Today, more activists were illegally detained by Russian police in the very center of Moscow. Protests in Moscow have still not ceased since inauguration of Putin (May, 7), despite unprecedented campaign of lie and terror against activists and their supporters.
A group of environmental activists, including Leader of the movement to defend Khimki Forest Evgenia Chirikova, tried to provide a street lecture for people in Barrikadnaya Square in Moscow. After police brutally suppressed 50,000 people-strong rally in the center of Moscow on May 6, such self-organizing street “Occupy”-like meetings became the only available option for the citizens. No sound equipment was used, no driveway occupied – all the requirements of the Russian legislation on “Mass Actions” were strictly met.
During few minutes, activists told the citizen about the basics of “Putinomics” – the word for obtaining extra-profit from exploitation of natural resources by abandoning any environmental protection and promoting “chip&dirty” technologies. Unfortunately, such approach has indeed become the main principle of Russian economy during the last ten years. The activists stressed out that only mass protests can change the situation.
Police didn’t interfered first. But after Evgenia Chirikova addressed protesters with an appeal to join environmental camp near the clearing in Zhukovsky Forest, police attacked. Few activists were brutally detained, including Evgenia Chirikova, Nikolai Lyaskin, Pyotr Verzilov, and Danila Lindele. Policemen provided no reason for detention, and attacked activists so eagerly that Evgenia Chirikova got her arm seriously damaged , another woman activist (the name is not available yet) has also got injuries.
Now all the detained are still under arrest, and treated like extremely dangerous criminals. When Evgenia was taken to the ambulance, she was “escorted” not only by two policemen – a whole police van with siren was following the ambulance car! “Putin fears us, environmentalists, very much” – wrote Evgenia in her twitter.
Days before Chirikova, other leaders of civic protests have been arrested too – including Aleksey Navalny and Sergey Udaltsov, who have been officially recognized by Amnesty International as political prisoners. Nikolay Lyaskin was arrested today second time since Putin’s inauguration. Totally, there were hundreds of detained in Moscow after the start of the protests.
The environmental camp in Zhukovsky Forest appeared in April as a response to clearing of the forest for yet another motorway. Example of Khimki Forest (where Russian Government has decided to proceed with the environment-destroying Moscow-St.Petersburg toll motorway project despite mass protests and availability of alternative options allowing to spare the forest), has severe consequences. The decision of Russian Government on Khimki Forest (motivated by compensations, demanded by French concessionair Vinci from the Russian side for the “delay of the project” ) was clearly considered as “best practice” by corrupted official throughout Russia.
Zhukovsky forest has become one of the victims: it was sacrificed for a similar project of a motorway with adjoining “infrastructure”. First camp in Zhukovsky Forest was established in April with the help of Khimki Forest activists. It was dispersed by police under pretext of its danger for the forest (sic!) – despite the real destruction of the forest for the motorway was going on just the same time only few meters away from the camp. Now it was decided to re-establish the camp, and Evgenia has just asked people to join it before she was detained.
The camp in the Khimki Forest is still working, too . People there protect the oak grove which is still standing on the way of the Moscow-St.Petersburg motorway. Looks like Vinci and their Russian partners have not got rid of the idea to finish destruction of the Khimki Forest – fresh marks on the oaks were found there just few days ago.
“No doubt, Russian environmental movement is in a very difficult situation now – it is put now between the need to protect the environment which is destroyed with a terrifying speed, and the need to be an active part of the anti-Putin protests due to the fact that “Putinomics” is an ultimate source of environmental problems. We can easily see it in case of Khimki Forest – French Vinci have corruption ties to the very top of Putin’s “Vertical of Power” – commented Sergey Ageev, one of the Khimki Forest activists. “Certainly, it’s not possible to protect our nature without protecting our basic human rights”.