Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Russians Leaving Company Towns at Three Times the Rate They’re Leaving Other Cities of Similar Size, New Study Finds

 Paul Goble

            Staunton, Aug. 10 – In yet another sign that Moscow’s program to help Russia’s more than 300 company towns survive, the rate of population flight from them over the last decade is more than three times higher – over seven percent – than from other Russian cities of similar size, according to a new study by the To Be Precise portal and the Russian Economic School.

            Despite that flight, more than ten percent of Russians still live in company towns, urban centers which are centered around a single industry or even a single plant (

            Not only are conditions in these cities worse than elsewhere with death rates higher from alcoholism, accidents and suicides than in other cities but it is a curious fact that pay for workers in the branches around which these cities were built is often lower than in plants in the same branch elsewhere.

            The reason is simple, the analysts say, monosony, a market situation in which there is only one buyer or employer as opposed to many sellers in these case workers. As a result, in two-thirds of the company towns of Russia wages are lower than the workers there could get if they moved elsewhere.

            Addressing this situation, a product of market forces, would do far more to help maintain company towns that Moscow’s current effort to promote tourism as the salvation of company towns or the longer term program of diversifying the economies of these cities so that there will be more alternatives for employees, the new study concludes.


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