Alternatives for Mobilizing Soviet Central Asian Labor
Outmigration and Regional Development
The Soviet leadership is facing increasingly difficult demographic problems, one of which is a sharp imbalance between labor deficits in the European regions and labor surpluses in Central Asia and the Caucasus. This disparity could affect several Soviet policy areas, including growth strategy, leadership perception of resource allocation compromises, and military manpower decisions. Two policy options are discussed in this report — outmigration and regional development. These are available to the Soviet leadership to make better use of Central Asian labor resources, as well as several mobilization strategies that the regime currently uses to this end. The demographic, economic, and political variables underlying the regime's choice of policy alternatives in Soviet Central Asia are examined. It is concluded that outmigration and regional development by themselves or even taken together cannot solve the Soviet labor problem. They should be seen as parts of a larger campaign that must include substantial economic reform.