Environmental Justice and Sustainability in the Former Soviet Union

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Julian Agyeman, Yelena Ogneva-Himmelberger
MIT Press, 2009 - History - 296 pages

An examination of the awareness of environmental and social justice issues in the former Soviet republics--from the Western-style democracies of the Baltic region to the totalitarian regimes of Central Asia--and the resulting activism in those states.

The legacy of environmental catastrophe in the states of the former Soviet Union includes desertification, pollution, and the toxic aftermath of industrial accidents, the most notorious of which was the Chernobyl disaster of 1986. This book examines the development of environmental activism in Russia and the former Soviet republics in response to these problems and its effect on policy and planning. It also shows that because of increasing economic, ethnic, and social inequality in the former Soviet states, debates over environmental justice are beginning to come to the fore.

The book explores the varying environmental, social, political, and economic circumstances of these countries--which range from the Western-style democracies of the Baltic states to the totalitarian regimes of Central Asia--and how they affect the ecological, environmental, and public health. Among the topics covered are environmentalism in Russia (including the progressive nature of its laws on environmental protection, which are undermined by overburdened and underpaid law enforcement); the effect of oil wealth on Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan; the role of nationalism in Latvian environmentalism; the struggle of Russia's indigenous peoples for environmental justice; public participation in Estonia's environmental movement; and lack of access to natural capital in Tajikistan.

Environmental Justice and Sustainability in the Former Soviet Union makes clear that although fragile transition economies, varying degrees of democratization, and a focus on national security can stymie progress toward "just sustainability," the diverse states of the former Soviet Union are making some progress toward "green" and environmental justice issues separately.

 

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Contents

Introduction
1
1 The Law as a Source of Environmental Injustice in the Russian Federation
21
2 Thinking Globally Limited Locally
47
3 Places and Identities on Sakhalin Island
71
4 Oil Wealth Environment and Equity in Azerbaijan
97
5 Civil Society and the Debate over Pipelines in Tunka National Park Russia
119
6 The Role of Culture and Nationalism in Latvian Environmentalism and the Implications for Environmental Justice
141
7 The Fight for Community Justice against Big Oil in the Caspian Region
153
8 Viliui Sakha of Subarctic Russia and Their Struggle for Environmental Justice
189
9 Environmental Justice and Sustainability in PostSoviet Estonia
215
10 Environmental Injustices Unsustainable Livelihoods and Conflict
237
Conclusion
275
Index
283
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About the author (2009)

Julian Agyeman is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University. He is the coeditor of Just Sustainabilities (MIT Press, 2003).

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