Staunton, May 11 – The environmental protection movement, which played a great role in the rise of broader nationalist movements in the final years of the Soviet Union, has re-emerged in Bashkortostan, where its activists are now involved in a far more complicated political game.
Like other ethnic communities in the USSR, the Bashkirs were able to talk about their distinct national interests by getting involved in the superficially non-political effort to protect their territory from the impact of rapid and uncontrolled industrialization with its resulting pollution.
But unlike many of them, the Bashkortostan effort has been studied in some detail. (For a survey of its history, see R.R. Shilimova, "The Ecological Movement as an Institution of Civicl Society in the Regions of Contemporary Russia (on the example of the Republic of Bashkortostan,” (in Russian), a thesis, Ufa, 2012).
After the collapse of Soviet power, the ecological movement in Bashkortostan ceded its place in ...