Environmental Resources and Constraints in the Former Soviet Republics

Environmental Resources and Constraints in the Former Soviet Republics

Environmental Resources and Constraints in the Former Soviet Republics

Environmental Resources and Constraints in the Former Soviet Republics


The rapid changes in the former Soviet Union have rendered most pre-1992 works on its environment obsolete. A more specifically geographic approach that highlights the particular situation in each republic and region is offered by Philip R. Pryde's new work, Environmental Resources and Constraints in the Former Soviet Republics. Focusing broadly on environmental systems, infrastructures, and problems, the book also surveys each republic's physical geography, ethnography, resources, history, economic bases, and future needs and potential. The environmental legacies of the Soviet period are outlined, and current trends are explored. The volume is well illustrated and includes many maps reflecting the most recent changes in place-names. For its concise overview of the geographic environment in the post-Soviet republics, this book will be valued as a guide and reference by scholars, students, and professionals.


This book represents one of the many international responses to the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union. Previously, most writers on topics dealing with the ussr chose to present their material in a topical fashion, describing a particular situation across the whole of the vast Soviet nation. After December 1991, the approach of examining the entire ussr in a topical manner was no longer feasible. Fifteen new countries had emerged from the womb of the dying Soviet Union and now had to be treated as individual entities. Very few previous books on the Soviet Union, whether textbooks or thematic works, had adopted this type of regional approach, and indeed, the editor's own 1991 work, Environmental Management in the Soviet Union, is unfortunately also now out of date in this regard. It seemed timely, therefore, to examine the environmental situation in the former ussr in the format of a regional analysis, to see how each new republic's environmental situation appeared when viewed in a discrete spatial context, shorn of the unifying umbrella of central Soviet planning and control.

Accordingly, most of the book's chapters are devoted to an examination of the environmental situation in a particular former Soviet republic. There are four exceptions. Chapter 1 examines the changed environmental situation in the context of the former ussr as a whole. Chapter 2 summarizes the situation over the vast breadth of the Russian Federation. the last chapter endeavors to present some conclusions that seem pertinent to the new conditions as these republics look ahead to the twenty-first century.

One portion of the book, Chapter 10, embraces a different format than the other republic-oriented chapters. It looks at the administrative structure for managing environmental affairs in some detail for one key republic, Ukraine, and in so doing provides considerable insight into environmental management in this important new nation. However, given that all the newly independent republics have inherited the same environmental legacy from the antecedent Soviet bureaucracy, what is said in Chapter 10 for Ukraine is equally applicable in a general sense for virtually all of the other former Soviet republics as well.

Chapters 3 through 20 have been prepared by highly knowledgeable authorities on each former republic. They were asked to include in each chapter, in addition to a discussion and analysis of environmental problems, background information on the history, physical geography, natural resources . . .

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