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Exiled Russian Environmentalist Wins International Prize

Published: April 29, 2014 (Issue # 1807)



  • Russian environmentalist Suren Gazaryan has won an ecology prize for his environmental work in Olympic host city Sochi.
    Photo: Chath / Wikimedia Commons

A Russian environmentalist who fled Russia under the threat of imprisonment has won an ecology prize for his work protecting the area around the site of this year's Sochi Olympic Games.

Suren Gazaryan, an expert on bats and a member of the Environmental Watch on North Caucasus group, received the Goldman Prize and $175,000 for his "multiple campaigns exposing government corruption and illegal use of federally protected forestland along Russia's Black Sea coast near the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics," a news release for the award said.

The awards committed cited Gazaryan's achievements in environmental activism in Russia, including blocking the construction of an ecologically "controversial presidential palace" for then-President Dmitry Medvedev and successfully campaigning for the creation of the 25,000-acre Utrish nature reserve in the Krasnodar region.

Gazaryan, who was due to receive the award in San Francisco on Monday, was granted political asylum in Estonia in 2012, having fled Russia after being handed three years' probation for taking part in a public rally and being charged with threatening to kill guards at a construction site, which he denies.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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