The Russian Variant of Food Security
This article analyzes gender inequality in Russia's rural informal economy. Continuation of unequal gendered roles in Russia's rural informal economy suggests that tradition and custom remain strong. Gender differentials in time spent tending the household garden remain signiﬁcant, as is the distribution of household tasks into gendered roles in ways that effect professional advancement for women. Land ownership is the domain of men, and women are not owners in Russia's new economy. Moreover, men earn more from entrepreneurial activity, a function of how male and female services are valued and priced in society. Responsibility that is shared includes the marketing of household food. The conclusion is that institutional change is less impactful on gender inequality than persistence of culture and tradition.
Cet article démontre que la notion de sécurité alimentaire légitimée depuis les années 1990 par les programmes d’assistance des organisations internationales, telles que la FAO par exemple, la Banque mondiale ou l’OCDE fait l’objet d’une forte renationalisation, variable en fonction à la fois de contextes internationaux et d’enjeux internes. L’exemple étudié est celui de la Russie depuis la fin de l’URSS. L’enquête de terrain a permis de mettre en évidence trois registres discursifs mobilisant la notion de sécurité alimentaire. Le registre originel, qui correspond aux situations de pénurie alimentaire, aux risques de famine et de malnutrition, caractérise la Russie des années 1990. Sa validation par le pouvoir présidentiel permet de maintenir une ouverture maximale aux importations alimentaires, contre les initiatives visant à soutenir la production agricole nationale. Le second, qui marque la décennie 2000 d’adhésion à l’OMC, produit un renversement complet de perspective en promouvant la production agricole et l’intégration négociée aux échanges internationaux. Le troisième registre s’impose à la faveur de la crise financière et de la dégradation des relations commerciales avec les pays occidentaux. Il prône une fermeture articulée à un discours de développement national de la production agricole. Ces registres discursifs ont des effets réels sur les structures productives et aménagent à chaque période des configurations variées de rapports de force et de consensus sociaux.
New drivers of Russian nationalism appeared in the 1990s, making possible either – as a reaction to globalisation – a return to an imperial nationalism, or – in response to ethnic conflict – a rise in ethnic nationalism. This chapter analyses the changing balance of elite and mass preferences and their influence on the choices made by the Russian government. The attitudes of the elite shifted recently in favour of imperial projects beyond Russia’s borders, in a sharp reversal of a long-term post-Soviet trend. Another long-term trend has recently accelerated: that of valuing military might over economic power in international relations. Anti-Muslim sentiment simmering across the Russian Federation might inspire ethnic nationalism. However, the chapter shows that mass-level attitudes towards Muslims correlate negatively with attitudes towards the USA. Given the current level of anti-US sentiment, the ethnic scenario therefore seems unlikely, for the moment.
This book provides a comprehensive analysis of Russian food policy. Food policy is defined as the way government policy influences food production and distribution. Russia’s food policy is important for several reasons. The first and most obvious reason is that a dysfunctional food policy is symptomatic of larger political and societal problems. A failing food policy is often the precursor to political instability. Russian food policy is also important is due to the agricultural recovery since 2004 that has allowed Russia to become self-sufficient in grain production. Being food-sufficient in grain means that Russia is not drawing upon global grain supply. Even more important, Russia now produces surpluses and has become a global grain supplier. Moreover, the agricultural recovery has made the country food secure, traditionally defined as having enough food for a healthy life. An analysis of food policy reveals that the structure of food production has changed with the emergence of mega-farms called agroholdings that are horizontally and vertically integrated. Agroholdings represent a concentration of capital and land, with a small number of farms producing large percentages of total food output. The book explores alternatives to the industrial agricultural model by discussing different variants of sustainable agriculture. A final importance of Russian food policy concerns food trade. Russia has become more protectionist since 2012. The food embargo against Western nations (2014-2017) is one example, so too is import substitution that is a core component of food policy. The book demonstrates the politicalization of external food trade. Food trade and denial of access to the Russian market is used as an instrument of foreign policy to punish countries with whom Russia has disagreements. Current Russian policymakers have food resources to augment, support, and extend national interests abroad. Russia historically has cycled through periods of integration and isolation from the West. This book raises the question whether a new normal has arisen that is characterized by the permanent withdrawal from integration, as evidenced by its nationalist and protectionist food policy. The book is entirely original, rich in detail and broad in scope. It is based on field work, survey data, a wide reading of primary sources and the secondary literature, all of which are linked to important policy questions in development studies and food studies. It is destined to become a classic book on Russian food policy.