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Fighting Locusts Together: Pest Control and the Birth of Soviet Development Aid, 1920-1939

Abstract : During the interwar period, Soviet authorities put a particular emphasis on fighting agricultural pests. Locust invasions were a tremendous concern for Soviet borderlands in the Caucasus and Central Asian. Anti-acridian campaigns thus became an important element of the social contract between local populations and the Bolsheviks, embodying the Communist modernising project. However, they were also a diplomatic issue, since scientific progress demonstrated ever more clearly the transnational dimension of the locust threat. Debates happened among Soviet institutions as to the way this cross-border dimension should be managed. As the 1920s went on, forms of international cooperation were developed with Iran, Afghanistan and Mongolia. These relations were an opportunity to showcase the Soviet model of development and to gain political influence. Interactions between the USSR and Iran were especially advanced and served as a model for other bilateral agreements. As this paper argues, this relatively forgotten episode laid the basis for future Soviet development policy.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, March 3, 2015 - 11:30:11 PM
Last modification on : Monday, March 21, 2022 - 2:49:42 PM
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Etienne Peyrat. Fighting Locusts Together: Pest Control and the Birth of Soviet Development Aid, 1920-1939. Global Environment, 2014, 7, pp.536-571. ⟨10.3197/ge.2014.070211⟩. ⟨hal-01122457⟩

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