Thursday, April 15, 2021

Russia Must View Green Revolution as an Opportunity rather than a Threat, Suslov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 12 – Many in Moscow view the green revolution as another “color” revolution that threatens Russia by challenging its existing economic structures that are heavily carbon-dependent, but instead, Dmitry Suslov of the Higher School of Economics says, the Kremlin should be viewing the green revolution as an opportunity for Russia to advance.

            One of the authors of a new HSE report, “The Turn to Nature: A New Environmental Policy of Russia under Conditions of ‘the Green Transformation of the World Economy and Politics,” Suslov argues that only by changing its attitudes toward the green revolution can Russia hope to win out (

            “If we will not get involved seriously with the defense of the environment and don’t transform ecology into one of the chief priorities of domestic and foreign policy, then we will become still poorer and find ourselves in a less favorable position.”

            “Poorer because we will lose out in the global competition” and less well off because the deterioration of the environment will lead to a worsening of the health of Russians and require “a colossal increase in spending on health care,” Suslov says. Thus, spending on the environment isn’t a waste of resources but rather “a profitable investment.”

            Russia even has the chance to take the lead in this revolution and thus win influence abroad. It can do so if its ecological agenda is broader than the ones Western countries have adopted, if it can be more informed by issues of justice than theirs are, and if it can be linked to issues of climate change which are hitting Russian especially hard.

            International interest in and support for environmental action is not as many Russians image a conspiracy of “dark forces” which are doing everything they can to undermine the Russian state. These things reflect real and legitimate concerns, the HSE scholar continues, and these concerns should be Russian ones as well.

            Indeed, Suslov adds, Russians have particularly good reasons for such a focus. If Russia tries to maintain its current oil and gas economy, it will only marginalize itself given the transition to a post-carbon world and thus fall further and further behind. Seeking to join the green revolution is really its only way forward to a better future.


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