Wilderness protection in Russia

Natalia Danilina, Antje Neumann, Kees Bastmeijer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Introduction Russia covers a vast territory with significant areas of nature, which are relatively untouched by human activity. Considerable spaces in the North, Siberia and the Far East are sparsely populated, while in the European part of Russia many areas are also still relatively large, ecologically intact and free from permanent human infrastructure. In part this is due to the low population density (by European standards), which in the Central European part of Russia is a mere 59.5 persons per km2. Nevertheless, Russian economic policies are strongly focused on the active exploitation of natural resources. The intensive use of nature has increasingly focused on the Russian Arctic regions, where areas have relatively high wilderness qualities. This makes the central theme of this book, the role of law in protecting wilderness, also very relevant for the European part of Russia. This overarching theme is not only relevant from a nature conservation perspective but also in the social context. It has been increasingly acknowledged that the general notion that Russia has inexhaustible supplies of wild nature is misleading. The general public is increasingly disturbed about the threat to Russia’s wilderness since wild nature has always been of great importance to the country’s inhabitants. This chapter first discusses the societal relevance of the concept of wilderness in Russia (Section 2). Next (Section 3), the relevance of Russian environmental protection and nature conservation law for wilderness protection will be examined, with a particular focus on the Federal Law ‘On protection of the environment’ (2002), the Federal Law ‘On specially protected natural areas’ (1995), the ‘Forest Code’ of the Russian Federation (1997) and the Federal Law ‘On Ecological Expertise’ (1995). Attention will then be focused on the category of protected areas that is most relevant for protecting the three main wilderness qualities identified in the introductory chapter of this book: namely ‘zapovedniki’ (traditional Russian strict nature reserves) (Section 4). The original purposes of establishing zapovedniki and the influences of different political time periods upon the designation and managements of zapovedniki also receive attention. The final section provides a brief conclusion and future perspectives on wilderness protection in Russia (Section 5).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWilderness Protection in Europe
Subtitle of host publicationThe Role of International, European and National Law
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781107415287
ISBN (Print)9781107057890
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Cambridge University Press 2016.

Other keywords

  • Wilderness
  • Russia


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