Agricultural Output and Production Factors Prior to the 1990s
Historical heritage may influence the pattern and productivity of agriculture to a greater extent than the entire natural setting. This chapter considers Russia in the context of the former USSR, that is, in the context of the indivisible economic space in which the Russian economy formerly functioned and in large measure still does an economic space that has proved more viable than the USSR itself. Contrasts within the natural environments of Russia and the USSR are enormous. However, substantial losses of agricultural land were incurred through rural depopulation in the north-west and in central Russia, where pastures and hayfields suffered the greatest losses. In Russia as a whole there are 0.9 hectares of arable land per capita, which is similar to the level in the Industrial Center; in the Volga region this indicator is 2.2 ha, and in Siberia it ranges between 1 and 2 ha.