Many today are shocked at the state of the environment as it existed under the old Soviet regime.  But according to Jane Shaw of the group PERC, such pollution of the rivers and land was a natural consequence of a government managed economy.  Comments Shaw: “In the old Soviet system, the state of the environment was directly connected to the absence of property rights. The authorities had refused to allow most resources to be privately owned and production was centrally planned, with land and other resources owned by the state, not individuals. This absence of property rights, which provides an incentive for good care and efficiency, was enough to devastate the environment. How fast the environment will eventually recover crucially depends on the restoration of private property rights.”