The history of Stalin's rule is notorious for the oppression of large sections of the Soviet peasantry, who were executed in their hundreds of thousands, as the expropriation of grain supplies to the large cities was enforced. This included the fertile lands of "The Ukraine".
Boris Pasternak's Dr Zhivago (1958) is a novel whose events mostly take place during the Civil War and the period immediately following the 1917 Revolution. Pasternak writes about Siberia and trains loaded with produce heading for Moscow and St. Petersburg. Anything worth having in the Volga and Urals regions was unavailable, simply because it had been shipped westward.
A perennial Russian issue has been the shortage of arable land in relation to the size of the population. Under centuries of Romanov rule, widespread famine had led to increasingly severe measures being taken against inefficient peasant farming, both before and after the abolition of serfdom in 1861.
In chapter one of his Russia: The Tsarist and Soviet Legacy (1996) Edward Acton says:
At the end of the Soviet period, only just over one-tenth of the territory under Moscow's rule was actively cultivated, while two thirds were unfit for farming of any kind, and over half was virtually uninhabitable. Even on the best land , agriculture is handicapped by adverse climatic conditions. The richest soil, that of the so-called 'black earth' region which stretches from the south-west into Siberia, suffers from recurrent drought during the growing season and yields are further devastated by thunderstorms and hailstorms in the harvest season.
Dystopian forecasts have long predicted wars for resources - oil, water, food etc. And Russian military policy seems overwhelmingly to control the Black Sea ports. Now Ukrainian grain is disappearing into Russia. One is tempted to wonder how much of Putin's motive in this war has been brought about by long-term forecasts of food shortages, exacerbated by the loss of the Baltic states.
Are there ways in which the current policies can be seen as a continuation of Russia's inherent problem, as a largely landlocked country (making large scale importation difficult), to produce enough food for its population?