Russia's Unknown Agriculture
Household Production in Post-Socialist Rural Russia
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About the author
Judith Pallot: Since 1980 Official Student of Christ Church - tutor in geography - and lecturer in the Oxford centre of the Environment where she gives lectures and classes on the former Soviet Union and Russia. Prior to 1980 Judith Pallot taught at Leeds University. She has been involved in Russian Studies since the early 1970s, and made her first extended visit to Russia as a post graduate in 1971. Her research initially focused on the historical geography ofthe Russian peasantry and was based on the use of Russian archives but with the collapse of communism and the possibility of conducting research in the field, she changed the focus to the current period. She has always been fascinated by the experiences and livelihoods of marginal social groups.Recently, she has begun working on Russia's penal regions.Tat'yana Nefedova is one of Russia's best known geographers. She has specialized since she joined the Academy of Science's Institute of Geography in 1978 in rural and agricultural geography and she is an acknowledged expert in the regional differentiation of Russian agriculture, in production in the large farm (kolkhoz and sovkhoz) sector and in problems of agricultural land use. Her interests extend beyond agricultural geography to consider regional development, in general and she has beeninvolved in collaborative projects with economist and sociologists, as well as geographers, both in Russia and in Europe and the USA. The current book (and the Russian version - Neizvestnaya sel'skoe khozyaistvo,ili zachem nuzhna korova) has brought her into a productive collaboration with Dr JudithPallot and enabled her to write about her favourite subject - the development of independent farming in Russia.
Basing their findings on four years of research during which they studied rural districts drawn from a variety of contrasting regions of European Russia, the authors discuss the place of rural households in Russia's agri-food production system. They show that far from being solely concerned with 'survival' household plots in contemporary Russia are increasingly used to produce crops and livestock products for the market. In the book they describe the rich variety offorms that small and independent farming takes today from highly localised clusters of cucumber or tomato producers to specialization in crop or animal husbandry at a higher spatial scale or associated with particular ethnic groups. The authors systematically examine the influence on past and presentpractices of distance and the environment, the state of the large farm sector, local customs, and ethnicity on what households produce and how they produce it often using case studies of people they have met (plot holders, farmers, local officials) to illustrate their point. They criticise the tendency of the household production to be treated as the agricultural 'Other' in post-Soviet Russia and argue with the right incentives it has the potential for further development.
; August 2007
237 pages; ISBN 9780191527784
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Title: Russia's Unknown Agriculture
Author: Judith Pallot; Tat'yana Nefedova