Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has the power and the responsibility to save the legally protected Khimki Forest from destruction and if you want to ask him to act he can be conveniently reached on his Twitter account (@MedvedevRussia).  Send him a message.

Khimki Forest

Charges of corruption

With high-level political backing that’s raised charges of corruption, a French company wants to run a toll road right through Moscow’s centuries old Khimki Forest – despite its legally protected status. Today, Russians across the country are calling for the protection of the forest, and we’re asking people around the world to support them.

A year ago today, President Medvedev ordered a halt to construction of the controversial highway. Despite this order, which was widely reported in the press, construction of the road continued. Activists and journalists demanding to see the forest clearing permit on site were instead beaten by police and private security forces.

You can help - Tweet a message to Russia’s President by clicking one of these Twitter buttons:

Mr. Medvedev, hug trees, not corruption! @MedvedevRussia #Khimki
Mr. Medvedev, the world is watching: you can save the #Khimki forest, now! @MedvedevRussia
Mr. @MedvedevRussia, be the President who serves the people of Russia, save the #Khimki forest
Уважаемый @MedvedevRussia, Вы можете вернуть Химкинский лес! #Khimki
Sr. @MedvedevRussia, el mundo te esta observando. ¡Puedes salvar el bosque de #Khimki ahora!
Herr Medwedew, yes you can! Retten Sie den Chimki Wald! @MedvedevRussia #Khimki
Mr. Medvedev, le monde vous regarde: sauvez la forêt de Khimki! @MedvedevRussia #Khimki

If you prefer to write your own Twitter message:  Messages should go to @MedvedevRussia. Please include the hashtag #Khimki so we can keep track of how many people send messages.

You can also sign the petition on



Forest clearing has already begun.

In December 2010, a government commission on transport and communications decided the construction through Khimki Forest could continue. Proper public consultation hadn’t happened, and this decision was taken behind closed doors and apparently endorsed by President Medvedev. Expert input on 11 alternative routes for the highway, some of which are shorter and less expensive to construct, were ignored, while a public poll in August 2010 showed 67 percent of Muscovites opposed sacrificing the Khimki Forest for the new road.

According to the President’s spokeswoman Natalia Timakova the Moscow authorities who chose the route through Khimki Forest were allegedly influenced by the interests of businessmen who had plans to develop the land the forest is on.

Police watch as forest clearing continues.

The company benefiting from this collusion is Vinci, a French international construction giant that is leading the construction of the toll highway. France and Russia have significant bilateral economic ties – and on the surface the Russian government refuses to consider the alternative routes for the toll highway because of huge penalties it says would then be owed to Vinci for the change in plans. Vinci seems to have pressured the Russian government to begin construction quickly, leading to violence against the activists working to protect the forest. Not only is Vinci complicit in the human rights abuses suffered by the activists and local residents actively resisting the decimation of Khimki, but investigations have revealed offshore tax havens that may be used to conceal some of the shareholders or beneficiaries of the toll highway project. A company like Vinci which does not respect Russian civil society or practice transparency should not be benefiting at the cost of the Russian people and the environment.

The determined civil society resistance to the destruction of the legally-protected Khimki Forest has resulted in significant conflict and turned the protection of this rare ecosystem into an international issue. We are appealing to President Medvedev to protect Russian civil society rights and stop the destruction of Khimki Forest.


More about the Khimki Forest (in Russian).