Friday, January 13, 2023

Decaying Company Towns Not Just a Russian Problem

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Jan. 10 – Company towns – monogorody in Russian – plague not just the Russian Federation but everywhere Soviet industrial policy led to the creation of cities around a single industry and that now are dying as demand for their output has declined or even disappeared altogether.

            The situation of the more than 300 company towns in the Russian Federation and what to do about them has long been the subject of discussion (,,, and

            But the situation of company towns in other former Soviet republics has not. That makes a new  article by Rhythm of Eurasia journalist Sergey Smirnov about company towns in Kazakhstan especially important (

            Almost a third of Kazakhstan’s cities are company towns, 27 out of 89; and most of them are dying because their core industries no longer are producing things customers want and because the state which has tried privatization of the industries has not come up with any effective policy to help them.

            But unless it does, Smirnov says, there is a great danger that these will ultimately become ghost towns and in the process be the breeding ground for social and political discontent.

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