Moscow’s Khimki Forest is 2,600 acres of public conservation land that’s an urban refuge for people and wildlife. Despite laws that prohibit road building and logging, Khimki forest is being bulldozed and logged. Environmentalists working to protect this forest are physically defending the trees with their bodies while they, along with journalists, are being attacked by thugs and arrested and jailed by police.
In Russia, Article 11 of Federal Law 172-FZ forbids the destruction and development of public forests for road building when alternative routes exist. In this case, several do, but in November 2009 Russian Prime Minister Putin made a ruling that transferred the Khimki forest from protected land status to lands zoned "for transport and infrastructure". This ruling makes it possible and profitable for the French company with the road building contract to put the road through Khimki Forest so that it can also cut down and sell its valuable timber.
In Russia today, 26 road construction projects are proposed for public conservation lands. Organizers against the projects claim that construction of these roads are being allowed to proceed by corrupt politicians for the benefit of their for-profit construction company partners which stand to make enormous sums of money. Transparency International-Russia recently conducted an analysis of the Khimki project that provides documented evidence of corruption.
The bulldozing and cutting of trees has just begun in Khimki Forest despite a lack of cutting permits and no solid financial backing.
Under pressure from citizens and organizations the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) have announced they are reconsidering their plans to provide funding for the motorway through Khimki. However, the banks have not yet officially refused to fund the construction of this road through the cherished woodland. Now is a very important time to send a message to the banks asking them to not lend any funds for this project. Without funding the road cannot be built, and the bank is under enormous scrutiny due to international headlines decrying the treatment of the activists and the dubious nature of the project.
If you are a defender of nature and justice, we hope you will join us in taking action. Ask the Presidents of the EBRD and the EIB to refuse to provide funding for this project. Click here for the Bankwatch Network website where you can sign a letter that will be immediately delivered to EBRD & EIB bank officials.
The second and equally important action you can take is to send a letter to Russian President Medvedev. Ask him to reverse Putin’s November 2009 ruling that transferred the Khimki forest from protected land status to lands zoned "for transport and infrastructure", and immediately halt the road project in Khimki Forest and ensure that projects like this throughout Russia abide by Article 11 of Federal Law 172-FZ which forbids the destruction and development of public forests when alternative routes exist.
Il'ynka street, 23
103132 Moscow, Russia
Thanks in advance for your support,
The EarthAction Network
For more information:
Mikhail Matveev, Movement to Defend Khimki Forest (English and Russian) Mobile + 7 965 392 28 14 Vladlena Martsynkevych, CEE Bankwatch Network (English and Russian) Mobile + 38 066 731 26 57
Erik Hoffner, Orion Grassroots Network, (English) email@example.com
Click here to read more on this desperate situation. Khimki Forest is just the first of dozens of Russian forests set to be bulldozed for profit. Stopping this project could put an end to the destructive trend. Please forward this message to fellow activists near and far so we can help stop it now.