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YABLOKO calls on journalists to visit the Utrish nature reserve that has been threatened with destruction

Press Release

December 8, 2010

On Monday, 13 December, YABLOKO leader Sergei Mitrokhin will visit Anapa and the Big Utrish reserve located near the city. YABLOKO calls on journalists to join him and visit this unique territory, which is threatened with total destruction, owing to the planned construction of a state residence and highway.

The Big Utrish reserve was created to protect unique relict landscapes and juniper-pistachio forests, and also the habitats of rare species of animals and plants. This is one of the most significant protected natural territories of Russia. The territory's reserve named Novorossiya was recognised as one of the global centres for plant diversity. This year the Russian Government issued a decision to establish the Utrish reserve here.

Despite this fact, however, the safety of this unique territory is now at risk. This is due to plans by the Administration of the RF President to build in the very heart of the reserve a new state residence (the project is entitled a "sports and recreation complex"). Implementation of this project will destroy the most valuable natural features of the reserve – the district of the Utrish relict lagoons.

In addition, there are plans to build two highways, which will splinter the small territory of the most valuable part of Utrish, which has not been affected to date by any business activities.

There has already been one illegal attempt to lay one of these roads under the guise of the construction of "forest fire roads" in 2008-2009. At the time it proved possible to stop the construction thanks to a campaign of radical civil resistance conducted by campaigners from the Environmental Watch on North Caucasus and the Movement "Let's Save Utrish!"

The YABLOKO party has always paid significant attention to environmental issues, campaigning in particular for the preservation of Utrish. Now there are concerns that there will be further attempts to build the access road to the state residence on the territory of the reserve. Consequently Sergei Mitrokhin will visit the reserve, further to a request from the Environmental Watch on North Caucasus that YABLOKO actively works with.

During the visit the YABLOKO leader will visit the environmental post of the Movement "Let's Save Utrish!" Campaigners from the movement have been keeping a watch on the territory of Utrish to prevent the resumption of the construction work.

On the eve of the visit, Sergei Mitrokhin will visit Krasnodar on 12 December to participate in a meeting, including a concert, and also participate in a demonstration to protect Utrish and the environment in the city of Krasnodar. The meeting will start at 11:30 at the square opposite the Aurora cinema. The meeting is being organised by YABLOKO, the Environmental Watch on North Caucasus and the Communist Party of the Russian Federation.

During the visit Sergei Mitrokhin will be accompanied by Andrei Rudomakha, coordinator of the Environmental Watch on North Caucasus, and Andrei Filominov, deputy coordinator of the Environmental Watch on North Caucasus. They are both members of the Green Russia coalition.

See also:

Police detained YABLOKO's activists during an action in defence of the national park. Press Release, December 5, 2010

Protection of Environment

Press Release

December 8, 2010

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