Day of solidarity with imprisoned ecologist Evgeny Vitishko conucted in Moscow
Press release, 18.02.2015
Today, the day of solidarity with imprisoned ecologist Evgeny Vitishko, YABLOKO and environmental activists conducted a series of one-person picketing by Prosecutor General’s Office. Shortly before Vitishko’s lawyer Sergei Loktev announced that he had prepared the parole application which will be filed on 18 February.
Actions in support of Vitishko take place around the world: in Moldova, Ukraine, Spain, the Netherlands, France, Norway and Sweden. In Russia the solidarity actions are held in St. Petersburg, Krasnodar, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Novokuibyshevsk, Tolyatti and Kazan.
In Moscow YABLOKO leader Sergei Mitrokhin,head of YABLOKO’s Green Russia faction Alexey Yablokov, leader of the Khimki Forest movement Evgeniya Chirikova and other activists joined the action.
Alexei Yablokov is sure that society will achieve discharge of Vitishko. “What happened to him is a shame and, in the end, it’ll become unbearable for the authorities to keep him in custody, the same as it was with the Soviet dissidents.”
“This is an absurd situation when environmentalists protect public interests, and they are being imprisoned and persecuted for this. I believe that this is the brightest example of the fact that authorities in Russia lead not only an anti-environmental policy but an anti-people one too. People protect public interests, protected areas, rare species and in return the regime hits them on the head,” said the ecologist.
Evgeny Vitishko and Suren Gazaryan are the ecologists who were charged with three years on probation for their criticism of the Governor of the Krasnodar Territory under a pretext of spray-paining on the fence of his “country house”. The environmental activists expressed their disagreement with unlawful seizure of lands and fencing of public territories in a natural reserve near the Black Sea. Suren Gazaryan left the country. On the threashold of the Sochi Olympic Games suspended sentence for Vitishko was replaced by a real term in a penal settlement.
Later Vitishko’s punishment was replaced by a real term in a penal colony settlement. Suren Gazaryan was forced to leave the country.