chapter  13
13 Pages

Urbanites in the Countryside

ByGrigory Ioffe, Tatyana Nefedova

A representative 1993 survey conducted in various cities of Russia by the All-Russian Center of Public Opinion Polls revealed that three-quarters of the respondents or their close relatives have a parcel of land which they use to grow agricultural produce. A pull towards land and the desire to engage in farming along with one's principal job go back to the recent agrarian past of the nation, and to the peasant roots of many urbanites. Currently the country "estates" of Russian urbanites fall into four major categories. Dachas, the oldest category, appeared long before the revolution of 1917 as recreation sites of white-collar people, their version of the traditional estates of the landed gentry. Dachas represent the largest-sized parcels of land available to urbanites; they range from 0.12-0.5 hectares. Dissatisfied with overcrowded garden parcels and sundry associated restrictions, urbanites were desirous of a freer vacation life in a traditional village.