In 1926, one of Josef Stalin's favorite writers, Vladimir Zazubrin, wrote what would be the attitude governing land use for much of the history of the Soviet Union:
Let the fragile green breast of Siberia be dressed in the cement armor of cities, armed with the stone muzzles of factory chimneys, and girded with the iron belts of railroads. Let the taiga be burned and felled; let the steppes be trampled. Only in cement and iron can the fraternal union of all peoples, the iron brotherhood of man, be forged (cited by Pearce, 1994, 36).
Russia at the time of the Revolution was a huge but economically backward country, and the new Communist regime sought ways to expand the economy and to do so as quickly as possible. Land use for this regime meant exploiting resources as fully and quickly as possible, including human resources. Urban land use meant the development of industry in the cities. With the breakup of the Soviet Union, the new Russia has had to address a variety of problems left behind by the former regime, problems that have become acute from neglect, failed policies, excessive secrecy, and poor planning.
Russian society is being restructured, along with the dissolution of the union of the various Russian republics. The seeds of this new revolution can be found in the society of the Soviet Union over its history, a society that was tightly controlled by a growing and complex bureaucracy which intruded into every facet of life. The new revolution has attacked this bureaucratic structure, showing an awareness that much of the stagnation in soviet society derived from this central core and from the way in which it moved outward to encompass virtually everything in Soviet society. The economic and social situation when Gorbachev assumed power was already in deterioration, and the economy in particular was falling further and further behind the West. In 1985 he inherited a country with a stagnating economy, an ambi...