I had intended to post about Damian Grammaticas’ BBC article about the decline of Russian villages, but two other bloggers have beaten me to it, and done it better, too. Basically Grammaticas is arguing that the decline of Russian villages is mainly due to the collapse of communism and introduction of capitalism
Alan Sullivan at Fresh Bilge: a salty journal disagrees, pointing out that village life is on the decline throughout the Western world too:
Deeper forces are at work. The haunted woodlands and collapsing villages of Kostroma look sadder than Buffalo Commons because a vital nation still thrives beyond the prairie horizon of America, while Russia seems doomed to desuetude.
Alexei at Russian Dilettante goes on to point out the damage that communist policy over many decades has also taken its toll:
the Russian peasantry as an ancient social group was weakened during and after the Civil War through food requisitions and repression, and destroyed during the 1930s through the Collectivization.