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The unbroken grounds

Year :  2001
Duration :  1 episode 51 min. 35 sec.2 episode 49 min. 28 sec.
Presenter :  Svetlana Sorokina
Screenwriter :  Victoria Dubitskaya
Director :  Ivan Popov
Producer :  Sergey Kostin
Author of the project idea :  Eugeny Kiselev
In Russia, the XXth century may really be called the century of the agricultural reforms. The century started with an uncompleted attempt by Stolypin to modernize the villagery, while it ended with the similarly unsuccessful liberal reforms. As far as the communists are concerned, they deprived the villages of a natural economic development. The heroes of the documentary (the oldest ones remember as far back as to the pre-revolutionary period), historians, economists, sociologists and politicians present their stories.
No matter what is being said about the situation with the agriculture, it is far from catastrophic. The land now brings profit, and a big one. If it is so, then the government will hardly succeed in preserving it as its property. The world experience in both the capitalist Holland and the communist China demonstrates that in a market environment a peasant cultivates his own lands as properly as he cultivates the leased ones.
Nevertheless, for Russia, where the market economy has not taken shape yet, the private ownership of the land seems to be the major question. Most probably, in few years time the state land will only be found among various samples in the soils museum. Maybe, that is the only way to save the village.
These days, we have as many opinions as there are minds. The directors of the reformed collective farms demand government subsidies claiming they can not survive without it. Entrepreneurs state that the profitability of agriculture is next to that of the arms trade and are willing to invest their funds in agriculture but they need solid guarantees. Farmers could have improved the situation in the villagery, but they have been deprived of the loans, tax relieves and technical equipment. Meanwhile, common peasants live on their backyard crops and on the Gods mercy. Brought up under the collective farms, they are ready to work for any owner if one pays money.
The documentary offers no precise solutions, but for the first time the floor was given not only to those who draft reform plans in their quiet offices, but to peasants themselves, whose support is vital for any undertaking.
The shooting for the documentary took place in Moscow, Tver, Orel, Nizhny Novgorod, Saratov, Vologda, Krasnodar and Altay regions, at poor and prosperous, collective and private farms.
The farmers of tiny Holland supplying half of the world with their potatoes tell about the way they arrange their work, as well as do the agricultural entrepreneurs of China where life is strictly regulated by the government.
Among those interviewed in the documentary are Egor Stroev, Boris Nemtsov, Herman Gref, English sociologist Theodore Shanin, academicians Alexey Emelianov and Tatiana Zaslavskaya, satire writer Mikhail Evdokimov.