Volume 1, Number 2 (2008)

Politics, Oil, and the Environment: The Reterritorization of a Resource Periphery

Graeme Auton

University of Redlands

Jeremy Tasch

Towson University 


As the Russian Far East (RFE) enters the 21 Century it is beset by complex cross-cutting dynamics ranging from demographic issues (at two-thirds the size of the U.S., the RFE has a declining population of only six and one-half million), to its subordinate relationship with the Russian federal center in Moscow, to neoliberal economic globalization (signified in this paper by international corporate resource extraction in Pacific Russia), to disagreements over environmental degradation and the uncertain territorial status of indigenous peoples.  The RFE residents of Primorsky and Khabarovsky Krais, and the Sakhalin Oblast, frequently complain of neglect at the hands of a Moscow-centered government intent on focusing its new-found riches in the more populated European Russia, and see themselves – particularly on Sakhalin – as the victims of exploitive policies intended to extract the region’s rich natural resources without adequate compensation to the regional economy or appropriate attention to environmental protection.