Virgin Frontier: Features of Virgin Land Development in Orenburg Region

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Abstract


The present article studies the massive virgin land campaigns as a special frontier process of the Soviet period. The author characterizes virgin regions as a space of a unique inner frontier. The main prerequisite for the beginning of a large-scale development campaign was the presence, in the East of the country, of vast areas that were sparsely populated and almost unused. This study identifies Orenburg region as one of the largest regions that saw an «attack on virgin land». As the virgin campaign unfolded, it began to face various kinds of problems and difficulties. In the process of plowing new land masses, the specifics of the regions in the immediate development zone were practically not taken into account. The use of standardized techniques had a negative impact on the development of the farms established on virgin land. Obvious mistakes were made in the course of organizing the production and social infrastructure. The article focuses on the difficult living and working conditions on virgin land in the first years. The development of new lands led to the formation of a unique virgin area. Its creation was preceded by a complex process. A «virgin brotherhood» emerged through the joint overcoming of many difficulties, in parallel with the development of virgin villages. At the initial stage, the territorial and informational isolation of the region contributed to the consolidation of the resettlement community. It is demonstrated that the virgin land gradually lost the features typical for frontier regions. Already by the mid-1960s, the zone of development of new lands in Orenburg region almost completely lost the inherent frontier specificity that it had at the beginning of the campaign.


About the authors

Elena V. Pakhomova

Orenburg State Pedagogical University

Author for correspondence.
Email: e-v-pahomova@yandex.ru
19, Sovetskaya St., Orenburg, 460014, Russia

Kandidat Istoricheskikh Nauk [Ph.D. in History], Associate Professor of the Department of Russian History

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