Further examples of Soviet carelessness and environmental destruction abound: The Guardian notes that nearly 250,000 tons of pesticides and farm chemicals from Soviet times have been “stored in ramshackle warehouses, land-filled or dumped” throughout the former USSR. Lake Karachay — a dumping ground for Soviet nuclear weapon facilities — was deemed the “most polluted spot on Earth” by the Worldwatch Institute, and a 1994 New York Times article noted that one of Russia’s most prized exports, caviar, had been placed at severe risk from “tens of thousands of tons of heavy metals, chemicals, raw waste and other pollutants” dumped annually into the Caspian Sea, as well as Stalin’s damming of the Volga River. Entire books are filled with accounts of the devastation wreaked by Soviet communism upon the environment.
The environmental destruction associated with communism is no coincidence or accident of history, but rather a perfectly logical outcome for at least three reasons. Perhaps most obviously, communism invariably means authoritarianism (how else would a New Soviet Man emerge to work towards the bright, shiny future prophesied by Marx and Engels without re-education camps and control over the levers of societal machinery?), with little tolerance for dissent or concerns about hazardous waste in the worker’s paradise. To voice the opinion that perhaps not quite all was well, or that the air smelled funny, was to invite suspicions being a saboteur, kulak or harboring bourgeois tendencies.