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Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
The paper addresses the problems faced by the border territories of Russia in the political, economic, social, cultural, moral and psychological spheres. Data were analysed from field research conducted in the spring and summer of 2014 in three regions of the European part of the Russian Federation (in every region a regional centre, and two districts have been investigated, which are located directly on the border) in the form of in-depth interviews with representatives of regional and local authorities, educational, medical, and cultural institutions, political parties, social movements Современное российское приграничье: общие характеристики 33 № 4(11), декабрь 2014 and non-governmental organisations. The total database consists of 70 transcripts of interviews. In addition, an analysis was made of official documents, publications in regional and local media, as well as all available internet resources (official sites, regional and local citizens’ forums, blogs, etc.). An attempt is made to evaluate the potential of border communities for their ability and willingness to be a shield of the country against external threats. Differences are present in border territories in the methods of farming, in the types of patriotism, as well as similarities in the development of social and cultural spheres. Some conclusions are presented on progress in the implementation of regional and local border policies. On the basis of characteristics of the border policies implemented by federal, state and local government structures, risks to the safety of new Russian borders are identified and related to the socio-economic situation of border territories and the related process of depopulation or the lack of a continuum of Russian settlements. The author describes the conditions that contribute to the social and economic development of the regions. The importance of not only the protection of the external borders but also the presence of “internal boundaries”, manifested within society as a division of philosophies, expectations, beliefs, as well as desirable development prospects, are summarised. This “frontier” may acquire not only inside border communities but also spread to the whole Russian society.
border territories and communities, socio-economic situation, policy and politics, consolidation, patriotism