The article, based on the research conducted by the Center for Regional Sociology and Conflictology Studies of the Institute of Sociology of RAS, discusses the features of cross-border cooperation of Russia and Kazakhstan. It considers works of Western and Russian scientists to identify major approaches to the study of cross-border cooperation. It discusses strengthening of inter-ethnic and socio-economic integration and cross-border cooperation at the regional level. The borderland as a social phenomenon is an object of our study; the research is focused on local communities, understood as residents of Russian regions bordering with neighboring countries. This means that the research is devoted to local communities of the areas, located on Russia’s borders with different states – with the new neighbors, which appeared after the USSR collapse (e.g., Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic States in the West, Kazakhstan in the East) and the long-existing ones – Turkey, China, Mongolia, etc. For analysis we select the Orenburg Oblast, which has one of the longest border lines with Kazakhstan. We make an attempt to identify whether the border-zone can serve as a frontier base for the creation of a successful brand of the region based on the self-identification of local people and thereby increase the level of socio-cultural and socio-economic development of the region through the attraction of additional tourist flows and investment in the region. What is the specificity of self-identification of the border region population and how can border relations become a tool for development of socio-economic, socio-cultural and inter-state relations?
border-zone, russia-kazakhstan border, orenburg oblast, regional integration