Journal section "Social development"

Human Potential of Russia’s Rural Areas: Assessment and Interpretation

Ustinova K.A.

Volume 11, Issue 2, 2018

Ustinova K.A. Human Potential of Russia’s Rural Areas: Assessment and Interpretation. Economic and Social Changes: Facts, Trends, Forecast, 2018, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 192-211. DOI: 10.15838/esc.2018.2.56.13

DOI: 10.15838/esc.2018.2.56.13

Abstract   |   Authors   |   References
The paper proves that the market transformations of the 1990s resulted in a crisis that affected all aspects of life of rural residents. Despite the measures taken to support the village, its problems still linger; and they include a reduction in the rural population and its outflow to the cities, and the condition of social infrastructure that is worse in comparison with that in the cities. All this reduces the opportunities for reproduction and development of human potential in Russian villages. The diversity of theoretical approaches to the definition of human potential, the lack of unified views on its structural components and methodological approaches to its analysis lead to the necessity to develop a comprehensive methodology for assessing human potential in rural areas; such a methodology should combine not only quantitative analysis based on statistical data, but also qualitative analysis that would involve the use of sociological research findings. In our paper, we present domestic studies on this problem and group them according to three scientific schools, determine their specific features and their positive and negative aspects. The article substantiates the use of the approach of T.I. Zaslavskaya to the study of human potential in rural areas; her approach distinguishes activity-related potential along with socio-demographic, socio-economic, and socio-cultural potential. In accordance with this approach, a set of indicators reflecting the state and development of human potential of rural areas is proposed. This system was tested with the help of a survey of rural population in the regions of the Northwestern Federal District. The results obtained indicate the prevalence of the average level of knowledge, a great extent of unrealized accumulated potential due to non-compliance, in half of the cases, of the qualification to the job requirements, as well as employment outside one’s specialty. The lack of necessary conditions for realizing one’s potential due to the lack of jobs and the worse state of social infrastructure in the villages compared to the cities can lead to an outflow of rural population, although sometimes the decision to move is not taken voluntarily. One third of those who are planning to move would not want to live in the city, because they appreciate the rural way of life, the opportunity to have their own house and land, and to maintain existing social ties with their neighbor villagers. However, with effective administration, there is a possibility to prevent the outflow of people from rural areas


human potential, rural areas, structure of human potential, approaches to assessment

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