Russia is a big importer of agricultural products in the geographic proximity of Sweden and the EU. Traditionally Russia – and earlier the Soviet Union – has imported big quantities of agricultural goods from countries that are now accession countries to the EU. Russia is also an important export market for the EU. After an expansion of the EU, EU imports to Russia may increase even more.
Ten years have passed since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. A decade of reforms, privatisations, realignments and decentralisation of power, has passed and still the great dependency on imports remains. Yet, Russia has a great potential to increase agricultural production. If Russia would increase its production considerably and become self sufficient or an exporter, it would affect the EU and its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) as well as the world market. The agricultural changes that started after the disintegration of the Soviet Union should of course increase efficiency in Russian agriculture, and thus the possibilities to take advantage of its agricultural potential. But is this process progressing? What are the prerequisites of and the prospects for this process?
The past decade was characterised by various changes, political and administrative displacements of power, economic instability and crises. Which are the economic, administrative, social and political prerequisites for an increased agricultural production today? Will the state of Russian agriculture improve to a considerable extent during the next decade? Would Russia’s traditional role as an importer of agricultural goods come to an end if the country’s economy improved? And does the country have comparative advantages in any part of the agricultural production?
These are questions analysed in this report. The report is the result of cooperation with Eugenia Serova, head of the Department of Agriculture at the Institute for Transition Economies in Moscow, who has contributed with valuable material on the current state of Russian agriculture. The importance of the development of Russian agriculture for the world market, the EU and the CAP are the rationale for this study. The aim is to depict the current state of Russian agriculture and to identify important factors to its progress in the decade to come.