The Relationship Between Resources and Human Migration Patterns in Central Kamchatka During the Post-Soviet Period


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Abstract

This paper examines the relationship between resources and migration in post-Soviet Kamchatka (Russian Far East). During the post-Soviet period of socio-economic hardship, migration trends have changed drastically both in central Kamchatka and throughout the Russian Far East. I predicted that there would be a clear relationship between resource scarcity and people's decisions to leave in search of more propitious opportunities. Against the backdrop of economic decline, out-migration prevailed in central Kamchatka throughout the post-Soviet period; however, migration patterns among villages in this rural and resource-dependent region diverge considerably. Villages in central Kamchatka facing a local natural resource crisis show greater net negative migration than those with a relatively intact resource base. Such variation is notable, given the relatively contained area of the study; it suggests migration patterns are closely tied to ecological conditions. Besides socio-economic and ecological factors, historical circumstances also influence migration patterns. The decision to migrate is complex, arising from the interaction of socio-economic, political, ecological, and historical conditions.

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