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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

Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russia’s most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkin’s, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontov’s short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library System’s website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Club’s weekly meeting tonight at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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