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Regular version of the site

Article

Between water pollution and protection in the Soviet Union, mid-1950s-60s: Lake Baikal and River Vuoksi

Water History. 2018. Vol. 10. No. 2-3. P. 223-241.

This article examines the discourses of water pollution and protection in the Soviet Union in the 1950s-1960s. It explores discursive practices which sprung up related to two paper and pulp plants, one located on the shore of Lake Baikal and another production unit in Svetogorsk on the border with Finland. These two discourses provide deep insight to pro-industry and nature protection claims which characterized Soviet water pollution and protection discourses in the 1950s-1960s. The paper contends that discussions about pulp production near Baikal were influencing the conditions in other, far located regions and stimulated engineering of water treatment facilities. The development of such facilities became a compromise between supporters and defenders of increasing pulp industry production, but in practice did not result in solving the problem of water pollution. In analyzing this issue, I consider discussions around the Baikal pulp plant and first attempts of introducing advanced water treatment in an industrial city of Svetogorsk and beyond, also discussing contacts with the West, in particular with Finland and their effects on Soviet water management.