Cover Osteuropa 7-9/2020

In Osteuropa 7-9/2020

The representative of the Russian forest
Leonid Leonov’s early commitment to environmental protection

Ulrich Schmid

Deutsche Fassung


Leonid Leonov (1899–1984) was one of the most successful writers in the Soviet Union. His novel The Russian Forest (1953) was printed millions of times and is regarded as a classic of Socialist Realism. However, the novel’s literary quality suffers as a result of its programmatic overload. In his journal-ism and literary works, Leonov presented surprisingly modern ecological demands, such as sustainable forest management, raising the status of woodland to a legal entity, founding support associations and the creation of a state nature protection committee. As such, Leonov can be regarded as the founder of public debate on environmental issues in Russia.

(Osteuropa 7-9/2020, pp. 91–101)