Exploring Russia's Environmental History and Natural Resources

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SPB & Volkhov 2013

St Petersburg and Volkhov Hydroelectric Power Station, March 2013

Volkhov Hydro-Electric Power Station - March 2013

Volkhov Hydro-Electric Power Station. Photo courtesy of David Moon

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Introduction

Potential Network members and other invited participants gathered for a workshop on board the Icebreaker Krasin in St Petersburg. Some participants also visited the Volkhov Hydro-Electric Power Station.

This preliminary trip was funded by the Georgetown Environment Initative.

Workshop on 'Russia’s Environmental History and Natural Resources' on the Icebreaker Krasin, St Petersburg on 24 March.

Participants

Leverhulme Network members
  • David Moon - University of York, UK
  • Jonathan Oldfield - University of Glasgow, UK
  • Julia Lajus - The National Research University - Higher School of Economics in St Petersburg, Russia
  • Adrian Selin - The National Research University – Higher School of Economics in St Petersburg, Russia
  • Alexei Kraikovsky – The European University at St Petersburg, Russia
  • Alexandra Bekasova – The European University at St Petersburg, Russia
  • Catherine Evtuhov - Georgetown University, USA
  • Alan Roe - Georgetown University, USA
Invited participants
  • Andy Bruno - Northern Illinois University
  • Anastasia Fedotova - St Petersburg branch, Institute for History of Science and Technology, Russian Academy of Sciences
  • Pavel Filin - Deputy Director, Icebreaker Krasin Museum, St Petersburg
  • Eric Johnson - University of British Columbia
  • Denis Shaw - University of Birmingham

Members of the network team after a preliminary meeting and workshop on the historic icebreaker Krasin (which was built on the river Tyne in 1916) in St Petersburg in March 2013.

Members of the network team after a preliminary meeting and workshop on the historic icebreaker Krasin (which was built on the river Tyne in 1916) in St Petersburg in March 2013.


This trip was held in conjunction with an international conference funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council at the European University at St Petersburg entitled "Conceptualising the Natural Environment: critical reflections from Russia, 18th-20th Centuries". Conference programme conceptualising-programme (PDF  , 372kb).

See some photos from the St Petersburg and Volkhov fieldtrip

Solovki 2013

St Petersburg and the Solovetskii Islands, the White Sea. 11-20 August 2013

Monastery on Solovki - Abi Sutton

Monastery on Solovki. Photo courtesy of Abi Sutton

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Introduction

The Solovetsky archipelago comprises six islands in the western part of the White Sea, covering 300 km2. Located in the Arctic region, the islands have unique flora and important fauna. They have been inhabited by fishing communities since pre-history and, from the fifteenth century, have hosted an Orthodox monastery. Monks organized large-scale fisheries and marine mammal hunting, and built an extensive network of canals. In 1921-39, the first Soviet labour camp (gulag) was located on the islands. In 1992, their international importance was acknowledged by designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They are now the location of research by archaeologists, historians, biologists, including specialists on fisheries, geographers, geologists amongst others. The islands thus offer rich materials to investigate the relationship between state, society, culture, religion and nature, and the role of science and technology, in Russia’s Arctic region.

The Programme for the Field Trip

spb-solovki-programme (PDF  , 262kb)

Participants

15 people from 8 institutions participated in the Field Trip:

  • Alexandra Bekasova – The European University at St Petersburg, Russia
  • Alexei Kraikovsky – The European University at St Petersburg, Russia
  • Julia Lajus - The National Research University - Higher School of Economics in St Petersburg, Russia
  • David Moon - University of York, UK
  • Abi Sutton - University of York, UK
  • Jonathan Oldfield - University of Glasgow, UK
  • Jack Sharples - University of Glasgow, UK
  • Ion Voicu Sucala - University of Glasgow, UK
  • Catherine Evtuhov - Georgetown University, USA
  • Michael David-Fox  - Georgetown University, USA
  • Alan Roe - Georgetown University, USA
  • Boris Gasparov  - Columbia University, USA
  • Kate Brown - University of Maryland Baltimore County, USA
  • Nick Breyfogle - Ohio State University, USA
  • Mark Sokolsky - Ohio State University, USA

Essays from participants based on aspects of the field trip

Papers presented at St Petersburg meeting - Jon Oldfield solovki-essay-oldfield (PDF  , 320kb)

Field Work - David Moon david-moon-solovki-essay (PDF  , 74kb)

On “Being There” and Spatial Dimension to History - Michael David-Fox solovki-essay-dmf (PDF  , 300kb)

Reflections - Mark Sokolksy solovki-essay-sokolsky (PDF  , 81kb)

Environment–Water–History: Explorations in Ecological History from Ohio State historian Nicholas Breyfogle. A series of blog posts resulting from the trip. https://u.osu.edu/breyfogle.1/

Our trip to Solovetsky Island -Jack Sharples solovki-essay-sharples (PDF  , 70kb)

My trip to Solovki - Abi Sutton solovki-essay-sutton (PDF  , 941kb)

Solovetsky – from spirituality to coercion. And back... - a photo essay by Ion Voicu Sucala solovki-essay-sucala (PDF  , 312kb)

An Essay by Ekatarina Kalemeneva, our guide

The canal system of Bolshoy Solovetsky Island - Ekatarina Kalemeneva ‌

Other Resources

A list of more Resources/Websites on the Solovetskii Islands can be found on our Resources & Publicity page

See some photos from the Solovki fieldtrip

Baikal 2015

Lake Baikal in Siberia. 25 July - 4 August 2015

Olchon Shaman Rock, Lake Baikal

Olchon Shaman Rock, Lake Baikal. Photo courtesy of Kirsten Buerger via Wikimedia Commons

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Introduction

Lake Baikal is the world’s oldest and deepest lake, and holds one-fifth of all freshwater. Its unique ecosystem contains 1,500 endemic species, including a freshwater seal. Baikal was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. For millennia an important religious centre, since the seventeenth century, it has been a site of exploration and scientific research. The location of an early Russian scientific nature reserve (the Baguzinskii zapovednik, founded 1916) it now has three reserves. There have been controversies over pollution from two pulp and paper mills, the impact of the Irkutsk hydroelectric dam, and a planned oil pipeline.

The Programme for the Fieldtrip

The network fieldtrip to Lake Baikal took place on 25 July – 4 August 2015. The group met in Ulan-Ude and visited various places on and around the lake including the Barguzin Nature Reserve (Russia’s first Zapovednik), the Ushkanyi Islands (home to the nerpa – the endemic  Baikal ringed seals Pusa sibirica), Olkhon island (with its important Buriat sites) and finished up in Irkutsk. Several workshops were held and local experts will be involved.

Full itinerary (including photos) Baikal Programme (with photos) (PDF  , 1,995kb)

Outline itinerary baikal_itinerary (MS Word  , 15kb)

Nicholas Breyfogle kindly put together a brief bibliography of the environmental history of the area in advance of the trip baikal_bibliography (MS Word  , 19kb).

Participants

14 people from 8 institutions participated in the Field Trip:

Alexandra Bekasova – The European University at St Petersburg, Russia
Julia Lajus - The National Research University - Higher School of Economics in St Petersburg, Russia
Ekaterina Kalemeneva - The National Research University - Higher School of Economics in St Petersburg, Russia  
Elena Kochetkova - The National Research University - Higher School of Economics in St Petersburg, Russia
David Moon - University of York, UK
Bryce Beukers-Stewart - University of York, UK
Hazel Long - University of Glasgow, UK
Ion Voicu Sucala - University of Glasgow, UK
Catherine Evtuhov - Georgetown University, USA
Alan Roe - Georgetown University, USA
Nick Breyfogle - Ohio State University, USA
Mark Sokolsky - Ohio State University, USA
Andy Bruno - Northern Illinois University, USA
Boris Gasparov  - Columbia University, USA

A summary of the trip by David Moon

Summary of Baikal Trip (MS Word  , 29kb)

Reflective essays from participants based on aspects of the field trip

The vanishing Paradise Lake Baikal - Ion Voicu Sucala baikal-essay-sucala (PDF  , 2,841kb)

Reflections on Lake Baikal - Andy Bruno Reflections on Lake Baikal by Andy Bruno (MS Word  , 15kb)

Reflections on the Trip to Lake Baikal - Mark Sokolsky reflections-baikal-sokolsky (MS Word  , 15kb)

An essay on the Baikal Trip - Elena Kochetkova Essay on Baikal by Elena Kochetkova (MS Word  , 35kb)

New dams, warming waters, forest fires - Lake Baikal in peril - an article by Bryce Stewart published in The Ecologist. http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2985427/new_dams_warming_waters_forest_fires_lake_baikal_in_peril.html

Other Resources

A list of more Resources/Websites on Baikal can be found on our Resources & Publicity page

See some photos from the Baikal fieldtrip

St Petersburg 2015

Joint Conference in St Petersburg 26-28 November 2015

St Petersburg

The Network organised a joint conference together with the National Research University Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg, entitled:

Natural Resources, Landscapes and Climate in Russia and Neighbouring Countries

Conference programme (final version 24.11.15) conference_programme_natural_resources_final (MS Word  , 28kb)

The announcement of the conference on the HSE website. http://sh.spb.hse.ru/chr/announcements/166243428.html

The conference abstract (translated into English by David Moon) conference_abstract (MS Word  , 14kb)

Conference Report (in Russian) http://sh.spb.hse.ru/chr/news/170851899.html

Reflections of the conference by David Moon (in English) conference_reflections (MS Word  , 16kb)

Chernobyl 2016

The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in Ukraine 28 June - 2 July 2016  

The Chernobyl Reactor

The Chernobyl Reactor. Photo courtesy of Carl Montgomery via Wikimedia Commons

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Introduction

The explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power station in April 1986 is the world’s worst peacetime nuclear disaster. It serves an example of the destructive potential of using science and technology generate power. The location will provide a disturbing location for studying the causes and consequences of environmental disasters. Paradoxically, the removal of the population from the exclusion zone (a 31 km radius) created an important site for research into nature conservation as well as the impact of radiation on the flora and fauna. Scientists have offered conflicting interpretations, which will be analysed in the context of the field trip.

Fieldtrip

The Network organised a field trip to the area on 28 June - 2 July 2016.

Sponsorship

The Georgetown University Environment Initiative kindly sponsored participants from non-Network organisations.

Itinerary

28 June : arrive Kyiv

29 June : workshop at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy

30 June - 1 July : overnight visit to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, including evening workshop

2 July : Depart Kyiv

Full itininerary kyiv-chernobyl-itinerary (PDF  , 362kb)

Detailed itinerary for the 2-day visit to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone exclusion-zone-itinerary (PDF  , 664kb)

Participants

13 people from 8 institutions participated in the Field Trip:

David Moon - University of York, UK

Chris Thomas - University of York, UK

Eamonn Butler - University of Glasgow, UK

Ion Voicu Sucala - University of Glasgow, UK

Nadia French - University of Birmingham, UK

Eleanor Slee - University of Birmingham, UK

Danny Croghan - University of Birmingham, UK

Philip Brown - Ohio State University, USA

Robynne Mellor - Georgtown Univesity, USA

Timothy Jorgensen - Georgtown Univesity, USA

Ian Haslam - University of Manchester, UK

Anna Olenenko - Khortytsya National Academy, Ukraine

Anna Osypchuk - National University Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Ukraine

Workshops

Programme for full-day workshop on 29 June 2016 at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Kyiv, Ukraine kyiv-workshop-programme (MS Word  , 48kb)

Programme for evening workshop on 30 June 2016 at the Desyatka Hotel, Chernobyl, Ukraine chernobyl-workshop-programme (MS Word  , 38kb)

Workshop presentations

Looking Back on Chernobyl: A Public Health Perspective - Tim Jorgensen chernobyl_talk_jorgensen (MS PowerPoint  , 3,388kb)

Fukushima and Chernobyl: Parallels and Wider Contexts - Philip Brown Fukushima_philip_brown (MS PowerPoint  , 12,747kb)

Reflective essays from participants based on aspects of the field trip

David Moon, ‘A Postcard from Chernobyl’’, Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective, 28 November 2016 http://origins.osu.edu/connecting-history/postcard-chernobyl

Gazing at Pripyat from East and West: a ruin of contemplation - Nadia French french-essay-pripyat (PDF  , 890kb)

Exploring the Environmental History of the Chernobyl disaster (a powerpoint presentation) - David Moon moon-chernobyl-ppt (MS PowerPoint  , 5,584kb)

The built/unbuilt environment at Chernobyl - Eleanor Slee built-unbuilt-environment-at-chernobyl (PDF  , 74kb)

History Matters - thoughts from Chernobyl - Ion Voicu Sucala chernobyl-essay-sucala (PDF  , 2,235kb)

Chernobyl's Ecology - Chris D Thomas chernobyl_ecology_reflections (MS Word  , 14kb)

Interview with returning settler (‘samosel’) in Chernobyl’ Exclusion Zone, 1 July 2016

David Moon and Anna Olenenko (Khortytsya National Academy, Zaporizhia, Ukraine), ‘Interview with Returnee to the Chernobyl’ Exclusion Zone’, The Ecologist, 25th November, 2016

http://www.theecologist.org/Interviews/2988387/interview_with_ivan_ivanovich_semeniuk_a_returnee_to_the_chernobyl_exclusion_zone.html

During the visit to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, the group met with a man who had returned to live in the zone since the evacuation after the accident (Самосёл). We asked him a series of questions about his experiences. Interview recording and transcripts.

The list of questions we asked. questions-for-returnees (MS Word  , 17kb)

Other Resources

Maps of Kyiv, showing the Podil area with thr Staro Hotel and Kyiv-Moyhla Academy. kyiv-maps (PDF  , 385kb)

A list of more Resources/Websites on Chernobyl can be found on our Resources & Publicity page

See some photos of the Chernobyl fieldtrip

Urals 2016

The Urals. 11 -17 July 2016

Gora Blagodat in the early 20th century – remnants of the hill, with a chapel on top.

Gora Blagodat in the early 20th century – remnants of the hill, with a chapel on top. (The hill has since been entirely subsumed by the iron ore mine). Gora Blagodat is in the city of Kushva in in the eastern edge of the Urals. Photograph taken by Sergei Prokudin-Gorskii, used courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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Field trip

The Network organised a field trip to the Urals, including visits to Perm, Solikamsk and Ekaterinburg, 11-17 July 2016.

Sponsorship

The Georgetown University Environment Initiative is kindly sponsoring participants from non-Network organisations.

Itinerary

urals-itinerary-july-2016 (PDF  , 616kb)

Participants

15 participants from 7 institutions will participate in the field trip.

Alexei Kraikovsky - The European University at St Petersburg, Russia

Alexandra Bekasova - The National Research University - Higher School of Economics in St Petersburg, Russia

Julia Lajus - The National Research University - Higher School of Economics in St Petersburg, Russia

Margarita Dadykina - The National Research University - Higher School of Economics in St Petersburg, Russia

Vasilii Borovoi - The National Research University - Higher School of Economics in St Petersburg, Russia

David Damtar - The National Research University - Higher School of Economics in St Petersburg, Russia

Anastasia Fedotova - Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia

Arkady Kalikhman (Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Sciences, Irkutsk)

Tatiana Kalikhman (Inst. of Geography, RAS, Irkutsk, Russia)

Ilya Kalinin - Russia

David Moon - University of York, UK

Denis Shaw – University of Birmingham, UK

Catherine Evtuhov - Georgetown University, USA

John McNeil - Georgetown University, USA

Urban Wrackberg - Norway

Worskshops

Workshop Presentations

Pre-Industrial Energy Management in the Russian Salt Extraction Industry. by Alexei Kraikovski and Margarita Dadykina. energy-managment-salt (MS PowerPoint  , 8,232kb)

Exploring the Environmental History of the Chernobyl disaster. by David Moon moon-chernobyl-ppt (MS PowerPoint  , 5,584kb)

Contested environmental space between the use of modern technology and indigenous mining practices in Ghanaian extractive sector: A focus on Obuase. by David Damtar. damtar-urals-presentation (MS PowerPoint  , 2,470kb)

Reflective essays from participants based on aspects of the field trip

Report on the trip to the Urals from July 11th to 17th, 2016 by David Damtar damtar-urals-essay (MS Word  , 1kb)

Photos

See some photos from the Urals fieldtrip