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Environment and History

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Environment and History

Public Works in an Autocratic State: Water Supplies in an Imperial Russian Town

Alison K. Smith

Environment and History 11(2005): 319-342

In the 1830s and 1840s, Russians became particularly interested in water as a public health issue. Despite the attention of the state and the tsar, localities like the town of Kazan were largely unable to affect changes in public health due to bureaucratic obstacles and financial constraints. After the modernising Great Reforms, private interests helped bring older plans into reality. However, their success caused Russia to lag further behind the West, where private interests were ceding ground to public ones in the face of new understandings of contamination and hygiene.

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