chapter  10
18 Pages

The Non-Chernozem Zone

ByGrigory Ioffe, Tatyana Nefedova

The name Niechemozemye or Niechernozemnaya zona is attached to about two-thirds of European Russia's total land area. According to the well-known Russian geographer Boris Rodoman, using this name is the same as calling England "non-France" or Russia as a whole a "non-banana republic." After the initial 1974 ruling concerning the Non-Chernozem Zone, the Party and the Soviet Government revisited the issue two more times, in 1981 and in 1986, adopting special resolutions that targeted the ailing Niechernozemye. When Russians say, as they often do, that European Russia is an area of insecure crop harvesting, they usually mean the arid southern part of the Volga region and the Non-Chernozem Zone. Most non-Chernozem provinces belong in the natural vegetation regions of either southern taiga or mixed forest, while the Zone's southernmost fringe stretches into forest-steppe. One of the most significant inter-provincial differences in non-Chernozem agriculture is the degree of emphasis on animal husbandry.