Putin’s visit to BXL: Russian NGOs call on Barroso to stop European financing of Russian motorways in light of HR abuses
Ahead of tomorrow’s meeting between Russian PM Vladimir Putin and EU representatives, a coalition of major Russian NGOs is urging President Barroso to make sure that EU financing institutions halt their participation in toll motorway projects in Russia until there are serious improvements in the human rights and public participation situation associated with these projects.
23 February 2011
Ahead of tomorrow’s meeting between Russian PM Vladimir Putin and EU representatives, a coalition of major Russian NGOs is urging President Barroso to make sure that EU financing institutions halt their participation in toll motorway projects in Russia until there are serious improvements in the human rights and public participation situation associated with these projects. 
The call to Mr. Barroso comes one day after Russian authorities have renewed their intimidation attempts at activists trying to stop the section of Moscow-St. Petersburg highway planned to pass through the Khimki forest in the suburbs of Moscow.
Yesterday, 22.02.2011, Russian authorities threatened to deprive Evgenia Chirikova, the leader of the Movement to Defend Khimki Forest, of her children. On Monday, local officials raided the homes of Evgenia Chirikova’s neighbours. The officials claimed that the neighbours had made complaints stating that Evgenia treats her children badly, that they are “dirty” and that Evgenia’s flat is often visited by “homeless people”. The neighbours deny being the authors of such complaints. Nevertheless, on Tuesday, the officials said that they still wanted to “investigate” the case against Chirikova. 
On Feb 10, Khimki police had arrested another activist of the Movement for the Defence of Khimki Forest. Alla Chernyshova and her daughters of 3 and 6 had to spend more than five hours in custody where she was questioned as the main suspect for a false bomb threat.
The letter to President Barroso includes a list of Russian motorway projects likely to go ahead without taking into account the principles of sustainable development, conservation of biodiversity, or public participation. It also details the involvement of EU financing institutions and European companies in planned Russian motorways.
For more information, please contact:
Research coordinator, CEE Bankwatch Network
pippa.gallop AT bankwatch.org
Ms. Gallop can put you in touch with the Russian activists authoring this letter. You can also call the Prague Bankwatch office at + 420 274 816 571.
Notes for editors
1. The letter to President Barroso is available online at https://bankwatch.org/documents/letter_Barroso_RUroads_23Feb2011.pdf
2. See http://ecmo.ru/news/n-1566/
more information about Chernyshova’s arrest:
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