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.

Chapter 6: Conclusions: the bad, the good and the uncertain

David Feldman and Ivan Blokov

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


This chapter concludes our analysis by examining continuing impediments to the emergence of an environmentally attuned civil society in Russia, some nascent successes, and the possible future of the civil society/NGO sector given what we think is likely to occur over time. At the outset, it may be asserted that while Russia’s nascent civil society is beginning to exercise greater influence over public policy, it still exerts little direct influence on national policy formulation or national political leaders–especially with regard to environmental protection. Recent actions by organized groups, seen in our cases and further documented in the survey results, may change this political landscape in ways amenable to a positive future both for Russia’s environmental politics and for environmental politics worldwide. Prospects for consolidating civil society influence, and furthering its advancement, depend–as shown by our survey and cases–on three trends. First, citizens and NGOs must be able to independently gather information. Encouraging examples are emerging regarding the ability of citizen groups to independently collect information.

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