The Politics of Environmental Policy in Russia

The Politics of Environmental Policy in Russia

David Feldman and Ivan Blokov

The authors, renowned experts in the field, explore efforts to develop a mature civil society in Russia, and analyse the policy views of environmental groups, the media, and the scientific community. Three important case studies underpin the study: suspended plans to build an oil pipeline near Lake Baikal; management of Cold War-generated radioactive waste at Chelyabinsk; and public reaction to the introduction of genetically modified foods. The conclusion is that although civil society groups face obstacles in the form of apathy, state-imposed constraints on their activities, and agency reluctance to confer on decisions, there are some successes in reversing decisions due in part to NGO pressures yielding reform.

Preface

David Feldman and Ivan Blokov

Subjects: environment, environmental geography, environmental politics and policy, management natural resources, politics and public policy, environmental politics and policy

Extract

I have a personal connection to Russian society and culture. Both my parents are of Russian descent, and my father was born in Moldavia when it was a part of the Tsarist Empire. He and his family moved to the USA in 1919, refugees from the civil war that followed the Bolshevik Revolution. The specific reasons my father’s family took flight remain vague. However, more than one relative has told me that being Jewish peasants in a village that lay within a contested region where differences of faith, social status and political affiliation could endanger life and limb was a powerful motive for emigrating. After embarking at Ellis Island, my father’s parents and his three siblings found their way to a Russian émigré community in Ambridge, Pennsylvania – and, after a time, to Cleveland, Ohio, where I was born several decades later. Despite this personal connection, I was not motivated to undertake research on environmental politics and policy in Russia – nor, certainly, to write a book on the subject – until ten years ago. The events that led to that decision were the result of a fortuitous convergence of factors. In 2001, Ivan Blokov of Greenpeace Russia and I met while he was visiting various universities in the USA through the support of an Eisenhower Fellowship. Ivan and I became acquainted midway through his US journey, when he visited my former institution – the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. We had the opportunity to discuss many issues, including water policy, global environmental change...