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This article reviews the initial Soviet decisions through 1988, applying perestroika to the problem of protecting priroda. Surveyed here is the scope of the ecological problems in the USSR and traditional responses, followed by an examination of the current Soviet policy to restructure its administrative and legal system for environmental protection. These initial reforms will not all result in a direct or immediate improvement of the Soviet environmental protection regime. For instance, the reforms also are stimulating the Soviet "not in my backyard" (NIMBY) phenomenon, or local opposition to the siting of developments ranging from electrical power plants, to facilities needed for treatment of sewage or hazardous wastes. Some of these environmental reforms and their collateral effects, as in the NIMBY phenomenon, will conflict with and impede the new Soviet policy of uskorenie, or acceleration of socio-economic development.