The article examines recent historical writing about consolidation, development, and expansion of the prison camp system, as well as the role that it played in theSoviet Union’s transition from a dictatorship to an “ordinary” authoritarian regime.
Paper discusses a number of hypotheses as potential explanations of the spatial income distribution in Russia. The hypotheses include the increasing return hypothesis, the institutions hypothesis and the simple and sophisticated versions of the geography hypothesis. According to the existing evidence, the sophisticated geography hypothesis fits best Russian data. This suggests that the changes in spatial income distribution follow the changes in local geographical characteristics and in their economic value.
Rapidly increasing population of the post-reform Russia, which mainly consists of the peasants engaged in the extensive farming, caused a large-scale agrarian crisis in the European part of the country. Three main streams can reduce demographic pressure: colonization of the underdeveloped land on the periphery of the country; seasonal works (otkhodnichestvo) and migration to cities, which also started from the seasonal work.