The old Russian North is a concept with a vague and ambiguous meaning. In this paper, it is understood as the Northern regions of Russia, which for centuries were part of this state and its predecessors. Why is the centuries-old territory of the region now facing intensive processes of social desertification? The answer to this question is given in terms of existential sociology, focusing on individuals making decisions and the burden of responsibility for them.
The relations between the center and the periphery (Frontier) have always been the determining factors in the development of this region (especially its rural areas). For centuries in the history of Russian civilization there was a trend towards expansion: the conquest and development of new territories through their settlement. At the end of the XX century there has been an opposite trend to the grip. The population is gradually leaving the Northern and Eastern territories, rushing to the Central and southern regions of the country. The article considers the logic of this dynamics on the example of the old Russian North.
In the post-Soviet period, the region, retaining all its centuries-old negative factors (climate, distance from the center, poor communications), lost the factors of attraction and coercion. The ejection factors have ceased to be compensated by the retention factors. Radical changes in the communications system have added on an imbalance of push and hold factors. The natural consequence of this was the rapidly developing processes of social desertification of the old Russian North.
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