Sharing environemental concerns in Russia

Since National Geographic, which partly covered environmental issues, left Russia in 2022, the voice of the environmental movement had been silent until the launch of Kedr. It focuses on scientists and activists who fight for the environment.

The project uncovers environmental problems, including those caused by anthropogenic factors. Large cities and the most remote corners of Russia face landfills, predatory mining, illegal logging, air, water and soil pollution, and direct and indirect environmental consequences from the war. In this regard, the war in Ukraine is beginning to come to the fore. If one wants to find out about regional environmental situation, look at the Ecological Map of Russia (the map fills up gradually) with information about threats in a particular region.

The article “Nature of sanctions. How the boycott of Western countries affects the environmental policy of Russia” shows how under the guise of a difficult economic situation and defense needs, officials are insisting on developing natural resources, access to which is limited by law. Since the beginning of the “special operation,” two attempts have been made to change the law “On Specially Protected Natural Territories.” After Western sanction, the federal project called Clean Air was postponed “due to new economic realities.” By 2024, the 12 most polluted cities of the country (Bratsk, Krasnoyarsk, Lipetsk, Magnitogorsk, Mednogorsk, Nizhny Tagil, Novokuznetsk, Norilsk, Omsk, Chelyabinsk, Cherepovets and Chita) were supposed to decrease emissions by 20%. The government promised to restart the project in 2026.

Sanctions also slow down industry’s capacity to go green. Many ongoing and planned environmental modernization projects use equipment and technology that is more than 50% imported. According to experts, it will take Russia 5-10 years to solve the problems that have arisen due to the inaccessibility of Western technologies, though nature may not wait that long.

The report “Society of mass extermination: Ecological consequences of the ‘special operation’: radiation, oil spills, dangerous air, death of animals” analyzes the environmental impact of the first three months of hostilities. The consequences can reach far beyond the borders of Ukraine. In this regard, the worst of the possible problems that emerged during the eight-year conflict in the Donbas is the radioactive contamination of the Sea of Azov. This threat appeared in 2018, when the “DNR” authorities decided to flood the closed Yunkom coal mine in the town of Yunokommunarovsk near Yenakiyevo. If the drainage installations are flooded as a result of the long blackout, the groundwater level will rise. The capsule filled with radioactive materials could break, and the contaminated materials could flow with the water.
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