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 Arctic in recent decades is […]

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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 seem to have any interest […]

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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 crew members, who were all […]

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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 over the past 20 years,” […]

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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 mistake of an operator but […]

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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 nuclear waste from abroad. Those […]

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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, critics and booksellers, Putin said […]

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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 Moscow. “I hope the same […]

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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 year’s rating were left unoccupied […]

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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, and the conditions are acceptable. […]

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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 Society and Human Rights is […]

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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 around freezing point by November, […]

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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 ­ Russia ranks 175th among the […]

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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 major site for producing chemical […]

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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 of non-return” for climate change […]

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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 taken into custody in September […]

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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 Pechora Sea is the result […]

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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, Greenpeace said. The letter, which […]

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Rights activists propose applying constitution anniversary amnesty to Bolotnaya case suspects, Arctic Sunrise crew

Russian Jail File Photo Showing Outer Wall, Windows, Barbed Wire

(Interfax – MOSCOW, October 11, 2013) The amnesty campaign meant to mark the 20th anniversary of Russia’s constitution should apply to the suspects in the Bolotnaya Square clashes case, the Greenpeace activists detained onboard the vessel Arctic Sunrise and former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the For Human Rights organization said in an address published on its website on Thursday. “A […]

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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. After record-breaking rainfall in September […]

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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 general. He has potential for […]

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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 percent of the respondents believe […]

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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 in the Arctic, President Vladimir […]

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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 not travel to work Wednesday […]

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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 equivalent to the monthly average […]

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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 noble motives and that they […]

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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 Tetra Pak released this week. […]

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Gorky Park Prepares for Another Radical Makeover

Gorky Park file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Irina Filatova – August 20, 2013) Groups of workers squatting on their haunches surrounded by piles of sand and broken tarmac is a common picture for downtown Moscow these days. But Muscovites can keep calm: this is not another 2 billion ruble effort by acting Mayor Sergei Sobyanin to replace asphalt with tiles on pavements […]

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‘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 “Novyye izvestiya.” Researchers at the […]

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RIA Novosti: Activists Who Reported ‘Putin’s Palace’ Jailed for Extortion

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, August 5, 2013) ­ Four environmental activists in southern Russia have been given lengthy jail terms for extorting money from a real estate developer, though they denied the accusations, Russian media reported. Four employees of the Gelendzhik Human Rights Center in the Krasnodar Region were given jail terms of between eight and 13 years in a […]

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Yeltsin’s Bear Will Retire to Better Digs Outside Moscow

File Photo of Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 31, 2013) The brown bear that former president Boris Yeltsin gave to the Moscow zoo will be moved to a new location so that he can meet his old age “with dignity,” the zoo’s director Sergei Popov said at a press conference Tuesday. The zoo had previously received numerous letters from visitors, complaining that […]

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Call for Nominations: Klebnikov Fellowship Program

Columbia University Campus with Main Building

Subject: Call for Nominations Klebnikov Fellowship Program From: The Paul Klebnikov Fellowship at the Harriman Institute <lch2111@columbia.edu> Date: Mon, 15 Jul 2013 Columbia  University Harriman Institute Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies Dear Friends and Colleagues, We write to ask for your help in identifying extraordinary candidates for the Harriman Institute’s Paul Klebnikov Russian Civil Society Fellowship for the 2013/14 […]

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Penalties for environmental pollution rise by degree of magnitude in Russia

File Photo of Smokestacking Spewing Cloud of Discharge

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 8, 2013) Penalties for violating the rules of water use and harmful emissions in Russia, which aim to stimulate energy conservation and environmentally clean technologies, have grown by a degree of magnitude, the Russian Natural Resources and Environment Ministry said in a press release. The administrative fine for violating water use rules when taking water without […]

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Collateral Damage from Three New Russian Laws

Russian Duma Building

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, July 6, 2013) Three new pieces of Russian legislation appear likely to inflict serious collateral damage on that country, eliminating a defender of Lake Baikal against industrial pollution, inflicting new suffering on the already hard-pressed numerically small peoples of the north, and destroying some of the last vestiges of federalism in the […]

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Heat wave in Moscow repeats century-old record

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – MOSCOW, June 27, 2013) Temperatures soared to 31.4 degrees Centigrade in Moscow on Thursday afternoon, the hydro-meteorological bureau of Moscow and the Moscow region told Interfax. “A century-old record has been repeated: Moscow had temperatures of 31.4 degrees Centigrade on June 27, 1911,” it said. The bureau does not rule out the temperature record might be beaten by […]

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More and more Russians are unhappy about environmental situation in Russia – VTsIOM

File Photo of Smokestacking Spewing Cloud of Discharge

(Interfax – VILLAGE OF LISTVYANKA, Irkutsk region, June 19, 2013) The number of people who criticize the environmental situation in their localities increased in the past eight years, Konstantin Abramov, deputy general director of the All-Russia Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM), said. During a meeting between Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and representatives of the export community on environmental issues, […]

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Aral Sea Stopped Shrinking Says Russian Scientist

Map of Central Asia, Including Commonwealth of Independent States Members

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, June 18, 2013) The Aral Sea, which has been shrinking for almost half a century causing an environmental disaster in Central Asia, has finally stopped drying up, a Russian scientist said on Tuesday. “The sea is currently close to a balance because its surface has shrunk so much that evaporation has gone down too, so that […]

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UN Global Warming Talks Blocked by Russia Set Back Six Months

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Alessandro Vitelli & Stefan Nicola – June 14, 2013) The United Nations global warming talks have been set back by six months after Russia and its allies blocked progress at a group charged with implementing decisions of the 190 nations involved in the discussions. The Subsidiary Body for Implementation at the UN talks failed to complete […]

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WWF Identifies Threatened Areas

Map of Russia

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 6, 2013) Ten ecologically pristine zones in Russia are at risk of becoming polluted, according to a report that the World Wildlife Fund released Wednesday, as the nation celebrates ecologist day. Krasnodar, Irkutsk and Kamchatka regions lead the list with two endangered areas each. The paper mill at Baikalsk on Lake Baikal is the […]

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In Russia, World Environment Day Marred By Pressure On Green Groups

Siberian Natural Scenery, with River, Trees, Hills

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Lyubov Chizhova and  Claire Bigg – June 5, 2013) On June 5, “green-minded” people around the planet are marking World Environment Day, created in 1972 to raise awareness about the need to protect nature. But in Russia, the mood among ecologists is sour. Russia established its own Ecologist Day, also held on June 5, six years […]

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About 20 environmental NGOs named as ‘foreign agents’

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

(Interfax – June 5, 2013) Around 20 Russian major environmental non-governmental organizations (NGO) have received prosecutors’ requests to register as foreign agents. “Around 20 environmental organizations have received prosecutors’ requests. Those who sound familiar, who comprise the environmental movement and who are not of just regional importance have received the requests,” Director of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) […]

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Evacuation of Personnel from Russian Polar Stations to Begin in Mid-June – Minister

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

(Interfax – MOSCOW, May 27, 2013) The personnel of the SP-40 weather station, based on a split ice floe in the Arctic Ocean will be evacuated in mid-June, Natural Resources Minister Sergei Donskoi told reporters on Monday. An icebreaker will depart from Murmansk to collect the personnel and equipment. “If the mission goes as planned and the Yamal icebreaker keeps […]

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Nickel and dimes

Nickel Operation file photo

(opendemocracy.net – Marc Bennetts – May 2, 2013) Marc Bennetts is a British writer and journalist. He lives in Moscow and is author of “Football Dynamo”, a book on modern Russia and football published in 2008. The fertile territories around Voronezh have long been referred to as Russia’s ‘breadbasket’. They also hold the last major nickel reserves in Europe, and […]

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Putin’s cranes fail to reintegrate with the wild over diplomatic rifts – newspaper

File Photo of Vladimir Putin and Pilot in Hang Glider Airborne Next to Flying Cranes

(Interfax – MOSCOW. April 12, 2013) The rare Siberian cranes that took a migration flight with President Vladimir Putin’s motorized deltaplane in the autumn of 2012, have not reintegrated with the wild over diplomats’ failure to come to terms on their hibernation in Uzbekistan, Vedomosti wrote on Friday citing the Flight of Hope project director, Alexander Sorokin. “Uzbekistan’s border service […]

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Over Three Meters of Snow Fell on Moscow This Winter

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 – April 12, 2013) It’s official: This past winter will down in history as one of the snowiest ever. An astounding 3 meters, 29 centimeters of snow fell on Moscow, more than double the average of 1.5 meters, Deputy Mayor Pyotr Biryukov said Friday. The snowfall hit another record on Feb. 12, when 30 centimeters of […]

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Global warming will soon make white bears extinct – expert

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

MOSCOW. April 1 (Interfax) – Yury Neyelov, a member of the Arctic Council, former governor of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District, and a senator, believes white bears may become extinct in 30-50 years. “The situation with the population of white bears currently causes serious concerns without exaggeration. According to the World Wildlife Fund, white bears may stop reproducing in 2-3 years, […]

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Arctic Temperatures to Grow Twice as Fast – Russian Ministry

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

MOSCOW, March 20 (RIA Novosti) ­Temperatures in the Arctic will warm up twice as fast as in the rest of the world this century, Russian Emergency Situations Ministry has warned. “In the 21st century, the temperature in the Arctic ­ the average [speed] of global warming ­ will rise 2-2.5 times faster,” the ministry’s center responsible for monitoring meteorological trends, […]

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$3.3 Billion to Clean Up Soviet Pollution

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Roland Oliphant – January 23, 2013) The government is preparing to allocate 100 billion rubles ($3.3 billion) to clean up pollution left over by Soviet-era industry. Natural Resources and Environment Minister Sergei Donskoi told President Vladimir Putin that a bill to allocate that sum as well as define responsibilities for cleaning up decades-old industrial waste […]

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Scramble for the Arctic to Dominate Environmental Agenda

Map of Barents Sea and Polar Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Roland Oliphant – December 20, 2012) 2012 saw the climate-change-fueled dash for the Arctic’s riches dominate the environmental agenda. The debate over the high north, the annual nightmare of forest fires and continuing battles between activists and developers over roads, mines and the Sochi Olympics are only likely to intensify next year. Greenpeace activists stormed […]

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