The “Green” Activity in Russia at the End of 20th Century
At the very beginning of reformation processes in Russia (end of eighties) it became obvious, that their success depends on people activity and their ability to perform successful management and self governing.
The response to this time demand was first of all from environmental initiatives of the local people, with significant increase in such activities in the country, including its most remote areas. In the last decades the environmental activities, that went through all the acrimonies of economical crisis and social-political reformations received further development. Most of such activities received status of officially registered social organizations. At present they protect the part of population that wishes to live in healthy environment. These organizations are not only media, through which managers on all levels learn about attitudes of local peoples towards current environmental situation, but also influence the government and attempt to impose environmental points of views on public opinion.
General characteristics of environmental activity in various regions Geography.
Environmental, non-governmental, non-profit (i.e. public) organizations (EO) exist in all regions of the country. Moreover, they act in every industrial center and of course, in the capitals of every member of Russian Federation. The process of creation of such organization is on the move in smaller cities and district centers. It can be supposed, that in every region nor less than ten and nor more than fifty of such EO (up to thirty on average).
Aims and scope. The activity of public environmental initiatives is first of all aimed at resolution of environmental problems as well as at environmental education. Regional organizations, comparing to local ones, acting at places, often involved in nature protection of all area or republic – its aquatic basins, woods and other ecosystems. Often namely these organizations mainly influence the state employees responsible for environmental problems.
Relationships of EO with other social groups have several sides – partnership and confrontation.
First of all, it is about interaction with government. When the government performs a concrete tasks on environmental protection, non-governmental organizations agree to cooperate, with the condition that government employees work with them. However, often the environmental organizations can impose their opinion only through confrontation. The public opinion aggravate the existing conflict trying to resolve it, and takes side of those, whose interests are in nature conservation and not in utilizing nature as highly profitable resource.
The relationships with population are built based on desire of environmental organizations to mobilize local people for independent activity in nature protection and environmental improvement.
The main line of confrontation is the relationship of environmental groups with those polluting the environment, i.e. with factories, plants etc. Often the only mean to influence the decisions is direct demonstrations of disagreement of EO.
Organization structure. The basis of the organization is the local environmental public initiatives. These are groups and organizations, created to resolve concrete environmental problems of local areas – inhabitants of large and small cities, towns and villages.
Some pre-perestroika groups of nature protection still exist. In some regions they form the basis for creation of all-republic youth movements ( such as in Tatarstan and Tchuvashia). Such groups play the role of recruiting centers for all environmental community. The regional divisions of Russian Nature Protection Organization are also show increased activity. In several cases they became the basis for modern development of the local environmental movement and in some areas are practically the sole non-governmental organization.
For a long time local EO acted in their regions absolutely independently. But gradually, the necessity to coordinate the activities and direct cooperation of various organizations in the regional environmental-political field grew up. Such uniting process allows to act more effectively for environmental community and is becoming a real environmental-political power, that government should be aware of.
The composition of EO. Formerly, the most active members were young and retired people. The still play the important role. However, gradually the influx of people in their 30-40's was observed, and this is connected to increased potential for career building in the field of public activity, as well as to gradual increase in professional level of EO. In fact, the possibility for career building is the man personal motives of participation in environmental activities.
The general trends mentioned here are based on environmental activities of four regions - Rostov, Bryansk and Novgorod regions
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