More Than 16 Million Russians Are Breathing Polluted Air

File Photo of Smokestacking Spewing Cloud of Discharge

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 21, 2017) More than 16 million residents of Russia’s largest cities are breathing polluted air, an annual Natural Resources and Environment Ministry report cited by the Kommersant daily on Thursday suggests. Russia’s fledgling post-Soviet environmental protection movement has been hampered in recent years by corruption, lax enforcement of laws and a crackdown on advocacy […]

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NEWSLINK: “Cold weather hits Russian economy in May but recovery still on track” – bne Intellinews

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Russia’s statistics agency released a slew of numbers for June and revised the May numbers. The bottom line is while the economy took a hit from the bad weather in May, the recovery is broadly on track and life is starting to look better for the man in the street after two years of grinding pain. Real disposable incomes and […]

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Bad Weather Blamed for Moscow’s Summer Sadness

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 6, 2017) An unusually cold summer is partially responsible for a spike in Muscovites calling in for psychological help, RT reported, citing the director of the Moscow Psychological Aid Service Nina Petrochenko. The service received a total of 3,870 queries in June 2017, a 14 percent increase compared to the same month in 2016. […]

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Article by Vladimir Putin published in the German business newspaper Handelsblatt (re G20)

Map of Germany

(Kremlin.ru – July 6, 2017) Ahead of my trip to Germany to take part in the Summit of the Group of Twenty, I would like to share some thoughts about cooperation within the G20 framework with the readers of Handelsblatt, one of the most popular and reputable German newspapers. Over the years of its existence, the Group of Twenty has […]

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Rosatom: Climate’s new best friend; As Russia’s economic crisis continues to hit budgets, the country’s state nuclear corporation is going green to raise funds on the international level.

Russian Nuclear Power Plant

(opendemocracy.net – Vladimir Slivyak – June 21, 2017) Vladimir Slivyak is the co-chair of the Russian environmental NGO Ecodefense and has been taking part in UN climate change talks since 1995. The recent St Petersburg International Economic Forum was widely covered by the Russian media, partly because of the eye-catching debates in which president Vladimir Putin himself took part. In […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Says Still Likely to Back Paris Climate Deal Despite U.S. Withdrawal” – Reuters

Arkady Dvorkovich file photo

“… #Russia has signed the Paris climate pact but is the biggest emitter of global greenhouse gases not to have yet ratified it. Russian officials have said they need more time to assess its potential impact on their economy and have spoken of drafting a strategy for low-carbon development, fuelling fears among green campaigners Moscow may not ratify the agreement. […]

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Putin warns against rushing to condemn Trump for U.S. withdrawal from climate deal

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

ST. PETERSBURG. June 2 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said it is too soon to condemn United States President Donald Trump for the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement. “I would not judge President Trump now because it was President Obama who made the relevant decisions [to join the agreement]. Perhaps, the incumbent president believes they are not […]

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Russia’s eco-activists: not out of the woods yet; It’s Russia’s Year of Ecology. But as these activists tell us, campaigning on environmental and urban issues is far from a walk in the park.

Gorky Park file photo

(opendemocracy.net – EDITORS OF OPENDEMOCRACY – May 4, 2017) Across Russia, from Kaliningrad to Makhachkala, people have been taking to the streets to save parks, historic buildings and reservoirs. Residents of high-rise developments take the initiative to clean up their buildings. Mothers plant flowers in children’s playgrounds and fight for the right to bring their children’s pushchairs into cafes. The […]

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Most densely populated part of Russia environmentally unfavorable – document

Moscow Roads

MOSCOW. April 20 (Interfax) – Environmental conditions in the most densely populated part of #Russia remain unfavorable, according to the Russian environmental security strategy for the period through 2025. The strategy was endorsed with an executive order of the president on April 19. “Environmental conditions in cities and surrounding territories populated by 74% of the country’s residents are experiencing a […]

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NEWSWATCH: “In Russia, The World’s Largest Lake Takes On The World Bank and Mongolian Power Build-Up” – Forbes/ Kenneth Rapoza

Lake Baikal and Environs Satellite Photo

“The biggest fresh water lake in the world is under attack … again … this time from Mongolian power companies with help from the World Bank looking to build two hydroelectric dams that draw from an important Russian river. … the World Bank held public hearings in Russia to discuss environmental impact studies around Lake Baikal in Russia, moving two mid-sized […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Working meeting with Natural Resources and Environment Minister Sergei Donskoy

Russia Map

(Kremlin.ru – March 20, 2017) Mr Donskoy briefed the President on measures to enhance the efficiency of subsoil resource use, develop a system of protected natural zones, and support eco-tourism. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Donskoy, we discussed with you on many occasions the question of effective subsoil use. I know the Ministry has prepared a roilange of instruments, […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Melting glaciers threaten to inundate Russia’s Far North and Siberia”

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

Scientists say that the melting permafrost and the cryosphere’s destruction might lead to massive flooding in the Arctic and Siberian regions of Russia in the next 20 years, as well as foster the resuscitation of dormant pathogens and the destruction of vital infrastructure. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – OLGA DOBROVIDOVA, SPECIAL TO RBTH – March 14, 2017) Maria […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Khloponin

Siberian River, Forest, Mountain

(Kremlin.ru – March 3, 2017) Vladimir Putin met with Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Khloponin to discuss the Year of the Environment in Russia, including ways to reduce emissions and the adverse impact on the environment, to introduce best available technologies, and to protect rare animals. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Khloponin, the Year of the Environment is underway in […]

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NEWSLINK: “He dared to speak the truth: Alexey Yablokov, scientific hero of Chernobyl” – The Ecologist (UK)/Chris Busby

Chernobyl File Photo

“Alexey V. Yablokov (1933-2017) was a scientific giant of the post-Chernobyl age, writes Chris Busby. It was he who brought together the work of dissident Soviet scientists and revealed to the world, in English language, the true health impacts of the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe. ….”

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NEWSWATCH: “General Frost to the Rescue: cold helps Russia comply with OPEC deal” – Reuters

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

“… Russia … in the past … accused of dragging its feet in implementing oil production and exports deals, reduced production by 100,000 barrels a day in the first few days of January … a third of the way towards the total cut Russia promised to deliver by mid-2017. … [at least partly] the result [of]  …unusually cold temperatures in […]

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NEWSLINK: “It was minus-22 in Moscow last weekend; So of course it was outdoor party time” – Washington Post/David Filipov

Snowy Night on Red Square with Old St. Basil's Lit Up

“… Russia takes off the week between New Year’s and Eastern Orthodox Christmas, which fell on Saturday. Temperatures began dropping Friday and on Saturday dipped past the 120-year-old record for the date to minus-22 degrees — during a weekend of outdoor events that mostly went off as scheduled. …”

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RBTH: A welcome cold war: Russia and the U.S. fight to protect polar bears

File Photo of Polar Bear on Ice and Snow with Water Nearby

In late 2016, Russia and the U.S. jointly studied 180 polar bears living along the border of Alaska and Chukotka. Their findings will help develop a three-year plan to save the species. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – RAM TER-GHAZARYAN, SPECIAL TO RBTH – January 10, 2017) The Wrangel Island Reserve in the Chukchi Sea has one of the […]

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RUSSIALINK RT: “Moscow celebrates despite coldest Christmas night ‘in 120 years.'”

Russian Orthodox Believers Holding Candles at Cathedral at Christmas

“Bitterly cold temperatures haven’t stopped worshipers from celebrating Epiphany and Orthodox Christmas. Christian believers across the globe joined in celebrations. Those who attended midnight liturgy at Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior had to bundle up for the bitter cold as temperatures in the capital dropped to about -30C on Christmas night. In Moscow Region, temperatures dropped below -32C. …”

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects

Siberian River, Forest, Mountain

(Kremlin.ru – November 25, 2016) Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects to discuss support for non-resource exports and environmental development. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues. Today we will look into measures to support non-resource exports and to improve the environmental situation in the country. We need to form a […]

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NEWSLINK Awful Avalanche: “Attack of the Giant Beavers North of Moscow!”

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

“… [a] piece in Komsomolka announces that the beaver population north of Moscow has increased in the past 3-4 years. And this is seen as a good thing. The Russian word for “beaver” is бобёр (pronounced “ba-BOR”), plural “ba-BRY”. This word is inherited from the ancient Proto-Indo-European language (PIE). Linguists reconstruct the original word as something like *bʰébʰrus from the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Antarctic marine reserves deal within reach as Russia thaws environmental stance. After five years of failed negotiations, conservations are hopeful Russia is prepared to make a deal to protect the Ross Sea and East Antarctica” – The Guardian (UK)

Antarctica Map

An international agreement to protect some of Antarctica’s unique and pristine marine ecosystems could be reached within a fortnight …. Delegates from 24 nations and the European Union gathered in Hobart on Monday to commence two weeks of talks at the annual meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). … If an agreement is […]

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Russia’s Largest Problem: Permafrost Lies beneath Two-Thirds of Its Territory and Two-Thirds of That Will Melt This Century

Polar Map Showing Permafrost Areas, Adapted From NOAA.gov Graphic

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, October 14, 2016) The Russian government says it will invest 80 billion US dollars in developing Russia’s Far North between now and 2030, money it does not yet have (profile.ru/economics/item/111568-5-trillionov). But the biggest barrier to achieving its goals may not be financial stringencies but the impact of global warming. According to Russian […]

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Wikileak: Clinton Told Oil Majors Environmentalism Is Russian Hoax

Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sergei Lavrov, Seated With Flags

(Oilprice.com – Erwin Cifuentes – October 10, 2016) In 2014, United States presidential candidate Hillary Clinton purportedly accused the Russians of running fake anti-fracking and environmentalist groups who were trying to upend major projects such as the Keystone XL pipeline. According to Sputnik International, #Wikileaks reportedly uncovered a paid-for speech made in 2014 by the former Secretary of State in […]

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Russia: the tinderbox in the struggle for a safe climate

Arctic Satellite Image and Map

Russia is at the forefront of the global climate change struggle. We ignore it at our peril. (opendemocracy.net – Daniel Voskoboynik – September 20, 2016) Daniel Voskoboynik is a journalist and campaigner covering human rights, ecology and migration. The Russian region of Yamal rarely makes global headlines. Despite being larger than France, its remote location bordering the Arctic Circle holds […]

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Russians Today Shorter and Weaker than Their Parents, Moscow Medical Experts Say

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, September 5, 2016) Russians coming to adulthood now are approximately two centimeters shorter and much weaker than those who did so as recently as the 1970s and 1980s, the result not of genetic degradation but rather of a wide variety of #environmental factors, according to researchers at the Russian Academy of Medical […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s melting ice could release more threats to humanity” – AFP

Arctic Map

Anthrax, small pox and giant viruses – Russian scientists are warning of a host of threats that could be unleashed on the world as global warming melts the frozen far north …. A recent anthrax outbreak on the Yamal peninsula left a child dead, 23 people infected and the government scrambling … The most likely source of the epidemic was […]

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NEWSWATCH: “In the ‘lungs of Moscow’ forest, Russia’s civil activists make their mark; Runaway housing developments have been going up around Moscow, threatening the ‘lungs’ of the city – the ring forest around the capital. But locals have been fighting back against the project – with success.” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

A diverse band of urban activists, communicating largely through social media, are combating plans to build an enormous high-rise housing development amid the forested ring around the capital  …. The protesters who make up the Mortongrad Nyet! coalition have no shared ideology, and certainly aren’t interested in criticizing the Kremlin. Yet they are redefining the limits of Russian civil society […]

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Will Chinese factories pollute the Russian Far East?

Siberian River, Forest, Mountain

Experts from WWF’s Amur branch assess the environmental impact of moving certain Chinese industries to Russia’s highly forested peripheral eastern region. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ELENA FEDICHKINA, EVGENY SHVARTS, SPECIAL TO RBTH – May 13, 2016) China’s proposal to relocate some of its production facilities to the Russian Far East has provoked heated debates among many experts. […]

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Why Ukraine is at risk of forgetting the lessons of Chernobyl

Chernobyl File Photo

Thirty years after the explosion at the nuclear power plant in the Ukrainian city of Chernobyl, one Russian expert argues that, by using American fuel in Soviet-built reactors and pushing the power-producing capabilities of its nuclear plants, Ukraine is putting itself at potential risk of another disaster. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ANDREI RETINGER, SPECIAL TO RBTH – […]

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Arctic Sea Ice Hits Record Low

Arctic Map

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – March 29, 2016) The growth of Arctic sea ice this winter hit the lowest level on record because of unusually warm temperatures, U.S. scientists said on March 28. On March 24, sea ice reached this year’s maximum of 14.52 million square kilometers of the Arctic Ocean, the National Snow and Ice Data Center said. That’s 12,950 […]

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AUDIO & NEWSWATCH: “For Russian Farmers, Climate Change Is Nyet So Great.” – National Public Radio

Eurasia Map Showing Temperature Ranges

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says last month was the warmest January on record. That sets off alarm bells for climate scientists, but for the average person living in a northern climate, it might not sound so bad. * * * The problem … is that while warmer weather might open up more land in cold regions such as […]

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When Baikal water will be more expensive than oil

Lake Baikal and Environs Satellite Photo

The average price of a bottle of drinking water in Moscow has become more expensive than what a bottle of Brent crude would cost. RBTH asks experts if it would be worthwhile for Russia to start exporting water from Lake Baikal. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – GLEB FEDOROV, RBTH – February 5, 2016) [Charts here rbth.com/politics_and_society/society/2016/02/05/when-baikal-water-will-be-more-expensive-than-oil_564923] In January, […]

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NEWSWATCH AP: “Winter heat wave, of a sort, envelops usually frigid Moscow”

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

AP covers unseasonably mild temperatures in Moscow. It’s usually the cold that’s bitter in Moscow in December, but this year it’s the humor that bites during an unusual warm spell. … temperatures climbed as high as 7 degrees Celsius (45 degrees Fahrenheit) … a joke began circulating … This was nature’s compensation for Russians being unable to take vacations in […]

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We need to find the common ground between climate change and civil society

Snowy Night on Red Square with Old St. Basil's Lit Up

To combat Russia’s industrial polluters, public indifference and limits on NGO activity, we need to link climate change and civil society. Русский (opendemocracy.net – Gleb Paikachev – December 11, 2015) Gleb Paikachev is an activist with the Nature and Youth organisation, Murmansk. Murmansk, a region just shy of the Arctic Circle, has its share of both global and local ecological […]

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Russia prepared to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 70% by 2030

File Photo of Smokestacking Spewing Cloud of Discharge

(Interfax – December 10, 2015) Russia is prepared to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by another 5 percentage points, or to 70 percent of the 1990 level by 2030, the Russian Natural Resources and Environment Ministry reported Minister Sergei Donskoi as saying at the UN climate conference (COP21) in Paris. Donskoi sai that combating climate change is a national priority […]

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Arctic winter temperature rose 3 degrees since 1990

Arctic Satellite Image and Map

(Interfax – December 8, 2015) The average Arctic winter temperature has risen three degrees Celsius since 1990, Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology Sergei Donskoy told a seventh High-Level Assembly of the Climate and Clean Air coalition. The average ice cover in the Arctic sea has halved since 1980, he said. “Already this region is characterized by a three-degree […]

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Most Russians Won’t Defend Environment Unless State Gives the Order, Semenov Says

Siberian River, Forest, Mountain

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, December 6, 2015) In Western countries, environmentalism is so popular that businessmen and politicians compete with each other to see who can be “the most green.” But in Russia, with rare exceptions, people focus on defending the environment only if the government orders them to, according to Vladimir Semenov, the head of […]

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Interfax: Russia, U.S. cooperating in telecommunications, environmental issues, access to drinking water in Arctic

Arctic Map

MOSCOW. Dec 4 (Interfax) – Russia and the United States are cooperating in spheres of mutual interest in the Arctic Council, Russian Foreign Ministry Ambassador at Large, senior official in the Arctic Council Vladimir Barbin has said. “Speaking of the U.S. program, they have lots of projects Russia is interested in […]. Naturally, we will be cooperating with them,” Barbin […]

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COP21: Facing the challenges of climate change before it’s too late

Polar Bear on Ice, Looking Back at Camera

With representatives of 195 nations currently taking part in climate change talks in Paris, or COP21, as the negotiations have been called, the issue of preventing global temperatures from rising by a key 2°C is on top of the agenda. What challenges face the international community and does Russia have a meaningful role to play in fighting global warming? (Russia […]

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