The Birth of the Soviet Anthropocene: Nikita Moiseev and the transformation of Soviet governmentality

Rindzeviciute, Egle (2015) The Birth of the Soviet Anthropocene: Nikita Moiseev and the transformation of Soviet governmentality. In: ICCEES IX World Congress 2015; 03-08 Aug 2015, Makuhari, Japan. (Unpublished)


Arguing the roots of the idea of Anthropocene can be traced back to the Soviet Union, the paper introduces hitherto unexplored but highly innovative Russian thinker, Nikita Moiseev. The director of the Computer Centre of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, Moiseev promoted mathematical modelling of the environmental processes, but also he was deeply interested in the use of scientific expertise for governmental processes. In this way, Moiseev belonged to the new type of a scientist, the one that was attached to both worlds scientific research and governance and situated at the centre of the powerful industrial-military complex. Just like the inventor of cybernetics, Norbert Wiener, Moiseev used his experience of modelling global environmental systems to rethink fundamental conceptual premises and techniques of the contemporary governance. This study examines key features of a new Soviet governmentality, outlined in Moiseev’s writings, in particular the ones connected with a famous US-Soviet forecast of nuclear winter. The paper argues that Moiseev’s ideas, explicated in such popular books as 'The Man and Biosphere' and 'Contemporary Rationalism', coalesced into a highly original philosophy of governance which in many ways resembled the later idea of the Anthropocene, formulated by Paul Crutzen (who was also part of Moiseev's networks). Drawing on Vernadskii, Moiseev conceptualised the co-evolution of the man and the biosphere, which was an astonishing way of thinking about governance and control completely outside of the iron cage of communist ideology. It is in Moiseev's thought, I argue, that the communist governance was overhauled and, importantly, this happened at the very heart of the power.

Actions (Repository Editors)

Item Control Page Item Control Page