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Econationalism in Soviet literature

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image of The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review

Literature was a significant vehicle for ecological thinking in the post-World War II Soviet Union. In early 1950 a group of Russian writers known as ‘villagers’ advanced environmental themes, equating preservation of the environment in the face of frenzied industrialization and modernization with the preservation of Russian culture itself. The work of the villagers – so known for their focus on the history and condition of the Russian village – reached its peak in the 1970s when many of them had gained a following among the Soviet intelligentsia as a result of their critical stand on the socialist transformation of rural areas and their advocacy for the protection of land, forests, and rivers. In this period, environmental, social, and moral motifs were artfully presented in village prose. From the mid-1980s a nationalistic element came to dominate their art. In the post-Soviet period this tendency deepened, leading finally to marginalization of village prose.

Affiliations: 1: School of Geography, Moscow State University, Moscow 119992 GSP-1, Russia ; 2: JMF Research Associates, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA,


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