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Curative Nature: Medical Foundations of Soviet Nature Protection, 1917–1941

  • Johanna Conterio

Abstract

In 1922, there were thirty-five state health resorts in the Soviet Union. This article introduces the historic role of health resorts as sites of nature conservation in the Soviet Union, comparable to national parks and nature reserves (zapovedniki), and highlights the role of physicians and medical ideas in the formulation and promotion of conservation policies in the Soviet Union. It analyzes conservation laws and regulations that covered health resorts, prohibiting a range of activities throughout their territories to protect natural healing resources such as mineral waters, muds, and beaches. In the 1930s, Soviet health resorts became influential centers of conservation when the science of ecology lost state support and ecological study centers in the nature reserves were dismantled. The idea that the natural environment should be protected to serve human health gained influence with official patrons in the Soviet state because physicians explicitly aligned the health resorts with the anthropocentric ideology of the state and its goal of industrialization, opening up health resort medicine to the industrial workforce. Health and nature's curative ideas also formed the foundation for nature protection during Stalinism. State patronage of health resort conservation increased in the Stalinist period, culminating in 1940, when the reach of conservation was extended to local health resorts. The article concludes with an examination of conservation work in the Sochi health resort.

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This work was generously funded by a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Award. Earlier drafts of this article were presented at the Annual Convention of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies and the Annual Conference of the American Society for Environmental History. I would like to thank Nicholas Breyfogle, Christopher Burton, Matthew R. Fitzpatrick, Carolin Firouzeh Roeder, and Douglas Weiner; Harriet Murav, and the anonymous reviewers for Slavic Review for their insightful and generous discussions, comments and suggestions.

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1. Arkhivnyi otdel administratsii goroda-kurorta Sochi (Archival Department of the Administration of the City-Health Resort Sochi) (AOAGKS), fond (f.) 3, opis΄ (op.) 1, delo (d.) 38, list (l.) 12 (Prikazy upolnomochennogo Tsik po obshchim voprosam, 1935).

2. Otdel lechebnykh mestnostei Narodnogo komissariata zdravookhraneniia R.S.F.S.R., “Polozhenie o gornoi okhrane lechebnykh mestnostei,” in Otdel lechebnykh mestnostei Narodnogo komissariata zdravookhraneniia R.S.F.S.R., Dekret, polozheniia i instruktsii po obespecheniiu trudiashchikhsia-grazhdan R.S.F.S.R. kurortnoiu pomoshch΄iu. (Moscow, 1920), 8–9.

3. AOAGKS, f. 3, op. 1, d. 65, l. 12 (Prikazy upolnomochennogo Tsik po obshchim voprosam, 1936).

4. Bruno, Andy, The Nature of Soviet Power: An Arctic Environmental History (Cambridge, Eng., 2016), 11.

5. Josephson, Paul R., Would Trotsky Wear a Bluetooth: Technological Utopianism under Socialism (Baltimore, 2010), 193231.

6. Feshbach, Murray and Friendly, Alfred Jr. Ecocide in the USSR: Health and Nature under Siege (New York, 1992), 1.

7. Brown, Kate, Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters (Oxford, 2013).

8. On forest conservation, see Stephen Brain, Song of the Forest: Russian Forestry and Stalin’s Environmentalism (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011) and Brian Bonhomme, Forests, Peasants, and Revolutionaries: Forest Conservation and Organization in Soviet Russia, 1917-1929 (Boulder, CO: East European Monographs, 2005); on the zapovedniki, see Douglas R. Weiner, Models of Nature and A Little Corner of Freedom. For a helpful overview of conservation laws and regulations in the Soviet Union, see Philip R. Pryde, Conservation in the Soviet Union (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1972);

9. Douglas R. Weiner, Models of Nature: Ecology, Conservation and Cultural Revolution in Soviet Russia (Bloomington, Ind., 1988), 229. Here I draw from the model of progressive-era conservation in the United States as analyzed in Samuel P. Hays, Conservation and the Gospel of Efficiency: The Progressive Conservation Movement, 1890–1920 (Pittsburgh, 1999).

10. As Douglas Weiner argued, the ethical and aesthetic dimensions of conservation disappeared from the writings of activists: “Ethical and aesthetic positions had been frequently voiced by scientific activists alongside scientific rationales for nature protection. By the late 1920s, this integrated mixture of motives, probably shared by the bulk of scientist activists, could no longer be expressed without penalty. Over the course of the decade ethical and aesthetic arguments lost their legitimacy and were derided as nonmaterialist and sentimental.” Douglas R. Weiner, A Little Corner of Freedom: Russian Nature Protection from Stalin to Gorbachev (Berkeley, 1999), 12.

11. The conservation movement was closely tied to the technocratic turn of the early twentieth century, based on the idea that technical experts might develop a sense of social responsibility and use their technical knowledge to form policy, becoming actively engaged in politics. See Kendall E. Bailes, Technology and Society under Lenin and Stalin: Origins of the Soviet Technical Intelligentsia, 1917–1941 (Princeton, 1978), 99–100.

12. For example, in a section of a report on the natural resources (proizvoditel΄nye sily) of Crimea, the prominent conservationist F.F. Shillinger placed balneological resources such as salt lakes, muds, and mineral waters alongside mineral resources such as iron ore and coal. F.F. Shillinger, “Kratkoe opisanie Kryma,” in V.N. Makarov, ed., Krymskii poluostrov. Ego rol΄ i znachenie v SSSR. Opisanie kryma i problema ego pereustroistva putem obogashcheniia ego prorodnyk h resursov, razvitiia mirovogo turizma i kurortnogo dela (Moscow, 1935), 45.

13. Douglas Weiner, Models of Nature, 231.

14. On forest conservation, see Stephen Brain, Song of the Forest: Russian Forestry and Stalin’s Environmentalism (Pittsburgh, 2011) and Brian Bonhomme, Forests, Peasants, and Revolutionaries: Forest Conservation and Organization in Soviet Russia, 1917–1929 (Boulder, CO., 2005); on the zapovedniki, see Douglas R. Weiner, Models of Nature and A Little Corner of Freedom. For a helpful overview of conservation laws and regulations in the Soviet Union, see Philip R. Pryde, Conservation in the Soviet Union (Cambridge, Mass., 1972).

15. In the interwar period, the state focused on the development of health resorts and urban parks and green spaces, but these other categories were legally established by decree. For those decrees, see the appendix to Philip R. Pryde, Conservation in the Soviet Union. On the project to open up zapovedniki to tourism, see Douglas R. Weiner, Models of Nature. By 1972, Philip Pryde reported that there were at least six so-called “open” zapovedniki, accommodating tourism, in Conservation in the Soviet Union, 48.

16. Similar legislation protecting other leisure landscapes, including urban parks, green spaces, and forest parks, also framed the terms of medicinal conservation. See the decree of the Council of People’s Commissars of September 16, 1921 that called for the protection of urban green space, “On the Preservation of Natural Monuments, Gardens, and Parks,” in Philip Pryde, Conservation in the Soviet Union, 213–14. On the protection of forests and forest parks, see Stephen Brain, Song of the Forest. For a useful overview of recent scholarship on national parks that explores the intellectual frameworks in which nature protection developed, see Bernhard Gissibl, Sabine Höhler, and Patrick Kupper, “Introduction: Towards a Global History of National Parks,” in Civilizing Nature: National Parks in Global Historical Perspective, Bernhard Gissibl, Sabine Höhler and Patrick Kupper, eds., (New York, 2012).

17. On the role of tourism and health resort vacations in raising worker productivity, see Diane P. Koenker, Club Red: Vacation Travel and the Soviet Dream (Ithaca, 2013). Tourism was thought to have an important role in prophylactic medicine. The celebrated Constructivists architect and theorist Moisei Ginzburg was particularly attuned to the connections between medicine and tourism. In 1935, he wrote: “One of the most interesting types of prophylactics on the Southern Coast of the Crimea is tourism, the perspectives for the development of which here are enormous.” M. Ia Ginzburg, “Raionnaia planirovka iuzhnogo berega Kryma,” in V.N. Makarov, ed., Krymskii poluostrov, 176, 178.

18. I suggest that health resorts belonged to the category of “leisure space,” a concept developed by Claire Shaw, who argued that leisure space was isolated in organization and concept, and had a “privileged role as a locus of acculturation.” Claire Shaw, “A Fairground for ‘Building the New Man’: Gorky Park as a Site of Soviet Acculturations,” Urban History 38 (2011): 324–44.

19. Claire Shaw, “A Fairground for ‘Building the New Man.’”

20. On culturedness (kul΄turnost΄), see Sheila Fitzpatrick, Everyday Stalinism: Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times: soviet Russia int eh 1930s (Oxford, 1999), 79–83; Vadim Volkov, “The Concept of Kul΄turnost΄: Notes on the Stalinist Civilizing Process,” in Sheila Fitzpatrick, ed., Stalinism: New Directions (London, 2000), 210–30; and Catriona Kelly and Vadim Volkov, “Directed Desires: Kul΄turnost΄ and Consumption,” in Catriona Kelly and David Shepherd, eds., Constructing Russian Culture in the Age of Revolution, 1881–1940 (Oxford, 1998), 291–313.

21. Both Stephen V. Bittner and Heather DeHaan have noted that green spaces had an important place in Stalinist urban planning, but have not noted the role of ecological thinking and health in those debates. See Stephen V. Bittner, “Green Cities and Orderly Streets: Space and Culture in Moscow, 1928–1933,” Journal of Urban History 25, no. 1 (1998): 22–56, and Heather DeHaan, Stalinist City Planning: Professionals, Performance and Power (Toronto, 2013). On the place of hygiene in shaping the urban environment, see Donald A. Filtzer, The Hazards of Urban Life in Late Stalinist Russia: Health, Hygiene, and Living Standards, 1943–1953 (New York, 2010) and chapter one of Steven E. Harris, Communism on Tomorrow Street: Mass Housing and Everyday Life after Stalin (Baltimore, 2013).

22. Douglas Weiner argues that there was very weak literary participation in the scientific intelligentsia’s nature protection movement in the 1950s and 1960s, as writers turned to the village prose school and the defense of the village as part of an emerging Russian nationalism. Douglas R. Weiner, A Little Corner of Freedom, 8.

23. Yitzhak M. Brudny, Reinventing Russia: Russian Nationalism and the Soviet State, 1953–1991 (Cambridge, Mass., 1998).

24. Nicholas B. Breyfogle, “At the Watershed: 1958 and the Beginnings of Lake Baikal Environmentalism,” Slavonic and East European Review 93, no. 1 (2015): 147–180.

25. Katherine Metzo, “The Formation of Tunka National Park: Revitalization and Autonomy in Late Socialism,” Slavic Review 68, no. 1 (Spring 2009): 50–69.

26. Otdel lechebnykh mestnostei Narodnogo komissariata zdravookhraneniia R.S.F.S.R., “Dekret o lechebnykh mestostiakh obshchegosudarstvennogo znacheniia,” in Otdel lechebnykh mestnostei Narodnogo komissariata zdravookhraneniia R.S.F.S.R., Dekret, polozheniia i instruktsii po obespecheniiu trudiashchikhsia-grazhdan R.S.F.S.R. kurortnoiu pomoshch΄iu (Moscow, 1920), 4.

27. Ibid.

28. Ibid. This remained true with the 1943 legislation on forests, in effect through 2006, where “resort forests” were placed into “Group 1,” the most stringent category of protection. See Stephen Brain, “Stalin’s Environmentalism,” The Russian Review 69, no. 1 (January 2010): 114. The health resort administrations attempted to sidestep this regulation by declaring large tracts of land as “forest parks,” thereby claiming the land for its own purposes.

29. The Department of Curative Regions (Otdel lechebnykh mestnostei) was established on September 24, 1918 as a reorganization of the health resort section (kurortnaia sektsiia) of the newly established People’s Commissariat of Public Health for the purpose of managing health resort affairs, but this department did not have jurisdiction over the land of health resorts until the April 4, 1919 decree. See Narodnyi komissariat zdravookhraneniia Glavnoe kurortnoe upravlenie, Kurorty SSSR: Spravochnik (Moscow, 1923), 9.

30. The “Decree on Land” was issued on October 26, 1917. Brian Bonhomme, Forests, Peasants, and Revolutionaries, 84.

31. This was broadly in keeping with the technocratic approach to government of the early Soviet state. Unlike in other states, where health ministry officials were often drawn from the police or other branches of administration, in the Soviet Union, the Commissariat of Public Health was staffed mostly by physicians and medics. See Neil B. Weissman, “Origins of Soviet Health Administration: Narkomzdrav, 1918–1928” in Health and Society in Revolutionary Russia, Susan Gross Solomon and John F. Hutchinson, eds. (Bloomington, Ind., 1990).

32. “Dekret o lechebnykh mestnostiakh,” 3.

33. On the place of public health in Soviet acculturation under Stalin, see especially David Hoffmann, Cultivating the Masses: Modern State Practices and Soviet Socialism, 1914–1939 (Ithaca, 2011); Dan Healey, Bolshevik Sexual Forensics: Diagnosing Disorder in the Clinic and Courtroom, 1917–1939 (DeKalb, Il., 2009); Frances Bernstein, The Dictatorship of Sex: Lifestyle Advice for the Soviet Masses (DeKalb, Il., 2007); Paula Michaels, Curative Powers: Medicine and Empire in Stalin’s Central Asia (Pittsburgh, 2003).

34. “Dekret o lechebnykh mestnostiakh,” 3.

35. The decree instructed the Commissariat of Public Health to issue regulations elaborating on the functions of the “districts of mineral conservation,” and to outline and officially approve the borders of districts of mineral conservation in each health resort of state significance. “Dekret o lechebnykh mestnostiakh,” 3.

36. RSFSR Narodnyi komissariat zdravookhraneniia, Otdel lechebnykh mestnostei, Spravochnik po Kurortam Obshchegosudarstvennogo znacheniia, ed. V.V. Vladimirskii (Moscow, 1922), 3–4.

37. They were also used to treat a variety of skin, gastric, and cardiovascular conditions, which had traditionally been treated with water cures.

38. For a biography of Teziakov, see Khrisanfov, “N.I. Teziakov, 1850–1925,” Kurortnoe delo 3, nos. 1–2 (1925): 13.

39. Gosudarstvennyi tsentral΄nyi muzei sovremennoi istorii Rossii (GTsMSIR), f. 72, d. 4742/27, l. 113 (Vospominaniia N.A. Semashko: Prozhitoe i perezhitoe: Otryvki iz avtobiograficheskikh zapisei).

40. On the sanatorium in the Soviet Union, see Diane P. Koenker, Club Red and Michael Zdenek David, “The White Plague in the Red Capital: The Control of Tuberculosis in Russia, 1900–1941” (PhD diss., University of Chicago, 2007). On the mass sanatorium in twentieth-century Germany, see the elegant comparative study, Flurin Condrau, Lungenheilanstalt und Patientenschicksal: Sozialgeschichte der Tuberkulose in Deutschland und England im späten 19. und frühen 20. Jahrhundert (Göttingen, 2000), and Wolfgang Seeliger, “Die ‘Volksheilstätten-Bewegung’ in Deutschland um 1900: Zur Ideengeschichte der Sanatoriumstherapie für Tuberkulöse” (PhD diss., Institut für Theorie und Geschichte der Medizin der Westfälischen Wilhelms-Universität Münster, 1988). On the mass sanatorium in Great Britain, see Linda Bryder, Below the Magic Mountain: A Social History of Tuberculosis in Twentieth-Century Britain (Oxford, 1988); on the United States, see especially Barbara Bates, Bargaining for Life: A Social History of Tuberculosis, 1876–1938 (Philadelphia, 1992).

41. Flurin Condrau, “Behandlung Ohne Heilung: Zur Sozialen Konstruktion des Behandlungserfolgs bei Tuberkulose im frühen 20. Jahrhundert,” Medizin, Gesellschaft und Geschichte 19 (2001): 71–93.

42. “Polozhenie o gornoi okhrane,” 8–9.

43. The regulations outlined a broadly prohibitive regimen of health resort use: “Within the district of mineral protection is prohibited without special permission each time by the mineral inspectorate, all kinds of excavation, both terrestrial and subterranean, breaking stones, cutting and planting forests, ploughing fields, construction of buildings—residential, business, factory, and warehouses—laying new roads and rail tracks, fishing, the use on the waterways by all boats, both motor and simple, steamers, and rafts, the construction of laundries, bathhouses, bathing beaches, and generally, anything that may in some way have any impact on the physical properties and chemical composition of the curative agents (lechebnykh sredstv) of the given region.” “Polozhenie o gornoi okhrane,” 9.

44. This idea was introduced in “On the curative regions of state significance,” which held that the district of mineral conservation would guarantee the “correct maintenance” of mineral water sources. “Dekret o lechebnykh mestnostiakh,” 3.

45. V.A. Poliakov, Pravovaia okhrana kurortov (Frunze, 1972), 8.

46. “Polozhenie o gornoi okhrane,” 8.

47. The chemical properties of waters and muds were the standard measure for monitoring natural healing resources and determining whether they were in an “unaltered” state. “Polozhenie o gornoi okhrane,” 8.

48. On general hygiene as a discipline focused on making living conditions healthy, see Susan Gross Solomon, “Social Hygiene and Soviet Public Health, 1921–1930,” in Health and Society in Revolutionary Russia, 175–99.

49. Ibid.

50. Medicinal conservation fit with sanitary medicine, hygiene, and communal hygiene into the larger category of environmental health, in its most broad definition of encompassing “every factor in the human environment that affects health.” Chris Burton, “Destalinization as Detoxification? The Expert Debate on Industrial Toxins under Khrushchev,” in Frances L. Bernstein, Christopher Burton, and Dan Healey, eds., Soviet Medicine: Culture, Practice and Science. (DeKalb, 2010), 237–57; Tricia Starks, The Body Soviet: Propaganda, Hygiene, and the Revolutionary State (Madison, 2009).

51. Johanna Conterio, “Inventing the Subtropics: An Environmental History of Sochi, 1929–36,” Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 16, no. 1 (Winter 2015): 91–120; Johanna Conterio, “Places of Plenty: Patient Perspectives on Nutrition and Health in the Health Resorts of the USSR, 1917-1953,” Food & History 14, no. 1 (2016): 135–69.

52. On the establishment of the institute, see “Ustav gosudarstvennogo tsentral΄nogo instituta kurortologii, utverzhedno, Narkomom Zdravookhraneniia N. Semashko 17/1–27,” Kurortnoe delo no 4 (1927): 17–19.

53. S.N. Sokolov, “Ekspeditsionnaia deiatel΄nost΄ gosudarstvennogo tsentral΄nogo instituta kurortologii i voprosy kurortografii,” in G.M. Danishevskii, ed., Trudy gosudarstvennogo tsentral΄nogo instituta kurortologii (Moscow, 1930), 5:17.

54. Ibid.

55. Max Hirsch, “Die Sprachenblüte ‘Kurortologie,’ Zeitschrift für wissenschaftliche Bäderkunde no. 8 (1929): 794.”

56. G.M. Danishevskii and M.P. Konchaolvskii, eds. Osnovy kurortologii, 3, (Moscow, 1932), 6.

57. Gerhard Rudolph, Zwei Beiträge zur Geschichte der Balneologie: Die kulturgeschichtlichen und medizinischen Wurzeln des Baderwesens; 100 Jahre wissenschaftliche Balneologie (Kassel, 1982); Markwart Michler, “Zur Geschichte der Balneologie,” Würzburger Medizinhistorische Mitteilungen 24 (2005): 180–94; Olga Vladimirovna Iodko, “Deutsche Einflüsse auf die Entwicklung der russischen Balneologie,” in Ingrid Kästner, ed., Deutsch-russische Beziehungen in der Medizin des 18. und 19. Jahrhunderts (Aachen, 2000), 53–56; Priska Binz Nocco, Mineralwasser als Heilmittel: Medizinisch-pharmazeutische Aspekte im 19. Und frühen 20. Jahrhundert unter besonderer Berücksichtigung des Kantons Tessin (Liebefeld, 2008).

58. Uwe Heyll, Wasser, Fasten, Luft und Licht: Die Geschichte der Naturheilkunde in Deutschland (Frankfurt, 2006); Florentine Fritzen, Gesünder Leben: Die Lebensreformbewegung im 20. Jahrhundert (Stuttgart, 2006).

59. Henry Sigerist and Julia Older, Medicine and Health in the Soviet Union (New York, 1947), 286.

60. It also allowed the Main Administration of Health Resorts to establish new regulations for the districts of mineral conservation, and to undertake “measures aimed at the correct maintenance of the contents of the sources of mineral waters and drinking sources.” Gosudarstvennyi arkhiv Rossiiskoi federatsii (GARF), f. A-483, op. 1, d. 2, l. 1 (Polozhenie o glavnom kurortnom upravlenii, 1923).

61. “Polozhenie o gorno-santiarnoi okhrane mineral΄nykh i presnykh vod, solianykh i griazevykh ozer, limanov i mestnostei lechebnogo znacheniia,” Kurortnoe delo, no. 2–3 (1924): 7–9.

62. I. Valedinskii, Trudy V Vsesiuznogo nauchno-organizatsionnogo s΄΄ezda po kurornomu delu, 3. Soviet medical administration contrasted with the commercial administration of European resorts, where the freedom of lay healers to work in the resorts and the competition between commercially-organized resorts left accredited physicians with relatively little influence in shaping the health resort experience, which was characterized as much by casinos as taking the waters. The tsarist regime was also criticized for stalling conservation laws in the early twentieth century; laws were debated for seventeen years before finally being passed, in opposition to private interests. On conservation legislation in late Imperial Russia, see George Lywood, “Our Riviera, Coast of Health: Environment, Medicine, and Resort Life in Fin-De-Siecle Crimea” (PhD diss., Ohio State University, 2012).

63. Douglas R. Weiner, A Little Corner of Freedom, 43.

64. On the purge of the state, launched at the 16th party congress in April 1929, see Robert Tucker, Stalin in Power: The Revolution from Above, 1928–1941 (New York, 1990), 122. In 1930, for example, A.I. Rykov, head of state as chairman of the USSR Council of Commissars, and a strong defender of the so-called bourgeois specialists, was removed from his position. Kendall E. Bailes, Technology and Society under Lenin and Stalin, 113. Yet no widespread arrest of physicians occurred on the scale of the arrests of engineers and technical specialists from 1928 until 1931.

65. GARF, f. A-482, op. 1, d. 676, l. 2 (Polozhenie o vserossiiskom ob΄΄edinenii kurortov, 1930–1931).

66. Stephen Brain, “Stalin’s Environmentalism,” 107. As Brain demonstrated, the transfer of jurisdiction over forestry to Vesenkha (VSNKh) was short-lived. This sort of transfer away from expert management never occurred in the case of health resorts.

67. G.M. Danishevskii, “Osnovy sotsial΄noi kurortologii,” in M.P. Konchaolvskii and G.M. Danishevskii, eds., Osnovy kurortologii tom pervyi (Moscow, 1932), 36.

68. Danishevskii, “Osnovy sotsial΄noi kurortologii,” 9, 35.

69. Ibid., 33–35, 36; V.A. Aleksandrov, “K voprosu o razvitii kurortnoi seti soiuza,” Kurortologiia i fizioterapiia nos. 3–4 (1933): 1–2. The health resorts of state significance were Sochi, Matsesta, Essentuki, Zheleznovodsk, Kislovodsk, Piatigorsk, Evpatoriia, Saki, the Southern Coast of the Crimea (made up of seven independent health resorts), Staraia Russa, Sergievskie mineral΄nye vody, Shafranovskii region, Orenburgskii region (made up of two independent health resorts), and Borovoe. There were 21 health resorts of state significance and 93 health resorts of local significance in the Soviet Union: 52 in the Russian SFSR, 29 in the Transcaucasian SSR, 8 in the Ukrainian SSR, 3 in the Turkmen SSR and 1 in the Tadzhik SSR. Moreover, many unofficial curative regions operated without official charter, opened through the initiative of local and regional officials. The climatologist V.A. Aleksandrov estimated in 1933 that there were 184 of these. In 1933, then, there were 298 Soviet health resorts operating both with and without official charter.

70. Douglas R. Weiner, Models of Nature, 253.

71. Danishevskii, “Osnovy sotsial΄noi kurortologii,” 28.

72. On April 20, 1938, the First Congress of the All-Russian Society for the Protection of Nature opened in Moscow. Weiner sees the congress as demonstrating renewed state efforts to take over the organization and make it into a mass organization, against the wishes of scientific experts. Douglas R. Weiner, A Little Corner of Freedom, 52.

73. “Polozhenie o sanitarnoi okhrane kurortov i mestnostei lechebnogo znacheniia,” in Sobranie postanovlenii i rasporiazhenii pravitel΄tsva soiuza sovetskikh sotsialisticheskikh respublik no. 12 (May 31, 1940): 382. The policy differed little from existing laws and regulations: it was an expansion of the same policy that had been in place since 1919–20. The USSR Commissariat of Public Health maintained control over the district boundaries of sanitary protection. The regulations delegated to the Soviet of People’s Commissars of the Union Republics the task of establishing such districts at the republican level and larger health resorts of local significance. Miterev was reputed to be an active environmentalist, see Chris Burton, “Medical Welfare During Late Stalinism: A Study of Doctors and the Soviet Health System, 1945–53” (PhD diss., University of Chicago, 2000), 92.

74. “Polozhenie o sanitarnoi okhrane kurortov i mestnostei lechebnogo znacheniia,” 382.

75. As Jane I. Dawson has found, environmentalism and nationalism converged in many regions of the USSR during perestroika, creating a potential for the emergence of powerful mass movements. See Jane I. Dawson, Eco-Nationalism: Anti-Nuclear Activism and National Identity in Russia, Lithuania, and Ukraine (Durham, NC, 1996), especially “Conclusions,” 162–77.

76. See Jonathan Oldfield, Russian Nature: Exploring the Environmental Consequences of Societal Change (Burlington, 2006), as well as the work of Douglas R. Weiner and Stephen Brain. New literature emphasizes the Russian strengths in science and exploration, and the strong tradition of state sponsorship for expeditions to study, quantify, and understand the natural resources of Russian and Soviet territory. As Jonathan Oldfield, Julia Lajus, and Denis J.B. Shaw have argued, such traditions underpinned a complex system of resource management that changed and developed over time. See Jonathan Oldfield, Julia Lajus, and Denis J.B. Shaw, “Conceptualizing and Utilizing the Natural Environment: Critical Reflections from Imperial and Soviet Russia,” Slavonic & East European Review 93, no. 1 (January 2015): 1–15.

77. For an overview of the declensionist narrative in cold war literature, see Stephen Brain, “Stalin’s Environmentalism,” 93–98. The declensionist narrative was a weapon of the west in the Cold War, yet another way to discredit Communist methods of state. Yet, the Cold War also had a productive role in environmental policy, driving competition over environmental policy. See Stephen Brain, “The Appeal of Appearing Green: Soviet-American Ideological Competition and Cold War Environmental Diplomacy,” Cold War History 16, no. 4 (2016): 1–20; J.R. McNeill and Corinna R. Unger, eds., Environmental Histories of the Cold War (New York, 2010); and Joachim Radkau, Die Ära der Ökologie. Eine Weltgeschichte (Munich, 2011).

78. Stephen Brain, “Stalin’s Environmentalism,” 96.

79. Douglas Weiner, Models of Nature, 235.

80. Christopher Burton argues that policies with a strong focus on industrialization saw the most support in this period, which he called the “industrial principle,” in “Medical Welfare During Late Stalinism.”

81. V.N. Makarov, Krymskii poluostrov, 8.

82. Douglas Weiner, Models of Nature, 236.

83. Danishevskii, “Osnovy sotsial΄noi kurortologii,” 33–35, 36; V.A. Aleksandrov, “K voprosu o razvitii kurortnoi seti soiuza,” Kurortologiia i fizioterapiia nos. 3–4 (1933): 1–2.

84. On the nationalities of patients in 1952, see AOAGKS, f. 24, op. 1, d. 415, l. 40 (Meditsinskii otchet o rabote kurorta Sochi-Matsesta za 1952); on the social background of patients, see l. 39.

85. AOAGKS, f. 24. op 1, d. 195, l. 33 (Godovoi meditsinskii otchet za 1940).

86. V. Volkov, “The Concept of kul΄turnost΄: Notes on the Stalinist Civilizing Process,” in Sheila Fitzpatrick, ed., Stalinism: New Directions (New York, 2000), 210–230; Catriona Kelly and Vadim Volkov, “Directed Desires: Kul΄turnost’ and Consumption,” in Catriona Kelly and David G. Shepherd, eds., Constructing Russian Culture in the Age of Revolution, 1881–1940 (Oxford, 2005), 291–313.

87. I.I. Puzanov, “Okhrana prirody v Krymu,” in V.N. Makarov, Krymskii poluostrov, 136.

88. Hygiene and other aspects of kul΄turnost΄ can be understood as social interventions of a modernizing state. See David L. Hoffmann, Stalinist Values: The Cultural Norms of Soviet Modernity, 1917–1941 (Ithaca, 2003).

89. AOAGKS, f. 29, op. 1, d. 6, l. 4 (Materialy o prevedenii sanminimuma v sanatorii no. 8, 1930–1931).

90. AOAGKS, f. R-215, op. 1, d. 40 (Dokumenty vyshestoiaiushchikh organizatsii po osnovnoi deiatel΄nosti sanatoriiq i perepiska s nimi, 1955).

91. Narodnyi komissariat zdravookhraneniia SSSR, Upravlenie kurortov I sanatoriev. Materialy i instruktsii po organizatsii lecheniia i obsluzhivaniia bol΄nykh na kurortax; vypusk II (organizatsiia lecheniia i obsluzhivaniia bol΄nykh v sanatoriakh). (Moscow, 1940) 5–6.

92. V.S. Govorov, Lechenie na kurortakh Sochi-Matsesta (Krasnodar: Kraevoe knigoizdatel’stvo, 1939).

93. Nesterov, A.I., ed., Pokazaniia i metody lecheniia na kurorte Sochi-Matsesta (Kiev, 1938), 28.

94. Ibid., 29.

95. I.D. Zaslavskii, “Itogi 2-I sessii tsentral΄nogo nauchno-kurortnogo soveta,” Voprosy kurortologii no. 2 (1937): 78.

96. AOAGKS, f. 24, op. 1, d. 195, l. 61 (Godovoi meditsinskii otchet za 1940).

97. Morozova, A.G., Kak vy dolzhny vesti sebia vo vremia priema fizioterapevticheskikh protsedur (Moskva, 1935).

98. Noack, Christian, “Coping with the Tourist: Planned and “Wild” mass tourism on the Soviet Black Sea Coast,” in Gorsuch, Anne E. and Koenker, Diane P., eds., Turizm: The Russian and East European Tourist under Capitalism and Socialism (Ithaca, 2006), 281304.

99. The Sochi region of the Azovo-Chernomorskii territory (krai) in 1933 was a large territory, occupying 2,770 square kilometres (277,000 hectares). AOAGKS f. 29, op. 1., d. 2. ll. 23, 18 (Dokumenty o sanitarnom sostoianii Sochinskogo raiona za 1929–1934).

100. GARF, f. A-314, op. 1, d. 8026, l. 32 (Delo o planirovke Sochi).

101. The exception to this rule was the occasional group of tourists (turisty), who entered the forests in hiking expeditions, which the conservation regulations prohibited without formal permission of the Commission for Mineral-Sanitary Protection.

102. AOAGKS, f. 3, op. 1, d. 73, l. 22-32 (Akty opredeleniia luchshikh sadovnikov po ozeleneniiu i oformleniiu kurorta Sochi-Matsesta).

103. GARF f. A-314, op. 1, d. 8025, l. 62 (Delo o planirovke Sochi).

104. N.E. Khrisanfov i V.I. Shmelev, “Istoriia razvitiia, sovremennoe sostoianie i blizhaishie perspektivy Sochi-Matsestinskogo kurorta,” in I. Valedinskii and N.I. Khrisanfov, eds. Kurort Matseta: Sovremennoe sostoianie kurorta, proiskhozhdenie matsestinskikh serovodorodnykh istochnikov, sushchnost’ lechebnogo deistviia i pokazanii k lechebnym naznacheniiam (Moscow, 1928); AOAGKS, f. 24, op. 1, d. 369, l. 132 (Godovoi meditsinskii otchet kurorta Sochi-Matesta-Khosta za 1951).

105. GARF, f A-314, op. 1, d. 8026, l. 32 (Delo o planirovke Sochi).

106. This region had as its border the Kuban region to the northeast, beyond the Caucasus mountain ridge, and the Sukhumi district to the south. A mineral-sanitary commission was active in the late 1920s within these borders. The commission focused on establishing protective zones for separate construction sites, drafting directives, and regulating the question of settlement and re-settlement during these years. Conservation efforts were focused on construction sites rather than the territory overall. AOAGKS, f. 29, op. 1, d. 2, l. 58, 63 (Dokumenty o sanitarnom sostoianii Sochinskogo raiona za 1929–1934).

107. If the “Regulations for the mineral conservation of curative regions” called for the commission for mineral protection to be made up of the director of the health resort administration, with the assistance of two engineers and a sanitary physician, it would seem that, in practice, in Sochi, there were no engineers for these roles, and, as the director of the health resort was enormously busy with running the resort, the sanitary physician was the only active member of the commission. “Polozhenie o gornoi okhrane,” 9.

108. AOAGKS, f. 29, op. 1, d, 2, l. 63 (Dokumenty o sanitarnom sostoianii Sochinskogo raiona za 1929–1934). Although the Black Sea region Executive Committee confirmed new, more closely-defined borders of the mineral and sanitary districts in 1929, the decision failed to address the crucial issue of enforcement. In 1929, the borders of the mineral and sanitary district of Sochi-Matsesta were redrafted and approved by the Black Sea Region Executive Committee. The Sochi Health Resort Administration remained responsible for the sanitary maintenance of both the Sochi region and the health resort territory and collected a special, local health resort tax to that end. Yet, the 1929 decision again failed to address the crucial issue of enforcement. The 1929 decision defined the district of sanitary protection with borders traced along landmarks, roads and individual plots, and divided the sources of the water supply into three zones of protection: the zones of “strict,” “limited” and “observational” regimens. AOAGKS, f. 29, op. 1, d. 2, l. 61, 152 (Dokumenty o sanitarnom sostoianii Sochinskogo raiona za 1929–1934); AOAGKS, f. 29, op. 1, d. 9 (Otchet po epidemiologicheskoi rabote Sochi-Matestinskogo kurorta).

109. AOAGKS, f. 29, op. 1, d. 2, l. 64 (Dokumenty o sanitarnom sostoianii Sochinskogo raiona za 1929–1934).

110. AOAGKS, f. 3, op. 1, d. 6, l. 1 (Prikazy 4–59 upolnomochennogo Tsik SSSR V sochinskom raione po kurortnym voprosam).

111. AOAGKS, f. 137, d. 132, l. 49 (Perepiska s uchrezhedeniiami u organizatsiiami g. Sochi o mobilizatsii sredstv, uchastii grazhdan v blagoustroistve goroda). Domestic passports, introduced in 1933, were used by police to remove socially-marginal people from urban areas in the so-called “mass operations,” and to allocate state benefits. As historian David Shearer wrote: “In short, officials saw in the passport system a means to fix populations socially and geographically in ways that reinforced the hierarchies of privilege and punishment built into the Stalinist social order.” David R. Shearer, Policing Stalin’s Socialism: Repression and Social Order in the Soviet Union, 1924–1953 (New Haven, 2009), 372.

112. AOAGKS, f. 3, op. 1, d. 6, l. 1 (Prikazy 4–59 upolnomochennogo Tsik SSSR v sochinskom raione po kurortnym voprosam).

113. AOAGKS, f. 3, op. 1, d. 65, l. 12 (Prikazy 1–31 upolnomochennogo Tsik SSSR v sochinskom raione po kurortnym voprosam 1936).

114. Ibid.

115. AOAGKS, f. 47, op. 1, d. 91, l. 14 (Akty obsledovaniia zelentresta i avtotrassy kurorta, 1935–1937).

116. AOAGKS, f. 3, op. 1, d. 65, l. 32 (Prikazy 1–31).

117. I.D. Zaslavskii, “Itogo 2-i sessii tsentral΄nogo nauchno-kurortnogo soveta,” Voprosy kurortologii, no. 2 (1937): 83.

118. Danishevskii, “Osnovy sotsial΄noi kurortologii,” 36, 33–35; V.A. Aleksandrov, “K voprosu o razvitii kurortnoi seti soiuza,” Kurortologiia i fizioterapiia nos. 3–4 (1933): 1–2. These were enormous territories. In 1956, there were 932,000 hectares of health resort forests. This was of about 44 million hectares of group I forests in the entire Soviet Union. Pryde, Philip R., Conservation in the Soviet Union (Cambridge, UK, 1972), 94.

119. Douglas R. Weiner, Models of Nature, 253.

This work was generously funded by a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Award. Earlier drafts of this article were presented at the Annual Convention of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies and the Annual Conference of the American Society for Environmental History. I would like to thank Nicholas Breyfogle, Christopher Burton, Matthew R. Fitzpatrick, Carolin Firouzeh Roeder, and Douglas Weiner; Harriet Murav, and the anonymous reviewers for Slavic Review for their insightful and generous discussions, comments and suggestions.

Curative Nature: Medical Foundations of Soviet Nature Protection, 1917–1941

  • Johanna Conterio

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