This talk addresses the development of the Soviet north from the standpoint of environmental history. During the twentieth century, the Soviet Union turned the Kola Peninsula in the northwest corner of the country into one of the most populated, industrialized, militarized, and polluted parts of the Arctic. This transformation suggests, above all, that environmental relations fundamentally shaped the Soviet experience. Environmental interactions both enabled industrial livelihoods and curtailed socialist promises. By treating the natural world as a participant in the communist project, this talk will counter the notion that the Soviets simply conquered the north. While Soviet power remade nature, nature also remade Soviet power.
Andy Bruno ‘03 is an associate professor in the department of history and faculty associate in environmental studies at the Northern Illinois University. His research concentrates on varied aspects of the environmental history of the Soviet Union. He has written about animals and avalanches, energy and economy, revolution and repression, waste and water, science and socialism, and other themes. His first book, The Nature of Soviet Power: An Arctic Environmental History, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2016. Currently, he holds a Fellowship in Aerospace History from NASA and the History of Science Society and is undertaking research on the history of the 1908 Tunguska explosion.
Co-sponsored by the history department, environmental studies program, Russian department, and the division of literature and language. Free and open to the public.
Monday, March 26 at 4:15pm