Russia; corruption prevents info on their environment.

Pavlov, a lawyer who advocates for freedom of information in Russia, was hospitalized for a week. The men who attacked Ivan Pavlov waited beside his car outside his home. They knocked him over from behind and stomped and kicked his head. None of them spoke. They stole nothing. As Pavlov curled defensively on the street, they trotted away. Then they tried to run him over with their car.

The police later told him the attack appeared to be related to his work, a mission to pry open stores of government information that he says are essential to Russian public life and by law should be in the public domain, but are kept from view by corruption and a lack of interest.

He graduated from an electro-technical university in Leningrad in 1992, and finished his law studies in 1997. From 1998 until 2004 he was a director at Bellona, the environmental organization that has fought with Russia about nuclear secrecy and pollution. In time he decided to set out alone and widen his campaign.

Read more here.

Russia, a quirky country to say the least, (see 1/6th of the world’s land area. Information on its environment isn’t easy to come by as the above article points out. A lack of interest and corruption have led to this uneasy situation. Without a change of attitude and real democracy in Russia it will remain difficult to improve the environment within a very important and large part of the world.

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2 Responses to Russia; corruption prevents info on their environment.

  1. Dave On Fire says:

    Beyond corruption and secrecy, Russia is becoming one of the biggest obstacles to sensible environmentalism, especially on the issue of climate change. While the US, China, Europe etc are reluctant to jeopardise their economic growth to prevent climate change, many among the Russian elite are actually rubbing their hands with glee. Russia is one country – perhaps one of the only countries – with reasonable expectations of doing pretty well out of a warmer planet. Its land may become more fertile, its fossil fuel reserves will certainly become more accessible, and let’s not forget the possibilities for shipping – and all this at a time when the rest of the world goes down the crapper.
    It’s a short-sighted view to take, as well as a morally reprehensible one, but it’s borne out in Russian policy making. In particular, Russia is already pushing for the next emissions treaty to be Kyoto with the dates revised. It’s in stark contrast to the opposition to emissions treaties in the US and Australia, where reality is starting to take hold. Climate change is already hurting Australia, and a lot of the US presidential candidates – for all that I despise them – are following the lead of the states on climate. Hilary has even started to suggest binding targets on emissions (that and, obviously, bombing Iran, grrr).
    Anyway, there’s no doubt that Russians would benefit from democracy and transparency – and fewer arbitrary beatings and killings – but I wonder how many of the people might actually endorse their leaders’ assessment of environmental realpolitik.

  2. matt says:

    Hi Dave

    You’re right that Russian citizens positively welcome warmer winters and better summers. Contrary to popular belief they don’t particularly love sub-zero icy cityscapes just so they can find an excuse to consume large quantities of their favourite national drink.

    In other areas of environmental concern however I’m sure they would welcome more openess; nuclear safety being one.

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