The history of Vozrezdheniye Island in the Aral Sea is recounted, both to establish the related hazards and to acknowledge the underlying social process it shares with the Aral Sea Disaster, itself. A Closed City, part of the secretive world of Soviet arms manufacture and testing, carried out a hidden agenda of experimentation in the heart of the vast blue sea. Even as the Aral Sea was polluted and starved of water from without, parallel authoritarian regimes were poisoning its heart at the center. In this way, the military industrial complex became an actor with parallel duplicity to the public planned economic sector in charting the death of the Aral Sea. Ironically, the very attraction of Rebirth Island as an isolated weapons testing ground was undermined by the actions of the Soviet government to desiccate the Aral Sea, thus uniting Vozrezdheniye to the main shore and destroying its seclusion. In both instances, the case study is a further indicator that the people of Karakalpakstan were considered marginal and expendable, underscoring environmental injustices that continue long after the demise of the Aral Sea.
Edelstein, M. (2012), "Death and Rebirth Island: Secrets in the U.S.S.R.’S Culture of Contamination", Edelstein, M., Cerny, A. and Gadaev, A. (Ed.) Disaster by Design: The Aral Sea and its Lessons for Sustainability (Research in Social Problems and Public Policy, Vol. 20), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 37-51. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0196-1152(2012)0000020012Download as .RIS
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