Land grabbing and rural governance in the former Soviet Union

Authored by: Oane Visser , Max Spoor

The Routledge Companion to Rural Planning

Print publication date:  January  2019
Online publication date:  January  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138104051
eBook ISBN: 9781315102375
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter addresses land grabbing and rural governance, focusing on the vast agricultural areas of the former Soviet Union, in particular on Russia. Most studies in this field have explored developing countries, in particular in Sub-Saharan Africa; however, Russia also provides an important and fascinating case, because rural governance that had been strong under socialist planning weakened severely during the first decade of transition. The crumbling of many of the collective and state farms made it possible that large-scale land acquisitions took place, concentrating the land of these large farms in even larger agricultural holdings. Conflicts arose as much land was transferred to capital groups in ‘shady deals’ and illegal evictions took place, enabled through poorly developed civil society organisations, while the role of the State, which has been supportive of large-scale agriculture and animal husbandry, has been strengthened since Putin came to power.

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