A Little Corner of Freedom: Russian Nature Protection from Stalin to Gorbachev (Google eBook)

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University of California Press, Jan 27, 1999 - Nature - 569 pages
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While researching Russia's historical efforts to protect nature, Douglas Weiner unearthed unexpected findings: a trail of documents that raised fundamental questions about the Soviet political system. These surprising documents attested to the unlikely survival of a critical-minded, scientist-led movement through the Stalin years and beyond. It appeared that, within scientific societies, alternative visions of land use, resrouce exploitation, habitat protection, and development were sustained and even publicly advocated. In sharp contrast to known Soviet practices, these scientific societies prided themselves on their traditions of free elections, foreign contacts, and a pre-revolutionary heritage. Weiner portrays nature protection activists not as do-or-die resisters to the system, nor as inoffensive do-gooders. Rather, they took advantage of an unpoliced realm of speech and activity and of the patronage by middle-level Soviet officials to struggle for a softer path to development. In the process, they defended independent social and professional identities in the face of a system that sought to impose official models of behavior, ethics, and identity for all. Written in a lively style, this absorbing story tells for the first time how organized participation in nature protection provided an arena for affirming and perpetuating self-generated social identities in the USSR and preserving a counterculture whose legacy survives today.
  

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Contents

Environmental Activism and Social Identity
23
Archipelago of Freedom
36
The Road to Liquidation Conservation in the Postwar Years
63
Zapovedniki in Peril 19481950
83
Liquidation The Second Phase 1950
104
The Deluge 1951
117
In the Throes of Crisis VOOP in Stalins Last Years
137
Death and Purgatory
161
Student Movements Catalysts for a New Activism
312
Three Men in a Boat VOOP in the Early 1960s
340
Storm over Baikal
355
Science Doesnt Stand Still
374
Environmental Struggles in the Era of Stagnation
402
Environmental Activism under Gorbachëv
429
Conclusion
441
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
449

VOOP after Stalin Survival and Decay
182
Resurrection
201
A Time to Build
240
A Time to Meet
260
More Trouble in Paradise Crises of the Zapovedniki in the Khrushchëv Era
288
NOTES
451
BIBLIOGRAPHY
509
INDEX
529
Copyright

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About the author (1999)

Douglas R. Weiner is Professor of History at the University of Arizona. He is the author of "Models of Nature: Ecology, Conservation and Cultural Revolution in Soviet Russia" (1988; paperback edition, 2000)

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