Right Thinking From The Left Coast
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Old Mikhail Had A Farm

A look at how farming has changed in Russia:

A decade after capitalism transformed Russian industry, an agricultural revolution is stirring the countryside, shaking up village life and sweeping aside the collective farms that resisted earlier reform efforts and remain the dominant form of agriculture.

The change is being driven by soaring global food prices (the price of wheat alone rose 77 percent last year) and a new reform allowing foreigners to own agricultural land. Together, they have created a land rush in rural Russia.

“Where else do you have such an abundance of land?” Samir Suleymanov, the World Bank’s director for Russia, asked in an interview.

As a result, the business of buying and reforming collective farms is suddenly and improbably very profitable, attracting hedge fund managers, Russian oligarchs, Swedish portfolio investors and even a descendant of White Russian émigré nobility.

Earlier reformers envisioned the collective farms eventually breaking up into family farms. But the new business model rests on a belief that Russia’s long, painful history of collectivization is destined to end in large corporate factory farms.

Part of the reason why Putin is highly popular in Russia is because the economy has grown under his rule, and this has extended to agriculture as well as oil. But is this just leading to a new era of corporate rather than government collectivism?

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 08/31/08 at 07:29 PM in Politics • Permalink

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