Making Socialist Ideals Global: The Soviet Union and Environmental Protection since the 1960s

At the end of the 1950s, the American academic community started paying attention to the new theme of environmental protection. To its surprise, it discovered that the Soviet Union was in certain ways ahead of the curve in terms of legislation and scholarship in the field. The presentation discusses Soviet scholarship on human-environment interactions, analyzing how and in which context it was produced and how it compared to Western equivalents. In parallel, the presentation examines how the theme of a ‹socialist way› for environmental protection was treated by the Soviets in international organizations such the UN, the UNESCO, and the WHO, from the 1960s to the 1970s. The goal appeared to be for Moscow to – in the environmental field as well – attempt to make socialist ideals global. The presentation draws on Soviet scholarly publications from the Cold War era dealing with environmental protection and archival research in Russia.