Setting the Table: How Capital Transformed Russia’s Food System

  • Date: –16:00
  • Location: SCAS - Thunbergssalen, Linneanum Linneanum, Thunbergsvägen 2
  • Lecturer: Susanne Wengle, EURIAS Fellow, SCAS. Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Notre Dame, IN. Concurrent Faculty, Keough School of Global Affairs, University of Notre Dame, IN
  • Website
  • Organiser: Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS)
  • Contact person: Sandra Rekanovic
  • Seminarium

Russia’s agrifood system has undergone profound changes over the last fifteen years. Large capital investments in rural economies and in processing industries have led to significant increases in production and productivity, and to dramatic changes in how food is produced and processed. Agrifood corporations have emerged as new and important actors – as land-owners, as producers, and for the global integration of Russia’s economy more generally. The transformation of the country’s food system aligns with several political priorities of the Putin regime and was, in many ways, made possible through a cornucopia of public support measures.
    The presentation outlines key dimensions of this transformation and proposes a conceptual framework that captures their relevance. In particular, it will focus on an unprecedented influx of capital to the agrifood system that has taken place over the last fifteen years, its causes and consequences. The presentation highlights how constitutive relationships between various actors have changed with capital inflows and the rise of agri-food corporations, including the relationship between former collective farms and rural communities, the relationship between domestic and international producers, and finally, the relationship between producers, the livestock they raise and the environment in production takes place. This evidence suggests a conceptual framework of post-Soviet change that goes beyond a stylized “transition” from plan-to-market narrative, and brings into focus the reconfiguration of myriad relationships that the introduction of markets as organizing principles of social life entails.