Keywords: environmental security, Russia, environmental contamination, pollution, environmental health, national security, kleptocracy, rule of law, legal infrastructure, financial infrastructure, civil infrastructure, international agreements, US interests, openness, political accountability, socio-political issues
Russian environmental security issues: competing frameworks for the future
This paper considers current challenges and possibilities for Russia from the perspective of 'environmental security'. Environmental security is a term emphasising the connection between environmental health and socio-political issues, including traditional national security issues. An environmental security approach provides a very fruitful way to consider critical challenges facing Russia. Russia has profound environmental problems whose severity and pervasiveness could undermine its attempts to build political and economic stability. The natural resource base and human health have suffered, and continue to face, profound deterioration. Since the end of the Soviet system, there has been no significant progress in defining and addressing major environmental and associated health problems. Major barriers include a lack of legal, financial and civil infrastructures; an unreliable legal system; rampant criminal elements; and a lack of political accountability. The paper concludes with observations about possible avenues for improvement, by addressing fundamental infrastructure weaknesses, coupled with actions to staunch the outward flow of wealth, increase bilateral and multilateral agreements, and attract external capital.