An Environmental History of Russia (Studies in Environment by Paul Josephson, Nicolai Dronin, Ruben Mnatsakanian, Aleh

By Paul Josephson, Nicolai Dronin, Ruben Mnatsakanian, Aleh Cherp, Dmitry Efremenko, Vladislav Larin

The previous Soviet empire spanned 11 time zones and contained part the world's forests; substantial deposits of oil, gasoline, and coal; a variety of ores; significant rivers reminiscent of the Volga, Don, and Angara; and broad biodiversity. those assets and animals, in addition to the folks who lived within the former Soviet Union - Slavs, Armenians, Georgians, Azeris, Kazakhs and Tajiks, indigenous Nenets and Chukchi - have been threatened via environmental degradation and wide toxins. This environmental historical past of the previous Soviet Union explores the influence that nation monetary improvement courses had at the surroundings. The authors give some thought to the effect of Bolshevik ideology at the institution of an in depth procedure of nature preserves, the impression of Stalinist practices of industrialization and collectivization on nature, and the increase of public involvement below Khrushchev and Brezhnev, and adjustments to guidelines and practices with the increase of Gorbachev and the break-up of the USSR.

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Under the circumstances, they understandably adopted short-term strategies to exploit the resources rather than longer term – and foreign to them – policies recommended by foresters and state representatives. Peasant forests were overharvested, leaving brush and erosion in their wake, especially close to the villages. The growth of population, the free grazing of farm animals, fires, inefficient construction, and the absence or flouting of laws contributed to this state of affairs. By the 1880s, a number of scientists and social commentators raised the specter of the destruction of the forests and the decimation of game within those forests and urged the government to act.

The forest insulated scores of rivers and lakes from overfishing and protected beekeeping, fur, and other nascent industries. The process of pushing back the forest to create agricultural land was much slower in Russia than in America because it was such hard work. The land yielded food grudgingly in a short growing season. After cutting down trees, the peasants burned the underbrush. They practiced subsistence farming, often in cooperation with other families in communes, to spread the heavy labor and risk for harvest failure over a larger number of persons.

They brought in stock-breeding cattle from Belgorod and built a small menagerie for wild animals. Noblemen and -women contributed to the construction of ideas about nature through their activities on their estates. They established gardens and 5 6 S. G. Strumilin, Istoriia Chernoi Metallurgii v SSSR. ), I, (Moscow: 1954). B. E. , I (Kiev: Kievskii Ekolog-Kul’turnyi Tsentr, 1997), p. 224. From Imperial to Socialist Nature Preservation 29 arbors, beehives, and so on, and not only at such well-known estates as Pushkin Mountains, Iasnaia Poliana, Muranovo, Tenishchevo, Marfino, Kikol’skoe, and Spassko-Lutovinovo.

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