A New Russian Heartland
ESRC’s New Security Challenges Programme
Period of grant
October 2003 - September 2004
Prof. Michael Bradshaw, Jessica Griffith Prendergrast
Objectives and impact
This project is part of the ESRC’s New Security Challenges Programme, and ran from October 2003 to September 2004. It assessed the impact of Russia’s recent economic and demographic crises upon the effective occupation of Russia’s national territory and considered the implications for Russia’s political and economic cohesion. Following the work of the Geographer David Hooson, six criteria were used to assess the dynamics and effective national territory: scale of contribution to the national economy, rate of population growth, relative importance of accessible resources, economic specialisation, regionalism and ethnic considerations. All the relevant information has been stored and analysed in a geographic information system and the results presented in graphic and cartographic format. The results of this project have identified new security challenges posed to the Russian State by changes in its effective national territory and are of interest to other academics, policy-makers and businesses interested in Russia’s future place in the world.
The primary aim of this project us to assess the impact of Russia’s recent economic and demographic crises upon the effective occupation of its national territory. A secondary aim is to use that analysis to identify actual and potential threats to Russia’s internal cohesion and external relations.
These aims are realised through the achievement of two more specific objectives.
To construct a GIS on Russia’s regions that contains information on the six criteria identified by Hooson (1964) as the factors determining the changing geography Russia’s ‘effective national territory’. To include a benchmark evaluation of the situation at the end of the Soviet period 1989-91, the dynamics of change during the 1990s and analysis of the current situation in 2002-2004 in terms of effective national territory.
To use the GIS to construct profiles on each region (containing both quantitative and qualitative information) that enables an assessment of the national situation and the identification of individual regions and groups of regions within Russia that pose a threat to Russia’s internal cohesion and that have the potential to influence its international relations.
More information and maps can be found on a dedictaed Russian Heartlands project page.