The Problem of Territorial Zoning of the Russian Federation: Domestic and International Aspects

Vladimir A. Gorbanyov – Doctor of Geography, Professor of the World Economy Department, Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University), 147454 Moscow. E-mail:
Boris I. Kochurov – Doctor of Geography, Professor, Geography Institute of the Academy of Sciences of Russia; 29, Staromonetnyi pereulok, Moscow, 119017. E-mail:
Вся статья: 

DOI 10.24833/2071-8160-2018-4-61-23-54 (Read the article in PDF)

The current economic regions in Russia were zoned in the 20-30s of the last century by the soviet State Planning Committee. Back then they played an outstanding role in economic development. However, today they do not correspond to the contemporary Russian realities of market economy. We tried to identify new regions, considering natural, economic, social, geo-ecological conditions. Therefore, the identified regions have a complex geographical nature. We carved out ten such regions: Stolichny, Central, European North, European South, North Caucasian, Uralo-Povolzhsky, West Siberian, North Siberian, South Siberian and Far Eastern. The authors collected statistical information of land area, population size and density, physical and geographical conditions, natural resources and economic activities for each district. Using the data, they identified for each region the natural population dynamics, the share of the population below the poverty line, the gross regional product, its structure, the supply of arable land, the rank of the geo-ecological tension, the balance of direct foreign investments and a number of other indicators. In particular the discrepancy between the area and the population in each region is shown. All regions are very different. While in European regions the share of the population is much larger than the share of area, in the Asian regions the situation is reversed: a very small proportion live on enormous area. In the era of globalization, it is important to consider transboundary fluxes of population and environmental pressure. We analyzed the immigration potential and environmental externalities of neighboring countries for the identified regions of Russia. It is shown that Ukraine, Kazakhstan and China represent the greatest environmental danger for Russia. Efficient geographical zoning is a necessary condition for improving the regional economy, and ultimately ensuring national security of the country.

Key words: geographical districts of Russia, population, natural increase, contamination, rank of geoecological tension, Gross Regional Product (GRP), poverty, provision of arable land, oversea investments, transboundary fluxes of pollutants.

1. Aleksandrov I.G. Osnovy khoziaistvennogo raionirovaniia SSSR [Basics of economic zoning of the USSR]. MoscowLeningrad, Ekonomicheskaia zhizn’ Publ., 1924. 76 p. (in Russian)
2. Anuchin V.A. Teoreticheskie osnovy geografii [Theoretical Foundations of Geography]. Moscow, Mysl’ Publ., 1972. 429 p. (In Russian)
3. Arsen’ev K.I. Nachertanie statistiki Rossiiskogo gosudarstva [Inscription of statistics of the Russian state]. Chapter 1. Moscow, Kniga po trebovaniiu Publ., 2011. 277 p. (In Russian)
4. Antipova A.V. Rossiia. Ekologo-geograficheskii analiz territorii. Moskva-Smolensk, Madzhenta Publ., 2011. 384 p. (in Russian)
5. Baranskii N.N. Izbrannye trudy. Stanovlenie sovetskoi ekonomicheskoi geografii [Selected Works. Formation of Soviet Economic Geography]. Moscow, Mysl’ Publ., 1969. 335 p. (in Russian)
6. Vorob’eva T.A. Prirodno-khoziaistvennoe raionirovanie Rossii. Materialy mezhdunarodnoi konferentsii “InterKarto/InterGIS 23. Geoinformatsionnoe obespechenie ustoichivogo razvitiia territorii v usloviiakh global’nykh izmenenii klimata [Natural and economic regionalization of Russia. Materials of the International conference “InterCarto/InterGIS 23. Geoinformation support of sustainable development of territories in the conditions of global climate change]. Moscow, Moscow State University Publ., 2017. No. 23 (1), pp.9-12. (In Russian)
7. Gorbanev V.A. K voprosu o novom geograficheskom raionirovanii Rossii [On the issue of a new geographic zoning of Russia]. Vestnik MGIMO-Universiteta – MGIMO Review of International Relations, 2014. no. 4 (37), pp. 187-196 (in Russian).
8. Gorbanev V.A. Kochurov B.I. Geografiia: ob”ekt izucheniia, obrazovanie i praktika [Geography: object of study, education and practice]. Problemy regionalnoy ekologii, 2017, no. 6, pp. 39-46 (in Russian).
9. Gorbanev V.A. Obshchestvennaia geografiia zarubezhnogo mira i Rossii [Human geography of the foreign world and Russia]. 2nd ed. Moscow, UNITI-DANA Publ., 2018. 760 p.(in Russian)
10. Kolosovskii N.N. Teoriia ekonomicheskogo raionirovaniia [The Theory of Economic Zoning]. Moscow, Mysl Publ., 1969. 336 p. (In Russian)
11. Kochurov B.I. Ekodiagnostika i sbalansirovannoe razvitie [Ecodiagnostics and balanced development] 2nd ed. Moscow, INFRA-M Publ., 2016. 362 p. (In Russian)
12. Kochurov B.I., Antipova A.V., Kostovska S.K., Lobkovskii V.A. Kompleksnoe raionirovanie territorii Rossii po ekologicheskoi i sotsial’no-ekonomicheskoi situatsii [Integrated zoning of the territory of Russia by the ecological and socio-economic situation]. Map. Scale 1:8 000 000. Moscow, АКTs Publ., 2002. (In Russian)
13. Markov K.K. Geograficheskaya nauka i vysshee obrazovanie v universitete [Geographical Science and higher Education at the University]. Vestnik MGU. 1965. No.3. pp. 55-65 (in Russian).
14. Romanov M.T. Problemy ekonomicheskogo raionirovaniia i administra-tivnoterritorial’nogo ustroistva Rossii v novykh usloviiakh [Problems of economic zoning and administrative-territorial organization of Russia in new conditions]. Vestnik DVGAEU, 2004, no.2, pp.28-46 (in Russian).
15. Rosliakova M.A. Transgranichnye ekologicheskie problemy v Rossii i ee regionakh [Transboundary environmental problems in Russia and its regions]. Ekonomika i menedzhment innovatsionnykh tekhnologii, 2015, no. 3. Available at: http:/economika. (Accessed: 24.04.2018). (In Russian)
16. Semenov-Tian-Shanskii P.P. Statistika pozemel’noi sobstvennosti i naselennykh mest Evropeiskoi Rossii (pogubernskie ocherki) [Statistics of land property and populated areas of European Russia]. Iss. 1, 2, 4, 5. – St. Petersburg, 1880-1884. 250 p. (in Russian)
17. Gorbanyov V.A. Synergetic Paradigm of Geographical Science. International Journal of Environmental & Science Education, 2016, vol. 11, no. 18, pp. 11957- 11967.
18. Simakova M.S. Ways to Improve the Scheme of Natural-Agricultural Zoning of the Territory of Russia. Eurasian Soil Science, 2003, no. 36(12), pp. 1269-1277.