The Volga River was transformed into a Soviet machine. Then the machine broke.


STOYAN VASSEV

Since almost all cities and towns in Volga — and Moscow, through the canals — use the river for water, this pollution comes with huge amounts of water purification. Demin notes: “The more volatile the waters of the Volga, the more expensive it would be to drink. With a population of 60 million, the Volga River, about half of Russia’s industrial area, and an equal portion of its agriculture, the revenue is increasing.

A recent review by Carbon Brief, a UK-based UK newsletter, sets out the USSR and Russia third in the world in the history of greenhouse gas emissions. A report from Russia’s meteorologists, published in 2014, states that at a time when climate change is raging, global warming has more than doubled. The report also said that this is expected to continue. The effects of climate change promoted by another part of the Soviet industrial development are already evident around Russia, from permafrost depletion to desertification in the southern part of the country. The same industrialized development that led to the Great Volga and its river water is also a factor in global climate change — which has led to the water shortage of millions of people living in the cities along the Volga River.


In 2010, while visiting the last cascade area, Cheboksarskoe Reservoir, about 370 miles[370 km]east of Moscow, I saw algae blossoms that made the water look like witches’ beer.

The nearby city of Cheboksary, the capital of Chuvashia, one of the few republics of Russia, was warm, quiet, and welcoming during my visit. I was part of a press conference organized by RusHydro, the club’s owner, who was urging the government to replenish its supply of water. A few years later it is still 5 meters below where RusHydro wants it to be, because Cheboksarskoe Reservoir is where, after forty years of glory, the Big Volga project failed.

By the 1980’s, it was quantity, Mikhail Gorbachev thought that the Soviet Union could deal with freedom of the press and transparency, allowing citizens to negotiate and oppose their government’s elections. And so Volga’s unwavering environmental degradation gradually became part of the public debate. A 1989 reference work on the river states that the builders of the reservoir dam “caused the life-giving water of the Volga River to be turned into dead water, with nothing to do. “Proud all over the world that Volga-matushka [mother-river] she was raised several times, still claiming to be her sons, who raised her and sentenced her to a long, painful and painful illness, ”states the book.

“What kind of world is being ruined by its pollution and someone else’s money?”



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