Received: 18 Nov 2022 Accepted: 11 Jan 2023 Published: 28 Jan 2023
The rural community system in the Central Chernozem Economic Region in Russia is undergoing a radical transformation under the interrelated influence of fundamental factors that have rendered the development of many communities unsustainable. This paper analyses the role of urbanisation processes in population changes and transformation of rural community systems in the region; determines the level of horizontal mobility among the rural population, as well as its impact on settlement evolution; assesses the share of small and extremely small communities in settlement composition; and outlines these communities’ future development prospects. The authors believe that the socio-demographic “desertification” of peripheral municipalities can pose challenges to rural development: a shortage of labour resources, changes in population quality, and problems of innovation diffusion. The study recommends improving the comfort of the living environment and accelerating the technical re-equipment and automation of agricultural production.