Polarization of the Rural Activity Space
The size of the city contributes to the polarization as well, with less accessible segments of the countryside falling prey to seemingly irretrievable rural depopulation. Central Russia, positioned at the junction between the historically sparse and dense belts of rural settlement, follows the pattern of the north with extensive polarization in large measure due to well-established urban cores and their lasting demand for labor. The spatial proportions shape up differently in the periphery: occupying half of the countryside, it houses between one-tenth and one-third of the rural population, and its contribution to the agricultural output ranges between one-twentieth and one-third. Rural depopulation has dealt it a most severe blow, which is why agriculture cannot be sustained as a form of land use everywhere in the periphery. In this regard spatial continuity has long been breached. In fact, land abandonment and spontaneous reforestation of formerly arable land and especially of meadows and pastures has been under way since the early 1960s.