The 'greening' of Ukraine: An assessment of the political significance of the Ukrainian green movement

Grodeland, Ase Berit (1996) The 'greening' of Ukraine: An assessment of the political significance of the Ukrainian green movement. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis analyses the emergence, development and political significance of the Ukrainian Green Movement - Zelenyi Svit - and the Green Party of Ukraine - Partiia Zelenykh Ukrainy (PZU) - in the Soviet/post-Soviet context of political change. The emergence of the Ukrainian Greens is studied in relation to Soviet eco-culture, rooted in pre-Revolutionary thinking on the environment and which continued to exist as a sub-culture during the Soviet period. It is argued that this eco - culture not only contributed to the emergence of the Ukrainian Green Movement, but that it also provided it with a theoretical framework and with already experienced activists. However, having not only a positive impact on the emergence of the movement, this current of thought also facilitated Zelenyi Svit's split into two groups in December 1994. All the same, this thesis suggests that eco-culture may play a significant role in creating awareness of the environment in Ukraine, as it is not perceived with the same amount of scepticism and suspicion as 'imported' thinking on the environment generated in the West. Besides, there is an enormous interest in Ukraine in the past. The Greens could benefit from this interest by highlighting the environmental traditions of the past, while combining them with contemporary international environmental thought, rather than focusing entirely on the latter. The study of Zelenyi Svit and PZU more generally is combined with an in-depth analysis of the campaign against expansion of the South-Ukrainian Energy Complex, conducted by the Nikolaev oblast Zelenyi Mir starting in 1988 and continuing to this day. This thesis covers the period 1988 to 1994. Research on Zelenyi Svit and PZU was conducted through in-depth interviewing, observation, archival research and a survey of several Ukrainian newspapers during three field-trips to Ukraine. A survey was also conducted among district and regional groups of Zelenyi Svit in June 1994. This thesis represents the first attempt at studying the Ukrainian Greens in-depth. Most of the sources and information appearing in Chapters Three, Four, Five, Six and Seven are therefore new. Some attention is also given to the similarities/differences between the Ukrainian Greens and similar movements in the West. It is argued that although in some respects similar to the latter in that they opposed the existing economic and political system of their country (i.e. the USSR) as being anti-environmental from relatively early on in their campaign, there were also similarities with Green Movements in developed countries, which tend to campaign for the livelihood of their local communities and thus the very existence of their people. In Ukraine, the Chernobyl accident, nuclear power and extensive chemical pollution were seen as threats not only to the country's environment but also to the very existence of the people inhabiting this environment. Thus, to the Greens their campaigns were not only aimed at reducing pollution, but were also presented as a struggle for survival. Although the emphasis of this thesis is on the emergence of and internal developments within Zelenyi Svit and PZU, the interaction between the two and on their campaigns, considerable attention is also given to the Ukrainian Communist Party and its changing attitude towards the environment in general and nuclear power in particular. The relationship between the CPU and the Greens is also studied in-depth. By referring extensively to correspondence between the CPU and the CPSU now available in the Ukrainian State Archives for Public Movements and not yet published, it is argued that the CPU relatively shortly after the Chernobyl accident started to voice its concern over and opposition to the CPSU's plans to expand nuclear power in Ukraine, providing a number of arguments for not doing so. It is commonly argued that the Greens successfully pressurised the CPU and the CPSU into making concessions on the nuclear power issue. In reality, the situation was far more complex: although the CPU could not openly side with the Greens and did not want to be seen as 'giving in' to too many of their demands, it was able to exploit widespread support for the Greens to support its requests vis-a-vis 'Moscow'. Thus, it seems more plausible to conclude that the two benefited mutually from one another.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Political science, Environmental management, Slavic studies
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences
Supervisor's Name: White, Professor Stephen and Dewhirst, Mr. Martin
Date of Award: 1996
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1996-71630
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 10 May 2019 14:02
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2022 14:10
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.71630

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