The contemporary relevance of ensuring sustainable rural development is stipulated, on the one hand, by the growing economic and social backwardness of rural territories, and on the other hand by their ultimate importance for the nation in such issues as food security, preservation of soil and environmental resources, and the utilisation of agricultural, production and labour potentials. One of the key conditions of sustainable rural development is sufficient employment which provides rural inhabitants with a sustainable income which is competitive in comparison to urban territories. This paper includes an analysis of the current problems of rural development, based on the example of the Stavropol Region, one of the most agricultural regions of Russia; the paper addresses threats to sustainable rural development such as unemployment and depopulation, and substantiates the practicality of diversification of traditional rural sources of income by means of tourism and other alternative activities.
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