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Place of "new townspeople"

Sketch of the portrait of the "ponappriehavshih" Khabarovsk

Place of "new townspeople"

Leonid Blyakher

Professor, Head of the Department of Philosophy and Culturology of the Pacific State University, Doctor of Philosophy
Against the backdrop of the not very pleasing demographic dynamics in the region, everyone has already been told about the vital necessity for the development of Russia, there are islands of stability and confidence: the administrative capital is Khabarovsk and the prospective economic capital is Vladivostok. And if the growth of the population of Vladivostok is not great (the main growth was in 2010-2014 years), then Khabarovsk from 2011 year, judging by the statistics of regional statistics, shows a stable increase in 0,3% per year. Not much, but for the Far East with its eternal movement from "leave" to "run" - this is quite optimistic. With sad 578 thousand inhabitants of the city grew to 618 thousand people. The population of Khabarovsk suburban area is also growing. Slightly, but growing.

True, growth occurs, mainly, not at the expense of natural increase (excess of birth rate over mortality), but due to migration. Migration brings in 6 times a greater contribution to the positive dynamics than the maternity home of the city. But the very fact of excess of birth rate over mortality can not but rejoice. For quite recently the picture was completely different. And yet, the basis of population growth, both Khabarovsk and Vladivostok, remains a migration inflow.

However, it is worthwhile to realize, more precisely, to emphasize the quite obvious circumstance - the population growth in the city does not mean absence of outflow. The point is that the influx exceeds it. In other words, the "old" Khabarovsk residents leave, like all the Far Easterners. They leave so rapidly that this affects the cost of housing, especially in its lease, which for 2017 year decreased by 20%. According to expert estimates, we are talking about 2-3 thousand people a year. They are replaced by other people. And these people, at least in Khabarovsk and Vladivostok, are more numerous than those who leave. Who are they? Where from? How does their arrival affect the life of the city? Maybe, the mechanisms of attracting the population, about which Minvostokrazvitiya tells, were made? Then why only here? Let's try to understand.

Of course, the most visible and discussed new Khabarovsk residents are immigrants from Central Asia. Only this region of the world has a positive migration balance in the Russian Far East. During the fat "zero" years, they regularly visited the region, including Khabarovsk. Someone, not many at all, stayed here, stayed, joined the local life. This turned out to be all the easier because in the 30s - 60s the territory of the Far East was inhabited by the entire country of the USSR. Accordingly, there were many immigrants from the republics (today - countries) of Central Asia and Transcaucasia. In contrast to the situation in the European part of the country and, mainly, in the capital cities, they were not "come in large numbers here", but the most local ones. Often, they are much more “local” than graduates of central universities who arrived in the late 80s. At the same time, each of them remained a native of his aul or kishlak, a member of a distant community. It is quite clear that a native of the same community who arrived in the region could and did count on the help of a fellow countryman.

Since the demographic explosion in the Central Asian countries, which tore the social structure as far back as the 70-ies, as well as the process of salinization of soils, the uncontrollable pursuit of "white gold" in the region continues, all new groups of people are pushed out of their native village or town. Many continue to live in two houses. Some become Khabarovsk citizens. However, statistics consider both the first and second residents of the city.

People are different. But most of them are representatives of mass working professions. Few find themselves in business structures with relatives or fellow countrymen. These are mini-hotels, public catering, small wholesale trade. A sizable group arrived to work on construction sites. But construction projects are gradually being phased out. Former builders create teams of repairmen, offer their services to summer cottages and gardening associations and other owners of suburban real estate. Recently, the profession of a commercial bus driver has become a mass profession among the new Khabarovsk residents from the countries of Central Asia.

As a rule, this group of new townspeople communicates with a community of their own kind. Its here are meeting places, traditions of spending free time. It is natural. Quite recently these people lived according to completely different rules. Integration is slow and not always successful. After all, the "old" Khabarovsk citizens are not in a hurry to open their arms to the newly arrived. Quibbles and outright extortion, as interviews with recent settlers show, are also lacking. But the descendants of the countries of Central Asia, although more noticeable than others, by no means constitute the bulk of the new townspeople. These migrants make up only 10-12% of new townspeople. Who are the others? Really happy owners of the Far Eastern hectare, who moved from the hot and overpopulated Kuban? It seems that they are not.

It is easy to understand. One has only to look at the dynamics of the population of most of the cities and towns of the region. Nikolaevsk-on-Amur has lost three thousand people in recent years. In Vanino, where in the "peak" lived more than 21000 people, today lives a little more than 15 thousand. The same picture in other cities. Even in the "city of presidential attention" Komsomolsk-on-Amur over the past decade, the population has declined by more than 25 thousand residents. And the process of outflow continues.

The wealthiest or most desperate people go directly to the West. They leave the region for the capital cities traditional for the Far East or the south of Russia. Someone goes to the south - to China, to South Korea, to Thailand. But for many, many such a step is impossible. There are not enough funds. I don't want to break off relations with my circle. I am afraid to leave the familiar climate. Yes, you never know. Such people direct their feet to Vladivostok or Khabarovsk. The choice between the largest cities in the region depends on random circumstances: the presence of acquaintances, the field of activity, the cost of moving, and much more. It is important that regional capitals are increasingly becoming centers of attraction for the population in the region.

The main medical institutions are concentrated here, where you can get qualified help. There are higher salaries, more money, which means more jobs. In Khabarovsk and Vladivostok are the main state structures of the regional and federal levels, which until recently were a very desirable place of employment. There is more media here, more theaters, cinemas, bars, cafes. Yes, most of all. Therefore, people from the outskirts of the Far Eastern Federal District come here, predetermining the growth of the population of these cities, replacing with an abundance of themselves the retiring "old townspeople". It is important that there are more universities and colleges here. Students who come from the periphery are not at all eager to return home after graduation. On the contrary, they use their years of study mainly in order to "catch hold of the city", find work, housing, support.

Is it bad? Probably not. This process, with small variations, is now taking place throughout the country. Cities draw a village, large cities pull the population from the whole subject of the federation, and even from the macroregion. Capitals beckoning lights are felt even at the other end of the country. All clear. Moving to a larger city, in fact, is a form of overcoming geographical disparity. Let not the migrants themselves, but their children will live better, brighter, more interesting and richer.

There are several problems. The first is psychological. The stronger the differences between "old" and "new" citizens, the higher the level of social tension. We already see this in the capitals, in the cities of the south of Russia. In the Far East, the situation is not so acute. The region has always been inhabited by migrants, which differ in their level of culture and traditions. Therefore, there was a special type of social community that I once described as a "flow culture", a way of communication that allows for joint activities that level out cultural differences. And the differences between local and alien from the regional periphery are not so great. Because we can consider the first problem is not so acute.

A more acute problem is connected with the fact that young, active, professionally successful people leave as a rule, only then "evoking" their parents. But in their place come to the townspeople of lower qualification, with a lower level of ambition, a lower cultural level. Up to some limit, to calculate which would be a separate interesting task, the city grinds the visitors. They after a few years master the urban forms of communication, behavior, somehow built into the professional structure. The decline in the overall level of urban life is slow and inconspicuous. But here the limit is passed. And in place of the city with its ebullient cultural and economic life there are slow "rural" communities that happened to be on one spatial patch, which retained the name of the former city. In such cities, development is possible. But only from under the stick. They are very slow.

And, finally, the third problem - the resources of the periphery are not unlimited. The concept - "women still narozhayut" - today, alas, ceases to work. As a result, the region for not very long time is stretching to two urban agglomerations with a gaping emptiness around them. It is possible that from the economic point of view this is not the worst option. The shift method of developing hard-to-reach territories in many cases justifies itself. It turns out to be much more efficient than the resource-intensive obzhivanie harsh expanses. But for a person who has lived here all or most of life, this option causes an instinctive protest. Not from any rational considerations. It's just insulting for the power.  
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