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Soviet Union Table of Contents

Soviet Union

Urban-Rural Cleavage

The difference between urban and rural life in the Soviet Union has been called by French sociologist Basile Kerblay "the most obvious gulf within Soviet society." This gulf remained despite the rapid urbanization that the society has undergone since the Bolshevik Revolution and the urbanization of rural life itself. Between 1917 and 1987, the urban population increased by 156.9 million; in contrast, the rural population decreased by 38.2 million. By 1968 the Soviet Union had become more urban than rural (see table 20, Appendix A). A Soviet village, officially defined as a community with fewer than 2,000 inhabitants, had, on the average, 225 inhabitants.

Data as of May 1989