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date: 15 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter aims to step outside prevailing environmental determinist interpretations, to treat the land and environment as more than a stage for history, and to look afresh at the story of human engagement with the natural world across the lands that have been Russia’s. The chapter considers in turn the diversity of natural habitats in these lands, the range of determinist interpretations that have dominated the historiography of the Russian environment, and the history of human impact on that environment over the very long term. Russians, it is argued, have made their own history and constructed their own identities in processes of interaction with the land and environment they have lived in, albeit one so naturally inhospitable as to be an unlikely first choice for a homeland.

Keywords: land, environment, environmental determinism, colonization, agriculture, industrialization, steppe, forest, tundra

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