On 21-22 April 2016 an international scientific conference „Not only Chernobyl. Ecological Dimensions of History of Communism „ was held in Poznań. It was attended by historians from France, Germany, Russia, Slovakia, Ukraine, Hungary and Poland.
The conference was organized by the Branch Office of Public Education in Poznań.
The conference concerned three main issues: politics of Communist countries to the natural environment, environmental disasters in the history of Communism, and the impact of the Chernobyl disaster on the activities of the political opposition in Poland and in the Eastern bloc.
In the first part the speakers and discussants pointed out that the official Marxist ideology, containing the theme of man's dominion over nature, legitimized the transformation of the natural environment. Heavy industry and agricultural policy (collectivization), and the use of hydropower contributed to changes in the techniques of agricultural production. This in turn led to environmental degradation, which the authorities unsuccessfully tried to prevent. The Chernobyl disaster of 26 April 1986 was not the first such event in the history of Communism. The speakers presented unknown backstage of the test site accident in Totsk, drying of the Aral Sea, or the derailment of tanks with chlorine in 1989 in Bialystok. In the last part the speakers presented the impact of the Chernobyl disaster on the development of the opposition in Poland, Ukraine and Russia.
Thursday, April 21, 2016
Session I: The Ecological Dimensions of Communism
Chair: Krzysztof Brzechczyn (the Institute of National Remembrance, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań)
9:10–9:35: Yulia Khmelevskaya (South Ural State University, Chelyabinsk) The Atomic Snowball in the Fall of 1954 in the South Urals: the Nuclear Weapons Test on the Totsk Polygon in the Local Memory and the Agenda of Public Activity
9:35–10:00: Robert Balogh (Hungarian Academy of Science) Cold War and Beyond: Border Crossing i Ecology in Forestry 1960–1980
10:00–10:25: Serhiy Choliy (National Technical University of Ukraine, Kyiv) People Had a Voice: Individual Initiative and the Population Relocation Process in the Late Soviet Union (1986–1991)
10:25–10:50: Natalia Leshchenko The Chernobyl Accident as a Social Distress. Based on the Interview with Refugees from the Alienation Zone.
11:30:12:00: Coffee break
Session II: Ecological Dimensions of Communism
Chair: Krzysztof Brzechczyn (Institute of National Remembrance, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań)
12:00–12:20: Piotr Chmielewski, Piotr Matczak (Institute of Sociology, Adam Mickiewicz University) Nature Conservation Transition – a Comparison of the Communist and Post-Communist Legislation
12:20–12:40: Małgorzata Praczyk (Institute of History, Adam Mickiewicz University) Nature and Ruins. The Ecological Dimension of Human Negligence in Post-war Poland
12:40–13:00: Xawery Stańczyk (Institute of Polish Culture, Warsaw University) Practices of Orientalism Inside the Ecovillage Movement in Poland of State Socialism
13:00–13:20: Irina Gordeeva (Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow, Russia) The Ecological Agenda in the Activities of The Group to Establish Trust Between East and West, 1986–1989
Session III: Organized by the Network for the Environmental History of Dictatorships
Chair: Viktor Pal (Slovak Academy of Sciences, the Institute of History)
15:20–15:40: Laurent Coumel (Centre national de la recherche scientifique et de l'École des hautes études en sciences sociales CERCEC CNRS-EHESS in Paris) Environmental Conflicts at the Source of the Volga: a Real-Size Test for Nature Protection in the Late Soviet Union
15:40–16:00: Michel Dupuy (Institut d'Histoire Moderne et Contemporaine, Paris) The French Media and the Environmental Problems in the Communist Countries During the Cold War
16:00–16:20 Elena Kochetkova (National Research University Higher School of Economics, St Petersburg/University of Helsinki) Soviet Environmental Politics in the 1950s–60s and the Cold War
16:20–16:40: Coffee break
Chair: Agnieszka Delis-Szeląg (Platform of European Memory and Conscience)
16:40–17:00: Viktor Pál (Slovak Academy of Sciences, Institute of History), From Chernobyl to Gabcikovo. The Environment i Public Opinion Surveys in the State-Socialist Hungary in the 1980s
17:20–17:40: Arnost Stanzel (Ludwig-Maximilians University at Munich) Water Pollution in Romania, 1948–1989: On the Way to the Second Modernity and Back Again?
Friday, April 22, 2016
Session IV: Ecological Dimensions of History of Communism
Chair: Karolina Bittner (Institute of National Remembrance, Poznań)
9:00–9:20: Dmitriy Panto (Muzeum of the Second World War in Gdańsk) How the Soviet Union Drank the Sea. The End of the Aral Sea
9:20–9:40: Dariusz Jarosz (Institute of History, PAN) Environmental Pollution in Poland in 1956–1970 as a Problem of the Authorities i Society (Selected Issues)
9:40–10:00: Jarosław Dulewicz (UJK Kielce) The Pollution of the Environment in the Light of the Sources of the Security Service (1971–1989)
10:00–10:20: Przemysław Ruchlewski (ECS) The Protection of the Environment in the Policy of the Voivodeship Committee of the Polish United Workers' Party in Gdańsk
10:20–10:40: Mieczysław Kopeć The Protection of the Environment in the Legal Regulations in the People's Republic of Poland
11:20–11:40: Coffee Break
Session V: Ecological Dimensions of History of Communism in Poland
Chair: Agnieszka Łuczak (Institute of National Remembrance, Poznań)
11:40–12:00: Arkadiusz Majewski (Institute of History, Warsaw University) The Ecological Dimensions of the Flood Prevention Policy on the Vistula River in the Polish People's Republic. The Case of the Building of the Barrage in Włocławek
12:00–12:20: Agnieszka Laddach (UMK Toruń) The History i the Present State of The Żarnowiec Nuclear Power Plant. A Proposal for a Research Project
12:20–12:40: Renata Knyspel-Kopeć, „There was no threat to the health of the people.” The Ecological Catastrophe in Chernobyl in the Polish Press. Selected Examples
12:40–13:00: Aleksandra Brylska (Faculty of Artes Liberales, Warsaw University), The Good Energy that Kills. On the Propaganda Role of Atomic Power in the People's Republic of Poland
13:00-13:20: Zuzanna Grębecka (Institute of Polish Culture, Warsaw University), The Childhood in the Nuclear Shadow
13:20–13:40: Paweł Nowik (Institute of National Remembrance, Białystok) The Last such an Ecological Catastrophe in Poland
Session VI: Ecological Issues in Activity of Opposition
Chair: Miklós Mitrovits (Hungarian Academy of Science)
15:00–15:20: Krzysztof Łabędź (Akademia Ignatianum w Krakowie The Ecological Issues in the Independent Press in the 1980s
15:20–15:40: Mateusz Flont (UJ) Did Alternative Culture in the People's Republic of Poland Recognize Ecological Problems? Subcultures and (fan)zines (1978–1989)
15:40–16:00: Marcin Tunak (Institute of History, Adam Mickiewicz University Social Protests against the Construction of a Nuclear Power Plant in Klempicz
16:00–16:20: Jakub Kufel (ECSThe Ecological Postulates in the Election Campaign of the Civic Committee (Komitet Obywatelski) during the June Elections of 1989.
16:20–16:40: Zbigniew Bereszyński (independent researcher) Ecological Issues i the Activation of Opposition in the Opolskie Voivodeship
16:40–17:00: Coffee break
Session VII: Transnational Dimensions of Ecological Issues in Communism
Chair: Przemysław Zwiernik (Institute of National Remembrance, Poznań)
17:00–17:20: Wieńczysław NowackiThe Ecological Forum of Greater Poland. Program and Activity, 1986–1989.
17:20–17:40: Paweł Sekuła (UJ) The Influence of the Chernobyl Catastrophe on the Process of Shaping the Anti-Communist Ukrainian Opposition in the Soviet Union.
17:20–17:40 Małgorzata Świder (Instytut Historii Uniwersytet Opolski)The Impact of the Chernobyl Catastrophe on the Policy and Society of Western Germany
18:20–18:30: Miklós Mitrovits (Hungarian Academy of Science), Cultural Opposition – Understanding the Cultural Heritage of Dissent in Former Socialist Countries: a Presentation of the New Horizon 2020 Research Project
18:30: Closing of the conference
Date: 21–22 kwietnia 2016
Venue: Ośrodek Nauki PAN, Poznań, ul. Wieniawskiego 17/19
Language: English and Polish
Organisational Committee: dr Karolina Bittner, prof. dr hab. Krzysztof Brzechczyn, dr Przemysław Zwiernik
Media patronage: Radio Merkury