In recent years, international, inter-governmental entities have acknowledged the importance of civil society for engaging stakeholders in environmental change, especially at the local community level, and in promoting democracy. In Russia, efforts by NGOs to promote reform since the fall of the Soviet Union have been aimed at achieving both objectives. This fascinating and highly illuminating book explores the political, legal, and attitudinal barriers to environmental reform in Russia since 1991. 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. This path-breaking book will be of enormous interest to scholars, researchers and students focusing on comparative environmental policy and politics, contemporary public policy in Russia, and international politics.
1. Civil Society, Environment, and Russian Politics Post-1991
2. Russia's Environmental Challenges and their Management
3. Environmental Civil Society through Russian Eyes: Stakeholder Views
4. Case Studies and their Insights into Civil Society Growth: Chelyabinsk, Lake Baikal, and Genetically Modified Food
5. Interpreting Civil Society: Challenges, Change, and Environmental Significance
6. Conclusions: The Bad, the Good, and the Uncertain
"A fresh and up-to-date discussion of Russia's manifold environmental crises, using the results of an elite survey and a framework based on the civil society literature. I believe this is the best treatment of its subject that is presently available and, given Russia's enormous territorial extent, it is a study that has important implications for everyone who has any concern for the future of Planet Earth."
– Stephen White, University of Glasgow, UK