Staunton, Nov. 4 – The Moscow Institute of Geography is using satellite photography to identify those regions in the center of Russia which lack dacha settlements, adequate transportation infrastructure, and already dying villages to predict which regions are likely to lose the most population and even become “human deserts.”
According to Russian commentator Pavel Pryanikov, the Moscow geographers have identified Yaroslavl Oblast as the predominantly ethnic Russian region most at risk of dying out because its people are now fleeing to Moscow or even to neighboring regions (publizist.ru/blogs/117734/47080/-).
Others at greatest risk of dying out, the institute says, are Ivanovo and Kostromo. And they point out that this danger is more evident in satellite photographer than it is in regional and central government reports, which fail to capture just how many areas have already been abandoned and instead act as if areas that were once cities or once fields still are.
That the geographers have access to this source of information and that it puts them in a position to challenge official reporting likely means that some in the Putin administration will try to restrict the scholars from such information coming from Russian sources although it is likely to remain available from foreign ones via the Internet.