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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. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in “Downton Abbey” if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russia’s best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



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 meetings every Tuesday night 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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