A Shaggy-Bear Story: An Environmental History from a Remote Region



This article opens with an account of a hike in a remote region and a story about how local bears bore extreme deprivation during a harsh winter. It then opens out to reveal the location, a nature reserve on the shore of Lake Baikal in Eastern Siberia, and contrasts the story from this remote region with conventional accounts of “Russian environmental history” that emphasize destruction and disasters in the Soviet period, which are sadly all too true, but give insufficient attention to other aspects of the environmental history of the vast territory that once comprised the Soviet Union.

Author Biography

David Moon, Department of History, University of York, UK

David Moon is Anniversary Professor in History at the University of York, UK. He works on Russian, American, and transnational environmental history. He was lead investigator on a Leverhulme International Network (2013–16): “Exploring Russia’s Environmental History and Natural Resources,” involving specialists from UK, US, and Russian universities, which involved annual field trips to key locations in Russia and Ukraine. In addition, he is exploring parallels and connections between Russia’s and Ukraine’s steppes and America’s Great Plains. He held a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship (2015–17) for a project entitled “The Amerikan Steppes: Russian Influences on the Great Plains.”