Social-Economic And Cultural Development Of Siberia In The 1920s-1990s


The article discusses the development of Siberia in the 1920-1990s. Based on the analysis of a large number of archival documents, it is shown how the new Soviet State was built. The foreign political position of Siberia is highlighted through key events. Socio-economic development was determined by national objectives. Natural resources of the region allowed building a large number of industrial enterprises and objects as well as new cities. The paper highlights the main stages of the development of modern industry and agriculture. Literacy of the population increased; new clubs, schools, libraries, universities, theaters were opened. Changes in the political system of the country also affected Siberia. Mass repressions during collectivization had negative consequences. The second half of the 20th century was the time of the industrialization of Siberia, which developed transport infrastructure, large-scale projects. The creation of the SB RAS of the USSR gave a new impetus to the development of the region. The cultural sphere reflected the new phenomena of life.

Keywords: Agriculture, development, economy, industry, Siberia, the USSR


Russia in the 20th century witnessed the fundamental reconstruction of the country. Foreign and domestic policies were closely intertwined; economic, social and cultural growth was determined by the state. The solution of social and economic problems was associated with a change in the entire system of public administration. The New Economic Policy (NEP) was replaced by the policy of building socialism. All those processes concerned Siberia as well.

Problem Statement

Due to a number of features (vast territory, severe climate, poor population, transport farness distance from the capital where all the decisions were made), changes in Siberia became apparent at a distant date. Widespread development of Siberia started after the strengthening of Soviet power and the victory in the Great Patriotic War. Studying the experience of the changes and its creative interpretation can identify and reveal new prospects for the future development of Russia. This particular possibility determines the growing relevance of research on this issue.

Research Questions

In the 1920s the party-state leadership of the USSR and the Comintern made an attempt to spread the Communist influence in Asia. China became the main target of this action and Siberia played the role of its base.

In 1920, the Far East branch of the Comintern was founded in Irkutsk to spread Communist ideas and to organize revolutionary activities in China and other countries of Eastern Asia.

In the early 1920s the USSR, from the territory of Siberia, set up control over Mongolia and Tuva, formally parts of China. In the 1921 the Red Army, under the pretext of fighting against the White movement, took Mongolia and Tuva, driving the Chinese troops and administration away from there. The founding of independent states, Mongolian and Tuva People’s Republics, was proclaimed, and power was given to local pro-Communists. In fact, the both states were in a total political, economic, and ideological dependence of the USSR (Shevtsov, 2014).

In the 1920s–1940s the Soviet Union succeeded in returning through diplomatic and military actions all the earlier lost Siberian territories: the island Sakhalin, Tuva and the Kuril islands.

In January 1925, in Beijing a Soviet Japanese Convention was concluded which involved:

  • setting up of the diplomatic relations between the USSR and Japan;
  • setting up of the diplomatic relations between the USSR and Japan;
  • assigning Japan a concession for oil and coal in North Sakhalin;
  • recognition of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty of 1905 between Russia and Japan, concluded on the results of the Russia-Japanese War.

But, the USSR declared that it did not bear any political responsibility for this treaty.

In 1944, at the height of World War II, the USSR’s party-state leadership liquidated the Tuva People’s Republic (TPR). This action was realized at the “request” of Tuva’s leadership which was “prompted” from Moscow the way to act. On 17 August the extraordinary session of the Minor People’s Khural (Assembly) of the TPR adopted a declaration with a request to be admitted to the USSR. On October 1944 the USSR’s Supreme Soviet “satisfied” the request and admitted Tuva to Russia as an autonomous region.

In 1945, in accordance with the Yalta Conference decisions, the USSR got back the southern part of Skhalin and the Kurils after the defeat of Japan, Yheir return was realized in the course of the Sakhalain and Kuriles operations of the Red Army during the Soviet–Japan War in August 1945. After the Civil War ended, to the end of the 20th century, Siberia’s security was provided by the international agreement of the USSR and then Russia with countries bordering on Russia: China, Mongolia, Japan, South and North Korea, and the US and other countries as well.

Siberia’s borders, however, become the objective of aggressive actions on the part of the neighbouring state several times, and three times it came to serious armed conflicts.

The first of them, in October 1929, received the name “a conflict on the KVGD”. In was caused the worsening of Soviet-Chinese relations. In July 1929 the Chinese government, in response to an uprising in the city of Guanchow (Kanton), organized by the Comintern, took control over the KVGD, which belonged to the USSR. Chinese troops attacked the borders of Siberia. To defend Siberian border-lines the USSR formed a Special Far-eastern Army around 20000 people in number under the command of Blukher. The Soviet troops, technically exceeding China by far (aviation, war ships, tanks), defeated Chinese troops (around 130000 people) in this operation and took the cities of Fugdin, Mishang, Manchuria, and Hailar. After that negotiations on the conflict cessation began. On 27 December 1929, in Khabarovsk the USSR and China concluded an agreement in accordance with which the USSR got back the KVGD.

About 10 years later, Japanese militarists waged Its aim was to find out about the Red Army’s fighting ability in case of a possible war. On 29 July 1928 a battalion at the Japanese violated the USSR border, but after a fight they were beat off. On 31 July already two Japanese regiments, supported by artillery, made a new attack, took over several hills by lake Hasan, and began to fortify them. The Red Army units made several attempts to beat the Japanese out of their positions from 31 July to 2 August, but failed. After that the USSR’s leadership decided to make a massive attack against Japanese troops. The general leadership of the operation was carried out by Marshal Blukher. An attacking group was formed: about 23000 people, 237 guns, 285 tanks, and 250 airplanes, which, in stubborn fights on 6-9 August was able to beat the Japanese troops (around 10000 people with artillery) out of the occupied heights and to restore the state border of the USSR. On 11 August 1938, the fight at lake Hasan stopped after the talks between the Japanese ambassador in the USSR and Soviet diplomats in Moscow.

The third big conflict happened on 2-21 March 1969 at the island Damansky on the river Ussuri. It was set up by the Chinese government, displeased with the borderline on the rivers Amur, Argun, and Ussuri. The conflict happened at the time of the general worsening of the Soviet-Chinese relations. On 2 March a battalion of Chinese troops, supported by mortars, suddenly attacked the Soviet frontier-guard and seized the island Damansky, but in the course of fighting on 2-3 March it was beat off. On the subsequent days the both sides were building up their forces in the conflict region and reconnoitering. On 14-16 March decisive fighting for Damansky took place with infantry, tanks and artillery, in the course of which it changed hands several times. Finally, the Soviet troops succeeded in driving the Chinese out of the island. By 21 March the military action in the Damansky area stopped.

Thus, during the period considered, the USSR’s leadership, and then Russia, succeeded in maintaining the territorial integrity of Siberia and providing its security. None the less, there still was a certain threat to some Siberian territories. Islands on the border-forming rivers Amur and Ussuri remained a subject of the diplomatic argument between China and Russia. The Kuril Islands also became a subject of argument, but between the USSR, and subsequently Russia, and Japan. This has prevented Russia from a complete normalisation of relations with Japan and concluding a peace treaty on the results of World II.

Having won the Civil War, Communists were forced by the people to refuse from the policy of “military communism” and passed to a compromised New Economic Policy (NEP) which involved:

  • cancelling “prodrazverstka” (surplus expropriation); and introducing tax in kind;
  • restoring trade and its freedom;
  • restoring money circulation and banking system;
  • permitting entrepreneurship;
  • using market methods in economics;
  • permitting concessive activity and restoring foreign trade.

The NEP made it possible to beat out the surge of people’s anger and to start restoring the country’s economy destroyed by the wars and revolutions. Table 1 for information on the growth of the local agricultural production.

In Siberia, as well as throughout Russia, the transition to the NEP began with the replacement of “prodrazverstka” by tax in kind, which was a percentage of crops fixed in advance. The tax in kind averaged 50% of the amount of the surplus expropriation. However, in Siberia its amount was bigger than that in European Russia. It was 20% of the grain crops, while it averaged only 12% throughout the rest of the country (State governmental Institution, State Archive of the Novosibirsk Region, f. 4, op. 1, d. 827, l. 72). Nonetheless the tax in kind stimulated the growth of agricultural production in Siberia, in particular cattle breeding.

Table 1 - The Growth of Agricultural Production in Siberia*
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The growth of livestock production made it possible to sharply increase the production of famous Siberian butter. If in 1922 only 6000 tons of butter were produced in Siberia, already 37000 tons were produced in 1927. Siberian butter became one of the important items of export again (Okladnikov, 1968).

During the NEP Siberian agriculture provided the Siberian population with food products fully. However, as a whole during the NEP it never recovered from the consequences of the Bolshevist revolution and the Civil War or reached the pre-revolutionary level of production.

The total rebuilding and development of agriculture were hindered by the Communist agricultural policy, aimed at limiting the activities of so-called “kulaks” – the most active and economically powerful farmers. This, in its turn, gradually made a significant part of Siberian farmers dissatisfied with both the NEP and its results.

Since 1922, in Siberia entrepreneurship in trade and minor industries was allowed, which encouraged their development. Already by 1925 there were over 80000 minor private businesses in Siberia (shoe making and repairing shops, tailor’s shops, kitchen utensils shops, tool making shops, etc.). Some businesses were partially de-nationalized. Out of more than 1500 earlier nationalized firms, about 50% were returned to the former owners. Entrepreneurship in retail trade was particularly well developed. In the 1920s over 90% of the retail Siberian commodity circulation was privately owned. The all-Russian market was rebuild. The Irbitsk Fair become again one of the largest in the world. All these made it possible to get rid of the acute dearth of goods in Siberia in many respects (Federal State Institution Russian State Historical Archive of the Far East, f. 2478, op. 2, d. 12).

The use of the market methods of managing economics helped to rebuilt the weak Siberian industry. In 1927 industrial production reached the level of 1913 (Regional State Institution State Archive of the Newest History of the Irkutsk Region, f. 16, op. 1, d. 668, l. 17).

A certain role in the process had been played by foreign concessions. In Siberia the biggest concession was in fishing, oil (Primoriye, North Sakhalin), and gold industry (e.g. the concession of the English company “Lena-Gold fields” in Bodaibo).

On the whole, the economic system of the NEP turned out to be less effective compared with the pre-revolutionary one. In the second half of the 1920s, when people had already recovered from the disasters of the Civil War and the “military communism”, most Siberians were dissatisfied with the NEP to a certain extent.

Farmers in Siberia were not happy about the existing restrictions on the development of their farms; NEPmen (entrepreneurs) were displeased with the tax burden and the absence of legal guarantees for their economic activities, intelligentsia was dissatisfied with the absence of political freedom, workers were displeased with the low living standards and unemployment (in 1927 the number on unemployed in Siberia was over 60000). Many Communist Party members were convinced that the NEP was a capitulation to the bourgeoisie.

In the 1920s the NEP was rejected and the Party leadership of the USSR made a new attempt of an accelerated transition to a socialist society. Siberia and Siberians had to take a most active part in this. As is well known, the accelerated building of socialism in the USSR proceeded in three main directions: industrialization of economy, collectivization of agriculture, and Cultural Revolution. All those directions were vividly put into practice in Siberia.

During the industrialization many factories were built in various regions of Siberia. Among those mining and metallurgical industry factories prevailed, serving defence industry, Kuzbass (Kuznetsk coal mining region) was developing particularly rapidly. Big coal mines, coal processing factories, and one of the largest factories in the world, Kuznetsk metallurgical factory, were built there. In the late 1930s the second war-industry complex was created in the Urals and West Siberia.

The collectivization in Siberia affected the life of Siberians, mainly farmers, especially badly. Its supporters were considerably fewer in Siberia than in European Russia. Therefore, the local authorities had to act hard here when carrying out collectivization. Well-to-do Siberian farmers were first attacked already before the beginning of the collectivization, during the famous Communist leaders Stalin’s tour of Siberia for “bread gathering” in early 1928. Stalin accused Siberian farmers of the “kulak sabotage”, and the local authorities of “assisting them”. During those “bread gatherings” exceptional measures were widely taken, similar to “prodrazverstka”. Their victims were thousands of farmers accused of the “kulak sabotage” and sentenced to various terms in prison. Communists had to actually ruin agriculture in Siberia to carry out collectivization here. At this time, in Siberia alone, about 150 000 farmers were deprived of their farmers. In response to the despotism and violence Siberian farmers started massive spontaneous uprising throughout Siberia in 1900 – 1933. Dozens of thousands of poorly armed and badly organized farmers took part in them. The uprisings were suppressed by the local authorities with exceptional brutality. In the village Kardoy in the Tumen county in Siberia the authorities sentenced 58 farmers to death through shooting for taking part in the uprising in March 1930, during which five collectivization supporters were killed (State governmental Institution, State Archive of the Novosibirsk Region, f. 2, op. 2, d. 279, l. 6).

The collectivization resulted in the ruin of agriculture which it had not overcome until the end the 20th century. The figures of the first years after the collectivization are in Table 2.

Table 2 - Agricultural Production Downfall in Siberia*
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The closest consequence of the collectivization in Siberia was a serious food problem throughout the pre-war time, as well as in the years after the war. In 1933, in particular, in Siberia, when the average monthly salary was 120 rubles, one kilo of butter was 30 rubles, 1 liter of milk was 2 rubles and 30 kopecks. After World War II Siberia become one of the famine zones of 1946 – 1947, caused by crops failure and increased food confiscation in Siberia (State governmental Institution State Archive of the Novosibirsk Region, f. 2, op. 5, d. 377).

Cultural Revolution was carried out in Siberia within the all-Union action. The main attention was paid to the development of education. Schools, institutions of higher education and scientific institutions were opening throughout Siberia. By 1941 there had been over 20 000 schools of various levels and over 70 000 higher educational institutions. Of them the leading ones were the oldest Tomsk, Far East (the former Oriental Institute) and Irkutsk Universities, and Tomsk Technological Institute. As a result of the activities, by the late 1930s, the literacy level of Siberian population, according to the official statistics, exceeded 85%. Cultural institutions in Siberia also opened actively: clubs, libraries, theaters, movie theaters, museums, etc. The largest of them was the House of Science and Technology in Novosibirsk (nowadays the opera and ballet theater). The cultural development of Siberian native people should be noted particularly. Autonomy, given to many peoples in the 1920s-1930s, created favorable conditions for this process (Russian Republic Statistics Service, 1981).

At the same time, due to the diversity of its aims in Siberia, the Cultural Revolution had both positive and negative effects. Thus, on the plea of struggling against the bourgeois culture and religious superstitions, cultural heritage from the past was being ruined and outstanding cultural monuments were being destroyed. The streets of all Siberia towns were renamed to imprint the Bolshevism dogmas in the mind of people. Many Siberian towns and villages changed their names also.

At that period the most important events in Siberian life were repressions and the creation of the concentration camps system, GULAG. Repressions began right after the Civil War ended. In the 1920s they affected those who took part in the farmers’ uprising and protests against the “prodrazverstka”, the so-called “former people”, NEPmen, and those involved in the “sabotage of kulaks”.

Already at that time dozens of thousands of Siberians became repression victims anyhow or so.

The late 1920s – early 1930s brought a new tide of repressions to Siberia. The dispossessed farmers and so-called “harm-doer” became their victims. At that time large numbers of repressed farmers from the West arrived in Siberia for the first time. They were called “specially relocated”. The “specially relocated” were deprived of their political and private civil rights. They were settled in special settlements guarded and watched by the OGPU organs. In 1932 “the specially relocated” in Siberia numbered up to 400000 people. Also at the same time the GULAG began form in Siberia.

In the early 1930s a tide of struggle against “harm-doing” swept throughout Siberia, which authorities referred to explaining their failures in economy. The old engineers and other professionals who had begun their professional career before the revolution and occasional people were claimed to be “harm-doers”. The scale of the straggle against the “harm-doing” was great. For example, only during 1932 the OGPU organs in the West-Siberian region arrested over 4000 “harm-doers”, over half of which were sentenced to death by shooting. The most famous in Siberia case of “harm-doers” was the fabricated case of the “Farmers Party” in 1931. The world-famous economists Tchayanov and Kondratiev were accused of “harm-doing”.

The “Great Terror” (1936 – 1938) again turned Siberia into the land of “prison and exile”. The biggest and most ominous structures of the GULAG – “Siblag”, “Dallag”, “Bamlag”, “Yeniseilag”, “Ozerlag” and others were located here. In them hundreds of thousands of prisoners from the whole country were held in inhuman conditions. It was their labor that created the majority of industrial giants in Siberia – the Norilsk copper-nickel factory, factories in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Novosibirsk, and many other Siberian cities and towns. Hundreds and thousands of Siberians from various social layers became the “Big Terror” victims. All of the party-state leaders of all Siberian regions were repressed more than once, including the former high-rank leaders of Siberia Smirnov, Kosior, Syrtsov, Eikhe.

During and after the World War II the scale of repressions even increased. If in 1937 one million people were the GULAG’s prisoners, in 1945 already one and a half million were in prison, and in 1950 there were two million and six hundred thousand prisoners. A considerable number of them were in Siberia. In those years the prisoners built in Siberia new industrial giants: the Angarsk oil producing factory, the railroad Taishet-Lena, and others. After the war, over 700000 ‘specially relocated” from the western part of the USSR were exiled to Siberia. They were from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Ukraine, German, etc. In Siberia there were also prisoners-of-war from the former enemy armies: over 600000 Japanese, 250000 Germans, and others, who worked on Siberian construction sites (Thurston, 1996).

Over the period of the World War II (1941 – 1945) Siberia become one of the main war industry centers of the USSR. 322 defence industries and about one million people were evacuated here from the West. Most of them were located in West Siberia. During one–three month all of them were put into action. By the middle of 1942 the reconstruction of Siberian industry in accordance with the war demands had been fully completed. Large quantities of almost all kinds of war machinery, weapons, ammunition, and equipment were produced there. The factories of Novosibirsk alone manufactured 15000 fighters (13% of all-Union production of war airplanes) and 125 million shells of various calibers during the years of the War. Besides factories and plants, valuable cultural item were evacuated to Siberia. In Siberian towns, collections of the Hermitage, the Tretyakov Gallery, and other museums, the USSR State Library funds were housed, as well as Moscow and Leningrad theatres, famous all over the country (Zyablitseva, 2016).

Siberians aided the front considerably, gathering means for the production of war machinery, equipment and armaments, as well as clothing for the soldiers. A lot of hospitals were opened throughout Siberia, where badly wounded soldiers were recovering their strength. And finally, Siberians took a most active direct part in war actions. It was Siberian divisions that contributed decisively to the defeat of the German-Fascist troops in the battle of Moscow. Over 70 divisions who covered themselves with glory on the battle fields, were formed in Siberia. Over 1000 Siberians received the high title of Hero of the Soviet Union for the heroic dead at war, and the war ace pilot Pokryshkin became the first three times Hero. Siberia, doubtless, made a significant contribution to the victory of the USSR in the World War II (Kuznetsov, 1980).

The second half of the 20th century became the time of rapid development of Siberia. At that time absolutely new industries came into being there. They are the basis of economic power of Russia nowadays and include oil, gas, aluminum, hydropower, war (particularly nuclear weapons), diamond production, etc. (Nekrasov, 2017).

Real industrial giants emerged in almost every industry in Siberia. These are the world famous Bratsk, Krasnoyarsk, Ust-Ilimsk, and Sayano-Shushinsk hydro-power stations, as well as Bratsk, Krasnoyarsk, Irkuts, and Sayanogorsk aluminum factories, as well as West-Siberian metal-producing factory in Novokuznetsk, and Bratsk and Ust-Ilimsk timber-producing complexes, as well as Omsk and Tobolsk oil and chemical plants, and machine building giants of Novosibirsk and Krasnoyarsk, and oil and gas industries of West Siberia, as well as diamond-producing factories in Mirnyi and Udachnyi, and many, many others (Uvarova, 2017).

A lot of new cities and towns were built in Siberia: Angarsk, Bratsk, Lesosibirsk, Mirnyi, Nazarovo, Neryungry, Nizhnevartovsk, Strezhevoy, Tyinda, Ust-Ilimsk, and others.

Already in the 1980s Siberia’s share in the gross national output of the USSR exceeded 10%. The export of Siberia’s natural riches gave the USSR over 50% of currency influx. And today as well Siberia is one of the backbones of Russia’s economy and budget (Shevelkov, 2014).

Intensive industrialization of the vast territory of Siberia required the further development of communication means. Railroads remained the chief communication. In the second half of the 20th century several large railroad lines were built: South-Siberian, Baikal-Amur, Tyumen-Nizhnevartovsk; many minor railroad lines were built as well. Siberian railroads themselves changed dramatically. All of the major lines were electrified, powerful electric trains and large-capacity rolling-stock replaced stream trains. Shipping was considerably developed. A new generation of ships, motor ships, appeared on Siberian rivers. New, more powerful icebreakers enable a continuous exploitation of the full length of the North Sea way (Psarev et al., 2013).

Relatively new transportation means – aviation, motors, piping – were considerably developed. Thus, it was in Siberia that the first in the world jet passenger airline “Irkutsk-Moscow” appeared. Novosibirsk’s, Krasnoyarsk’s, Khabarovsk’s airports are among the biggest in Russia. Highways with hard roofing began to be built in Siberia. It was here too that the biggest in the country oil and gas pipelines originated.

Transportation system development, in its turn, accelerated the economic exploitation of Siberia.

At the same time, the extensive development of Siberian economy, a predatory, reckless approach to its natural recourses gave rise to a great number of complex ecological, economic, and moral problems.

The agricultural situation in Siberia in the second half of the 20th century remained difficult to deal with. The blow, stuck to it in the 1920s-1930s, was too heavy. The authorities made a series of attempts to revive the Siberian agriculture.

The first of them was the virgin land (soil) exploitation in 1954. In those years over 10 million hectares were introduced into exploitation. In the beginning, the measure had some effect, and the grain crop in Siberia increased, but by the middle of the 1960s, soil erosion brought it to nothing.

In the mid-1960s the authorities made a new attempt to revive the agriculture but now already throughout the country. The agricultural reform of 1950 provided for self-supporting basis, the formation of developmental funds for collective and state farms, regular payments of salary and pension to collective-farmers. At first, there measures had a positive effect. However, their inconsistent and delayed realization reduced it considerably. During the 1970s the nature of the reform was gradually changed in many respects, and agriculture including the Siberian one began to revert to the state it has been in before the reform.

And the satiation of Siberian with new machinery, carried out on a large scale throughout the second half of the 20th century, did not have any pronounced effect either. Although the volume of agricultural machinery delivery was increasing continually, the poor quality of some of its kinds and its ineffective usage were reducing those efforts to zero.

Thus, notwithstanding the authorities’ attention to the problems of agriculture and the persistent efforts to change the situation for the better, it was degrading steadily during the second half of the 20th century. The farming population of Siberia was steadily decreasing in the number. In 1926 87% out of one million Siberia population lived in the countryside, in 1959 only around 50% out of 23.5 million Siberians lived in the countryside, and in 1989 only around 30% out of 32.5 million Siberian population were farmers. In the 1960s-1970s the number of villages in Siberia decreased by 50% (Kuleshov & Seliverstov, 2017).

The amount of cultivated land was also decreased. By the middle of the 1980s about 25% of the land cultivated before was put out of exploitation, the land being often the most fertile, flooded in building Siberian hydropower station.

As a result, Siberia didn’t fully provide itself with food any longer, and in many of its regions there were food problems. Moreover, from 30% to 50% of agricultural products (except grains) were produced on private subsidiary farms which testified to the ineffectiveness of the collective and state farm system in Siberia.

In the second half of the 20th century education, science, and art in Siberia continued to develop. The number of secondary/high schools and vocational schools increased. New colleges and universities kept on opening, new cultural institutions kept on emerging in Siberia: clubs, palaces, and houses of culture, theatres and movie theatres, libraries, museums (Russian Republic Statistics Service, 1981).

In 1957 the Siberian Branch of the Academy of Science of the USSR was established in Siberia to develop Siberian science and to coordinate researches throughout the region (Okladnikov, 1969). The decision was made by the central Committee of the Communist Party of the USSR and the Soviet of Ministers of the USSR. Novosibirsk become the centre of this branch, where a special Academy town (Akademgorodok) was built. At the end of the century the Branch comprised 63 research academic institutions. The Brunch researches are known throughout the world. For example, the archaeological investigation of Ancient Siberia, organized by Academician Okladnikov, became widely known (Haminov, 2017). The largest Siberian cultural, educational, research centre is Novosibirsk, where there is the biggest in Siberia research library, the centre of the Siberian Branch of the Academy of Sciences, and one of the best universities in the country. Besides Novosibirsk, Tomsk, Irkutsk, Vladivostok, and other large Siberian cities play the role of such centres (Voronova, 2012).

The emergence of a number of talented writers, Astafyev, Vampilov, Rasputin, Shukshin, whose literary heritage won the world recognition, was a significant event in Siberian culture of the second half of the 20th century (Samoilov et al., 2017).

Purpose of the Study

The purposes of the article are to summarize the experience of economic and cultural constructions in Siberia during the Soviet period and to show the change and variability of governmental decisions. The study should fix some weaknesses in the coverage of regional history and serve as a source of modern decisions to improve the quality of life in Russia and Siberia.

Research Methods

The study used both general scientific methods (comparisons, descriptions, generalizations, etc.) and chronological, historical genetic, typological methods. The use of statistical and a number of sociological methods completed the picture of the region’s economic development. The systemic method made it possible to recreate an objective scientific picture of the issue studied.


The formation of heavy industry in Siberia was evolved by the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway. Some enterprises were built before the war, in the first decades of Soviet power. Since the 1960s, Siberia has become a dynamically developing territory. The country, having the planned economy as a type of economic system, adopted policies aimed at developing of the productive forces of Siberia. Construction of enterprises in the Soviet times was partly politically motivated (defense and development of sparsely populated territories), but it was always based on scientific methodology. Investments were only public. Social sphere and agriculture were rather underdeveloped.


The development of Siberia in the Soviet period was connected with the objective needs of the country. The primary task solved was the stable governmental functioning and the determination of the vector of international affairs. During World War II, Siberia became one of the victory sources of our country. The growth of Siberian industry quickened sharply, as it was necessary to meet the demand for the armament. There was very little investment in agriculture; its development was mainly natural. During the post-war period, it was supplied according to the residual principle. That led to numerous failures and problems, which were partially solved only in the post-Soviet period. Prescriptive public administration led to serious positive changes in the development of the post-war industries (energy, oil and mining, metal). The speed of mineral wealth development was enormous. At the same time, by the end of that period, there were growing imbalances in the economy, as well as cultural and governmental problems. Studying the experience, both positive and negative, will probably adjust the approaches to the modern development of Siberia.


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Land economy, land planning, rural development, resource management, real estates, agricultural policies

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Naumov, I. V., Naumova, O. E., & Uvarova, O. A. (2021). Social-Economic And Cultural Development Of Siberia In The 1920s-1990s. In D. S. Nardin, O. V. Stepanova, & V. V. Kuznetsova (Eds.), Land Economy and Rural Studies Essentials, vol 113. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 575-585). European Publisher.