5 Pages


ByGrigory Ioffe, Tatyana Nefedova

Definitely at a crossroads, Russian countryside, and farming, its main activity, lend themselves less easily to clear-cut conclusions than at any time since the 1929-1935 collectivization. At least in part such "rumors are begotten by analysts' attaching the Western yardstick of economic rationality to things Russian, an operation that does not always make sense even though it provides scores of pundits with an ever-illusive master key that allows them to keep on talking. Formally speaking, Russia has ceased to be a peasant country. This happened relatively late, in fact, only in the second half of this century; yet this belatedness is not unique. However, Russia is too vast for one to believe that this restructuring can take one and same form everywhere. There is a substantial spatial variance in land, labor, and capital productivity. There is no way to understand Russia without delving into its history and without exploring its countryside.