than those of their opponents from the Marxist agrarians. However, in 1928, the Stalinist leadership began to inflate the threat of increasing class differentiation in the village. Thus, it initiated the struggle against the kulaks as a class, which became the prologue to forced collectivization during which Chayanov’s school was destroyed.
The publication with comments was prepared by A.M. Nikulin.

Keywords

peasantry, agricultural regions, USSR, social-economic differentiation, Chayanov, agrarian Marxists, agricultural cooperation

About the authors

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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Trotsuk I.V. Global and local in social history: Real relationships and conceptual contradictions // The Russian Peasant Studies. 2019. V.4. №2. P. 187-199.

DOI: 10.22394/2500-1809-2019-4-2-187-199

Annotation

Book Review: Conrad S. (2018) What is Global History? Transl. from English by A. Stepanov; scientific editing and foreword by A. Semenov. Moscow: New Literary Review, 312 p.

About the author

Trotsuk Irina V., DSc (Sociology), Senior Researcher, Center for Agrarian Studies, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration; Professor, Sociology Chair, RUDN University. Prosp. Vernadskogo, 82, Moscow, Russian Federation, 119571.
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Chayanov A.V. A Short Course on Cooperation (Article of A.V. Chayanov) // The Russian Peasant Studies. 2019. V.4. №2. P. 8-56.

DOI: 10.22394/2500-1809-2019-4-2-8-56

Annotation

Translated from: Chayanov A., A Short Course on Cooperation Published by the Central Partnership “Cooperative Publishing House,” Moscow, 1925.

Peasant cooperative movement was one of the most important topics in Alexander Chayanov’s scientific, organizational and pedagogical work. He wrote many articles and books on agricultural cooperation, and had hundreds of classes with students at universities and with peasants to explain and discuss various cooperative issues. Finally, Chayanov presented his conception of the ways to develop agricultural cooperation in his famous book Basic Ideas and Forms of Peasant Cooperation2. At the same time, Chayanov was a talented and passionate popularizer and propagandist of cooperative knowledge among the wider population. Thus, on the basis of his lectures for the Old Believers’ Agricultural Courses “Friend of Land” in Moscow in 1915, he published a booklet A Short Course on Cooperation, and in the next 10 years it was reprinted four times and became a desk book on cooperation for many Russian peasants, agronomists, and activists of rural development. This short course presents clear and unambiguous definitions of cooperation and its aims; each chapter is illustrated with popular historical and contemporary examples of the cooperative movement and of the interaction between peasant farms and specific types of cooperatives. This booklet reminds of two great genres of world literature. On the one hand, it is a propaedeutic ABC of Cooperation, like Leo Tolstoy’s ABC for Children. On the other hand, it is a political-economic Cooperative Manifesto, similar to Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels Communist Manifesto, in which Chayanov describes a fascinating struggle of the Russian and international cooperative movement for the new just social world. Under the current rural development, Chayanov’s Short Course on Cooperation is not only of a historical interest; it is an outstanding example of the unity of cooperative thoughts and deeds aimed at improving the lives of the broad strata of rural workers all over the world. This Chayanov’s work was translated into English from its fourth and last lifetime edition of 19253.
The publication with comments was prepared by A.M. Nikulin.

Keywords

agricultural cooperation, peasants, consumer cooperatives, credit cooperatives, marketing cooperatives, dairy cooperatives, cooperative solidarity

About the authors

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; 119571, Moscow, Prosp. Vernadskogo, 82. 
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Translator: Trotsuk Irina V., DSc (Sociology), Senior Researcher, Center for Agrarian Studies, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration; Professor, Sociology Chair, RUDN University. Prosp. Vernadskogo, 82, Moscow, Russian Federation, 119571. 
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Trotsuk I.V. Informal practices: Irrational behavior or cultural influence? Two contextual “frames” for the study of informal economy // The Russian Peasant Studies. 2018. V.3. №4. P. 168-189.

DOI: 10.22394/2500-1809-2018-3-4-168-189

Annotation

Review of the books: Elster J. Sour Grapes. Studies in the Subversion of Rationality / Translation by I. Kushnareva; Editing by A. Morozov. Moscow: Gaydar Publishing House, 2018. 296 p.; Beugelsdijk S., Maseland R. Culture in Economics. History, Methodological Reflections, and Contemporary Applications / Translation by N.V. Avtonomova, Editing by V.S. Avtonomov. Moscow; Saint Petersburg: Gaydar Publishing House; Publishing House “International Relations”; Faculty of Free Arts SPbSU, 2016. 464 p.

About the author

Trotsuk Irina V., DSc (Sociology), Senior Researcher, Center for Agrarian Studies, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration; Professor, Sociology Chair, RUDN University. Prosp. Vernadskogo, 82, Moscow, Russian Federation, 119571.
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Trotsuk I.V. Comparative analysis as a way to reconstruct the world economic history, or why China did not become capitalist at the same time as Europe // The Russian Peasant Studies. 2018. V.3. №3. P. 162-185.

DOI: 10.22394/2500-1809-2018-3-3-162-185

Annotation

Review of the book: Pomeranz K. The Great Divergence. China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy. Transl. from English by A.M. Matveenko; Ed. by A.Yu. Volodina. Moscow: Publishing House “Delo”, 2017. 592 p.

About the author

Trotsuk Irina V., DSc (Sociology), Senior Researcher, Center for Agrarian Studies, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration; Professor, Sociology Chair, RUDN University. Prosp. Vernadskogo, 82, Moscow, Russian Federation, 119571.
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Vorbrugg A.  Not about land, not quite a grab: Dispersed dispossession in rural Russia // The Russian Peasant Studies. 2018. V.3. №3. P. 19-47.

DOI: 10.22394/2500-1809-2018-3-3-19-47

Annotation

In most literature in geography and agrarian studies, rural dispossession is neatly related to land rights or access, a trend that increased with debates about the recent wave of farmland investments worldwide. This paper critiques this focus and the assumed nexus between rural dispossession and farmland, as they prevent us from understanding widespread but more dispersed stakes, modes and temporalities of dispossession. I draw on long term fieldwork in rural Russia in which I traced the lasting effects of historical devaluation and systemic disadvantage, and the disintegration of sustaining institutions and infrastructures. I introduce the concept of dispersed dispossession which contributes to the broader conceptual debates on dispossession by bringing complex stakes, modes and temporalities of dispossession into view. For the empirical case, it allows to better understand forms of dispossession that occur rather slowly and silently, and concern social and relational goods rather than natural resources as such. 

Keywords

Dispossession, rural transformation, Russia, land, post-Soviet political economies.

About the authors

Vorbrugg Alexander, a 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; Professor, Sociology Chair, RUDN University. Prosp. Vernadskogo, 82, Moscow, Russian Federation, 119571. 
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Chayanov A.V. Letter from A.V. Chayanov to V.M. Molotov on the current state of agriculture in the USSR compared with its pre-war state and the situation in agriculture of capitalist countries (October 6, 1927) // The Russian Peasant Studies. 2018. V.3. №3. P. 6-18.

DOI: 10.22394/2500-1809-2018-3-3-6-18

Annotation

Alexander Chayanov wrote this analytical note to Vyacheslav Molotov in early October 1927 to discuss plans for the agricultural development of the first five-year plan in the USSR. Chayanov begins with a brief review of the history of world agriculture in the early twentieth century. He identifies two poles in this evolution: western (American — typically North America and partly South America, South Africa, and Australia) and eastern (Indian-Chinese, typically agrarian overpopulated countries). The American type of agricultural development is based on farms that use machinery and wage labor and are controlled by the vertical system of financial capitalism. The Indian-Chinese type of agricultural development is characterized by agrarian overpopulation of the peasantry under dominant pre-capitalist relations, exceptional labor intensity, and widespread bondage rent and credit. The rest of the world’s regions can be placed between these two poles. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Russia is a paradoxical, complex mixture of these two types. Chayanov believed that in the agrarian science of pre-revolutionary and prewar Russia, these polarized agrarian worlds were reflected in the agrarian-economic disputes of the so-called “southerners” and “northerners” about the strategy of agricultural development. “Southerners” insisted on turning Russia into a “hundredpercent America” by the forced development of farmers’ agriculture. The “northerners” suggested supporting the regional strata of the middle peasantry and its own vertical cooperation to prevent the seizure of the village by trade and financial capital. Chayanov considered himself a “northerner”. He argued that the post-war, post-revolutionary village has changed significantly. First, the younger generation of peasants who had experienced the world war and Russian Revolution set the tone. Second, the Soviet agronomic science and cooperation of the 1920s contributed to the real progress of peasant farms. Soviet Russia has a unique chance to find a fundamentally new path of rural development, thus avoiding the Scylla of Americanfarmers’ dependence on financial capital and the Charybdis of the Indian-Chinese stagnation of peasant overpopulation. Instead of American vertical agrarian integration through the dominance of financial capital over farmers, Soviet vertical integration was to promote the development of diverse forms of peasant cooperation with the support of the socialist state. In the final part of the note, Chayanov considers the ratio of industry and agriculture in the first five-year plan and predicts a radical socialtechnological change under agricultural industrialization. The Soviet leadership ignored the ideas of this note: Stalin rejected Chayanov’s democratic type of vertical cooperation of the peasantry and preferred a horizontal type of cooperation in the form of collectivization. The publication with comments was prepared by A.M. Nikulin.

Keywords

Agrarian policy, peasants, farmers, agricultural cooperation, agrarian capitalism, socialist agriculture, ways of agricultural development.

About the authors

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; 119571, Moscow, Prosp. Vernadskogo, 82.
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Translator: Trotsuk Irina V., DSc (Sociology), Senior Researcher, Center for Agrarian Studies, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration; Professor, Sociology Chair, RUDN University. Prosp. Vernadskogo, 82, Moscow, Russian Federation, 119571. 
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Russian Peasant Studies. Scientific journal

Center for Agrarian studies of the Russian Presidental Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA)

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