Health and the Environment in the Former Soviet Union Part I:
An Inteview with Murray Feshbach
From the Environmental Review Newsletter Volume Two Number Nine, September 1995
The health of the people of the former Soviet Union and the condition of the environment are in decline.
The life expectancy of Russians has fallen below that of other industrial countries and continues to decline.
Large scale industrial and agricultural pollution of air, water and soils continues to occur in the states of the former
Soviet Union, a perverse experiment on the effects of pollution on public health. Since the dissolution of the
USSR in 1991, it is possible for the first time to obtain reliable information about the extent of pollution and the
health conditions of the people of the former Soviet Union.
Dr. Murray Feshbach received the Ph.D. in economics in 1974 from The American University and has served as Branch Chief of the Foreign Demographic Analysis Division of the U.S. Bureau of the Census until 1981. He is now a research professor at Georgetown University department of demographics. He has been a fellow of the Kennan Institute and the Smithsonian Institution and in 1986-87 he served as Sovietologist-in-Residence in the Office of the Secretary General of NATO in Brussels, Belgium. Dr. Feshbach has served on numerous working groups and boards, both public and private, and has published over one hundred sholarly articles and book chapters on the demographics of the Soviet Union and Russia. In 1992, he published the book, Ecocide in the USSR: Health and Nature Under Siege with Alfred Friendly Jr. More recently he has written Ecological Disaster: Cleaning up the Hidden Legacy of the Soviet Regime, and with Gregory Guroff he has edited Environmental and Health Atlas of Russia. The Atlas is available from the Center for Post-Soviet Studies, Chevy Chase, MD. for $95.00. Telephone 301/652/8181; Fax 301/652/8451. We spoke with Professor Feshbach about his work on the atlas and about living conditions in Russia.