Based on original research and firsthand accounts, this book contains dynamic debates between party officials, scientists and citizens about how best to use the great natural and mineral resources of the USSR and the impact Soviet programs had on the empire's extensive biodiversity and numerous citizens.
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'An Environmental History of Russia is the most important English-language environmental study of the former Soviet Union since Douglas Weiner's Models of Nature and A Little Corner of Freedom. Spanning geography; nature preservation; urban, industrial, and agricultural environments; and policies, practices and pollution, the book provides a broad sweep of a country's environmental heritage little known in holistic terms. This is worthwhile reading.' Martin V. Melosi, University of Houston
'In this ambitious and wide-ranging book, six talented senior scholars draw on newly opened archives to trace the politics of resource extraction and environmental degradation in Russia and the Soviet Republics, from Bolshevism through the break-up of the Soviet empire. While they present an extreme example of state-led environmental degradation, the story they tell is disturbingly similar to what is still being played out around the globe. A chilling and fascinating account.' Judith Shapiro, American University and author of Mao's War against Nature (2001)
'This group of scholars has tackled the enormous task of surveying the environmental history of the Soviet Union from Lenin to Gorbachev and beyond. The results are impressive and will find a wide audience, given the global historical importance of the largest communist country. Historians are bound to grapple with the authors' assertion that the Soviet Union's environmental history resembled similar developments in Western Europe and North America. This book will be a standard text for many years to come.' Thomas Zeller, University of Maryland, College Park
'… provide[s] an insightful postmortem on the Soviet Union's environmental policies and practices … a well-written, comprehensive account, valuable for Russian or environmental history collections … Highly recommended. Upper division undergraduates through researchers/faculty.' Choice
'… provides important new perspectives that will be of interest and use to all scholars of Russian history. It will be invaluable in particular as an introduction to Russian environmental history for a broad spectrum of readers from undergraduate students to seasoned scholars.' Brian Bonhomme, Canadian Slavonic Papers
The former Soviet empire spanned eleven time zones and contained half the world's forests; vast deposits of oil, gas and coal; various ores; major rivers such as the Volga, Don and Angara; and extensive biodiversity. These resources and animals, as well as the people who lived in the former Soviet Union – Slavs, Armenians, Georgians, Azeris, Kazakhs and Tajiks, indigenous Nenets and Chukchi – were threatened by environmental degradation and extensive pollution. This environmental history of the former Soviet Union explores the impact that state economic development programs had on the environment. The authors consider the impact of Bolshevik ideology on the establishment of an extensive system of nature preserves, the effect of Stalinist practices of industrialization and collectivization on nature, and the rise of public involvement under Khrushchev and Brezhnev, and changes to policies and practices with the rise of Gorbachev and the break-up of the USSR.
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