Archive for Environment

Majority of Russia’s Urban Population Is Breathing Highly Polluted Air

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 4, 2014) The majority of Russia’s urban population is breathing highly polluted air, including at least 14 million people in 38 cities where pollutant concentrations are 10 times above acceptable levels, according to a recent report by the national weather and environment service. Moscow was among cities that rated

Interfax: Rasmussen’s claim Moscow funds “anti-fracking” environmentalists absurd – Greenpeace

File Photo of Blue Flame from Natural Gas

MOSCOW. June 20 (Interfax) – Greenpeace has rejected a claim made by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen that Russia funds European environmentalists opposing shale gas production in Europe. “Greenpeace sees this suggestion as absurd because the Organization and many other environmental groups are calling for fracking which used in exploiting shale formations, to be

Russia’s gamekeeper has turned poacher

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(opendemocracy.net – Mikhail Kreindlin – June 20, 2014) Mikhail Kreindlin is an expert at Greenpeace Russia on specially protected areas. Russia has a vast number of nature reserves and national parks. But the government body supposed to be protecting them is in fact destroying many of them by allowing development and mining. In Russia, as

What will be the cost of global warming to Russia?

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

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Gleb Fedorov, RBTH – April 9, 2014) The series of unusual climatic events that has affected Russia over the past few years has continued into the beginning of 2014. With dramatic global changes predicted as a result of rising temperatures, what awaits the country’s geography and economy? The

Abnormal heat waves, floods will continue due to global warming – experts

File Photo of Past Disaster

(Interfax – April 1, 2014) Contrary to widespread belief, global warming is continuing, with Russia hit the hardest, the UN Panel on Climate Change said in a report. The 1,500-page report, prepared by more than 250 experts, was published on Monday and will be submitted to governments, which members of the Russian group of experts

Snowstorm Paralyzes Moscow on April Fool’s Day

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 2, 2014) A snowstorm buffeted Moscow for about 18 hours, snarling traffic and blanketing the city in a record 17 centimeters of white that many residents probably wished was an April Fool’s joke. “Winter has returned to Moscow, and this is no April Fool’s joke,” Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said

Ecologists Suspect Opposition Leader Navalny of Poaching

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 19, 2014) The All-Russian Nature Conservation Society will ask prosecutors to check whether opposition leader Alexei Navalny is guilty of poaching. The ecologists’ suspicions were raised by a picture published on the Internet that shows Navalny posing beside a dead moose. “If you look at the photograph, it’s clear

RIA Novosti: Kremlin Suspends Questioned Reform of Wildlife Reserves

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

MOSCOW, February 5 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered to amend recent environmental legislation that critics said could allow for real estate development in Russia’s protected territories. A law passed in December allows for the downgrading of any of the 102 Russian wildlife reserves to natural parks, where construction is permitted under certain

TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Visit to Persian Leopard Breeding and Rehabilitation Centre

Sochi 2014

(cc – February 4, 2014) Vladimir Putin visited the Persian Leopard Breeding and Rehabilitation Centre at the Sochi National Park. Vladimir Putin toured the Centre together with IOC Executive Director for the Olympic Games Gilbert Felli and IOC Coordination Commission Chairman Jean-Claude Killy. The Centre was set up in 2009 within the framework of the

Ice Age Thrives In Southern Siberia

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Antoine Blua – January 30, 2014) If you ever wondered what the Ice Age looked like, then look no farther than Eurasia’s Altai-Sayan mountains, where thriving mammalian communities are frozen in time. Parts of the range along the Russia-Mongolian border have served as sanctuaries for Ice Age mammals since the last

LUKoil Hit With ‘Biggest Oil Spill Fine in Russian History’

Oil Well file photo

MOSCOW, January 10 (RIA Novosti) ­ A subsidiary of the Russian oil giant LUKoil has been slapped with a fine of 614 million rubles ($18.5 million), which Greenpeace said appeared to be the biggest such fine in Russia’s history. LUKoil-Komi was fined for nine oil spills from 2011 in Russia’s northern republic of Komi, according

Interfax: Sochi air becomes twice as clean – Kozak

File Photo of Sochi Olympics Banner Near Highway in Warm Weather with Vehicle and Cyclicsts Nearby

SOCHI. Jan 10 (Interfax) – According to the information of the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology, the environmental situation has improved in Sochi amid the preparations for the Olympics. “Air and water in Sochi have become cleaner today than they were in December 2007,” Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak told reporters in

A Russian City Where Life Expectancy has Declined to 38 Years

Map of Russia

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 9, 2014) Karabash, a copper-smelting company town in Chelyabinsk Oblast, has seen the life expectancy of its residents fall to 38 years, the result of massive environmental pollution by a highly profitable company that has turned this city of 13,000 into a kind of hell, “one

Russia Nears Record Highs as North America Shivers

Snowy Scene with Trees and Hills file photo, adapted from NWS image

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 8, 2014) Moscow’s unseasonably warm weather is expected to continue over the next few days, creating the potential for setting temperature records that are a far cry from those being caused by the polar vortex in the United States and Canada. Fobos weather center said that temperatures in Moscow

Stranded Russian Vessel Free from Antarctic Ice

Antarctica Map

MOSCOW, January 7 (RIA Novosti) ­ A Russian ship stranded in the East Antarctic since Christmas managed to break free due to favorable weather conditions, the vessel’s owner said Tuesday. The Akademik Shokalsky has left the ice trap and is currently speeding north at 7 knots, said Yury Volkov, the director of the Far Eastern

All Passengers Rescued From Russian Ship Stranded in Antarctic

Antarctica Map

MOSCOW, January 2 (RIA Novosti) ­ A Chinese helicopter successfully flew to safety all 52 passengers from a stranded Russian cruise ship stuck in Antarctic pack ice Thursday in a long delayed rescue mission, the authority coordinating the rescue said. The ship, the Akademik Shokalskiy, has been stuck in the ice 100 nautical miles east

Seven Greenpeace Activists Allowed to Leave Russia

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – December 26, 2013) As the last Greenpeace activist detained in the Arctic 30 protest   received notification Thursday that he was cleared of all charges under a recently passed amnesty, several other international activists who’d already been granted amnesty received permission to leave Russia. The news marks the

The Chilling Draft of Russia Or How to Avoid Catching a Cold

File Photo of Moscow In Snowy Winter Showing St. Basil's At Night in Snowfall, with People on the Ground in the Distance

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Andy Frecka – December 16, 2013) From Murmansk to Magadan, Sochi to Salekhard, and from Kaliningrad to Kamchatka, its tentacles weave a web of hideous destruction. Quietly, on the steppes of Siberia, now whispering over the Urals, then across the Volga. Now coming down your street as you innocently sit

Russians call waste dumps, litter worst ecological problem – poll

Russian Landfill; adapted from image at epa.gov

MOSCOW. Dec 9 (Interfax) – Household waste is the biggest environmental danger in the eyes of 58% of Russians. Half of the respondents polled by the Russian Public Opinion Study Center (VTsIOM) put the blame on transportation vehicles and 49% criticized industrial waste. Litter and household waste equally bother people in Moscow, St. Petersburg and

Putin and Medvedev Lament Rusty Tap Water in Their Houses

File Photo of Water Facet with Drop of Water Coming Out

(RIA Novosti/Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 6, 2013) Russia’s top brass are not immune from the same problems faced by ordinary Russians, it turns out, after the president and prime minister admitted to having rusty tap water from time to time. “Can you imagine: Even my tap water is sometimes rusty,” President Vladimir Putin

40 Years On, Polar Bears and Threats to Their Habitat are Multiplying

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Lena Smirnova – December 5, 2013) Environment ministers and delegations from the five countries bordering the Arctic met in Moscow on Wednesday to voice continuing support for polar bear conservation and outline steps for saving the species, which activists and officials say is increasingly vulnerable to the effects of global

RIA Novosti: Polar Bear Population Could Drop Two-Thirds by 2050 – Minister

Polar Bear on Ice, Looking Back at Camera

MOSCOW, December 4 (RIA Novosti) ­ The number of polar bears in the Arctic could drop by two-thirds by 2050 because of poaching, pollution and global warming, Russia’s natural resources and ecology minister said Wednesday. Speaking at the International Forum on the Conservation of Polar Bears, Sergei Donskoi said that active industrial development in the

Chemfest in Russia’s ‘chemical capital’

Map of Russia

(opendemocracy.net – Ola Cichowlas – November 28, 2013) Ola Cichowlas is a British-Polish freelance journalist. She covers Russian regional politics and the arts in provincial Russia. Russia’s industrial cities are more than a blot on the landscape. They are the source of appalling chemical pollution, a problem that neither the authorities nor the oligarch owners

RIA Novosti: Last Imprisoned Greenpeace Activist Granted Bail in Russia

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

MOSCOW, November 28 (RIA Novosti) ­ The last of the Greenpeace activists arrested in Russia over a September protest at an Arctic oil rig was granted bail Thursday by a St. Petersburg court. The court set bail for Colin Russell from Australia at 2 million rubles ($60,000), the same condition set for the other 29

Meteorologist blames global warming for late snow accumulation in Moscow region

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

(Interfax – November 26, 2013) Global warming has delayed snow accumulation in the Moscow region for eight or nine days on average as compared with the second half of the 20th century, Hydro-Meteorological Center Director Roman Vilfand said. “Climate change has shifted steady snow accumulation in the Moscow region by approximately eight or nine days

Interfax: Greenpeace has noble goals but wrong methods – Putin

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

MOSCOW. Nov 21 (Interfax) – The actions of the Greenpeace environmentalists who tried to climb an oil platform in the Arctic posed a threat to the lives of the people who are working there, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “When they climb the platform and create an emergency situation, there could be not just one

Russia to Build Disposal Facility for Soviet-Era Nuclear Waste

Radioactivity Symbol

MOSCOW, November 22 (RIA Novosti) ­ A spokesman for Russia’s state nuclear corporation said Friday that a facility for the disposal of Soviet-era radioactive waste is to be built in the country’s Far East. Officials said they made the announcement to quell media speculation that a site was being set aside for the dumping of

RIA Novosti: Detained Greenpeace Activists Deserve Clemency – Putin

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

MOSCOW, November 21 (RIA Novosti) ­ The Greenpeace activists detained in Russia over a protest at an Arctic oil rig should be granted clemency, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday as 10 of them were released and many others granted bail. When asked to comment on their case at a meeting with Russian writers, publishers,

Putin Adviser Sees Political Will to End Greenpeace Dispute

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer – November 19, 2013) Russia is showing “political will” to end a two-month-long dispute over the prosecution of Greenpeace activists after they began to be set free on bail, President Vladimir Putin’s human rights adviser said. “It’s a good sign,” Mikhail Fedotov said in a phone interview today from

RIA Novosti: Russia Near Last in Environment Protection Ranking

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

MOSCOW, November 18 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russia ranked 53rd out of 58 countries in a new ranking of efforts to prevent climate change. Russia lost two slots from last year in the Climate Change Performance Index, presented Monday at a climate conference in Warsaw by the Bohn-based NGO Germanwatch. The first three slots in this

Interfax: Lawyers say custody conditions of Arctic Sunrise activists acceptable

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

ST. PETERSBURG. Nov 14 (Interfax) – Lawyers have met with several Greenpeace Arctic Sunrise activists in a St. Petersburg detention facility, a Greenpeace spokesman told Interfax on Thursday. “The lawyers met with five environmentalists, including Russian citizen Andrei Allakhverdov, who had been placed into the Kresty [detention facility]. The detention facility is basically all right,

Interfax: Kremlin rights council asks Investigative Committee head to change pre-trial restrictions of Greenpeace activists

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

MOSCOW. Nov 12 (Interfax) – The Russian president’s Human Rights Council has asked Investigative Committee Chairman Alexander Bastrykin to consider the possible release of the Arctic Sunrise crewmembers who were detained for staging a protest off Gazprom’s Prirazlomnaya oil rig in the Pechora Sea from custody. “The Russian president’s Council for the Development of Civil

RIA Novosti: All-Time Record Set for Warmest Fall Night in Moscow

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

MOSCOW, November 6 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russian weather experts have said that Tuesday night was the hottest ever recorded in Moscow during the fall season. Mayak radio station cited the Moscow Weather Bureau as saying that overnight temperatures in the city stood at around 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit). Temperatures in Moscow typically hover

In Russia, ‘Death has Become a Way of Life’

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 3, 2013) The Kremlin celebrates every temporary uptick in the Russian birthrate, but it and many others typically ignore another deeply troubling aspect of that country’s deteriorating demographic situation: extraordinarily high death rates among adults and especially working-age males. Indeed, those rates are so high ­

Two Russian Cities on Top 10 Most Polluted Places List

File Photo of Smokestacking Spewing Cloud of Discharge

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – November 6, 2013) Contaminants in the air, water and soil, and the staggering cancer rates place the Russian cities of Dzerzhinsk and Norilsk among the 10 most polluted places on earth for 2013, a joint report by Swiss and U.S organizations said. Dzerzhinsk, once the Soviet Union’s

Moscow Times: Russians See Greenpeace Protest as a Foreign Plot

Polar Map of Major Rail Lines in Russia, Canada and United States, With Hypothetical Additional Route Drawn In Connecting Them Across Bering Strait

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – October 29, 2013) State pollster VTsIOM released survey results Monday regarding last month’s Greenpeace protest in the Arctic that indicate more than a third of Russians believe the protest was a foreign plot and more than two-thirds disagree with the group’s message of needing to protect the

Have we passed the point of no return on climate change?

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

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Andrei Kislyakov, special to RBTH – October 28, 2013) The debate about the permanence of climate change goes on, but the effects of warmer temperatures can already be felt. In an article published in the journal “Nature” in mid-October, British scientists said they had defined a certain “point

Russia Softens Charge in Greenpeace Case

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Vladimir Goryachev and Christopher Brennan – October 24, 2013) The Investigative Committee said it had dropped the piracy charges against 30 people who were on board Greenpeace’s Arctic Sunrise ship, replacing them with accusations of hooliganism. If convicted of the new charges, the 28 activists and two journalists who were

Gazprom’s Bric-a-Brac Rig Called a Risk to the Arctic

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – October 24, 2013) Gazprom’s Prirazlomnaya platform, the advance guard of the coming expansion of Russia’s state energy corporations into the Arctic, is a cobbled together bric-a-brac of second-hand parts, some of which date to 1984, environmentalists said. The very presence of the Prirazlomnaya rig in the icy

Pressure Growing on Putin to Free Greenpeace Activists

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – October 18, 2013) International pressure on Russia over the arrest of Greenpeace activists mounted Thursday as 11 Nobel Peace Prize winners urged President Vladimir Putin to drop the piracy charges against them. The 11 laureates made such an appeal in a letter sent to the Russian president,

Russian winter: Why gray brings on the blues

File Photo of Moscow In Snowy Winter Showing St. Basil's At Night in Snowfall, with People on the Ground in the Distance

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – October 10, 2013) It’s cold, it’s gray, and – given that it’s only October – it’s going to get worse. The weather this time of year is not just unpleasant – it can affect everything from the economy to how Russians feel about their lives, experts say.

Human rights council will ask prosecutor general to drop piracy charge against Arctic Sunrise crew – Fedotov

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

(Interfax – MOSCOW, October 10, 2013) The piracy charges, based on which the crew of the Greenpeace icebreaker Arctic Sunrise was arrested, are ungrounded and should be reconsidered, Mikhail Fedotov, the head of the presidential human rights council, said. “I hope this decision will be reconsidered. In any case, we will turn to the prosecutor

Moscow Times: Majority of Russians Think Greenpeace Arrests Appropriate

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 3, 2013) The majority of Russians approve of the piracy charges against 28 Greenpeace activists who were detained in late September after trying to climb an Gazprom-owned oil drilling rig in the Arctic to protest its environmental impact. A survey from state pollster VTsIOM published Wednesday showed that 60

Russia Pushes for Further Arctic Exploitation

Polar Bear on Ice

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – September 26, 2013) It is impossible to stop Arctic exploitation, President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday, adding that Russia guaranteed that there would be no environmental catastrophe, since the most innovative technologies would be used. SALEKHARD, Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District ­ The time for an industrial breakthrough has come

Floods in Sochi Cast Doubt on Olympic Infrastructure

File Photo of Sochi Olympics Banner Near Highway in Warm Weather with Vehicle and Cyclicsts Nearby

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – September 26, 2013) A state of emergency has been declared in Sochi as water and mudslides have blocked the Olympic resort’s newly built main roads, just as International Olympic Committee inspectors arrived for their final assessment ahead of the upcoming Winter Olympic Games. Many local residents could

Soggy September Breaks 130-Year-Old Rainfall Record

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 25, 2013) Moscow residents may not have gotten the typical “Indian summer” this September, but they were able to get an idea of what life is like in a rainforest, just not the tropical variety. As of Tuesday, about 174 millimeters of rain had fallen on Moscow, which is

Interfax: Ombudsman Lukin hopes Greenpeace activists detained in Russia will not be too severely punished

Vladimir Lukin file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW. September 24, 2013) Russia’s human rights commissioner Vladimir Lukin said he expected that the Russian authorities would not punish the activists of the Greenpeace environmental organization too severely for their protest rally against oil extraction in the Pechora Sea. “I hope that our authorities will realize that they nevertheless had admirable and

Eco-Consciousness Growing, One Package at a Time

Siberian Natural Scenery, with River, Trees, Hills

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Lena Smirnova – September 19, 2013) Russian consumers have more interest and demand for environmentally friendly packaging than their counterparts in some developed countries, but still are ranked at the bottom among 11 large consumer markets in terms of actual recycling activity, according to a study that global packaging giant

‘Melting of Permafrost is Converting Much of Russia into a Swamp’

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

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, August 7, 2013) Two-thirds of the territory of the Russian Federation is covered by permafrost, and the melting of this ice is rapidly “converting a large part of Russia into a swamp,” according to studies by British and Russian scholars reported and discussed this week in Moscow’s

Putin, Gone Fishing

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

(Moscow News – Anna Arutunyan, Editor and Correspondent at themoscownews.com – July 29, 2013) It’s late July, and that can only mean one thing: Potemkin Tales takes on its favorite subject – primordial myth. When it’s warm outside, the Russian president never fails to give fodder for armchair anthropology. The idea that is central both

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