Staunton, January 17 – Moscow lacks the funds to support the 2.5 million people living in hard to reach villages in the Far North, but it also lacks the money that would be needed to shut down these settlements and move their residents to cities, not to speak of the opposition if would face from the villagers if it were to try.
At a time when ever more Russians are urging the promotion of further urbanization – see windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2017/01/could-russia-of-15-megalopolises-emerge.html – Moscow faces a serious problem with the millions of Russians who live in small villages that are increasingly isolated because of disintegrating transportation infrastructure.
According to the 2010 census, Russia has some 153,000 villages, of which 60,000 have fewer than 100 residents. The ones far removed from the regular transportation grid are dying especially quickly, and targeted interventions such as the one by Vladimir Putin after his press conference for the village of Serebryanka in Sverdlovsk oblast are doing little to slow the pace.
In dealing with these communities, Moscow faces two major problems: The costs of maintaining and supplying these villages are high, rising and unpopular in the cities, and a significant share of the population of these villages has little or no interest in moving away from where they call home to the cities.
As a result of the first, “Komsomolskaya Pravda” reports today, Moscow has been carrying out what it calls “optimization” which involves closing hospitals, schools and kindergartens in distant villages and not building or repairing the roads connecting them with the outside (kp.ru/daily/26630/3649576/