In every paragraph of Adam Baker’s contribution (Alliance Voices Vol 11, No. 6) there is, I think, something I take issue with. But let me confine myself here to something I have particular experience of: the environment, and the environmental movement, in the USSR and post-Soviet Russia.
Adam asks, “Are we honestly saying that the entire Soviet Union was an ecological disaster?” Later, he asserts: “To suggest the environmental damage was on the same level as the rest [?] of the capitalist world is drawing a very long bow indeed.”
I lived for close to two years in the Soviet Union, and for a further seven in post-Soviet Russia. Reporting on the local environmental movement was part of my brief as a GLW correspondent, and also a personal enthusiasm. I got to know the Moscow environmental scene well, and interviewed activists from numerous republics and provinces. I also travelled, and saw some of it for myself. The Moscow sociologist who has made Russian environmentalism his specialty remains a close friend, and I’ve translated several of his books.