• Russia;
  • transformation;
  • history of geography;
  • nature–society interactions;
  • science studies

Environmental studies conducted worldwide often overlook the knowledge traditions of the locales where they are conducted. Addressing this issue, I investigated the geographic journal literature of late Soviet (1980–1989) and post-Soviet (1990–2003) Russia. Notable trends are increasing criticism of environmental and resource management in Russia and a (re)turn to pre-socialist Russian theorizations of society–nature interactions. Specifically, the noösphere, ethnogenesis and geosystems are trends in the literature that signify how Russian geographers (re)construct environmental knowledge. For non-Russian geographers working in Russia, awareness of these trends situates place-based knowledge relative to multiple cultures (ethnic, scientific) and time periods, promoting cross-cultural understanding of different traditions of geographic inquiry.