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To be a Far Eastern!
From Cossacks to TOR residents: who lives the Russian Far East, studies EastRussia
Professor, Head of the Department of Philosophy and Culturology of the Pacific State University, Doctor of Philosophy
So, as in all of Russia, the Soviet government happened in the Far East. It happened here later, than in the rest of the country, in the first half of the 20-ies of the XX century. It began not very boldly. These places are not clear. The peasants are hurt, and the industrial people are spoiled by freemen. Until the end of the 20-ies there was a forest stock exchange in Vladivostok, which set prices for forests in the whole macroregion, until the middle of the 30-ies there was private fishing, home ownership, entrepreneurship. But all this comes to an end. Actually, it was clear from the outset that the death of all this is a matter of time. It is for this reason that not so much the capital elite fled to Harbin and further, how many tens and hundreds of thousands of peasants, craftsmen, merchants fled "beyond the river" from Soviet happiness. Their descendants still live in the northern provinces of China.
The region is empty again. In the conditions of the neighborhood with Japan and the United States, which are quite interested in the exploitation of its natural resources, and even have a fair amount of experience in the region (American and Japanese enterprises have been working here since the end of the 20th century), this meant a gradual loss of territory. It was not possible to organize a mass resettlement (for example, "working Jews" in the late 15s) during that period. Therefore, a military plan for the development of the Far East was adopted. Let's hold it first, and then we'll see. As a result, a rather specific flow of immigrants flowed to the Far East: servicemen with families and a special contingent (without families). Of course, there were also fishermen with sailors, peasants and hunters. Only the military, prisoners and workers of the defense factories under construction prevailed. According to researchers, only the military with families made up 18-XNUMX% of the working-age population of the Far East.
The activity that these people were engaged in, of course, is important and necessary, but it was far from directly related to the economy of the region. As well as the activities of workers at defense plants. However, consumption here also remained regional. As a result, less than a third of the population had to produce products that could feed the population of the region. Since it was not possible to cope with this task, the region turned out to be dependent on supplies from outside. This is how a special situation of a “developing” region arises, which does not turn into a developed one. It is developing because, in fact, the regional economy has not been developed. M. b. with the exception of fishing, which is also classified as a strategic area of development.
Since supplies to the region were not particularly rhythmic, the population is slowly returning to the practice of self-sufficiency, although often outside the boundaries of formal rules and ideological norms. Hunting, fishing, gathering wild plants, working on subsidiary plots ("summer cottages"), breeding livestock and poultry are becoming for a large number of residents no less important than the official salary. The bosses, knowing the situation, had to “close their eyes” to these activities, which are sometimes carried out during working hours. The most important regional quality - the ability to negotiate - manifests itself here as well. Gradually, small shadow enterprises begin to grow out of individual and side practices. Someone catches and sells fish, someone raises piglets and sells meat, bacon and sausage. People live and give to others. Only in the years of the "Kosygin reform" (60s - 70s) there were attempts to develop, in fact, the regional economy. True, the "ideological alienation" and soaring oil prices led to their gradual curtailment. So people in the Far East remained on their own with their problems. So, willingly or unwillingly, they acquired the main quality of the Far East - the ability to live with others, the ability to find a common language.
It was this quality that became salvific for the Far East, more precisely, for its inhabitants in the difficult post-Soviet years. For the Far East, the collapse of the USSR meant, first of all, a sharp reduction in supplies from outside, the lack of demand for tanks, submarines, ships and military aircraft produced here. An attempt to convert military factories was unsuccessful. Huge enterprises are winding down. A not particularly densely populated region, unexpectedly for itself, turns out to be surplus labor. The people fled to the west, beyond the Urals. In general, over the post-Soviet period, the outflow amounted to almost a quarter of the population. But three quarters remained.
The remaining inhabitants were forced to learn a qualitatively new world: a world where norms were absent (they needed to be created), there were no sustainable practices of economic activity (they had to be invented), there were no grounds for communication. In the shortest period of time, all this arose. The Komsomol bureaus, workers' brigades and even scientific research institutes turned into business networks, engaged in "business" of very different profiles. Moreover, this business was for the first time directly related to the region. Not tanks and airplanes, but fish, timber, ore raw materials flowed along the trade routes. Most of them were oriented not to the west, but to the east. The reason is not so much in the low patriotism of the Far Eastern countries, but in the things that are pragmatic: they paid more, the reliability of buyers was higher, and the region was extremely interested in the "opposite" flows. Machines and consumer goods, computers and food products - all this flowed into the region.
From local markets, connected exclusively with the local community, a transition is being made to the markets of remote ones, covering the subject of the federation, the entire region, and foreign partners. Since the institutional conditions for such interaction were not particularly clear, for economic and other contacts, friendly networks emerge, covering the vast space of the macroregion, insuring these contacts. It is within the framework of such friendly networks that regional identity is created. It's just that entrepreneurs and officials, journalists and teachers and many other Far Easterners from different regions know each other personally. With a sparse population and close and constant contacts, this was quite enough to "do business" in the Far East. Things were done. Gradually, the basis of the Far East was crystallized again: the absence of xenophobia in any form, the ability to negotiate, get along, the ability to adapt to circumstances and adapt circumstances to oneself.
In the conditions of oil and gas abundance these qualities were "in the shade". In those years, it was enough to be "right" to have a golden shower spilled on its native land. Today, in new, not very simple conditions, they again come to the fore. On the question - how to survive in the Far East in our difficult times - there is only one answer: to be a Far East!