Reverse Migration in Pandemic Crisis: Russia's Out-of-Town Spaces as an Adaptation Resource

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Head of the Department of General Sociology; Chief Researcher
National Research University “Higher School of Economics”
Institute of Sociology of FCTAS RAS
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Occupation: Postgraduate Student at the Graduate School in Sociological Sciences
Affiliation: National Research University “Higher School of Economics”
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Occupation: Postgraduate Student at the Graduate School in Sociological Sciences
Affiliation: National Research University “Higher School of Economics”
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameSotsiologicheskie issledovaniya
EditionIssue 12


The 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic had a significant impact on migration flows in the Russian territory. The factors attracting the population to megacities have reduced their impact, giving rise to centrifugal forces which in turn has led to an increase in atypical migration processes, primarily to a massive outflow of citizens to out-of-town spaces. This process can be termed "crisis deurbanization". The article examines the features of the current Russian Pandemic deurbanization, taking place in the specific Russian conditions of incomplete urbanization and, at the same time, the beginning of a post-urbanization stage. In March-April-May 2020 the migration for short, medium and long distances to country homes in Moscow, Vladimir, Kostroma, Vologda and Nizhny Novgorod regions had reached its climax. The so-called "second homes" of the townspeople from now on fully began to combine recreational, "quarantine-sanitary" and work functions, which allows them to be used for long-term residence also after the end of the crisis. This clearly indicates prospects for formation in the future of settlement clusters of immigrants from megacities.

KeywordsCOVID-19 Pandemic, crisis migration, deurbanization, spatial mobility, out-of-town lifestyle of townspeople, rural-urban communities
AcknowledgmentThis article is supported by a research grant from the Russian Science Foundation “Socio-Environmental Determinants of the Transformation of Lifestyles and Social Development of Modern Rural Communities in Conditions of Depopulation (based on areas of the Near North of Russia)” (19-18-00562).
Publication date24.12.2020
Number of characters32425
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