S. A. Kozhevnikov. “Soft” Factors for Ensuring Spatial Integration of Russia’s Northern Regions

UDК 332.1(470+571)

doi: 10.15507/2413-1407.122.031.202301.087-106


Introduction. Despite the fact that the problem of spatial integration is widely studied by scientists, science has not developed an unambiguous understanding of the factors that ensure it in practice. At the same time, the experience of developed countries indicates an increase in the role of non-economic (“soft”) factors, which include close social ties between territories. The purpose of the article is to study the social ties of the population of the northern regions of Russia from the standpoint of considering them as a “soft” factor in the integration of the socio-economic space.

Materials and Methods. The object of research is the European North of Russia as an open regional socio-economic system. The theoretical part of the study is based on a critical analysis of the scientific literature on the issues of spatial integration and the study of social ties as a factor that ensures it. The analytical part is based on the use of a sound methodological approach to the study of social ties of territories, based on the results of a comprehensive analysis of the Big Data of the social network “VKontakteˮ, as well as sociological surveys of residents.

Results. The role of social ties as a “soft” factor of spatial integration is substantiated. Using the developed methodological approach, the internal social ties of the northern territories, the trends towards their spatial transformation associated with the active centripetal vector of population migration to the large cities of the region, as well as St. Petersburg and Moscow, have been revealed. This leads both to the activation of agglomeration processes and to the rupture of ties with remote territories.

Discussion and Conclusion. The hypothesis about the presence of closer ties between neighboring territories is confirmed, which is especially evident for the Arkhangelsk and Vologda regions. However, in order to deepen integration processes, it is also important to support their production, economic, cultural, educational and other ties. The scientific significance of the work lies in the expansion of approaches to the study of spatial integration factors; substantiation of tools for a comprehensive assessment of the social ties of territories. The practical significance lies in identifying trends and directions for the spatial transformation of the social ties of the European North of Russia, which will serve as the basis for the development of effective management decisions in the field of coordinating the socio-economic development of the northern territories of Russia.

Keywords: economic space, spatial integration, North of Russia, “soft” factors, social ties

Conflict of interests. The author declares that there is not conflict of interest.

Acknowledgements. The author is grateful to the reviewers and editors of the Russian Journal of Regional Studies for valuable recommendations, comments and advice that helped improve the quality of the text.

Funding. The paper was prepared within the framework of the state task for Vologda Research Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences on the topic of research FMGZ-2022-0012 “Drivers and methods of sustainable socio-economic development of territorial systems in a changing external and internal environment”.

For citation: Kozhevnikov S.A. “Soft” Factors for Ensuring Spatial Integration of Russia’s Northern Regions. Russian Journal of Regional Studies. 2023;31(1):87–106. doi: https://doi.org/10.15507/2413-1407.122.031.202301.087-106


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Submitted 13.07.2022; revised 27.09.2022; accepted 12.10.2022.

Аbout the author:

Sergey A. Kozhevnikov, Cand. Sci. (Economics), Leading Researcher, Head of the Laboratory of Spatial Development and Distribution of Productive Forces of the Vologda Research Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences (56a Gorky St., Vologda 160014, Russian Federation), ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9063-6587, kozhevnikov_sa@bk.ru

The author has read and approved the final version of the manuscript.


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