Putin’s green patriots enter Norway

Russian Ecological Chamber, an NGO created by former State Duma Deputies, invites to Barents EcoWeek, a gathering other environmental groups call «a highly questionable event.»

While several of the environmental organizations in northern Russia are stigmatized under the 2012 ‘foreign agent’ law, the Ecological Chamber was established within the frames of Vladimir Putin’s new policy program for NGOs.

 

On June 26-27, the organization invites for Barents EcoWeek, first at the ecological centre Bioforsk Svanhovd in Norway’s Pasvik valley. Then to Nikel on the Russian side of the border.

«This event will become a significant contribution to the expansion of the presence of the ecological organizations on the world stage,» Ecological Chamber writes in the program. Barents EcoWeek is dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the Barents Euro-Arctic cooperation.

Naturvernforbundet, the Norwegian branch of Friends of the Earth, is invited but will not go.

«This is a highly questionable organization with a questionable event, and Naturvernforbundet has chosen not to participate,» says Yngvild Lorentzen, Head of Department for international projects.

«We have asked for information about speakers and whom they have invited, but have not received any information about this from the organizers,» she says.

The Barents Observer has tried to get in contact with Ecological Chamber with a list of questions, so far without any reply.

In Russia, the organization is known for being outspoken about how environmental movements should primarily be patriotic and not interfere with business and industry development.

The smelter in Nikel near Russia’s border to Norway. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Quoted by Kommersant, Co-Chairman of the organization, Vadim Petrov, was outraged that environmental NGOs exist in Russia whose «objective is not the economic development of the country, but the protection of the environment.»

Petrov, who is listed as contact person for next week’s Barents event in the Norwegian-Russian borderland said in the same fora: «Most environmental projects in Russia and other countries are financed from abroad and have highly negative connotations.»

Yngvild Lorentzen says her organization does not consider Ecological Chamber an environmental NGO. «It is sad to see how they actively discredit real organizations who are genuinely oriented towards nature protection.»

Financed by Kremlin

When established in 2013, Ecological Chamber got a presidential grant from Vladimir Putin of 2,2 million rubles (€30,000).

Kommersant is quoting Vladimir Semenov, the Chamber’s head saying «Today we form a new agenda for modern Russia, ecological patriotism as the basis of the national idea.» Semenov, who also is a former deputy in the State Duma, continued by urging his colleagues to resist the Western approach to ecology which «is based on such pillars as postmodernism, anti-globalism, radical feminism, green anarchism, anti-clericalism.»

Ecological Chamber claims international NGOs like World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace get in the way of Russia’s economic development and should be replaced by «truly patriotic» environmental NGOs promoting the country’s growth.

Oleg Bodrov has been activ in Russia’s ecological NGO movement for decades. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Oleg Bodrov, Chairman of an environmental network in the St. Petersburg region, says to the Barents Observer that Ecological Chamber has nothing in common with the Russian environmental movement.

«It is a show off, and nothing more than a poor attempt by president Putin to take environmental work seriously.»

Bodrov was formerly working for Green World, an NGO in the nuclear power plant town of Sosnovy Bor that had to close down after being declared ‘foreign agent’ some years ago.

Public diplomacy

Barents EcoWeek, though, aims at boosting cross-border discussions of nature protection through the Barents cooperation, including informal dialogue with public organizations. «… public diplomacy are especially important nowadays when the system of international relations is going through a difficult state…»

Board member of Russian Social-Ecological Union (RSEU), Alexander Fyodorov, writes in an e-mail to the Barents Observer that no such NGO as Ecological Chamber belongs to their network. «Be sure, they do not have a strong interest in environment.»

RSEU is an umbrella organization for ecological public organizations from all regions of Russia.

Anna Kireeva and Vlad Nikiforov works for Bellona. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Bellona says no invitation is sent to them regarding participation. «We haven’t heard of it,» says Anna Kireeva from Murmansk. Vlad Nikiforov, also with Bellona, says they have a lot to share. «We have 25 years of experience in cross-border environmental cooperation and can contribute with a lot.»

The program does not list names of speakers, but the Ecological Chamber assures «Barents EcoWeek will become the main expert platform bringing together the most authoritative and qualified specialists whose competence is related to the theme of ecological and sustainable socio-economic development of the Euro-Arctic territories.»

Partners removed

In the program, several agencies and international bodies were listed as «Organizers and Partners», among them the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency. Contacted by the Barents Observer, Program Coordinator for Russia and the Arctic, Åke Mikaelsson, is surprised.

«The Swedish EPA will not have any representative in the Barents EcoWeek taking place in Kirkenes and Nikel next week and we did also not contribute to it financially,» Mikaelson explains.

«… we were not included or even informed about this event,» he adds.

The report «Decommissioning of Russia’s Old Nuclear Power Reactors. Status Update of the Key Process in 2017»

The report «Decommissioning of Russia’s Old Nuclear Power Reactors. Status Update of the Key Process in 2017« analyzed the situation with the withdrawal of nuclear power plants for 2017.
The report was prepared by Russian and Norwegian non-governmental organizations, which is 15 years working with this topic.
There are presented the current situation with the planning of the withdrawal of Russian NPPs, 75% of which are working in the mode of extending the project lifetimes. The situation with financing of decommissioning, as well as handling of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel is analyzed.
The problems of energy efficiency, renewable energy, as well as changes in legislation related to nuclear energy are shown.
The authors of the report will be grateful for comments and criticism.
Oleg Bodrov, one of the authors of the review, chairperson of the Public Council of the Southern Coast of the Gulf of Finland. 
P.O.Box 68/7 Sosnovy Bor 188544 Leningrad Oblast, Russia

phone/fax +7 81369 72991, mob. +7 921 74 52 631

Business Game on Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) within the framework of the XIX International Environmental Forum «Baltic Sea Day 2018»

On March 23, a business game on Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) was held in St. Petersburg within the framework of the XIX International Environmental Forum «Baltic Sea Day 2018». Participants included representatives from Russia, Sweden and Finland. Around 25 people.
The aim of the game is to work out a model of participation in the compilation of a marine plan for a hypothetical water and coastal areas.
Teams are ready for the business MSP game
Each team, according to the rules, had its own development goals for the region. The «red» team has an economic goal, the «blue» team has a social team, and the «green» team has an environmental goal. Inside the team, each participant also had a role. For example: a planner, a sailor, a fisherman, a power engineer, a representative of the municipal government, a tourist, etc. Also, journalists and representatives of neighboring countries had supervisory functions.
N. Kuzmin, deputy of the Leningrad region Legislative Assembly, the captain of the «blue» team presents a report
The business game on MSP was very interesting and informative. The game allowed all participants to feel that the voice of EVERYONE is important in planning, and also that in the inevitable conflict of interests it is necessary to find a compromise.
Elizaveta Mikhailova is a participant of the «blue» team.
Winners — the «green» team — were awarded memorable diplomas.
Despite the fact that the legislation on the implementation of MSP in Russia is still «marking time», it is pleasant that the representative of regional authorities took active part in this game. (N. Kuzmin)
According to the Road Map of MSP which was established within the HELCOM-WASAB working group, by 2020, marine spatial plans coherent across borders and based on the  ecosystem approach should be implemented in the whole Baltic region.
Here is link to the short movie about this event.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QKsuvLXh4A&feature=youtu.be

Elizaveta Mikhailova
Project Coordinator
Public Council of the South Coast of the Gulf of Finland

The Results of the Public Environmental Impact Assessment (PEIA) of Nord Stream 2 project

 

On Monday, January 15, 2018 in St. Petersburg in the Business News Agency held a press conference «The Results of the Public Environmental Impact Assessment (PEIA) of Nord Stream 2 project». The NGO Center for Expertise «ECOM» of the St. Petersburg Society of Naturalists presented the PEIA, which was launched on October 5, 2017. The expert commission included the Ph.Ds. (technical, biological, geographical, law) sciences, professors and leading researchers of various institutes of the St. Petersburg State University and the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The experts’ conclusions contained assessments of the choice of alternatives to the pipeline route, the completeness and reliability of engineering surveys, the impact of the planned activity on the environment, the compliance of project documentation and design solutions with current legislation and regulations, and conclusions on the feasibility of implementing the planned activity.

According to the expert commission, the pipeline route via the «Kurgalsky peninsula» Ramsar site can’t be implemented. This area contains a very high concentration of flora and fauna protected species.

Realization of the planned activity will inevitably lead to the loss of plant and animal worlds key habitats, including those listed in the Red Book of the Russia and/or the Leningrad Region. Also, the laying of the gas pipeline will provoke destructive processes (changing the hydrological regime, bogging) in the areas around the planned pipeline route, lead to the destruction or violation of the most valuable natural complexes and landscapes, for which the Kurgalsky nature reserve and the wetland of international importance «Kurgalsky Peninsula» were established.

The “ECOM” experts believes that «concealing information on the comparative value of natural complexes in selecting alternatives to gas pipeline routes, as well as underestimation of the value of natural complexes in the southern part of the Kurgalsky nature reserve, is a deliberate policy of the developer of project documentation.»

Based on the above opinion, the “ECOM” commission makes conclusions about the impermissibility of the project for the following reasons:

  • discrepancy of the documentation substantiating planned economic activity, in connection with incompleteness and unreliability of results of engineering-ecological researches;
  • discrepancy of environmental requirements established by legislation in the field of environmental protection, international Conventions and the RussianConstitution;
  • possible adverse effects of the proposed activity on the environment and related social, economic, environmental and other consequences.

Please find here and share :

 

 

Elizaveta Mikhailova

Project coordinator

Public Council of the south shore of the Gulf of Finland

e-mail: mikhailova@greenworld.org.ru

Phone: +7 921 3285626

Position paper of the “Public Council of the south shore of the Gulf of Finland” and NGO Indigenous people “Shoykula” about Nord Stream 2 project.

The Russian public ask the «Friends of the Earth Europe» to be solidarity with Russian NGOs. It’s necessary to persuade the European investors of the Nord Stream 2 Project not to finance the construction of the Trans-Baltic gas pipeline if it is laid via the «Kurgalsky Peninsula» — the international Ramsar site.

Position paper of the “Public Council of the south shore of the Gulf of Finland” and NGO Indigenous people “Shoykula” about Nord Stream 2 project.

Unknown Fire at Ecomet-S Facility Close to St. Petersburg

On Monday, December 18, 2017, in the evening, there was a fire in SosnovyBor, in the center of the nuclear cluster of the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland http://www.interessant.ru/people/pozhar-u-lieninghradskoi-at. Waste was burned on the territory of EKOMET-S, Europe’s largest recycler (by means of remelting) of metallic radioactive waste.

 

December 22, 2017, No. 1
NGO Public Council of the South Coast of the Gulf of Finland
Tel. +7(81369) 72991   e-mail:obdecom@gmail.com   www.decommission.ru

On Monday, December 18, 2017, in the evening, there was a fire in SosnovyBor, in the center of the nuclear cluster of the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland http://www.interessant.ru/people/pozhar-u-lieninghradskoi-at. Waste was burned on the territory of EKOMET-S, Europe’s largest recycler (by means of remelting) of metallic radioactive waste.

Nuclear cluster 40 km from St. Petersburg

According to media reports, fire-fighting forces extinguished the fire.

The same evening, Dmitry Boytsov, the head of the Department of Nature Management and Environmental Safety of the administration of Sosnovy Bor, in response to a signal from city residents, went to the bank of the Glukhovka River on the territory of Sosnovy Bor. There, he said, was a strong smell of burning plastic. At the same time, the wind blew from the side of Ekomet-S, 4 km to the west from the river.

The source of the combustion, according to Mr. Boytsov, was not found.

Measurement of the gamma radiation at the Ecomet-S radioactive facility.

Only on December 20, from Oleg Bodrov, the author of this message, did the responsible municipal official learned about the emergency at ECOMET-S.

On December 20, two days after the fire, representatives of the Public Council of the SouthCoast of the Gulf of Finland visited ECOMET-S. Measurements of radiation did not reveal an excess of background values.

A number of questions nevertheless arise:

  1. What kind of waste burned on the territory of the radiation-hazardous object ECOMET-S?
  2. Why did they catch fire?
  3. Were these wastes radioactive?
  4. How safe were the products of combustion that have reached the city limits?
  5. Why did the official responsible for the environmental safety of the atomic city of SosnovyBor fail to receive timely information about the fire at the radiation hazardous facility?

 

Currently, on the territory of theSosnovyBor nuclear cluster, several hundred meters from the site of the fire, a new experimental power unit of the Leningrad NPP-2 with the VVER-1200 reactor is being launched.

This means a higher probability of emergencies. At the same time, more than 6 million people living within a radius of 100 km do not have an independent operational source of information on possible emissions and discharges.

Rosatom ceased financing an independent regional environmental laboratory 15 years ago. It was closed.

As a result, the recent situation with increased concentrations of radioactive Ru-106 in the area of the Mayak reprocessing plant of the spent  nuclear rods in Ozersk (Ural Region, Russia), may be repeated in SosnovyBor, in the close vicinity of St. Petersburg.

An independent international system of operational information on radiation incidents is needed to protect nature and people.

Oleg Bodrov

Radioactive Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel Management in Russia. View of Non-Government Organizations

Russian and international non-governmental organizations have their own opinion on the problem of RW and SNF disposal outlined in various documents. NGO members of the DECOMMISSION International Network have been analysing the experience of safe disposal of RW and SNF for over ten years.
This analysis is based on the official printed state documents and positions of the NGOs – members of the DECOMMISSION International Network.
The authors of this report would like to express their appreciation to Oleg E. Muratov, member of the Public Council of Rosatom, for his valuable observations and comments, many of which were included.
To read the booklet you can here.

Russian and international non-governmental organizations have their own opinion on the problem of RW and SNF disposal outlined in various documents. NGO members of the DECOMMISSION International Network have been analysing the experience of safe disposal of RW and SNF for over ten years.
This analysis is based on the official printed state documents and positions of the NGOs – members of the DECOMMISSION International Network.
The authors of this report would like to express their appreciation to Oleg E. Muratov, member of the Public Council of Rosatom, for his valuable observations and comments, many of which were included.
To read the booklet you can here.

Nuclear Geopolitics in the Baltic Sea Region: Exposing Russian Strategic Interests behind Ostrovets NPP

Is Russia furthering its strategic interests by facilitating and supporting the construction of the Ostrovets nuclear power plant in Belarus? Giedrius Česnakas and Justinas Juozaitis believe so. For example, they suggest that this project is not only enabling Moscow to increase its foothold in Belarus, but also undermine competing EU plans and regional energy projects in the Baltic. As a result, Česnakas and Juozaitis contend it´s high time for the EU and others to acknowledge geopolitical significance of the Ostrovets project.  read more….