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Journal Article

At the Watershed: 1958 and the Beginnings of Lake Baikal Environmentalism

Nicholas B. Breyfogle
The Slavonic and East European Review
Vol. 93, No. 1, CONCEPTUALIZING AND UTILIZING THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT: CRITICAL REFLECTIONS FROM IMPERIAL AND SOVIET RUSSIA (January 2015), pp. 147-180
DOI: 10.5699/slaveasteurorev2.93.1.0147
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5699/slaveasteurorev2.93.1.0147
Page Count: 34
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At the Watershed: 1958 and the Beginnings of Lake Baikal Environmentalism
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Abstract

In August 1958, one of the most visible and dynamic environmental protection movements in Soviet history exploded onto the public stage. In an effort to shield Lake Baikal and its surroundings from the effects of an aggressive industrial development campaign in eastern Siberia, the proponents of Baikal alerted the Soviet public and its leadership to the threats of such economic agendas to the natural world. This article tells the story of the first stage of the multi-decade history of Lake Baikal environmentalism, from its genesis in 1958 to 1961. Coming out in advance of Rachel Carson's 1962 Silent Spring, the story of the Baikal environmentalists highlights the existence of an influential, local-level, scientist-driven environmental activism in post-war Soviet Russia and also asks us to rethink the place of the Soviet experience in the global development of environmentalism.

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