In recent years–long after this statement was penned by a pair of Western scholars who completed a path-breaking analysis of the Soviet Union’s environmental legacy–international, inter-governmental entities including the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) acknowledged the importance of civil society for engaging stakeholders in environmental change, especially at the local community level, and in promoting democracy (Grubb et al., 1993; Jasanoff, 2005). In Russia, efforts by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to promote reform since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 have been aimed at achieving both objectives. These efforts face many political, legal and attitudinal hurdles. This book examines these hurdles, the factors that facilitate the development of a mature, environmentally conscious civil society in Russia, and the importance of both for better understanding Russia’s environmental politics and the future of policy reform in nations undergoing the sometimes painful–and often circuitous–path toward democracy.
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