The Baltic Region

2017 Vol. 9 № 2

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The coastalisation of population in today’s Russia: A sociogeographical explication



The coastalisation of population is considered as a prolonged, universal, although not a ubiquitous — socio-geographical process. This process is a result of the evolving spatial architecture of countries and regions, a lack of balance between the potential of leading cities, economic and settlement projections of global geoecological, geo-economic, and geopolitical processes, the scale and effect of transnational and transboundary contracts, and the changing images of coastal areas. This article analyses the trend towards the ‘drift’ of the demographic potential from the inland territories to the coastal periphery, which has been observed in Russia for centuries. A vast body of empirical data and statistics is used to demonstrate that, during the post-Soviet period, coastalisation has become city-centred and regionally/locally selective with a focus on the agglomerations of the Baltic, Caspian, and partly Azov- Black Sea coasts. The multi-scale phenomena of ‘inverse coastalisation’ and ‘quasicoastalisation’ are analysed and relevant cases are considered. The author identifies numerous factors and explores prospects of the further coastalisation of population in the Kaliningrad and Leningrad regions and Saint Petersburg. The author argues that against the background of increasing socioeconomic risks — particularly due to the change in Russia’s geostrategic priorities — the coastal zones remain crucial to the new configuration of the country’s settlement system.


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