Moral economy of illegal miners: evidence from Russian Far East

TERRA ECONOMICUS, , Vol. 11 (no. 4.1),
p. 44-53

The article describes the practices of illegal mining and sale of gold in two Far Eastern settlements of the Russian Federation (the village and the district-level town) located in the regions that take leading positions in gold mining in Russia. The author has found during the study that much of the population is involved in such practices, despite the popular belief that only criminal gangs are engaged in illegal mining. The history of the ban that had been imposed on private gold mining along with the current main regulations of private gold mining are examined. The conditions under which such practices become predominant are revealed; these include: remoteness and inaccessibility of the territories, low suitability of the land for the agriculture, decline of the industrial and social spheres. The moral principles of illegal mining, which the «predators» are guided by, along with the logic of inclusion in these practices are described.

Keywords: informal rules; moral economy; illegal miners; the Far East

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Publisher: Southern Federal University
Founder: Southern Federal University
ISSN: 2073-6606