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Environmental movement in the Soviet Union: self-organization of professional environmentalists

Ирина И Халий, Doctor of Sociology main researcher, ,
Environmental movement in the Soviet Union: self-organization of professional environmentalists.
Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2012. Vol. 3. No. 2. P. 61-69

This Article is downloaded: 674 times
Topic: Topic of the Issue: «Professional as a subject of social action»

For citation:
Халий И. А.. Environmental movement in the Soviet Union: self-organization of professional environmentalists. Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2012. Vol. 3. No. 2. P. 61-69


The article is devoted to the emergence and development of nature protection brigades (DOP) arranged by students (with the support of the teaching staff) of a number of faculties of science in the USSR universities in the late 1950s and early 1960s and the development of a network of these public associations, which in the late 1960’s became the Movement for nature conservation (DDOP). The article presents the results of the multi-year study: conducting in-depth interviews with former and current participants of the DDOP; the study of documents and methodological developments of various ex-USSR brigades and media publications about them; the author’s 20 years monitoring of the activities of a number of former vigilantes. They explain how in the conditions of strict authoritarianism such informal civil formations and a number of others could arise and act continuously. The socio-political context of the emergence and development of the DOP and the Movement of the brigades, the reasons for them, the values of their members, and the development of the goals of the movement are analyzed. The conclusion is made about the interdependence of the causes of emergence of DOP, the values and goals of their activists. The goals were formed gradually, after development of the system of values and based on them. The goals and values are combined into a single whole by clearly formulated approach, according to which the nature protection is a matter of life. They continue to carry it out to this day: up to the present time, the brigades of various country universities exist and act, the network of organizations, institutions, certain people, who strive to protect nature in good faith, operates and develops. There is an informal community of environmental professionals. The environmental movements’ participants are democratically oriented, since for effective protection of nature the society support is absolutely a must, as well as recognition of public opinion by the authorities and the ability to participate in decision-making. This networked social organization is unique. It was created by students in Soviet times, when no one had any idea of networked social structures. There is still nothing similar to this in the world.


social movement, activism, values, purposes, self-organization of the professionals


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