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Abstract

In this chapter, we evaluate and analyze the outcomes of agrarian reform in post-Soviet Russia. The evaluations are not unambiguous and often contradictory. The reform has led to a clear change of the agrarian system in Russia, but not the entire population, and especially not all rural people, have come out as winners. The observed increase in agricultural labor productivity has been accompanied by shedding of labor in agriculture and increasing rural unemployment; the higher productivity of livestock has been accompanied by herd contraction; improved input efficiency has been accompanied by reduction of input use; improved financial stability of agricultural producers has been accompanied by higher frequency of bankruptcies; and increase of total support to agriculture has been accompanied by reduction of support efficiency. So far, Russia has not recovered to the pre-reform production volumes, the level of food self-sufficiency is below 90%, and imports exceed exports. A new middle class has not emerged in rural areas: most rural people are the new “proletariat” – they earn their livelihoods as hired workers and many of them have lost their land. We observe increasing concentration of agricultural production in large vertically integrated structures with a multiplicity of agricultural subsidiaries, structures that are without analogues in developed economies. The evaluation of Russia’s reform requires a multi-faceted analysis of the entire range of outcomes, allowing for all pluses and minuses. It is only in this way that we can draw valid conclusions from experience and develop recommendations for the future.

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