Version 3.2_September 2016
Individual Paper: Framing socio-ecological conflicts in Russia
From state-socialist societal nature relations and their neoliberal adaptation
Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union Russia´s dependency on natural resources has significantly increased. According to the Russian state agency for statistics (Goskomstat), the share of non-renewable energy sources (oil, gas and coal) in total exports reached almost 70 % in the year 2013.
The paper combines two goals: Analyzing the historical formation of the Soviet development model the legacies of societal nature relations of state-socialism shall be determined. Based on output growth and fossil fuels as the dominant energy source, the appropriation of natural resources was closely linked to a promise of societal modernization. Secondly, it is asked how the legacies of societal nature relations of state-socialism shape the current mode of development in Russia (resource-extractivism). Therefore, the focus shifts to the transition process and its impact on the receptivity of de-growth concepts and strategies in Russia. In fact, the implementation of capitalist reforms built upon development promises similar to state-socialism. Valorization and appropriation of nature, usually in the form of resource-extraction, has intensified because they are presented as the only solution for relative poverty reduction and modernization. However, the peripheral incorporation of the state-socialist countries in the capitalist mode of production impedes alternative development strategies beyond economic growth. Both state-socialist societal nature relations and their capitalist adaptation are a common feature shared by all Eastern European countries. Therefore, it is an important but often disregarded explanation for the specific ecological formation in the region.
Start time: 11:30
Track: Historical socialism in Eastern Europe