Russian leaders have embraced a resource state. They see the development of natural and mineral resources as crucial to the nation’s economic, strategic, and imperial power. Under the Soviets – and again under Putin – they have focused tremendous resources on such big projects as dams, canals, mines and other extensive earth-moving operations to generate state power and legitimacy, and at the same time have see the projects as a way to transform local people into good citizens. Less well studied in comparison is why governments as different as Russia, Brazil and the US continue to support large-scale nature engineering projects from Amazonia, to the Tennessee Valley, to Washington State, and to the Arctic and Siberia. This lecture explores the economic, political and ideological roots of big projects in the twentieth century – and their environmental and social costs.
Paul Josephson is professor of history at Colby College, Waterville, Maine, and also teaches at Tomsk State University and Moscow Engineering Physics Institute. He is the author of 13 books.
Paul Josephson, Professor of History, Colby College
Sponsored by the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies.
For more information, please call 617-495-4037.