State of Russia in the surrounding world. Analytical book 

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Foreword



Ten years ago most Soviet people were fascinated by the ideas of re-structuring their society. At that time it looked like a simple turn to market economy would solve almost all problems. It was supposed to make work more creative and productive; unite socialist countries with the opposite world of developed capitalism; prevent a new world war; lead to triumph of democracy that in turn would protect from arbitrary departures from law requirements at all levels of the state hierarchy. Inspired by these perspectives, society came into move. Innovations replaced traditionalism and brave enthusiasm replaced dry planning. The process began, being stimulated from both inside and outside.

The reality turned out to be more prosaic than the expectations. After ten years the country just begins to recover from the experienced shock. Seemingly immovable giant broke down. Everything changed drastically in our everyday life. Existing plethora of goods and lack of lines neighbor with abundance homeless and abandoned people. Increasing luxury adjoins growing poverty. Raise of inventiveness borders despair. Freedom of creativity verges platitude and lack of demand for this creativity. Integration into the world community coincided with degradation of national science and industry. Openness of state borders and freedom of migration neighbor high crime rate.

There is no point in stopping to calculate losses over gains. Both nave illusions and spiteful condemnations belong to one category of superficial judgements. Life requires deep understanding of the events that take place. If enough time and patience were taken to conduct a necessary analysis in the very beginning of perestroika, many hardships and mistakes could have been avoided.

Unfortunately, even now Russia develops without an elaborated program based only on assumptions and concentrates all efforts on short-term problems. Neither political parties, nor power structures have time to raise their heads and look ahead. Such a situation is dangerous not only because of it is unpredictable. Loss of perspective is a favorable condition for falling into illusions. Once more Russia has to make judgements and chose the way of development without sufficient information.

Fragmentary data and politicized comments that flood newspapers and TV programs do not suit an educated society. Striving for democratic restructuring, we have to provide population with sufficient information regarding geopolitical, economical, and resource controversies, as well as global ecological tensions. All these factors affect local processes in an actively developing human society.

The present analytical series is a contribution of the International Independent University of Environmental and Political Sciences (IIUEPS) to solution of this problem. According to the intention of its founders, the book analyses close relationships of social and ecological problems in connection with global trends in the humankind development and aside from any corporate interests.

The University faculty hold annual seminars in memory of Nikolai Fedorovich Reimers, a famous ecologist and one of the IIUEPS founders. We also collaborate with international and Russian Green Cross on issues of environmental education, give public lectures on modern environmental problems in Moscow Polytechnical Museum, and publish textbooks. All these activities helped us to start a new project, publication of analytical annual series that would provide readers with detailed information on the most important current problems. In order to prepare the series we established a small research center for theoretical analysis of environmental problems. The researchers of this center study statistical data, formulate key questions for authors, develop the schedule of the next issue, and keep track of the main events of the year.

The present publication contains reference data that allow readers critical evaluation of the authors opinions on complex and often controversial issues. When additional facts are proposed by the editorial board and not by an author, they are placed into special "windows" with appropriate notes. We invite recognized specialists to analyze the current situation in Russia. The editorial board members respect their opinions and agree with many of them, however, we disclaim any responsibility for a variety of opinions on controversial issues.

We started a new project being mainly under influence of the annual series "State of the World" published under guidance of Lester Brown. The world-wide reputation of this series is mainly explained by reliability of published information. The data are carefully selected by the Worldwatch Institute employees who use extensive information networks of specialized international statistical services such as the World Health Organization, U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, The World Resources Institute. The researchers



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