Ecocide in the USSR

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IN THE U S S R \-\ea

\th an d

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un de r s, e





1 1 1 1 ~ m ~ I ~ l t l ~ I ~ ~ l I l l l i m 1 ~ 1 1 i i I 1 1 1 1 l f f lt 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 ~ 1 i i I l I 111 lllll l~WI

2 9 Y 7 4 F S 6 S RAS66.S

IiiE IN THE USSR ECOCID 1 1 1 1 l l l l l l l l l l m l l f f l ~ I ! l t ~ ~ I I ~ I ~ l f f ~ l l ~ l l l l t l l m t l ~ ~ 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 t m I l I~ffll ff CH MURRAY

1 1 1 1 1 1 t m l l l l i Il FESHBA

1 m 1 1 1 1 ~ 1 ~ 1 1 w 1 1 m 1 ~ ~ i ~ H ~ l ~ l ~ l l ~ l f f ! M I ~ ~ I I lfflffllH 1











Seaof Laptev

Bering Sea







Air Pollution


Groundwater Depletion or Contamination


Pollution of Seas


Depletion of Fish Resources


Soil Salinotion, Depletion, or Contominotinon

~ v

Disruption of Permafrost Soil Conditions • Disruption of Land or Depletion of Subsoil


--D D

Multiple Pollutant Danger Characteristic Pollutants Soil Erosion Deforestation Acid Rain Water Pollution

IN THE USSR He alt h an d Na tur e Un de r Sie ge MU RR AY FE SH BA CH AND


For ewo rd by Les ter Bro wn


BasicBooks A Di1,iuon of HarpcrCollinsP,,bliSMFJ

To Ou r Families Ep11faph on p. v from Nikola, Kluyn , "Dctcrucnon: A cycle ol pocma," rranalared from ~ by Rachard McKanc, C Index on Ccmo nlup, 1991. Excap r from "150,000,000" by Vladimir MayaltoY1ky, rranslared by Joanne Turnbull wich rhe auascancc of Nikow Formozov, m Andm Smyavsky, Soc,in CwilW tllOfl: A CJ,,,r lll Hutor ,. Copy ripr C 19a by Albin Michel, S.A. Translauon copyr ipr C 1990 by Arcade Publilhins- By pamlU IOII of Linle, Brown and Company, 111 allOCUUon w1ch Arca4k Publitluns. Excap r from luru Shcherbalt, Chmeobyl: A 0oa,, ,.,.,., y Siar,, rramlared by laD Prna, C 1m, rcprmred by permlMIOf'I ol Macmillan Press Ltd. Excup r from R*n G. KaltCI', Wl,y CorlNKbw H-,pn ,,d: Hu 7,,,,,, .,,,, Md Hu F•ihn ., C Samo a~ Schus ra, New York, 1991, rcpnnced wirh pam11 1100. map char appca n as chc end papen II bated on a comolidarKNI of rwo map1 prepared by the lnlhtu rc ol Gcop aphy, USSR Academy of Samc a. The finr map appeared III Scrp llc,a. "Oaa strc m URSS," GEO 13-4 (Aprd 1990): 30-,31, mnrled "F1nr Map of a G.-,. uc PollllhOII," ~ uric ol che J«Ond map, hand, drawn and unpublished,•• "Kan a na1bolcyc oarrykh dtolo pchak ilth sanaaa11"("A Map ol che Moar Acute Ecolopcal Sicuanon1"). The map was prq,ar ed by a ream of acosr aphcn under Dr. 8.1. Kochubunw III che Laboracory of Complex Gcop aphic Forcca111. We arc indcbced co the 016cc ol the Gqra pher, U.S. Dcpc. of Stace for a copy of ch11 lancr map. ~

Library of Congress Caraloging-in-Pubhcarion Dara Feshbach, Murr ay, 1929Ecocide m the USSR : health and nature under siege / by Murr ay Fcshbach and Alfred Fncndly, Jr. p. cm. lnclu«ks b1bhograph1cal references and index. ISBN 0-456-01664-2 (doth ) ISBN o-465-01781-9 (paper) I. Env1romenral hcalt h-Sov acr Union. I. Fnmd ly, Alfred, 1938- . II. Title. RAS66.S.S6SF47 1992 91-S5456 OP 61S.9 '02'09 47-dc 20 Copyright C 1992 by Murr ay Fcshbach and Alfred Fncndly, Jr. Pubhshcd by BasacBooks, A D1vis1on of HarpcrColhns Pubhshcrs, Inc. All rights reserved. Pnnted m the United Stares of America. No pan of rhas book may be reproduced m any manner whatsoever without written pcrmauion cxccpc in the case of bncf quora uons embodied an cnuc al amclc s and ~v1ews. For infon nauo n. address BasicBoolts, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299. IHs,g ~d by E//,."


93 94 9S 96


8 7 6



J 2


The news we receit1ed was bitter the rippling waves of the Aral sea in det1d ooze, the storks rare in the Ukraine, the feather grass drooping in Mozdok, and in the bright Sarov desert the wheels of machines squealing underground. Black clouds brought us further news; the blue Volga is getting shallow, ei,il men in Kerzhents are burning the green pine fortresses, the Suzdal wheat fields bring forth lichen and stubble. The cranes call to us as they're forced to fly in for remains. The nesting finches' feathers fall out and they're plagued by ravening aphids, the furry bees have only the b,g veteran mushrooms to buzz at. The news was black: that there was no home land left ... -NUCOLAI KLUYEV

"Destruction: a cycle of poems," wr,tten before his arrest m 1934 Richard McKane, translator


Foreword by Lester Brown




1 Facing Facts Shortened Lives, Nud less Deaths Vicious Syneriy: Pollution and Disease Chernobyl: T e Glasnost Fallout From Subjects to Activists Protest by the Volga On to the Streets From Protest to Power Beginnings of Wisdom 2 Bin h of the Future The Wh ip of Necessity Science Subservient Socialism Versus the Louse A Du ~ to Health The P an: Agent of Destruction False Fronts and Self-deception

3 Harvests of Neglect As Ye Sow A Stinlt.inl Ruin Ill Fares t e Land Contamination for Mass Consumption Preference for Poison Baclt. t,o (Human) Nat u,~



4 8 11

14 16 18 21 23 27 30 31 34 36

39 43 49


54 51 60 64 68


11 Th e People Speak Greening Aro und the Edges Re ady for Prime Tim e Brushfires at the Grass Ro ots Fighting Cit y Hall All Po we r to the Soviets! Thi ngs Fall Ap art

229 231 233 237 239 244 247

12 A Tim e ro He al

251 253 256 258 260 264

En vir onm ent al Eco nom ics Th e Prices of Cleanup First Thi ngs First Rx for He alth Wh enc e Co me th My He lp

Ap pen dix


No tes


Selected Bibliography


Ind ex




wc do our State of the World report at the \X'orldwatch Institute, we, in effect, give the earth an annual physical examination. The resu1ts of this annual checkup arc not reassuring. Each year, the world's forests are smaller, the deserts are larger, the topsoil on cropland is thinner, the stratospheric ozone is more depicted, the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere rises and the number of plant and animal species with which we share the earth diminishes. And air pollution has reached health-threatening levels in hundreds of cities. Already the physical degradation of the earth is damaging human health, slowing the growth in world food output and contributing to a reversal in economic progress in dozens of Third World countries. Human health is affected by environmental degradation in every society, though the precise causes and effects vary widely. By the age of ten, thousands of children living in southern California's Los Angeles basin have respiratory systems that arc permanently impaired by polluted air; cancer rates have climbed dramatically in Czechoslovakia over the last few decades; in Australia, skin cancer has reached near-epidemic proporuons. We have long known from these and thousands of other examples that we cannot separate our health from that of the earth itself-but no one has documented this link for any country in as much detail as Murray Feshbach and Alfred Friendly have for the Soviet Union. Just when you think the litany of soaring cancer rates, chronic respiratory EACH YEAR WHEN




ing the framework of rules within which the economy operates. Socialism assumes an inherent lack of greed and hence fails co guard against its potennally destructive consequences. In the wake of the failed coup m August, the various republics face a staggering array of problems, including how to clean up the environment. As Feshbach and Friendly demonstrate, these newly independent republics find themselves in a situation where the problems arc so grave that economic recovery depends on environmental cleanup and, hence, a restructuring of the economy. The same grass·roots movements and initiatives that caused the coup to fail can also generate the intttanvcs to reverse environmental degradatton. But it is difficult to overstate the economic and environmental dimensions of the challenge now facing the republic governments. This book contains a rich collection of data on the health effect'.> of environmental degradation in what was, until recently, the world's third most populous country. It provides a window on the future of other countries if environmental degradatton is not taken seriously. This information-ric h volume is the product of two men who have devoted much of their lives to scudyrng the Soviet Union. Feshbach has been analyzing social trends in the Soviet Union for much of his career, initially as chief of the Soviet branch m the Foreign Demographic Analysis Division of the Department of Commerce and more recently, as a research professor at Georgetown University. Friendly covered Soviet affairs for several years as a 1'.1oscow correspondent for ";\Jewsweek magazine. The combined research and writing skills of the two have produced a remarkably useful book, a case where one plus one equals far more than two. Lester R. Worlduiatch Institute



As IT s Ro KE o ow N , the Soviet Union opene d up. Our book , while an exam inatio n of some of the factors and forces responsible for the political and econo mic collapse, is in many ways a produ ct of the infor matio n revolution that preceded and propelled the disintegration. We have tried to use laym an's language both to describe the disas trous consequences of health and envir onme ntal policies on the Soviet people and co docu ment the prote sts again st chose policies that gathe red moun ting force in the Gorb achev years. The story is draw n in the main from Soviet sourc es which, but for glasnost, woul d have been inaccessible. \~1c O'Ne a ma1or debt to the 1ournahscs, scientists and cinzenactivists who compiled the publi c recor d on ecological and hcakh condi tions in the USSR and who, in a numb er of cases, expla ined their work and their findings to us in perso n. The core of the book , however, is scholarly research, the work of a professional lifetime spent ferreting out and analyzing the grudg ing flow of often suspect Soviet data abou t labor , fertility, morta lity, educa tion, migra tion, welfare and military manp ower . Thos e studie s by Dr. Feshbach led to significant discoveries: the rising rares of infan t morta lity in the 1970s and the official effort to conceal the facts; the high birth rates of Musl ims in Centr al Asia that, along with their low mobility, foreshado wed labor and ethni c imba lance s as likely sources of social, economi c, military and political tensions. The 1978 publi catio n of a coura geous samizdat work on envir onme ntal abus e--Th e Destruction of Nature, writte n by Zc'ev \Volfson unde r the pseudonym of Boris •



Komarov -dicrated a new dimension of research by revealing the harm that pollution was doing to economic and human health. The various strands of scholarship first came together in Economics 2 of Health and Environment m the USSR, a comprehensive analysis Dr. Feshbach did for the Office of Net Asse!",sment of the Department of Defense, where, as director, Andrew J\1arshall has been a steady source of support. Among those \-\'ho read that study, Dr. Harley Balzer, director of the Russian Arca Studies Program of Georgetown University, and Steve Fraser, senior editor of BasicBooks, were both firm in their belief that the findings needed to be put before an audience broader than the community of academic and officia1 specialists in Soviet affairs. Harley, m particular, was the catalyst for our co11aboration and a perceptive critic of its product. To the extent that our use of rhe English language is reasonably clear and occasionaJly graceful, we owe profound thanks to the editorial acumen of our uncommon, common friend, Peggy Nalle, who read, marked and guided the rewriting of the first draft of the manuscnpt. Other gentle readers-Muriel Fcshbach; Strobe Talbott; 1\1ary Bingham; Edmund Pellegrino, ~1.D.; Michael Ryan, Ph.D. and A-iaria Cherkasova, Ph.D.-have saved us from a variety of errors and lapses. As research assistants, Ann Rubin, Elizabeth O'Shea, ~!argot Jacohc.., Shawn Dorman and Scott DiGruttolo served as keen-eyed guides through the mountains of technical and other hterarure we ha\'e tried co explore. Less formally, Dina Kaminskaya, Gary Litman, Vladimir Litwak, Larisa Silmtskaya and Konstantin Simis in \\'ashmgton, Yevgeniya Albats and Manna Konovalova in Afoscow, N1kola1 Babushkin in Krasnoyarsk and Timur Isatayev in Alma-Ara culled, clipped and kept us m touch with a range of Soviet publications on ecological and medical issues. Having utilized much literature in transbtion, we are al•m deeply indebted to the anonrmous lingu1stc; of the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) and the Joint Publications Re,carch Service (JPRS), as weH as to the American taxpayers who finance their tn\'aluable work. For supporting some of our tra\:ds to the USSR, especially a 1990 reporting trip on population, health and environmental issues that took us to 11oscow together and Friendly on to Volgograd, Odcs!)a and Yaroslavl, we owe special thanks to the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX). For hospitality in the Soviet Union on that occasion and advice on understanding the changes m progress, we are grateful as well to Rosemary Forsythe of the U. ~- Emba~sr and to the Ambassador of Ital)' and J\1rs. ferdinando Salleo. Our thanks are also due to Professor Ronald Liebowitz and his fellow geographers at ~1iddlebury College for their assistance in preparing the maps used to guide readers to locales mcntiont>d in various l:haptcrs. 1



Seeking a broad readership, we have used simplified spellings of Russian names {Grigory, Vassily, Yevgeny and Norilsk, for example) in the text and put the scholarly transliterations (Grigoriy, Vasihy, Yevgeniy, Nonl'sk) of chc Cyrillic alphabet on maps and in the source notes at the end of the book. The place names are those in use as of midAu~ust 1991 when, for example, Belarus was Belorussia, St. Petersburg was Leningrad and Yckatennburg was Sverdlovsk. The book 1s a cautionary talc. It is full of depressing, often deeply distressing eHdence of man •s inhumanity to man and to nature, of the ternble price in human health and natural wealth exacted from the Sonet people by leaders and a system that put first things last. The bleakness of the story I however, is partly redeemed by the other ev•dc:nce we found of a social and civil awakening, of popular movements to defend the environment against further abuse and to put the subjects of history in charge, at last, of their own destiny. It is hard to be optimistic abouc the speed or even the ,ikcly success of chat effort in a setting as ravaged and an economy as battered as the Soviet Union is in the fall of 1991. It 1s possible, nonetheless, to harbor the hope that a turning point has been reached and passed and that a nation that has endured so much 3\'oidabJe tragedy in its history is still capable of making for itself a humane future. Something of that hope animated the sweeping chirry-one-point Declaration of Human Rights and Freedoms adopted by the Soviet parliament as it disbanded on September 5, 1991. The resolution is an almost Jeffersonian set of pledges of individual liberry that also spells out social guarantees of work, pay, welfare, public housing and education. Articles 28 and 29 of the Declaration proda1m a right to "health protection," including free medical care, and a double entitlement to "a favorable natural environment" and to "compensation for damage to ... health or property" caused by "ecological violations." Those will be hard and expensive promises to keep. Neglecting them, however, has brought calamity. \X'e hope our portrait of rhat disaster and ns cam,es may prove useful to people in what was once the Soviet Union, to those who seek to assist them to recover and to others who want to avoid such errors in their own countries and on the planet that is our common home. Murray Feshbach

Alfred Friendly, Jr.






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have to be enormo us. Ideally, to compen sate for the long-ter m and continu ing abuse of two essentia l resource s, nature and human health, betwt:en 1990 and 2015, the nt:w nations would have to allocate funds amount ing to many nmes the value of total 1990 USSR gross nationa l product (GNP). \X1hilc outlays of such magnitu de appear cripplin g, even unattain able, properly directed investm ents could make econom ies more efficient and the people stronge r. In the absence of such remedia l action, environ mental neglect will continu e to put added strain on the debilita ted medical care system. Disease chat victims traced, rightly or \.\.'rongly, co pollutio n put an extra element of indigna tion into Gorbac hev era politics. Activism produced loud, sometim es unrealis tic demand s for immedi ate ecologic al cures. Protest that originat ed in environ mental disputes quickly widened in many cases to fan ethnic tens tons and complic ate politicia ns' efforts to hold the compon ent pares of the Soviet Union under central rule. Togethe r, environ mental and medical failures not only deflated pretensions about the social merits of the So,·iet system; they also reflected an accumu lating social breakdo wn. A few example s of the \\"ays m which Soviets have laid siege to their environ ment and, in consequ ence, underm ined their health and \Veil-being only begin to suggest the scope of the crisis. • To make up for the inefficiency of their farming practice s, Soviets resorted to the massive but untutor ed use of toxic agricult ural chemicals. They even spread tons of DDT long after other nations banned it, so much for so long that 25 million acres of croplan d are still overloa ded with the poison. In some areas marked by pesttcid c abuse, the infant mortalit y rate runs twice as high as in cleaner, nearby regions. ~,crates and other dangero us substan ces appear in produce and in more than 40 percent of baby food at levels high enough to touch off medical and consum er alarm. A drive to raise Central Asta 's cotton output through extensiv e irrigation and intense applicat ion of pesticides and defolian ts dried up and contam mated the rivers that used to su'imin the Aral Sea, once larger than Lake Huron. As ,rs ,·olume shrank hy t,-.,·o-third-:., storms carried rhe toxic salts from irs exposed bed to fertile fields more than one thousan d miles away. ~o much contam ination by chemica l wastes has been dumped into the dnnking water supply char mothers in the Aral region cannot breast-f eed their babies without running the risk of poisoning them. • Industri al growth, pursued at reckless speed, without cffecri,·e measuremen t of econom ic or social costs, has put 70 million out of 190 million Soviets living in 103 cities in danger of respirat ory and other 2


life-shortening diseases from air that carries five and more times the allowed limit of pol1utants. Almost three-fourths of the nation's surface water 1s polluted; one-fourth is completely untreated. By themselYes, the two giant mm1stnes of energy and metallurgy account for half the air pollution. Unrreared. waterborne agri1_;ultural, industrial and human wastes together threaten to kill the Sea of Azov, the Black Sea and the Ca::,p1an and have turned giant riYers, including the Volga, the Dniepr and the Don. into open sewers. • Inefficiency in exrracnng fuel and generating electricity has brought the USSR to the brmk of a severe energy crisis, intensified by postChernobyl protests strong enough to stall and even to cut back the growth of nuclear power. Oil producnon has plummeted, and hardcurrency sales of oil and gas-the bulk of SoYiet export earningsdropped by o\·cr one-third in 1usr three years. ~1eanwhile, the coses of the 1986 reactor explosion have kept climbing: Beyond a 9-b1ll1on-ruble cleanup bill, economic losses could mount to 200 billion rubles. S1m1larly, the number of facalic1es inside the USSR, officially put at chartyonc, almost certainly reached four thousand in excess deaths by mid1991 and may go ten times as high hefore 2036. • Environmental decay, as a menace co human health, has combined with a breakdown in medical care and with dietary defic1enc1es to reduce the country's military strength. In 1990 fewer than half of Soviet draft-age men were fit for duty, while a steep rise in the proportion of young non-Slavs-mo stly ~1uslims from Central Asia-threaten s m coming years to upset the ethnic balance in the ranks. The Red Army is both polluter and victim of pollution. The physical and political fallout from its nuclear-\.\ ea pons te~ting grounds has been so mtense that, since 1989, only very limited experiments have been permitted at what had been the most active site m Kazakhstan. Radioactive wastes allegedly of military origin also have generated fear and protest near \~'hire Sea ports used by the Soviet fleet and commercial ships. • Doctors, most of chem honest and caring bur many of them incompetents who bribed their way into medical schools, arc severely handicapped by the low level of sanitation even m operating rooms and by the chronic and worsening shortage of supplies of reliable instruments and medicines. Fear of infection from unsterilized needles and unsafe vaccines has driven parents to put off immunizing their children. One result was a 1990 outbreak in Moscow of more than seven hundred cases of diphtheria, a disease that stnkcs one or two Americans at most a year. While a few surgeons were forced on occasion to substitute safety razors for scalpels in performing appendectomie s, two out of five young graduates of medical schools entered service unable to read an clectrocardia3


gram, and half the working pediatri cians (in one group of four hundred tested in Kazakh stan) proved complet ely ignoran t about the propert ies of sixteen widely used drugs.

SHOR TENE D LIVES , NEED LESS DEAT HS By failing to invest effectively in health care and environ mental protection, the rulers of the USSR brought the·~ver age life expecta ncy of its citizens down to the level of average life expecta ncy in Paragua y. From 66.1 years in 1964-65, life expecta ncy for Soviet men dropped to 62.J 1 years in 1980-81 , making only a small recovery to 63.8 years in 1989. Fifty-year-old males could expect in 1985 to die earlier than men who 2 reached the half-cen tury mark in 1939. Claimed illness kept nearly 4 million Soviet workers from their jobs on an average day m 1989.* That absente eism cost the system O\'er 7 billion rubles a year in sick pay and an estimat ed 20 b1lhon rubles in lost 1 producn on. Usmg 900 billion rubles as the likely sum of Soviet GNP m 1990 (100 billion rubles less than the official figure that Soviet authorit ies themselves acknow ledge 1s mtlated ), the losses due to ill health could be calculat ed at about 3 percent of the econom y's total output. After bringmg the death rate of children in their first year of life down from 80.7 per thousan d in 1950 to 22.9 in 1971,4 the USSR- alone among industri alized nations -saw infant mortalit y, as officially calculated, rise again co 25.4 per thousan d in 1987, roughly the same level as in Malaysi a, Yugosla via, East Harlem and Washin gton, D.C. Even though the reported toll dropped to 22.3 infant deaths per thousan d births in 1989, the actual infant mortalit y rate in the U~SR was more likely to be as much as 33 per thousan d, a frequency compar able to that of China and Sn Lanka. In countin g deaths in the first year of life, as in man}' areas of demogr aphic, econom ic an· found that the plant made hoses essential for the assembly line of a huge automotive works from which, in turn, the mumc1pal budget derived crud al funds. 34 Such trade-offs are not new to Western environmental policymakers, but Soviets are only beginning to confront and be confounded by chem. The delay has had major consequences. 'The [Russian] republic is in catastrophic condition," the chairman of the Russian Federation Committee on Nature Protection told his agency's first meeting in April 1989. Not only are five regions-the Urals, East and West Siberia, Central and 1



North Russia-"on the brink of ecological disaster,'' but, where air quality was monitored, "it is theoretically impossible to live in every seventh city." There is 20 nmes as much nitrous oxide as the norm in the air of Gorky [now N1zhny-Novgorod), Smolensk and Omsk; 33 rimes as much sulfur dioxide as the norm 1n N1kel; 183 times as much methyl mercapran as rhe norm in Volzhsky, 289 times in Arkhangelsk, 478 times in Novodvinsk; the benzoapyrene content in Novoku7.netsk's air is 598 rimes abo,·e the maximum permissible. 3 s

The air in Novokuznetsk, in fact, ranked only as the fifth most polJuted in the USSR.• During 1990 stationary sources a1onc put 889,000 3 tons of harmful emissions a year into the c1ty's atmosphere. " Close to Novokuznetsk in the southeastern corner of Western Siberia, the city of Kemerovo is also an environmental death trap for its 565,000 inhabitants. A coal•mming town since it was founded m the 1830s and a burgeoning industrial center since Stalin's first Ft\'e• Year Plan began in 1929, the city has become a smoky inferno of chemical, metallurgical and mining enterprises. Of Kemerovo's 109 large factories, 66 are sited in residential neighborhoods. A]ong with fertilizers, paints, plasncs and farm and mining equipment, Kemerovo industries annually produce nine times the maximum permissible levels of sulfur dioxide, seven timc:s the allowed limits of hydrogen sulfide and almost four times more solid phenols. nitrous oxides and carbon monoxide than Soviet rule" set as safe.'" One result was that residents m 1989 were two to three times as likely to suffer from blood diseases, chronic bronch1tis and disorders of the endocrine system as Soviet citizens on average. From birth to the age of fourteen, Kemerovo children had almost half again rhe race of resp1ra· tory i1lness as the national average and nearly thrc:e times the incidence of kidney and urir:iary tract infections. In one he.1vily polluted district of the city, retardation among children was 2.1 times more frequent than in a cleaner neighborhood on the opposite bank of the Tom Rl\·er, itself an industrial sewer carrying thirty.four times the maximum perm1ss1ble level of formaldehyde and forty-t,vo times that set for oil products. 19 The Kemerovo statl~Clc on chtld retardation et bur as the most polluted, most incapacitated. There 1s typical excess in that image. The Soviet Umon remains a land of vast natural resources, of strong, talented and resilient people. It is, however, a crippled giant. Its self-inflicted social and ecolog1cal wounds, compounding and compounded by its economic and political failures, sapped So\ iet military strength and undermined Moscow's pretense to global influence. Forced to turn inward to recuperate and rebuild, the USSR, well into the twenty-first century, must also find ways to turn outward for help. Its needs for medical technology and training and for environmental protection and cleanup equipment and expertise will be enormous, ranging from the simplest pharmaceutical supplies-vitamins and condoms, for instance-to the most sophisticated oil-drilling and pollutioncontrol machinery. At the beginning of the 1990s, however, Soviet planners were barely in a position to define their prohlcms or set their goals in quantitative terms. Moreover. their society was only starting to come to grips wirh the politics and culture that, in exalting collective power 11


for over seventy years, had disdained individual well-being and that, in promising to subdue nature, had laid it waste. The first steps toward recovering human and ecological health had to be psychological. Facing facts that had been so long denied or camouflaged was the essential start of the therapy. "For seventy years we were taught never to think for ourselves,'' Dr. Barenboim observed. "That's the explanation for our ecological catastrophe. Like the mammoth hunters, we still think of nature as something to fight.'' 41 Appropriately, it rook a catastrophe to blast the truth into the open. The two barely separated explosions that rocked Unit Number 4 of the V. I. Lenin Chernobyl Nuclear Power Sta,ion, seventy-nvo miles north of the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, at 1:23 A.M. on Saturday, April 26, 1986, poured more radioactive material into the atmosphere than had 0 been released in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In the days chat followed, a mile-high plume of radioactive gas and particles dispersed some of its 30 million curies as far north as Sweden, west into Germany, Poland and Austria, and as far south as Greece and Yugoslavia. Another 20 million curies dropped onto some 50,000 square miles of the Ukraine, Belorussia and western Russia, poisoning soil and water, even in the hcavtly populated Leningrad region, where it lodged. 0 The extent of the fallout, however, was hidden from most residents of the affected areas. The first maps to show where radiation had contaminated the Ukraine and Bdorussia were not published until March 1989, and for four Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic 45 (RSFSR) oblasts, only in February 1990. A similarly classified map, reportedly showing 1,500 Leningrad city sites where radioactive wastes or nuclear production posed a danger to health, became an election issue in the late winter of 1990 in a city already so alarmed rhat it had put 1,200 people to work with dosimeters to check produce headed for its stores and markets. New civic leaders, many of them victors at the polls, charged Party bosses with concealing the danger and the fact that only thirty of the hot spob had been rendered harmless. 46 Although Academician Valer}' Legasov, the senior scientist on the first Soviet government commission sent to Chernob)'l, compared the blowup's historical consequences to those of the eruption of ~1t. Vesuvius,4' the parallel was inexact. Vokamc ash buried Pompeii and Herculaneum for seventeen centuries. Chernobyl's fallout, by contrast, helped to melt away much-but far from all-of the secrecy that authorities had long used to hide a vast range of health and environmental dangers. Old habits die hard, and the obsession with concealing ugly realities 12


is an ingra ined Ru~sian trait. It long anted arc~ the 1917 Revo lution . \X'ricing from the court of Czar Nicho las I in 1839 after a severe storm in the midd le of an imper ial celeb ration had k1lkd some wher e bcrwe en thirty and fifteen hund red peopl e, a Frenc h noble man obser ved: "\X'c shall never ascer tain the exact circu mstan ces of the event . Every accid ent here is treate d as an affair of \tate: it is God who has failed in his duty to the empe ror.... A silence more fright ful than the evil itself, everywher e reigns .... Russ ta ts a natio n of mutes ...., ;'\ear lr a centu ry and a half later, secn:cy was still so much the rulei> that ~1oscow autho rities did not admi t to outsid ers that a nucle ar accid ent had occur red at Chern obyl until April 28, more than forty- eight hours after the explo sions . E\'cn then the discl osure -forc ed by Swed ish scien tists whos e instru ment s first picke d up the burst of radioact1\'1ty from the plan t-wa s limite d co a terse annou ncem ent of accid ental react or dama ge. Initia lly and falsely, So,ie ts were told that ''the radia tion !,ltua tion in the powe r statio n and the surro undin g area is stabil ized. " 0 Noc until a .\fay 6 press confe rence m !vioscow and a May 14 tele,·ision addrc!>S by Soviet Party leade r ~1,khail Gorb achev , in which he angri ly blame d the \\ e..,t for using the accid ent "as a 1ump111g-off point for an unres traine d anc1-So,iet camp aign. " did the exten t of the dange r even begin to emerg c. 50 Gorb achev had come co powe r in ~1arch 1985 as an unkn o,vn politi cal quan tity co most Soviets and outsider~. Desp ite his pledg es to be a reform er, his first steps cowa rd peres troika , or restru ctunn g, seem ed limite d co reinst ating a cough camp aign again st alcoh olism and to restatin g the prima cy of the Comm unise Party -smt ably prune d of deadwoo d-in Soviet life. In earl} speec hes, howe ver, Gorb achev also proclaim ed a comm itmen t co the conce pt of glasn ost, a kind of openn ess that Lenin , in 1918, had endor sed as a techm que for the press to use tn "stim ulatin g the masse s into takm g part thems elves in solvm g the problems close st to them . " f l Befor e the 1917 Revo lution , glasn ost was a prima rily juridi cal term relatm g to legal reform s of 1864 that had made trials open ro the publi c. Drop ped from the Sovie t lexico n under Stalin , the word reapp eared only at the end of 1965 as a rallym g cry for a fe\\' disse nters dema nding acce5s ro the politi cal trial of write rs Andr ei Smyavsky and Yuli Danie l. •(n it., origina l form, ,the Sr:uc Sc:creu Act of 1947 prohibi ted publii:.uion of :,II econom ic and ~1>e1.1l data, let alone inform ation about ~cmiti\'c militar y or politica l topI('>. Not until nine ye~n, af rcr rite law w,h promul gated .md three year., after the death of Jo,eph '>r.ilm "a\ thc fir,t pmrwa r sr.1ti\tical handbo ok j,.,ucd, and c\·cn then much of it'> contcn b like: many orduur y Sonct docum ent,, ,uch .t'> cit)' map,- was fal•ificd.



agency for the USSR in 1988, officiald om provide d rhe proteste rs neither an ad,,ocat e nor a forum to which to appeal. Even so, environ mentali sts could count some victories. A massive letter-w riting and petition campaig n in 1986, sparked by publishe d appeals from nationa lly known scientis ts and writers, won a high-level decision to shdve plans to divert the northwa rd flow of several major Siberian rivers south to the parched cotton and rice fields of Central Asia.* The Kremlin decision followe d close on the Chernob yl disaster and seemed a tribute to Gorbac hev's June 1986 orders to Party function aries 1appar,1tchiks) .. to adopt a new style of \\·orking with" Soviet intellcct ua ls. "It is time to stop orderin g [chem] about. "S4 In the fall of 1986 a broad public outcry in Latvia- street rallies and tens of thousan ds of letters- targete d plans to build a dam and hydroelectric plant on the Daugav a River in the southea stern part of that Baltic republic . i< \X'hen Latvia's Council of ~1inisters and, in Novemb er 1987, its Soviet counter part ruled against the project, the young poets, artists and musicia ns who had led the fighr felt that .. we had won our first grca t victory. ' '56 Equally su~cessful but on a smaller scale, some 8,000 angry resident s of the Siberian city of Irkutsk rallied on No\'emb cr 26, 1987, in the city's Constit ution Square to protest piping untreate d factory wastes into the ri\·er that supplied the city its drinkin g water. In respons e co more than 100,000 signed petition s, the pipeline was cancellc d.57 In Kirishi, a small city some sixty-five miles southea st of Leningr ad, 12,000 of the 60.000 resident s. led by a twenty- six-year -old postma n, staged a demons tration on June 1, 1987, to demand the closing of a protein and vitamin concentrate plant they blamed for the town's soaring rate of bronchi tis and asthma. The thirteen -year-ol d factory shut do,11,•n but resumed its production of the additive for livestock feed early in August, suppose dly cleaner but still binerly conteste d. ~JI Except for the issue of divertin g the Siberian rivers and the fight over rhe Kirishi animal- fodder additive factory, the early protests generall y drew only local press attentio n. Even without nationa l publicit y, however, environ mental agitatio n rolled through the Soviet Union. On June 5, 1987, a rally in the Volga River city of Kazan brought togethe r some of the 70,000 resident s who had petition ed against plans to bmld a •The Ji-.·cr..ion h:td been propo,ed in part a, a remedy for the disa-.ter cau,t·d by ma"ive .md ma~,;ivdr mismanag ed 1rrig;1tion -.,heme-. in lhhek"ran and ne,ghbonn g rc:puhhc~. from 1960 to 1989 the flow of river water into the Aral Sea had bc:c:n cur from fort'}' cubic kilometer'> a year to live, lowering ir, \'olume h} 66 per~ent. A par.,lld buildup of pc:.11c1dc:.. and hc:rb1c1de~ in drinking water so affected health m the rt-gion that "the incidence oft} phoid fever ha'.> ri ..en almost 30 rimes ... and child morulaty ,s more than SO per 1.000 binh,."J• (Sec chapter ◄.)



biochem ical plant in a park area. On Octobe r 17 some 2,000 proteste rs appeare d outside the Nairit chemical comple x on the outskirt s of the Armeni an capital of Yerevan to demand an end to air pollutto n so thick that it regularly hid the 16,496-foot heights of Mount Ararat thirty miles 59 away.

PROT EST BY THE VOLG A That same month the wave of ecological activism reached the lower Volga, to a city that traders founded as 'Fsaritsy n in 1589, that gained lasting fame as Stalingr ad tn 1942-43 and that boomed under the name of Volgogr ad after 1961. The first to respond to the new mix of freedom and anxiety were a group of women among the 5,000 employe es of the Fiftieth Anniver sary of the Octobe r Revolut ion oil refinery. For some time, these women and their friends m the souther n reaches of the city had been giving birth to an alarmin g number of severely deforme d and retarded children . By late 1987 they had conclud ed that chemica l pollution in the heavily industri alized Krasnoa rmeisky (Red Army) district (rayon) where they lived and worked was to blame. They may well have been nght. Aside from the refinery, the district housed a major aluminu m factory and two large chemica l complex es. In adjacen t rayony stood another chemical installa tion and a mill, similar to the one m K1rish1, for convert ing paraffin distillat es of petroleu m into vitamin -enhanc ed supplem ents for animal feed. The 180,000 district residents had also heard that they were to get an unwelco me new neighbor: a plant to manufa cture the pesticide Basudin , which inaccurate rumors identified as contain ing the very chemica ls that leaked at Union Carbide 's Bhopal, India, factory, k11Hng over 2,500 people in Decemb er 1984. The Krasnoarme1sky women '"·ere scared, angry and determi ned ·•ro start a fight agamst the chemical factorie s," declared Galina ~·1aksimovna Borovin a, the head of the women 's council at the refinery. That, in brief, was the appeal she put to Alfred Aleksan drovich Pavlcnko. the bald, intense, garrulo us film and cheater director who ran the refinery's cultural center. Both in their early fifues, Pavlenk o and Borovin a were friends of long-sta nding. Her husband , the refinery 's former general director , was a devout Commu nist ,vho, in retireme nt, enjoyed arguing politics with Pavlenk o, an outspok en noncon formist . Pollutio n and its consequ ences was one of the few issues on which the 60 two families agreed. Over the years since the 1960 complet ion of the giant Volgog rad 16


Hydroe lectric Station north of the city, they had seen progres s turn to blight. The farmlan d between the Volga Rner to the caM and a lmc of low hills on the west had filled up with people, prefabn cated high-rtse apartme nt building s, high-vo ltage power lines and industri al smokestacks. Sprawli ng more than forty miles north co south along the river's right hank, much of Volgogr ad had come co look like a ,ertical Levietown set in the midst of a giant New Jersey petroch emical complex . \X'herc Catheri ne the Great had put Ccrman -spe.iki ng settlers in the late eighteen th century to till rhe soil and stand guard against incursio ns by Tatars from the eastern steppes, where ~oviet heroism had turned the tide of \X'orld \Y./ar II m Europe and left 90 percent of the city in rums, uncheck ed industri al develop ment, a new kmd of enem}', was killing the lo,...·er Volga and the land along it. Pollutio n was also, it seemed, killing children . Borovin a and Pavlenk o did nor know the dimensi ons of the health cns1s building around chem. Even rwo years into the era of glasnost, accurate statistic s on rates and causes of death and disease were still guarded as a state secret. Doctors in Volgogr ad itself, howeve r, knew that during the 1980s they were deliveri ng sigmficantly higher number s of sick newbor ns than before. Parents , materni ty clmic personn el and srat1st1cians at the Mmiscry of Health' s local Institute of Professi onal Patholo gy, a "closed " center connect ed with the chemica l industry , kne\>v btts and pieces of what was happeni ng. But in 198--:-' such phenom ena-far from unique to Volgograd-w ere neither discusse d in public nor explaine d. Even in the fall of 1990, Dr. Vladim ir Vmoshk in, a forty-ye ar-old cardiolo gist at City Hospita l Numbe r Three m rhe center of Volgog rad, could tell a visitor what had been happeni ng but not why. "In the last ten years," he said, "there has been a significant increase in births of babies without eyes, babies without skin, babies with severe develop mental defects and with lowered immuni ty to all sons of illness. ~'e are seeing more pneumo nia and bronchi al asthma too, lots of skm allergies, and even more heart disease among men under forty. \Y./c send fifteen ro twenty patients a year to Moscow for bypass operatio ns, but between rwo and three hundred need them and Just have to wait . .. Maybe alcoholi sm is respons ible in part, but pollutio n must play a role. All we see a re the consequ ences. ~' e don't know the origins. \X.' e don't have the scientific informa tion or experns e. They cell us what's emitted into the air, but we don't know what it really means for people's health. " 61 The "conseq uences" in the Krasnoa rmeisky district went beyond birth defects. There, the incidence of bronchi tis, asthma and allergic reaction s was two and a half times the rate for the Volgogr ad 62 oblast as a. whole. 17


Overall in the Soviet Union, children living near aluminu m factorie s such as the one in the Kr.isnoa rmeisky district were seven times more likely to come down with rickets than youngst ers in cleaner surroun d63 ings. Downw ind from such a factory at Tursun -Zade on the border of Uzbekis tan and Tajikist an, "the children never smile," Dr. Barenbo im 64 had observe d. "Their teeth have all rotted our. " In the Krasnoa rmeisky neighbo rhood of the "Kau~ti k" and "Kh1mp rom" enterpri ses, where hydroge n chloride em1ss1ons were especial ly high, resident s who died of cardiov ascular diseases were, on average , seven and a half years younger than those who died of the same causes bur lived in the rela65 tively cleaner air of central Volgogr ad. . , .. Relative ly" is an importa nt qualifier. In 1989 Volgog rad ranked twenty- second among Soviet cities in populat ion but fourreen th in terms 6 of the quantity of harmful emissio ns measure d in its atmosph ere. & Over one-thir d of the 39,000 stationa ry sources of air poliutio n in the entire oblast- and more than half of those inside the city limits-l acked 67 In the industri al center of Volzhsk y, north of ent. equipm tion purifica the city and on the eastern bank of the Volga, a single petroch emical enterpri se, Orgsynt ez, was blamed for causing ..systema tic and extreme" levels of air pollutio n. Because 1r failed to control its emissio ns. an official report said, concent rations of methyl mercap tan occasio nally 111 rose "hundre ds of times" above the legal limit. Nor was dirty air the only environ mental hazard in Volgog rad. "A Niagara of untreate d waste" flows into the Volga all along its 2,293-mile length, and not far upstream from the Krasnoa rmeisky district, the huge Red Octobe r metallurg1ca) plant is only one of the industri es that burden the river with petroleu m produ~t s one hundred rimes above che permitte d limits."'

ONTO THE STREE TS \'tetho~cope like thi< !-he ,ay, wi,tfully. 'I could bc~omc the be,t Jo,tor in Sihcrn.1.' ...,



years-- were present, the child died of gastroin testinal illness and dehydra tion that might have been curable had he been properly diagnos ed a few days earlier. "\X'e simply do not have any diagnos tic equipm ent," said one of the Childre n's Fund physicia ns. "Even a bottle of oxygen is a problem here." Added an Uzbek pediatri cian: "This is one of the best places. Sttll we have only our hands and our 50 heads to work with. "

RESEN TMEN T RISIN G The povert>· of public health care in Central Asia, like the ecologic al damage done by the cotton monocu lture, could be seen as a dramati c 82


enlargement and intensification of che pillage and neglect inflicted on most of the Soviet countryside. ~1agnified in the Aral Sea region and the Amu Darya Basin, agricultural poliq•, however, looked to growing numbers of Central Asians 1tke part of a historic conspiraq• by Rm,sians to expl01t their ~tuslim subjects. As old patterns of silence, collaboration and apathy slowly gave way to impatience and resentment, spokesmen such as Karakalpakia's Tulepbergcn Ka1pbergenov denounced ~1.oscow's central planners as "utterly criminal." A passionate few spoke of genocide. Demanding redress, some (though not Kaipbergenov) sought to revive che vast design that the Kremlin shelved in 1986 for turning the flow of some Siberian 1 riYers southward. \X here Minvodkhoz planners had thought to put the Siberian resources into the Volga and Don rivers, Central Asians wanted the water to replenish the Aral Sea and 1ts tributaries. According to Russian ecologists who sympathized with the Central Asians· plight but not their proposal, the river diversion project was part of a long-standing bureaucratic scheme that actually hinged on drying up the Aral Sea. They claimed that the idea, dating at least to 1973, had envisioned using Siberian water resources to expand irrigation into land from which the Aral \,,.ould retreat. A 1981 map presented the desiccation as an opportunity to turn exposed seabed into paddies that would produce 4,400 pounds or more of rice per acre. As late as 1987 the chief backers of the idea were calling the Aral "nature's error" and voicing the hope that it would "die in a beautiful manner. " st Scientists who studied the record angrily concluded that ~tinvodkhoz has benefited from constantly digging canals and obtaining billions of rubles from rhe stare budget for this purpose. To insure its operational territory for year.., to come, it set out to exhaust all the water resources of Central Asia .1nd then to increase the area under irrigation. The re:ears." Perform ance, howeve r, was slov,: ro nonexis tent. At the end of 1989, the USSR Suprem e Soviet passed its own resoluti on calling for a competi tion to "develo p concept s for restorin g the Ar JI Sea." By ~!arch l, 1991, none had been pre..,ented, and the Uzbek chairma n of the parliament'.:, environ mental affairs commit tee asked for another six months ro refine the "draft of a ·new' resoluti on." Ecologist Sergei Zalygin bitterly denounced rhe maneuv er: .. Srnctly speakin g, there is nothing in this 'new' docume nt besides bureauc ratic blather and wishes address ed ro Lord knows who."•• As for executive action, experts meeting in Tashke nt in Septemb er 1990 said that the 1988 Kremlin decree had proved a "mirage ." Even with forty organiz ations involved and a startup budget of 5 million ruhles alJocated, the Aral was continu ing to shnnk, mfanr and materna l mortali ty to nse. A local Uzbek official could not say how much water had actually reached the Aral in 1990, and specialists estimate d that 12 billion -not 5 million -rubles were actually needed to restore normal life in the region. 70 Politically, life in Central Asia had not been normal since Party purges in 1986 removed the top layer of corrupt ion in the ruling elite. J\r1any of the successor politicians, howeve r, still took a concilia torr line toward the Kremlin. But where popular fronts appeare d, so did a kind of ethnic militanc y, one reason that a reported 94,000 Russian -speake rs fled Uzbekis tan in 1989, with more than 200,000 expected to follow their exampl e m 1990. These departu res decimat ed the ranks of professionals, leaving vital installat ions such as the republic 's largest thermal electric power station without skilled mainten ance personnel for irs turbines and halving Tashke nt's ambula nce service scaff. 71 That out-mig ration diminis hed hopes for rapid ecological recovery in Central Asia. Those hopes, in any case, had co be slim. The officials who decided in the 1960s to starve the Aral in order to feed the cotton fields knew at least some! of rhe trade-offs involved. They opted to increase irrigatio n whateve r the cost, spoutin g rosy forecasts of doubled nee and cotton harvests and quadrup led fruit and vegetable yields. Well after the fact, ~1invod khoz's chief compar ed projected Aral Basin cotton earnings of 11.2 billion rubles with what he calculat ed would be one-twe lfth char amount in costs to .. the (Aral] fishing trade, maritim e transpo rt and the coastal econom y. " 71 Hts balance sheet rook no account of rhc damage the cotton monocu lture \.\·ould do to human health, nor of the ecological consequences of the Aral's desiccat ion either for the regional climate or for the distant fields on which its salts fell as a poisone d rain. As early as 1968 the head 87

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Dark, Sat ani c Mills

UNTIL EN\'IRO!'\MENTAL CONSCIOUS?l.l:.SS genuine ly began to enter Soviet thmkmg in the lace 1980s, factory smokes tacks stood as symbols of the country 's might, progres s and, by extensio n, beauty. Along with towerin g concret e cliffs of dams, giant excavat ions of openpit mines and the ordered march of high-vo ltage power lines, clouds of soot-bl ack, orange, yellow -floated across the natural, political and psychic lan&.,cape as emblem s of hope, rather than as portents of disability and death. Industri al develop ment was high romanc e, socialistrealist style. The rule for it was the sooner, the bigger, the better. In the modern world that attitude was no aberrati on. The dynamo , in Henry Adams' image, supplan ted the Virgin as a source of inspirat ion from Kitty Ha\vk to Kamcha tka. Nowher e was the transfor mation more warmly applaud ed or more energeti cally pursued than in the USSR, and nowher e has the corollar y damage to nature and human health gone so long unatten ded. From the urgency of Stalin's first FiveYear Plan through the rot of the post-Kh rushche v decades , the Soviet Union has been on a crash course that sacrificed vast human and natural resource s to the goals of growth, prospen ty and power. During the Cold War, Moscow seemed to be achievin g its aims. The appeara nce misled many outsider s and the Soviets themselves until, by the 1990s, a maelstr om of econom ic decline and politica l disarray exposed the deceptio n. The means by which the USSR had pursued its 91


goals had proved not just defective but destructive. And the cost of remedying past errors looked ro be beyond reckoning. Among the miles of largely uncatalogued celluloid decaying in a USSR State Film Archives depository at Krasnogorsk outside Moscow, there survives a pathetic, untitled tribute to the enthusiasm with \11,·hich many Soviets embarked on the road to ruin. A partia1ly restored, early .. talkie" shows a well-dressed young woman arriving in a desolate shtetl. a tumbledown Jewish village probably in the Ukraine. She has come in a truck filled with consumer goods to hire laborers for a far-off construction site. The unemployed flock around her co sign up, and one urges his son, just returned from twenty-eight years as a brick mason in America, to enlist as well. .. The ragged~ illiterate father, played by Solomon Mikhoels, a famous Yiddish-theater actor murdered in one of Stalin's last outbursts of antiSemitism, cries to impress the son with the magnificence of the opportunity. Stuttering with excitement but obviously ignorant of the actual location or the kind of factory to be built there, he blurts out, .. It's 1 Magnitogorsk. They're building there! 11agnitogorsk!" The site, named for the Magnetic Mountain in the Urals, did become one of the giant industrial undertakings of the 1930s, turning the rich and easily mined iron-ore deposits into steel for factories, railways, tractors and-in World \Var II-for tanks and other weapons. l',;ot all its workers came as volunteers. Some 40,000 were kulaks deported there in boxcars. Of them, "as many as 10 percent" died in the tents that were their only shelter through the first winter. 1 Another presumed victim was Abram Kammsky, a young ~\fuscovice recruited directly from rhe prison camp to which he had been sentenced on political charges m the early 1930s. He told family members that as a trained economist he spent his four to five years of involuntary servitude in relatively comfortable living and working conditions. They believed, however, that he contracted his fatal leukemia at the site of what Party sloganecrs hailed as an enterprise of "great socialist con3 struction. " If so, his name should be added to the long hst of casualties of the development of Magnitogorsk and tht> other huge industri;.1I complexes that despoiled the Soviet landscape in the name of progress. ~1ost of the dead, diseased and dymg were known only to their relati\·es and friends. Their aggregate numbers told the story: Some 223,000 inhabitants of ~iagnicogorsk-34 percent of all the adults and 67 percent of all children fourteen and younger-suffered from respiratory illnesses; roughly 25,000 infants a year-forty-one out of every hundred in l\1agnirogorsk-wcre born with one or another pathology.• Birth defects in the city have doubled smce 1980.5 92


THE SHROUD OF POLLUTION At best it is possible to sketch a rough portrait of the harm done to the Soviet environment in the course of industrialization. The picture has to be put together from statistics that no one quite trusts, drawn from samples taken by obsolescent monitoring equipment and inspectors \11,·ho often gave factories advance warning of their arrival so that the dirtiest furnaces and assembly lines could be temporarily capped . .. On its days off the [pollution] control service cakes no samples of air and water," Pravda correspondents reported from the smog-choked cit}' of Cherepovets, two hundred miles due no;th of Moscow ... And on the mght shift, co raise output the workshops at (the metallurgical combine] shut off their purification equipment" so that citizens wake up in the morning "as though from a drugged sleep. ••u The official figures for the factory's 1989 em1ss10ns were 584,000 tons of completely uncreated carbon monoxide. nitrogen dioxide, ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, 13 plus 42,000 tons of liquid wastes. Those statistics, without doubt, understated the damage the combine was doing. Similarly, much of the data assembled in these pages has to be construed as conservative esnmates of actual pollution. Anr depiction of the USSR 's environment must begin with Soviet data and revise upward. The re~ult should be understood as indicative, not definitive. \X7h:it could be imperfectly documented were faltering step~ toward controlling pollunon and the damage it was doing to human health. \X1hat could not be discerned was a single mstance of en\'ironmcncal turnaround such as the elimination of London's famous and deadly fogs or the cleanup of Cleveland's Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie. Lace in the 1980s Soviet scholar:.. did begin to design comprchen~1ve proposals for the kind of long-term economic and en, 1ronmental revival that Pittsburgh undertook. Goskompriroda 's chairman even cited the .. two or three billion dollars•• spent on overcoming pollution in the Pennsylvania steel center as an example for his country. 14 In mid-1991, however, such sweeping ecologteal pro1ccts-for the Armenian Repuhlic, the S1benan city of Krasnoyarsk and the mining region of Kursk among others-existed more as drafts than as firm plans of action. 15 Data made public m late 1990 did indicate some progress: Official measurements revealed a nearly 10 percent drop over nine years in the overall volume of stationary-~ource .umospheric pollution, with most of 10 the decline occurring since 1986. Smee official 1985 to 1988 outlays for air pollution control averaged only about 1 billion rubles-far less than what was spent in those years failing to cap the growth of water pollu94


levels in the 1980s. ln nine Soviet cities the 1989 levels of ammonia and 1 hydrogen sulfide were ten or more times the PDK. , America's Aeet of privately owned cars was one of its worst sources of pollution. The USSR, with one-tenth the number of such vehicles and with truck fre1ght one-half the U.S. volume, scill managed to produce about two-thirds as much atmospheric poison from automotive exhausts. 18 Between 1988 and 1989, ,.-.,hen Soviet industrial emissions, as measured, fell by 3 mmion tons to a yearly level of nearly 420 pounds per capita, reported automotive pollution in 538 Soviet cities and towns rose by 100,000 tons to a total of 35.5 million tons, or 250 29 pounds per capita. Cars and trucks accounted for as much as 80 percent of the air pollution in the capitals"" of six republics from AlmaAta in Kazakhstan to Riga in Latvia and in such Black Sea resort 30 towns as Yaka and Sochi. In Moscow, already ranked fifth in the nation in 1989 for the volume of pollutants emitted by stationary sources, an estimated 750,000 vehicles added as much as ten times more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than health rules permitted.11 In the first six months of 1990, the total tonnage of stationary-source emissions rose to almost 149,000 tons, a 5 percent increase over the 32 first half of 1989. The situation in the Soviet capital, where fewer than 30 percent of the industrial polluters were said to have installed purifying equipmcnt,H was aggravated by the shortage of trees and parks to act as urban lungs. Muscovites had 29 percent less greenery per capita than the Soviet norm; 1 in the city center the deficit was nearly 80 percent. • Of the area's 9 million residents) only 720,000 were considered to Jive m "ecologically acceptable zones," and epidemiologists blamed polJution for one-fifth of all il1ness. Residents along the inner-belt road, inappropriately called the "Garden Rmg,,. suffered from heart, vascular and nervous c;,ystem ailments two and a half times as often as their neighbors in the A1oscow region as a whole. 35 Despite the scope of the automotive pollution problem~ more than one-third of all Soviet auto in4ipection station" lacked the equipment to analyze the gaseous output of exhaust systems. Only about 10 percent could even measure the smoke in vehicle em1ssions. 1 " Perhaps in recognition of this deficiency, Soviet authorities began 1988 hy doubling the norm for the maximum rate of carbon monoxide em1ss1ons from 1.5 percent to 3 percent of exhaust gasc-;. Arguing that their standard was still rougher than any other country's,,.. two officials rationalized that •EPA regulations in 1991 permirted l of carbon monoxide (CO) per hour, apparenrl) higher \ov1ct tolerance.... but st.He:. .such a\ California have impo\ed tout,thcr rule'>. The federal government hJ~ al-,o targercd fuel cmi,,1om, ,uch ,h lead,



since the new limit would be easier to enforce, it would actually help retire "all defective c:irs. " 38 Officially, the 1989 level of air pollutants in the USSR as a whole was 94 million tons, with toxtc industrial emissions down by one-fifth from 1 7 19 6. " Soviet experts admit, however, that the real, ovcral1 figure should be "at a minimum" 20 to 30 percent higher. Underreporting was not Just a result of factories that saved thetr worst pollution until monitoring devices shut down at night. It was also a function of an underequipped control effort. The environmental inspection services of the State Committee on Hydrometeorology (Goskomg1dromet), for instance, were not capable of monitoring pollunon from rail, air, sea and river transport, home heating, trash burning or accidental fires. They also lacked the authorization to survey what went on in or came out of military facilities. And the underpaid inspectors were as prone to bribe-taking as other Soviet functionaries and under the same kind of political pressures to falsify inconvenient data as the doctors who concealed or misreported infant deaths. Under the circumstances, observers considered it justifiable to add 30 percent to the official count of harmful atmospheric emissions. The result was a total of over 122 million cons of air pollutants for 1989, 40 or 854 pounds per capita. In the United States, according to data for 1986, the total was slightly higher than in the USSR: air pollution of 108 million tons, or 873 pounds per captta, almost equally divided benveen stationary sources and vehicle emissions.• 1 U.S. emissions of sulfur dioxide were 20.4 million metric tons in 198 7 , compared to official (therefore understated by 20 to 30 percent) Soviet totals of 16.8 million tons in 1989. For suspended particulates, Soviet emissions as measured at 13.7 miJlion tons were already almost twice the U.S. total of 7 million tons.•1.1n other words, the Soviet Union, with industrial output valued at only about half that of the United States, had managed to make its atmosphere just as dirty and in many cities a clear and present danger to human health. And where Americans ha,·e been making a strenuous, if incomplete, effort to dean their air since 1970, Soviets, two decades later, had barely begun such work. The American effort has been spurred by accounting methods that can, if imperfectly, measure the environmental costs of production and the market value of raw materials. Soviet economics put no real price on water, land, minerals or other goods held by the state. Until 1990, which Soviet~ did nor contemplate beginning to control before 1995. The EPA a)-.o required the pcrrochcmical indm,try co hold average hourly CO ourpur to O.OS percent of total cmissions.n




when an experimental range of fees for pollution began to be developed for projected nationwide implementation in mid-1991, minor fines were almost the only penalties for assaults on the environment. The efficacy of the fee system was also in doubt. Only a fraction of the country's 46,000 industrial enterprises have begun to shift from dependence on plan targets of gross output to a measure of selffinancing. W1thout such a changeover to market realities and an end to administered prices, it is impossible for managers to factor ecological costs-once they are established-into their calculations of profit and loss. Started in 1989, that initial cconomic .. reform moved slowly. Selffinancmg did nothing, moreover, to strengthen the feeble system of pollution regulation or the ideology-driven presumption that natural resources, as common, social property, should be all but cost-free to the state and the ministries that served as buyers and suppliers. The plan that governed them and the Partocracy that in mid-1991 still formulated and oversaw the plan gave little weight to ecological concerns and less to environmental protection incentives.


To Soviet planners, the imperatives that long mattered the most \\'ere the expansion of gross output, the prestige of the socialist state and its leaders and the Soviet Union's need to advance tts security in isolation from Western rivals and markets. Such thinkmg dictated the crash course of industrial development. That model came from the 1930s, from Stalin's 1931 injunction: "The pace must not be slackened ... those who lag behind are beaten ... [and) old ... Russia ... was ceaselessly beaten for her backwardness. " 0 Intensified by the wartime frenzy of production and postwar reconstruction needs, the commands of the center set the standard destructive pattern for investment and growth throughout the Soviet Union. The disaster even spread through the vast expanses of S1 heria. The Angara River, flowing out of the southern end of Lake Baikal, for example, has become an aqueduct for poisons. Yearly it carries 257,000 tons of chlorides, 140,000 tons of su)fotes 1 over 30,000 tons of organic wastes and 10,000 tons of nitrates from factories built in the 1960s and 44 1970s along its banks. A 1989 study of thac pollution in the Irkutsk oblast, including the city of Angarsk, found "increased illness and shortened life expectancy" due to "the intensive industrial expl01tat1on of the region." Other ills in98


eluded hyperacidity of over one-third of the region·s arable land and "extremely irrational practices tn timber procurement. " 45 "The prevailing winds usually disperse the pollution from the Angarsk chemical plant over Baikal" some sixty miles south and east, an Amencan journalist noted in 1990. "But sometimes, when the wind is m the wrong direction, it Aoah back over" the city, and "residents complain rhat brearhmg becomes more difficult and that the ram contains a corrosive ac1'd ..... In comparison to the people of Zima, a S1benan settlement some 150 miles north and west, the mhabttants of Angarsk were almost well off. Onnl the late 19-,0s Zima was noted only as the place that poet Yevgeny Ycvtushenko spent his warn me childhood. On geological maps, however, it stood out for a huge chlorine deposit, a literal Siberian salt mine that prompted rhe Chemical Industry Ministry to plan a major complex for the manufacture of poly\'inylchlori de and very pure alcohol. To win the appro\'al of Zima 's townspeople, the ministry promised rhem employment, prosperity and rebuilt homes. Drawn by the bonuses gl\en for hardship labor in the north, however, workers from other parts of the Soviet Union took the best-paid 1obs. And as the plant was nearing completion about four miles from the village, its managers reneged on their ongmal pledge to reconstruct Zima. Instead, they proposed co house its people in a new town at Soyansk on hills about eight miles beyond the plant. Again ther went back on their word. "They built a lovely cay, but they only let about 10 percent of the population of Zima, the ablebodied workers, move into it," recounted Dr. Barenbo1m ... '\Vhac do we need with the old people?' they decided. They even kept them out of the well-stocked stores in Soyansk. "l\iow the prc\'ailing winds carry the factory's smoke to Zima. Salt buildup has poisoned the subsoil. On some days the air carnes ten nmes the PDK of an amalgam of alkali. On some days it's two hundred times the norm. " 47 Bcnzoaprrene m the air of Zima, in fact, averaged twentytwo times the tolerable level in 1989, the highest such reading in the Soviet Union. 41 Zima and Soyansk were small dots on the vast expanse of Russia. The city of Norilsk, almost three hundred miles above the Arcttc Circle, was rhe epicenter of a huge blot on the first authoritative, published map of USSR air pollution drawn in 1990 by the Soviet Academy of Sciences' Institute of Geography. A company town of 171,000 with another 96,000 living in the surrounding area, it housed huge deposits of copper and nickel, a giant ferrous metallurgy combine to process them and "the 49 sickest children in the country. "




Youngsters in Norilsk were not just victims of an Arctic dimate in which six months of darkness alternate with six months of daylight. \X'hen tt shone, the sun was filtered through an omnipresent overcast of sulfur d1ox1de-1.2 mi1Jion tons in 1989-pouring from smokestacks all 10 around the city. On windless days the "gas," as locals called it, regularly reached levels seventy-two times the maximum allowable daily 51 concentration, five-tenths of a milligram per cubic meter. Official measurements of Norilsk ·s atmosphere in 1989 recorded a sulfur dioxide high 26.4 rimes PDK, a carbon disulfide maximum of 49 POK, and .werage levels of phenol and hydrogen fluoride of 3.5 and 1.7 POK, respectively. u The men of the city were said to have the highest rare of lung cancer in the world. n Compared to the population of Dudinko, an industry-free town some sixty miles away, Norilsk's people were twice as likelr, on average, to suffer from prolonged upper respiratory tract infections. The risk to children fourteen and younger was more than two and a half times as high as in Dudinko. The youth of Norilsk held fourth place in the USSR in the incidence of blood and kidney diseases and sixth place for skin diseases. s• At least in 1990 there were children. In 1935 when the Politburo resolved a turf fight over which ministry would exploit the minerals, Norilsk's few inhabitants were exiled kulaks like those rounded up to build ~iagnitogorsk. Their limited numbers were augmented O\'er eighteen years by shipments of 250,000 polincal pnsoners. There would have been more, bur during the fo11ty-five-day barge trip north on the Yenisei River, one-fourth of each shipment of 600 convicts usually died. u The survivors were greeted in 1937 by the first camp director's exhortation: '"Let us transform the entire contingent of prisoners into a vanguard of Socialist production!'' Retired in 1938 after he and h1s involuntary shock-\\'Orkers had brought the first furnaces on line, he was to return later to die in his own outpost of the Gulag, a prisoner like the gco1og1st N. N. Urvantsev, \a,,·ho first discovered the fabulous ore deposits in the 1920s. "N1kola1 N1kola1e\'1ch," his barrackmates used to tease, "couldn't you somehow or other cover up Nonh,k and rediscover another, just a bit farther south?"sc,

DEATH TRAPS IN THE RUST BELT Indeed, farther south in the Urals and in Siberia were more nch veins of minerals and more industrial infernos where the ore, coal and other raw matenals ,, ere mined, smelted and turned into heavy machinery, such 100


as the giant stnp-mining steamshovels produced in Sverdlovsk, to pull more metals from the scarred earth. Through the Urals from Perm to Nizhny Tagil to Sverdlovsk to Chelyabinsk to Magrnrogorsk and then east to Kemerovo and Novokuznetsk, a vast, toxic rust belt of mines and metallurgtcal combines stretched across the Soviet Union. Some dated to Stalin's first Five-Year Plan; some to the heroic evacuation of Russian industry ea-,t, away from Hitler's advancing armies in 1941-42. Few were modernized; alJ were fearsome sources of pollution, killing grounds for those who had to work in them and for their children. In Berezmk1, a small city near Perm, for mstance, children under the age of fifteen were over eight times more likdy to suffer from blood diseases m 1987 and 1988 than the average of their contemporaries in 121 other badly polluted Soviet urban areas. ln Sterlitamak, at the southern end of the Urals, and in the Ukraiman cit)' of Chcrkassy on the banks of the Dniepr River, the incidence of eye and lung ailments among youngsters was nor only 1.5 to 2 rimes as high as the 122-ciry average, but also-for lung diseascs-100 co 200 times the rare in the impoverished Turkmenistani town of Chardzhou.57 Kemerovo was not necessarily the dirtiest of these cities, just one of those most closely studied. The figures were staggering. Discharges of such pollutants as sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, sulfunc acid and nitrous oxides ran co over five tons per hour. Dust and ash entered the atmosphere at the rate of more than 7,000 pounds an hour; carbon mono.xide emissions were half as high. To bring nitrous oxides down to a safe level \\.'ould have required addmg over a million cubic meters of fresh air daily to the city's atmosphere. To do the same for the sulfur dioxide concentrations would have taken about half that volume of clean air. Cleaning the Tom River that flowed through the city, carrying 100 tons of untreated industrial wastes from upstream polluters a year, was another m1sst0n impossible. In addition to enormous volumes of oil products and formaldehyde, the Tom contained forty times the permissible concentration of arsenic, five times the PDK of nitrates and 2.4 51 times the PDK of phenol, a poison derived from coal and wood tar. The consequences of such contamination for public health were as sad as they were predictable. Adults in Kemerovo were more than three times as likely to suffer from endocrine system ailments as others m the USSR and 2.7 times as often victimized by chronic bronchms. Theu children, m turn, came down with infecnons of the kidneys and the urinary tract almost three times as frequently as the average of their Soviet contemporaries. The mcidence of respiratory illness among Kemerovo r.oungsters up to fourteen years of age was 145 percent of the 101


Soviet average; of endocrine disorders, 129 percent. In one heavily polluted neighborhood of the city, 7 percent of the newborns in 1989 were retarded-a rate roughly three times the national average.~., In the northern Urals metallurgical center of N11hny Tagil. citizens finally took to the street5 in April 1988 to protest pollution that had raised the rate of children needing hospital treatment for heart ;.1nd lung ailments by onc-third.•0 After :1 rally by over 10,000 people and a petition wtth some 8,500 signatures, two coking batteries were dosed. The impact, however, was minimal on the "city-fa,tory" where all bur 13 percent of the territory was occupied by industrial plants.•• In September 1988 the local paper, under a reguLu heading-"Ecology [ts the] Mirror of G/asttost"-reported that ammonia in N1zhny Tagil's air was twice the allowed limtt and formaldehyde, three times POK. In one city district levels of both nitrogen dioxide and ammonia were quadruple the 61 maximum allowed. Young people tried to organize ;1 follow-up demonstration but were made to defer tt until a week after che puhlic holiday on which they wanted to capitalize. Meanwhile, officials flew in from Moscow to draw up plans for pollution abatement. They should have come sooner and '-ltudied the problem at more length. But as in Magnitogorsk, where factory manager~ h~1d tried ~u1d failed as long ago as the l 960~ to get funds for a ~witch from openhearth stcelmaking to a closed, converter proces~. ~rzhny T.1gil metallurgists could look forward only ro marginal pollution abatement measures. , "If we changed from the open-hearth to the convcrra method, many of the ecological questions would disappt·ar," ar!!.ucd the city Parr(s first secretary. "We arc always rushmg things under deadline prc~surcs. Often what we gain i~ minimal and the losses arc ~l lot larger. \X'e built the Number 9 coke boiler in a hurq· and fired it up still untinishcd. Now it puts out as much smoke as two norm~tl batteries .... i The result was that in 1990 rhc city'~ 400,000 rc"1dents were :-.till breathing in harmful induscnal pollutants at the rate of 1. S tons per capita a year, to which vehicle:: em1ss1ons added anotha quarrt:r ton. A Soviet journalist concluded, it is not surprising that the most \\'idcsprcad ,.:hildrcn 's illnesses m N11hm· Tagrl arc respiratory: hronchais, bron~h1.1l .1sthma .rnJ acute pncumoni.1 and that nervou·I blast, he added, 5,800 children and 7,000 adults were exposed to doses of radiation affecting their thyroid glands m ways expecte d to 1mpa1r and 81 shorten their lives. Statistics for 1990 showed twenty- two cases of thyroid cancer among Ukraini an children , an afflicuon he said had been "isolate d before 1986.89 An American journalise who reported from the USSR m 1986 returned five years later to find that of Ukraini an and Belorussian peasant s and townspe ople in the fallout zone, as many as 75,000, by her count, were still farming abnorm ally radioact ive soil and eating the produce from it. 90 In summar y, she wrote: "Far more land was poisone d than can ever be cleane d-or evacuat ed. Far more people are eligible for resettlement than will be moved. Far more illness is evident than Soviet officials ever predicte d. Far more clean food, far more medical care, far more money is needed than a country staggere d by other troubles can give. " 91 Far more truth remaine d co be told, as well, both about the origins of the acciden t and about its long-las ung effects on human health. Some of the latter would not be known for decades. One Amenca n biologist expecte d onl}" 1,000 to 7,500 Cherno byl-rela ted cases of cancer in the USSR over fifty years. A U.S. biophysicist, by contras t, predicte d that Soviet fatalities will total 50,000 and perhaps reach five ttmcs that number . Both forecast that eventua l radiatio n-cause d deaths outside the USSR will equal those wnhm it.'1 0



twenty miles of the reactor. A spokesman for Greenpeace, a militant environmental gro up , promptly denounced the report as a "w hit ewa sh, " an d even the USSR 's representative at the IAEA said the study ha d no t looked ha rd enough at long-term health issues.•• Early indications were tha t illness rates were on the ris e-- an d app arently no t du e to stress alone. Tw o Belorussian immunologists, for instance, found tuberculosis occurring by mid-1989 twice as often among young children an d adolescents in the Gomel oblast where fallout was heavy as in the republic as a wh ole ." Widely dispersed by the first evacuation, the children of Pripyat and the smaller tow n of Chernobyl itself were no t traced by the outside researchers. No r were Soviets willing to divulge the results of any studies they might have do ne on the youngsters. 100 On e early analysis showed relatively little change in the Gomel regio n's cancer rates or thyroid illness, bu t "an increase in the number of children bo rn with congenital developmental defects, including mental ret ard ati on . " 101 Whatever reassurance tha t da ta provided was dissipated by the disclosure in mi d-1 99 1-c om ing from the oblast Party co mm itt ee -th at thyroid cancer cases am on g the region's children were run nin g nine times above their April 1986 level and tha t the overall incidence of cancer was up to 246 cases per 100,000 people, compared to 202 per 100,000 five years earlicr. 101 Th e Belorussian minister of health at the time of Chernobyl also acknowledged increasing incidence of relatively minor ail me nts -an emia an d chronic car, nose and thr oa t co mp lai nts -am on g children in the most affected areas. Among adu lts there, along with stress-related hypertension an d peptic ulcers, he saw "a tre nd tow ard a rise in the incidence of leukemia. " 101 He noted, with considerable justification, tha t comparative statistics were probably skewed by the more intensive levels of post-Chernobyl medical attention the population was getting, including bet ter and earlier diagnoses of disease. Mo re to the po int was the history of illness in Hiroshima after the 1945 bombing, which released one-tenth the radioactivity of the Chernobyl blast. Th e risk of fatal leukemia, higher for youngsters tha n for adults, app ear ed to rise noticeably in the first three years after the atomic explosions in Jap an and to peak after six or seven years. Nearly 42,000 survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were studied between 1950 and 1985. Because the youngest of them only entered their most cancerpro ne years in 1985, researchers wh o did find a "re ma rka ble excess ris k" of cancer am on g those wh o were less tha n ten years old at the time of the blasts ha d no t been able to determine conclusively by then the effect of early radiation exposure on their lives and lifespans. 104 No t until nine years aft er the Ma rch 1954 fallout from a U.S. bo mb


minedly wrote to the edito rs of Koms omol skaya Prauda a simply word ed, harro wing accou nt of .. the real truth " abou t Chern obyl. The paper , in the 1990s a partic ularly bold sourc e of investigative repor ting on Chern obyl, put Vladt mir Shilov's cri de coeur on its front page: \Ve wore no means of protec tion excep t for a gauze mask. They called us the "gree n robot s" ... and we worke d haulin g bricks, washi ng the walls of unit numb er 4, up on the roof tossing down shard s of graph ite, do\\.'n in the cellar bailin g out radioa ctive water in bucke ts.... le went on that way for about a month in the zone. The whole time we were there no do t,1~e ted envir onme ntal ha1.ards ,') well a" econo mic grievances. Ten thou,; and Donb;iss n11neri. did )O in Mar 1990 after fifty of their co-w orker , were overc ome in the sh.,fts by what were su'>pecred to he toxic waste , ,eepinit into the earth from a nearb r explosives' plant'-. evapo rauon pond,., The Donb,11,s prote st followed by only a mont h the forma tion of a twcnty•6\·c-mile•lon~ huma n chain of prow ;tcrs in the cur of Ufa, where .1 chemical plant accid ent that rclca\Cd pheno l into the ciry water suppl)' depri ved more than 500,000 residents of drink ing "atcr for two wcck s.70



Ar a prewalkout press conference, strike-committee members described the problems of patients for whom drug supplies covered only one-third of the need, of doctors for whom wages averaged only 60 percent those of industrial workers, of a city burn unit with no anesthetics and of hospitals that could provide neither decent food nor sharp scalpels.n Ranging be)'ond Moscow, they could have mentioned the surgeon in a distant part of the Russian Republic who told his colleague, the head doctor of a Moscow hospital, about regularly performing appendectomies with a straight-edge razor, as no scalpels 1 were available. "' The Moscow strikers could also have called attention to the situation in one of the capital's best-equipped and most advanced organ-transplant establishments, where "delicate suturing" often had to be done with ordinary thread of the kind used on Sonya Shmatova 's child. Or they might have cited the shortages of "scalpels, clamps, sutures, cautcrizcrs, ere." in the main pediatric teaching hospital of Moscow. After a brief tour of its surgery department in 1990, an American visitor observed, "I have kitchen knives in my home that are sharper than the scalpels they use, [and] they are forced co re-use suturing needles, sharpening them as best they can. "7J In Petropavlovsk on the Pacific Ocean, an American physician nsiring what was "probably the largest children's clinic in the [Sovicrj Far Ease" in April 1991


found doctors' equipment [that] looked like leftovers from a 1950s yard sale: a Frankenstein X-ray machine and, in the maternity hospital, a creaking sterilizer the size of a Volkswagen. [Dr. Matison] White [a family practitioner from Anchor.1ge, Alaska] saw technicians resharpening disposable needle-. and cleaning disposable syringes and cringed. ''I haven't seen a single computer," he said, dumbfounded; his private office in Anchorage had far more ad,·anced hardware than did thi!> giant clime.... All they had to offer, 1t seemed, was a human 7 couch. '

The "human touch," how~ver, was hard-pressed co compensate for a system in collapse. It could certainly not make up for the near disappearance from pharmacies and hospital supply rooms in 1989-90 of something as basic as cotton wool. Although Soviet cotton-wool production increased by 13,600 tons, or 38 percent, from 1980 to 1989, the shortage remained acute. At least one-fourth of the deficit could have been overcome just by packmg the cotton wool instead of leaving it in long, loose boles. ~1anufacruring such finished goods as tampons-an 222


A pharmacy student in Khabarovsk, near the Chinese border, proposed turning the local Communist Party training school building over to pharmacological studies. At Komsomolsk-on-Amur, a few hundred miles north, some two thousand protesters staged a two-hour demonstration for higher salaries, better housing and upgraded hospital facilities. In Leningrad, on the opposite side of the USSR, marchers brandished the slogan: .. Let's have some material support for the Hip11 pocratic Oath. " "Material support" would presumably have to deal with the renovation or replacement of the 45 percent of Soviet hospitals and 41 percent of polyclinics built before 1960 :ind with the fact that in mid-1989 "almost one-third" of all Soviet health care facilities needed a complete overhaul while one hospital out of eleven and one polyclinic in twenty 112 were in "disastrous condition. " One almost universal disaster was overcrowding. Where Soviet medical standards prescribed a norm of 7 square meters per bed, the actual allotted space on average in 1988 was 113 only 4.2 or 4.3 square meters. Although the pace of construction did accelerate and 13 percent more hospital beds were bmlt in the Russian Republic between 1986 and 1990 than in the previous five years, the total still fell more than 30,000-16 percent-short of plan. 84 In the l\.1oscow area in 1989, less than half of planned hospital construction was actually carried out and only 58 115 percent of chc polyclinic-building program. In Belorussia officials estimated in 1987 that they needed to install 71,400 new hospital beds and build polyclmics to handle 169,800 v1s1rs 16 per working day. In Kazakhstan at the start of 1988, the minister of health calculated that his sprawling republic needed not only to create 6,200 extra beds just for maternity and gynecological patients, but to move 13,600 of those then in service to quarters chat were not "dangerous and unfit. "" 7 In the face of such overwhelming nationwide problems and an underwhelming response to them from fv1oscow, indi\'idual medical msutuuons and doctors improved where they could, improvised when they had to and tried to get on with the busine..;~ of healing. Kazakhstan claimed impressive progress, for m..,tance, m bettering sterilization work, setting up 563 central units in ma1or hospitals .._1nd polyclmics and 104 more in foc1ht1es with fewer than one hundred beds to d1smfect all medical instruments between uses. Even though 66 existing unit.., did not meet sanitary standards "and some had to be shut," researchers said that the incidence of in-hospital hepatitis B infe,tions in the republic scabi1ized in 1987. In Ust-Kamcnogorsk, the rate actu3lly dropped 37 percent from 1986 to 1989. 0 224


Such success stories were few and far between. More typical was the history of doctors in one of Magnitogorsk's three maternity clinics. They "managed to turn a small operating room into an intensive-care unit, but they couldn't find any space for a biochemistry laboratory, 19 Pediatricians in a Yaro" it. for equipment the had they even though slavl hospital got the funds to buy a long-sought, imported bron.:hoscope to examine their young patients' lungs by agreeing to cooperate in publicizing their benefactor, a factory manager campaigning for elec0 tion to the USSR Supreme Soviet in 1989. He lost, but they won.' New equipment was also coming off Soviet production lines from a variety of small firms set up by energetic medical technician-entr epreneurs trying to fill part of the huge demand and bolster the finances of their research and treatment centers at the same time. At a hospital in Penza, for instance, computer programmers perfected a diagnostic apparatus capable, the}· said, of monitoring sixty vital functions in a 1 patienc.' From a cooperative-th at is, private--firm in Mogilev, an ultrasound device just to measure feral pulse rates and temperature went 1 1989.' in market on the Similarly, a Saratov medical institute created an association to combine diagnostic, clinical and technical work on blood diseases under a single roof and to offer itself as an example and guide to other hematologists in cities where, like theirs, factory workers in polluted surroundings frequently came down with such ailmencs.u Some medical entrepreneurs, not bound by stringent ethical rules, went directly to the public, especially to advertise diagnostic facilities. In Moscow a joint venture with Swiss technicians promised that Western stress tests combined with Soviet-developed techniques of physical therapy would help patients lose weight, reduce the risk of heart attacks and .. improve 94 A medical cooperative in the city of " mood. and condition general Kurgan, advertising a diagnostic and treatment method it said had been introduced in the regional hospital and in the RSFSR gastroenterolog ical center, urged ulcer and gastritis sufferers as well as those afflicted 95 with varicose veins to enroll for cures. Such signs of energy and activism were part of the life throes of Soviet medicine in the early 1990s, as it tried co shed its reliance on negligent central authorities and find a base for survival and growth in selfreliance. In just two years, 1988 and 1989, the number of medical cooperatives went from near zero to 3,289, with 61,000 people employed 6 and an annual income of 286 million rubles.' Their growth and especially their profit-making offended many Soviets still wedded to the promise of free medical care provided by the state. But the old guard in medicine, as in Soviet politics more broadly, was being forced to retreat. 225


Characteristica lly, the self-assured father of Soviet medical entrepreneurialism, eye surgeon Sviatoslav Fyodorov, had no doubts about the therapy needed for his country's health and health care: reorganization and privatization. Creator in the l 970s of the Moscow assemblyline clinic that performed roughly eight thousand cataract operations a year and investor-throu gh the clinic-in a 17-million-ruble-a-year company producing opucal instruments,'" in car rental services, in a Moscow luxury hotel and in agricultural training, Fyodorov spelled out his prescription to Pravda in 1990: I am convinced that medicine roday should-divide itself into three levels or categories. Let the family physician be the discoverer of diseases chat show themselves early. \X1e need about half a million such practitioners. Then there should be diagnosticians grouped according to their specialties and working in separate institutes, cardiovascular, gasrroinrestinal and so forth. Of those, we need about 150,000. Once an ailment has been diagnosed as requiring surgery, there should be fully equipped surgical clinics [to handle it] . . . and 50 co 60,000 surgeons to staff them. It is completely obvious that doctors' earnings should correspond directly to the results of their work. Today more than 1.2 million doctors work in our health care sy~tem. In quantitative terms, we have swamped the world, but as far as quality goes, we have slipped tragically to the bottom.••


The fact that Fyodorov was elected to the USSR Supreme Soviet, where, a Moscow physician said, doctors \\·ere the best-represente d profession, 99 probably had less impact on the Soviet medical establishment than the cries of outrage from below and the energetic push for reform initiated by Health f..1inister Chazo\' and continued by his successor, Igor Denisov. In an interview in ~fay 1991 Deni!)ov bluntly dismissed the once-sacrosanc t but rarely implemented concept of administering annual clinical examinations to every Soviet citizen. "Tell me, how was it realistically possible to examine each of 285 million people once a year and diagnose the sick and have readily available results of blood and urine sample analyses and blood-pressure tests?" he asked. "This was a parody of preventive med1cme. " 100 Sounding very much as though he had studied at Fyodorov's knee, the minister went on to endorse the concept of family doctors as the first stop for care and treatment, of 40 and 60 percent wage increases for physicians-alr eady enacted, respectively, by Russian Republic and Ukrainian parliaments-a nd of payment according to skill levels. "The present [May 1991 J guaranteed minimum for a surgeon is 460 rubles a 226


month. When supplementary pay and pay based on work1oad are taken into account, the total is over 1,000 rubles per month [only 40 dollars at the free-market exchange rate]. I believe chat with that level of 101 procecuon, we can now move mto a market economy. " Along with moYemenc toward legislating employer-financed health insurance plans and the spread after the rallies in August 1990 of independent, professional medical associations, Soviet medicine was, as DentSO\' indicated, trying to shift gears. Dr. Pyotr Prodeus, the energetic admm1strator of a !vloscow children's hospital and an active figure in the capital's new medical association, was a good example of reform in pracnce. Full of plans in the fail of 1990 co run competitions to attract the best staff, he was also busy rearranging his strapped finances so that he could pay doctors and nurses what they were worth. Walking the grounds of his mini-empire with an American physician on temporary assignment to help install modern burn-treatment equipment donated through Project Hope, Dr. Prodeus said of the Soviet health ministry officials with whom he had once dashed, "A year ago, they saw us as enemies. Now they realize we are allies." He pointed to a little playground in the complex-a sandbox, some swings, a slide. "I proposed that we build that just so there would be a btt of esthetics here. And I got a Jot of rough talk from my staff. 'We need so much, and you want to put in a sandbox.' But I went ahead. I want kids to go home from the hospital and remember chat some of it was pretty and even fun . .. \Y/e need a holisttc approach, a wide understanding that everything is connected, that the environment-even in such little ways-has a Jot 101 to do with health. "



Despite Kryuch kov's efforts to stay out of the spotligh t, his housing arrange ments quickly became a subject of Odessan gossip. The threeroom apartme nt to which he moved in the "Ansto crats' Nest" had, it seemed, been occupied by a retired military officer who was hustled off to a four-roo m apartme nt more commo dious than his rank and pnor service merited but not as prestigiously located as the Proletar ian Boulevard address. The shuffle did not stay a secret. Odessa , though home to 1.7 million people, had the intimate social climate of a Mediter ranean city. Everyone knew everyone else's business, and the grapevi ne---if nor always rhe most accurate means of commu nicatio ~-was rarely sull. The new Party secretary might have wanted to make a discreet entranc e. Instead, he was greeted scornfully as yet another exempl ar of the highly placed Soviet for whom all doors opened and all privilege was routine. But real-estate manipu lations were not the cause of his downfa ll. A hardy band of ecologists turned political activists was. Their victories in the city and suburba n precincts of Odessa in March 1990, though not unique, were remarka ble. By winning seventeen of the thirty-seven races that their candida tes entered -a record bettered only by sixteen Ecology Club members, all of whom won their contests in Volgog rad-and by humiha tmg an oblast Parry boss, the Odessan s scored a major triumph . They doomed Georgy Kryuchkov to the role of King Canute. The tide that carried him away from Proletar ian Boulevard after less than a year and a half swept on to restore the tree-lined street's prcrevo luriona rr name: Frantsuzky Bu/var, Boulevard of the French. But, as tides do, the wave of ecological politics soon crested. Environ mentali sts and leaders of other opposit ion moveme nts rook legislative offices in 1990 only to confron t both well-ensconced Party function aries in executive posts and the deep-ro oted ills of decades of misrule. Short of funds and longer on promises than on real power, the scattere d victors -even in ~1.oscow, Leningrad and Sv~rdlovsk, where reform slates won handsom e majorities-fac ed the perennial challenge summar ized in The Candidate. In that movie, Robert Redford , as a 1ust-elel:ted insurgen t, turned to his manage r and asked: "'W'hac do \.\'C do now?" As llya Zasla\'s ky, one of the radical ~1oscow democr ats, put it in the summer of 1990, "It's a terrible thing ro have a democracy that talks but doesn't work. After so many years of silence, people expect great change. " 1 Some of the Soviet ecological activists tried to meet those expecta tions by turning to coalitio n-bmldm g. In the process, they often had to subordi nate their priorities to the agenda of nationa lists, as in the Balrics, Armenia and the Ukraine. Others clung to a purely· Green identity and formed political parties of their own, most of them des230


student days in the early 1960s, saw ecological protest in Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia as "a political movement from the start." Green activities, he said, \\'ere tolerated because officials did not at first identify them as threats to Communist rule. 1 In Latvia the movement began, ont: founding member recalled, ··as a cultural rather than an ecological" protest. Its first efforts in 1984 aimed at .. restoring churches and monuments officially protected by the state but actually collapsing from neglect.'' 3 The environment, however, quickly became a rallying cry for those whom Zabelin termed "critically aware"• and who wanted an outlet to protest Soviet colonialism in the Baltics and beyond. •.. With petitions and demonstrations that ultimately helped stop the construcuon of a dam on the Daugava River, the Latvians went from bemg dissident artists and musicians to a role as cmzcn-stalwart s in a national awakening. (See chapter 1.) In January 1990 they joined with two other groups to announce the formation of a Green Party that claimed about three thousand initial adherents. 5 A few months later they won six seats in the republic's parliament." Their beliefs, the Latvians said, put them "neither on the right nor the left-merely at the front.'' Actually, Estonian Greens could have claimed that honor. They had founded their party five months earlier to campaign for free elections, statehood and environmental purity, and they went on to prevail in seven legislative races.; From Armenia in ~1arch 1986, 350 intellectuals, with writer Zori Balayan prominent among them, sent a petition to Gorbachev '"protesting environmental pollution and warning about gro,\'ing health problems" in the smog-shrouded capital of Yerevan.8 From words they moved co deeds, picketing first at the Na1nt Scientific Production Association to hair its toxic emissions of chloroprene and then-weeks before Chernobyl-at the construction site of a nuclear reactor. "Although organized originally around environmental issues,'' wrote an Amencan who had long studied Soviet ecological problems, .. this group became the natural focus for the discussion of other bsues affecting what was seen to be the well-being of Armenia. Considering that there was virtually no other non-state organization to turn co, it is not surprising that the en\'ironmental group began to express itself on non-environmental matters as well."' \Xr'hcn anger over Azerbaijani treatment of Armenians in the Nagorno-Karab akh enclave brought an estimated million protesters into the streets of Yerevan for days on end in February 1988, Balayan was a leader in the ~mull group who flew to ~foscow to work out a short-lived truce with Soviet authorities. In the Ukraine, traumatized by Chcrnobrl and its aftermath, '"ccolog232


but had quickly become standard-bearers as well for democratic values or the rights of ethnic minorities or both. Others, who had seemed reliable enough establishmentarians to pass prcelecroral screening, brought angry messages from their constituents. They walked co the podmm as Party hacks only to walk away as militant reformers, 1f not renegades. Televised to an avid national audience over thirteen days, the Congress sessions aired political heresies that, not long before, either had been only whispered among the closest of friends or, if openly expressed, had been promptly punished. Among the most sensational episodes at the Congress were verbal attacks on the "bloody history" of the "underground empire" of the secret police;•• on the conduct of Soviet soldiers in Afghanistan and on the leadership's responsibility for deploying troops who had used gas, clubs and sharpened shovels to attack, injure and-in at least nineteen cases to kill-nationalist demonstrators in the Georgian capital of Tblisi in April 1989. Environmental and health issues drummed a counterpoint co these heated debates. Regional spokesmen such as Tulepbergen Ka1pbergenov lamented the death of the Aral Sea. Valentin Rasputin preached a sermon on the defense of Lake Baikal, the Volga River and all of Russia's waters. (See chapters 4 and 6.) Others spoke up for the orphans, invalids, pensioners and others in the lower depths of the welfare state. To the podium on June 2, for example, came the first secretary of the Cherkassy Ciry Komosomol Committee. An army major when he was crippled in Afghanistan, he rose to plead the cause of his fellow veterans and his own right to decent artificial limbs to replace the ones he had lost in battle. Introduced and applauded as "an internationalist soldier," the veteran gave a crowd-pleasing attack on Andrei Sakharov and others for their "persecution of the Soviet Army." He even pledged to fight on for "the state, the motherland and Communism," but not before launching a general indictment of Soviet mismanagement: It 1s an insult [to the sratel ro have rationing coupons in the 72nd year of Soviet power, an msu le in the collapse of the economy, the de\ a
.md 6 per1,;cm of ho,piral~ arc .ihlc lo use ultr;uounJ for C)l.;1min.uion of pancms, v.hilc 5 percent and t 3 pcrccnc u~ cndo',(;opn. General health care f:adliti~ Cll.pericm:t ,ho reage\ in function.ii fumi,hin~~: JO r,crccm experience ~hona11:c, of NJs and chairs, 44 per.:ent experience ~hortJge) of rollinit beds, 86 pcr..:mt exr,cncncc short~itcs llf ,implc- mcdunkal cool\; do no, ha,c enough linen, medicines :and medic.ii rnppl1c),


dect rocard iograp hs



laboratory work phy>iotherapy



diagnostic radiography




photo X-ray




Hospitals therapy

Experiencing shonages in equipment for:


Supply of Medical Equipment in the USSR, October 1988• (according to a sample suruey of doctors at 10,800 medical institutions in the USSR Health Care System; in percentages)


try of Nonferrous Metallurgy USSR Ministry of Oil Industry USSR Ministry of Petruhcmical lndu,try USSR Ministry of Ga Council of Mini\tcrs o( the Ukraine SSR Other .Minimie'i and Agencic:.

Mini~rrie, and Department\

428.0 8,480.0

4,492 14,938

167 87 1,386 17,651

145 139 2,822 14,675




. 124



53 26 66 41 457

),]61 1,250 857 632




45.8 4.0 4,140.0 2,241.0 1,358.0 10.0 27.7 l.6 56.0 18.6 107.0 16.5


4,943 2,025 760 233 110 6 1,278 546 352 473 633

15,364 10,389 5,935 5,554 3,704 2,680 2,086 1,696

2,668 455 62 54 50 245 124 89 24 ..,.9 171 6,714 541 988 6n 561 406 448 614 356 3"'3 305 147 156 . 2,4n

7,549 1,081 4,482 60 519 505 266 555 393 .315 163




Carbon Monoxide (CO)

Sulfur Dioxide (SO 2 )

Nitrous Dioxide (N0 2 )

Harm/11/ Emissions from Enterprises of the Bas,c Industrial Ministries and Agencies, 1988 (in tons per year)


okhr.rnit' zdorm·'re n.u.,iy," p. it19. V. Romanenko, chid .._,rntt.H}' docror, Y.1lc.1, "Zhdm Ii n.,, mor,kiyc plya1.h1?" MedGa:., 3 Junl' 1990, p. J. Author's recollection. Lukyancnko, "Toxicologic,tl Cri.,i,," p. 67. Dok/ad, p. 134. 328



95. 96. 97. 98. 99.


101. l02. 10.1. 104.

.105. 106. 107. 108. 109.

l 10. 111.

"Natsional'niy doklad o sostoyanii prirodnoy sredy v SSSR," Svet 12 (December 1990): 55, an ahrid~ed version of the Dok/ad in the full text of which, however, the data on specific tonnages of Baltic Sea pollution could not he located. D. J. Peterson, "USSR-Medicines, Newspapers, and the Dilemmas of Protecting the Environment," Radw 1.,berty Research, 6 .March 1990. Juris Ekstcins, interview with author, Moscow, 11 October 1990. Grigoriy Barcnboim, interview with author, Moscow, 13 October 1990. A. Umhra:-., "A Zone of Special Attention," Sovetskaya molodezh, 17 August 1988; pp. 1-3, JPRS-UPA-89-013, 15 February 1989, pp. 75-80. "Chemical Spill Contaminates the Daugava, US Government Acts Swiftly to Help.'' VAK American Open Letter #11, Environmental Protection Club of Latvia, 2 December 1990, pp. 1-3. Diintars Medenis, Dien«, 24 May 1991, translated as "Riga's Sewage Treatment the Home Stretch?" VAK USA Open Letter 13, 30 July 1991, p. t. Umbras, "Zone of Special Attention," pp. 76-n. Barenhoim interview. Author's rcrollection from visit to Lake Sevan, May 1975. Alexander Mishchenko, '"Experience from an Independent Examination of the Design in Flood-Control Works in Leningrad." Paper presented at Joint US-USSR NGO Conference on the Environment, Moscow, 14-19 March 1991, made available hy Ms. Eliza Klose, Institute for SovietAmerican Relations . "Leningrad's Barrier, Shield or Sword," Novosti, 21 August 1990, in SWH 31 August 1990, SUIW0143, pp. A/12-13. Vladimir Nevcl'skiy, "Srroitcl'stvo damby priostanovit'," Pravda, 18 Octohcr 1990. Arkadiy Sosnov, "Biner Medicine for the Neva," Ogonyok 42, 13-20 October 1990, pp. 9-1 l; JPRS-Tf:N-91-001, 4 January 1991, pp. 69-72. Ibid., p. 70. Ze'cv Wolfson, "Some Environmental and Social Aspects of Nuclear Power Development in the USSR," Research Paper 63, The Marjorie Mayrock Center for Soviet and East European Research, Hebrew Univen,it)', Jerusalem, March 1987, pp. 2-4. Zhores Mcdvcdcv, The LegaC)' of Chernobyl (New York: W.W. Norton, 1990), p. 12. Ibid., p. 18.

7 " ... Plus Electrification" 1.

Jonathan P. Stern, "Soviet Oil and Gas Production and Exports to the West: A ,Framework for Analysis and Forecasting," in Gorbachev's Economic Plans, Study Papers submitted to the Joint Economic Committee, 329




53. 54. 55. 56. 57.

58. 59. 60. 61.


63. 64. 65. 66. 67. 68. 69. 70. 71.

72. 73.

Should Be Done," interview (on subject of urban destitution) with N. Asadulloyev et aJ., Literatumaya Gazeta 23, 12 June 1991, p. 7; JPRSUPA-91-032, 2 July 1991, p. 54. Yu. N. Kogan, "Electrification of the USSR. Perspectives and Features," Energetik 9 (September 1989): 3-5; JPRS-UEA-89-038, 20 November 1989, pp. 48-52. Valentin Semyonov1ch Sheplev, "The Tragedy of Wastefulness-A Siberian Scientist Reflects on Power-Engineering Straregy," interview with Vladimir Denisov, Sovetskaya Rossiya, 12 September 1989, p. 2; JPRSUEA-89-036, 3 November 1989, pp. 60-63. Ibid. Ibid. Kogan, "Electrification of the USSR," p. 49. A. Pavlov, ''Nikopol Is Against the AES," Pravda Ukrainy, 7 June 1990, p. 1; JPRS-TEN-90-009, 2 August 1990, pp. 34-35. L Ilchenko, "Vremya" television broadcasr, 19 July 1990; JPRS-TEN-90009, 2 August 1990, p. 35. Pavlov, "Nikopol Is Against the AES,'' p. 35. Ibid. Radio Moscow Domestic Service, 3 August 1990; FBIS-SOV-90-151, b August 1990. Ze'ev Wolfson, "Some Environmcnral and Social Aspects of Nuclear Power Development in the USSR,'' Research Paper 63, The 11aqorie .Mayrock Cenrer for Soviet and Ease European Rec;earch, Hebrew Uni\'ers1ty of Jerusalem, March 1987, pp. 7-8. A. Mazalov, chief, Main Administration for lndustry, interview with A. Rogozhin, .. The Stare Inspection for Nuclear Energy in Industry Reportc;," l:westtya, 30 July 1990; FBIS-SO\'-90-151, 6 August 1990, pp. 59--60. Tanjug, cirmg INTERFAX, 9 December 1990; FBIS-SOV-90-237, 10 December 1990, p. 73. "Powerless," The Economist, p. 68. Narkhoz 1989, p. 377; Goskomstat SSSR, Ekonomik.i SSSR t· 1990 godu (Moscow: Goskomstat Informtsenrr, 1991), p. 25. "Oil Output Continues to Decline," RFE RI USSR This V.'eck. 30 June 1991. Anatoli)· Pokrovsk1y, "Nuclear \X1intcr," Pr.ivda, 19 July 1990, p. 2; FBISSOV-90-140, 20 July 1990, pp. 69-70. Narkhoz 1989, p. 375. Mazalov interview. Pokrovsk1y, "Nuclear Wuner, •· p. 70. Letter of appeal of collecnves of enterprises of nuclear power and industry, "Radl0phob1a ls Fear of the Unknown," Pr,witel'stt,ennyy vt•stnik 37 (September 1990): 6-7 ; JPRS-VEA-90-040, 30 November 1990, pp. 88-89. Kopchinskiy, «·we Do Not Want to Live Worse than Today?!" p. 8S. Ibid.



74. ""5. 76. 77.


79. 80. 81. 82. 83. 84.


86. 87.

88. 89.

90. 91. 92. 93. 94.

Cited in lurn Shcherhak, Chernobyl: A Documentary Story, trans. l,rn Press (London; ~tacmillan, 1989), p. 67. Reuter, "\X'ider Chernobyl E\'.1cu.nion Ordered," W.1ashington Post, 24 April 1990, p. A2L Veronik.1 Romanenkova, TASS {tn English), 16 April 1991; JPRS-TL- ~·91-009, 31 May 1991, p. 58. Vladimir Ya\'orivskiy, 1nterv1e\\. Der J\forgen, 26 April 1991, summ.1ri1ed by News Agency (AON), Berlin, 25 April 1991; JPRS-TLN-91009, 31 ~by 1991. pp. 58-59. A. Illesh, "On the Outside and the Inside of rhc Sarcophagus-fi ve Years After the Chernobyl Carastrophe," Jzuestiya, 26 April 1991, p. 8; JPRSTt:1'\'-91-013, 5 July 1991, pp. 78-82, esp. p. 81. Elizabeth Shogren, "4 Years Later, Chernobyl's Ills ~'iden," Washington Post, 27 April 1990, pp. Al, A36. David R. Marples, "Revebtions of a Chernobyl Insider," Bulletin of the Atomu .Snentists , December 1990): 16-21. Yuriv R1,ovannn, an 1b1d., p. 21. Charles Oulron, "USSR-Dying Sc1cnrisr SJp Chernobyl K,lled 7,000," Independent on Sunda)', 14 Apnl 1991. Author's calcularions. Victor Cubano\\ chairman, State Comm1c;s1on for Emergencies, USSR Council of Ministers, Radio Moscow \X'orld Senice (in English), 18 April 1991~ JPRS-TEN-91-009, 31 1'v1a>· 1991, pp. 57-58. Yuriy Korpkin, chief economist, Rec;earch and Devclopmcnr Institute of Power Engineering, "200 milliardm," Energiy,1: Ekonomik.1. Teklmika. Ekologiy.1 8 'August 1990): 3-6, also cited in Richard L. Hudson, .. Cost of Chernobyl '.\;udear Disaster So:irs tn New Study," \'Vall Street journal, 29 March 1990, p. A8. Ibid. Yuriy P. Spizhenko, minister of health, Ukrainian SSSR, speech as reported in Robitnycha hazeta, 20 February 1990, caed m David .Marples, "USSR-One Million Ukrainians Suffering from Chernobyl," R.idio Libert)' Reports, 6 ,\iarch 1990. Ibid. Yu. P. Spi1.hcnko, "There Is No Prescription for Lies,'' interview with S. Prokopchuk, Tmd. 25 April 1991, pp. 1-2; JPRS-Tt.N-91-013. 5 Jul> 1991, pp. 82-85, esp. p. 83. Felicity Barringer, "Chernohyl, Five Years Later the Danger Persists,.. New York Times A1ag.izine, 14 April 1991, pp. 28ff., 32. Ibid., pp. 30-31. Ibid., p. 39. Thomas \X'. Lippman, "Chernobyl Contamination Sull Spreading," \Vashington Post, 5 July 1991, p. A8. Kmghr Ridder News Service, "Stress May Ha\'C Boosted Cancer Rates '.\;e.u Damaged Nuclear Plant, Study Shov.·s," Washington Post, 27 May 1991, p.•A24.





97. 98. 99.

100. 101.

102. 103.


105. 106. 107. 108. 109. 110. 11 l.


l IJ. 114. 115.

Steve Wing. Unh·crsiry of North Carolina, quoted in Thomas W. Lippman, "Risk Found in Low Levels of Radiation," Washington Post, 20 March 1991, p. A3. Professor Yelena Burlakova, chairman, USSR Academy of Sciences, Scientific Society on Radiobiology, cited by Andrei Surzhanskiy, TASS (m English), 27 April 1990; fBIS-SOV-90-086, 3 May 1990, p. 60. Michael Z. Wisc, .. U.N. Report Blames Stress, Not Radiation, for Chernohyl Jllnesscs," Washington Post, 22 ~fay 1991, p. A24. Ibid. 0. ~1. Kalcchirs and V. A. Alkhimovich, "Tuberkulez i Chernobylskaya cragcJiya: sostoyaniye i prognoz," Problemy wberkuleza 11 (November 1990): 14-16. ' Francis X. Clines, .. A New Arena for Nationalism: Chernobyl,'' New York T,mes, 30 December 1990, pp. 1, 8. Professors I. G. Zhakov, Ye. P. Ivanov, A. K. Ustinovich er al., ''Chernobyl and Health/' lercer to the editor, Sovetskaya Belorussiya, 6 May 1990, p. 2; JPRS-ULS-90-019, 1J November 1990, pp. 41-44, esp. p. 42. ..Belorussian Cancer Cases Increase Following Chernob)'l," Vilnius Radio, in Belorussian, 19 June 1991; JPRS- TEN-91-014, 9 July 1991, p. 58. S. Ulashchik, ''Health Care of Belorussian Population in Connection with Accident at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant," Zdrai•ookhraneniye Belomss,y 6 (June 1990): 3-8; JPRS-ULS-90-020, 10 December 1990, pp. ]9-44, esp. p. 43. Yukiko Shimizu, DMSc, \Villiarn J. Schull, Ph.D., and Hiroo Kato, M.o., "Crncer Risk Among Atomic Bomb Survivors; The RERF Life Span ' ,\ Association 264, no. 5, 1 Study," Journal of the American August 1990, p. 601. William Boly, "Life in the \Vastcland, Chernobyl Five Years After," In Ht•i1/th (May-June 1991): 6{}-70, esp. p. 70. Vladimir Lupandin, speech ar rhe Insriruce of Soviet-American Relations, \X''ashington, D.C., 15 May 1991. thid. Convcrs.1tion with authors. Yuriy b.r.1d, "Tht· Past and the Prognosis for the Future," Pra11d,1, 20 March 1989, p. 4; f B1S-SOV-89-055, 23 March 1989, pp. 65-70. lh1A SSSll. Sostoyuniy,1 p,irnd11oy ::-tt•dy fl S.\.~R t 19SS godu: mezlw,•domst1•,•1111vv dok/,zd. \'. C. Sokolm·,kiy, gener.11 t:J., ~1o,cow: l.e,11,l)':l prorny,hlenno-.t', 1988. Gosi,_o\tPRIROn,\ SSSR. R,•f10tt 011 th,• St,1lcmo~1i1fid1,•skiy sl,ormk .\\\R 19S9. Mo,cow: f'inan,r i :-.t:ui.,cik:\, 1990. Go,i,;0,,1,1".\ I s.:;~R N,1md11oy,-. klw::.y,1yst1·11 \\.\R l 19-godtl. Stt1tisticheskiy )'f•;.l,t"~od11ik 1\1mlnw: Fin,\n ... y i ,1.ui,c1k..\, IQ . V.uiou, )'l',Hs. Gost.:0,,1, 1,\1' ~~~R. tandard of li\'lng in, 192; infonr mortality in, 212, 213 K1mhi. 15-16, 197 Kl.11ped:1, 127 Komarov, Bori-., 45 Komsomol, 145--46, 166 komse>molsk,,ya Pr,wdi1, I B, 186 Kom-.omobk-on-Amur. 224 Kondraticv, Anatoly, 181. 182 Konopleva, Antonia, 70 Kono,·alov, Vitali F., 178 Ko,trom:l, 246 kr.1s11.i)'.l Zt•e~d.1, F6 Kr.1sno.1rmcisky district. Volgograd, 16, 1~-18, 19, 21. 241 Krasnodar, 9 Kr.lsnoyarsk, 94, 176, 267 Kremenchug, 184


INDEX Marxism, 30, 158 .Matcrn.11 mortality, 2.09, 2.52 .\tayak, 175, 176 Mayako\',k)', \'l.ldinm, 2.8 Medical equipment (including Mtpplic,, meJi"ine-., and drug-.). 6, 7, 1L 24, 80, 82., 169. 193, 194. 196, l9S, 2.07, 2.i4, 219. 22.0, 222., 223, 264, 26, .\kdi.:al facili,ie-,. 5. 6. r, °' \, S0-81, 16H, 170. 200, 206, 224. 225, 226 .\tedkal ,raff (including trJinin~). 7, 3+35. 38"---39. 80. 81, 93, 116, 152., 190, 194, 198. 199, 20,, 207, 213. 214, 216, 217, 2.18, 219, 223, 226 Med\'edev, Gennad}, 177-78 Mercury. 183. 202. 239 Meth) I mcrc,1ptan, tO .\tiddle Ease, l38 Military Medical Ser\'ice, equipment of, 163, 169 .\tini-,rrr of Defen,e, 117, 160-61, 166-68; and en,·ironmemal inspection, 172-73; and health and li\'ing conditions for croop .. , 167-70 Mmiscry of Education, 42 ~tini,trr of Energy, 106-', 135, 1.38 Mini,rrr of fin.1nce, 159 ~tiniscry of Health. 8, 17, 163, 255; and AIDS, 191-92; and h.m on ,cancc), 182; and Chernobyl coverup, 151-52; and Congre.,., of People's Deputies, 236-37; dominance of, 262; and economi,.inr,, 202; Fourth M,1in Dirccrorare of, 236, 237; and health care expenditures, appropriate level of, 262; and infant morcalitr races. 205, 206; and milit,1ry hospirnlc;, 169; 1991 report of, 185, 186, 201-2; order, for medical equipment, 196; and pesticide levels, 67, 68; and pre· \'Cntion of epidemics, 186-87; and rural health care, 81: and sanitarr inspection ...crvice, 62: srati.-.tics on children in Perm, 183; and technological frailty of n-,edical srstem, 193; Third Main Directorate of, 151. See ..Jlso Cha:zov, Yevgeny and Denisov, Igor

Ministr)' of L.1nd Redamarion .ind Water Rc,oun:e-. (i\111wodkhol . See MinrnJkho1. MtnMr}' of Mcdic.11 and Microbiological lndu,rry, 197, 200 .Ministry of Metallurg), 106-7, l09 i\1ini-.1ry of the Chemic.11 Industry, 99, 115 M inistr)' of the Timber Industry, 119. .!48 MHmtry of Water Econom). See Minrndkhoz Minsk, 152, 182 Min\'OdkhoL 1 ~tini)tr}' of Land Reclamation .md \X' atcr Rc..,ourccs), 59, .,.6, 83, 8--., 129, 136; and irrigation water, 247, 248; and Volga-Don (Tranc;fer) Canal. 241-42 Moiseye\, General Mikhail, 161 Moldova, 6S, 67, 68, 84; bacteria-infested surface '"acer in, 124; and en\'ironmental activism, 244-45 ~1ongolia, 41, 134 Morgun, F}'odor, 60, 64, 104, 245 Mmcow, 9, 40-41, 61, 184. 187, 230; air pollution in, 96; .1lcoholi1orn in, 188-89; and environmental acm. ism, 21, 22, 237-38, 244; Garden Ring, 96; health care in, 6, 9, 55, 184, 208-12, 220, 222, 225-27, 265-t;6; Military Discricc, 168; mmiparks m, created for Nixon',; \'isit, 44; Olympic., (1980), 166 Mouou· Neu•s, 86 Moscow University, 42, 231-32, 247, 249 Muslim,, 3, 5~, 200, 208, 212; and b,1rricr1, of a~~imibrion, ""'S; and pas~a~e from pollution ro poliucs, ll. Su also Uzbekistan Muynak, 78

Nagasaki, 12, 149 Nagorno-Karabakh. 232 ~airit Sc1enufic Production Association, 16, 232, 248



Para,itic di,ca,c::., 116, 190, 191. 192, 252 Pa\'lcnko, Alfred A., 16, 17, 18. 19, 2-U, :--:Hi inv:hion, 264 242 Nc1.harcv, Gcncr..11 E. A.. 16] Pavlo\', Mi,ha, 69, 70 Ndodo\', Oleg, 121-22 P.wlo\', Valentin, 159 NEP (:--Jew faonomic Polic)'), 30, J l PDK, 88, 95-96, 99-102. 121. 125-26 Nc\',1d.1 \emipala rimk. 22. 239 Pca,ant, Part)' of Ru-.,i:.l, 69 !\:c\ ., River, 20, 129 Pena namrc pre.,ervc, 41 N1l..ol.1c,._ 143 People\ Commi,., ariat for J lc.ilrh ProtecN 1kopol, 142-4 1 tion. 38. Su also Mini-.rrr of He.11th N1,h.111m, R. N., 80 Nur.ue,, 61, "'4, 98, IOI Pcrcrrolk in, Nikolai, 19 Perko..-~b. Ancl1a Romanov na, 145 :--:icro~en dioxide, 94 Perm, :101, 181 ~urou, oxide, 10, 95, 1.02 Pcr,ia, 80 Nixon, Richard M., 44, 46 Per...ian l.rngua~e. 75 ~1zhm~K oviorod, 121 Pc,ticidc, and hcrbictdc", 1., 15, 50, 58, ~11hn> T.1g1I, 102-3, 11 S 65~6. 67, 6S, 74, 121, 12-4, 201 :--:obcl Prize, 2J7 Peter the Great, 5S ~oril,k. 99, 100, 101, 255 ~orthern Mechanical Engineering Plant, Pctrop,n·lm·,k, 222, 266 Ph.1rmi11d11st riy.1, 1.00 160 Norwlv, 58. 11.1. Phenol, 100, lOL 115. 122. 123. .!Ol, 221 Pikalcv,k) alumina pl.lnt, 122 ~ovokuzncc.,k, 10, 184 Pi,mcnny, \'iktor, 246-t7 ~molipc t,k, 215 Novo,ihi r,k, 114, 221. 261 Pin,burg h, 94 Piu.i Hut, ~hl,cm, rc,taur.rn t, do,ed, Novmti, 160 Nolf)' Mir (journal), 20 ' 61-63 Podol,k. IS4 Pol.1J-Z.1de. P. A.. S~ Poland, 11., 50, 12.7, 196, 254 Polio, 185. 186, 192 Oak Ridge Nacion.11 Laborato r), 148 Polithuro. i, 8.~, 100, 159 Oh River, 114 Pollmant't, .1llowablc C(mCcntr.Hirest•rt1a11ou of 1\'aturc. 42 Pripyac, 146, 149 ProJeu,, Pyotr. 217, 266 Project Hope, l.27. 265-66 1'.icilic (kc;tn, 11n, 150, 173, 222. 2.39, Pru,,ia, J6 Pul:1tm·. Ahdur R., 86 266 N,1ture .md Socfalist Economy, 42



Stalin, Joseph, 13, 7 0, 130, 188, 249; and Tblisi, 234 Belomor (White Sea) Canal, 32; collec- Third World, 49, 52, 95, 191. See «lso specific countries tivi.,:uion under, 52 · 53; denunci.itiom of, 14; Five-Y car Pbm, of, 10, 33, 101; Tom River, 101 indifference to indi\'idual-. under, 40; Transport as source of pollution, 96, and industrial output, 32-33; and 107 Khrushche,', 32~ and L>senko, 42; lhe Trotskr, Leon, JO, 31. 32 i.tate :1s all-powerful under, 30; and Tsarirsyn. See Volgograd seeps to prorccc nature, 42-43; srudy of T!>imliansk} Reservoir, 130 crop genetics under, 50 Turkmenistan, 5-7, 73, -5, l>l-82, 209; agStalingrad. See VolF,ogr.1d riculture in, 77-80, 85; depressed stanStalinism, 14, 24-25, 200, 264 darq_ of living in, 192; en\'ironmcntal .1cSt.uc Agro-Industrial Committee, 151 tivism in, 240; infanr morc:ility in, 75, Scace Committee for the Protection of r--:a81-82, 212, 213, 215; malnurricion m, turc. See Goskompriroda 86; and rhe military, 16S; mining in, Scare Commtttce for the State of Emer101 gency, 161, 1"'9 Tursun Zade, 18, 108-9 State Committee on Hydrometeorology. Tut:tc\, 121 See Go.,komgidromet Tver .Kalinin), 63 St:1ce Planning CommiHee, 167 T}'pho1J, 15, 35, 73, 85, 124, 167. 168, sources of pollution, 107, 138 197 Sta\'ropol, 116 Tyumen, 137 Stcrlitamak, 183-84 Suleimenov, OL~has, 22-23, 239 Sulphur dioxide, 10, 97, 101,155,202, 25' Sulphuric acid, 101 ,Ufa,221 Sumgaic, 121 Uglichin, Alexander, 105 Supreme So\1ec USSR1, 150-51, 176,202, Ukraine, 7, 61, 92, 125, 130, 134, 226-27; 215-26, 236, 263 achie,·emenc of -.overcignt}, 123; :t~riSura River, 41 Lulrure in. 32, 54, s~-58, 60; air polluS\'crdlovsk, 68, 107-8, 118, 2.30 non in, 93: 1..mcer in, 124-25, 146, 149; Syr Darya River, 74, 84, 85, 86, ]-57 and Chernob} I. 146. 148--49, 153. 154 Syrian fertilizer, radio.ict1, It} of, 63-64, (see J/so Chernohrl); Cnuncil of Minis170, 242 ters, 154, draft in, 160; ;rnd eleccrific.1cion, 142-B: environment.ti acti\'i,m in, 22, 231. 2.J2-33, 243. 253-54; human and anim.11 illnc:s., in, relarion of, 50; Ta~1l River, 115 mining in, 101; and nationafo,m, 230, Tajih,ran, 62, 74, 85, !08-9, 192; environ232-.B; parliament of, 2.36. 243; ;ind mental rq;ulacion~ in, 248: food poi,nnpa.,s;1~e from pollucion to pnlicic,, ll; ing in, 62; healch care, SI, 124, l63, 196, WJtcr pollution in, 112-n. 124 209, 212: infant morrnlitf in, 163, 212; llnmo\', Vladimir, 1S6 irrig:ttion in, 76; maternal mort.11ity in, Union Carbide, 16 209 United