The Role of Public Interest Groups in Democratization

Soviet Environmental Groups and Energy Policymaking, 1985-1991

by Glenys Babcock

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This dissertation tracks the emergence, protest and influence of public interest groups during the Soviet Union's transition period, 1987 through 1991. It focuses on one subset of public interest groups: environmental groups which protested against an energy policy. The battle between environmental groups and the Soviet governmental and energy decisionmakers provides a laboratory for exploring the processes through which public interest groups arose, entered the political arena, and influenced or tried to influence government decisionmaking. This study focuses on the protest against the Rostov nuclear power plant. It charts in detail the changing motivations, strategies and actions of environmental groups and responses by government and energy officials. The other 67 cases are used to develop an archetype of environmental group emergence and protest in the early transition period.

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