Technology Assessment, Soviet Style

Science  20 Jun 1980:
Vol. 208, Issue 4450, pp. 1343-1348
DOI: 10.1126/science.208.4450.1343


The Soviet Union is actively considering two plans to divert large northern lakes and rivers to the south of the country. If adopted, these would rank among the most expensive and complicated engineering projects ever undertaken, with unforeseeable but possibly far-reaching environmental effects. The plans, now at an advanced stage, have aroused a spirited public controversy, providing an unusual glimpse of Soviet policy-making and technology assessment. Major decisions are due by 1985. The question is, what will happen to the quality and openness of this debate as the political stakes rise and the time of decision draws near?