Caucasian Reserve in stormy-clouds
believes that the Government should take urgent measures to solve environmental
problems related to the 2014 Winter Olympics. The Coordination Council for
realization of the Federal Target Program (FTP) should resolve to withdraw all
Olympic venues out of the territory of the Grushevy Range,
Caucasian Reserve and its buffer zone. Another demand is for the Coordination
Environmental Council to resume its regular activities within the Ministry of
Natural Resources of the Russian Federatuin.
other day Komsomolskaya Pravda
newspaper released the interview with Mr. Zhukov about the preparation fot the
Olympics. Some of his statements are, to put it mildly, far from the truth.
example, to the question about the potential threat to the Caucasian Reserve as
a result of the construction, Mr. Zhukov said: «We are not going to hold
competitions in the reserve. Following the requests of ecologists, we were
visited by the UNESCO experts. They examined all areas allocated for the
construction of sports venues and competitions. I met the Secretary General of
UNESCO and in details told him about our plans. The organization has no claims
at the 31st session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee (WHC),
its members resolved to form a check-up mission with experts of UNESCO and the
International Union for Nature Conservation (IUCN). The mission is going to
examine the territory of the World Heritage property «Western
Caucasus» which includes the Caucasian Reserve. This decision
could only be made because the Committee had its reasons to think that the
World Heritage property is under the threat of damage. Based on the findings of
the mission, the property can be inscribed in the «World Heritage in Danger»
Zhukov also said: «We do not violate the Russian environmental laws and we
do not threaten the properties under UNESCO protection. If we did this we would
never be trusted to hold the Olympics».
noteworthy that in 2006 the Russian Government changed the environmental laws
to provide legal grounds for the Olympic Construction. Last December the
Federal Law «On Protected Nature Areas» was amended. The introduced provisions
enable almost any construction operations in the territories of national parks.
Meantime, another regulation of the RF Government withdrew some territories
from the Sochi National Park allocated for construction
of the Olympic venues.
have information that at present an issue is being considered about withdrawal
of some areas of the reserve by means of changing its borders. The aim is to
ensure lawful construction of some Olympic venues. Withdrawing a territory of
the reserve is a direct violation of the Russian law and the Convention
concerning Protection of the UNESCO World Natural and Cultural Heritage.
vice chairman of the Government also told the journalists: «... The
Government, the Organizational Committee for Preparation for the Olympics
created a special environmental council formed with both Russian experts and
international organizations – Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund and others. All
Olympic venues are to be approved by the environmental impact assessment
committee. Nothing can be constructed without an approval of ecologists».
noteworthy that the last session of the Coordination Environmental Council of
the MNR RF was held on April 13, 2007. None of the resolutions of the Council
have been implemented yet.
present no sports or other venues have been approved by the environmental
impact assessment. The law does not provide for the mandatory environmental
impact assessment of the constructions in the territory of the National Park,
while the amendments into the law providing for the assessment have not been
endorsed by the State Duma even in the first reading.
state environmental impact assessment of the Federal Target Programme
«Development of Sochi as a mountain and climate resort up to 2014» was held
this spring but it did not consider allocation of specific venues. Meantime,
none of the recommendations of the expert panel has been fulfilled. In
particular, the coordinated hydroelectric system on the Mzymta River
was never excluded from the from construction plans.
according to mass media, August 6 is a deadline for designing the plan of
allocation of all Olympic venues. Naturally, a comprehensive state
environmental impact assessment can not be organized in such a short time
«We are extremely concerned that the Government
does not fulfill its pledges given during the meeting of Mr. Zhukov with
representatives of non-governmental organizations this February», says Mikhail
Kreindlin, expert of Greenpeace Russia.
«Unwillingness to introduce
minor changed in the construction plans (though these changes are crucial for
the environment) can make the Olympic Games in Russia notorious for the
destruction of the World Heritage property».