The Baltic Region

2022 Vol. 14 №1

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The marine component of human geography studies in Post-Soviet Russia: key trends and development priorities



Originated in the 1960s, the ‘marine branch’ of Soviet, and later Russian, economic and social geography contributed to the diversification of geographical science and expanded its scope. The new branch was a product of the rapid growth of the marine economy and the country’s military infrastructure and settlement system starting to gravitate towards the world ocean. This article uses bibliographical and scientometric materials to explore the factors, features and priorities of the development of Russian post-Soviet human geography of the world ocean. Special attention is paid to the path dependence in the evolution of this branch of geography (associated with the established professional community, the fundamental research themes and the basic concepts) and the emergence of new growth poles within the scope of marine human geography. Although this subdiscipline showed a high degree of resilience in the first years after the demise of the USSR, it became marginalised from the scientific mainstream. The interest in marine studies revived only in the early 2000s, gaining momentum after a decade of desolation. The renaissance was due to new transboundary marine research, analyses of the geopolitical and geoeconomic aspects of the marine economy and close attention given to coastal border areas (particularly the prospects and risks of their socio-economic development within the continent-ocean dichotomy). The marine focus of Russia’s geostrategy will generate steady demand for national human geography of the world ocean, including its inevitable humanities component. Another trend is the involvement of human social geography in cross-branch geographical synthesis. The study also identifies Russian research and publication centre of excellence in marine human geography.


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