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Grigory Pasko: Russian Media and the Green Movement

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The support of the press is imperative to the nature-protection agencies,” said Alexander Malyshevsky, Chairman of the Public Council Under the Federal Service for Oversight in the Sphere of Nature Use, quoted by lenizdat.ru during a recent session speech.

In his turn at this same session, the editor-in-chief of the magazine “Ekos”, Viktor Rudeko, declared that it is imperative to increase state support for the ecological press.

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I guess you could say they talked. One asked to love his agency, the other asked money for this. There you have it, free and mutual love.

Both, of course, are right. The first in that the nature-protectionagencies, to put it mildly, do not enjoy either attention or sympathieson the part of the majority of the mass information media, even thepro-state ones. The second – in that those not-large-in-number andlittle-powerful mass information media that have dedicated their lifeto covering only ecological problems clearly suffer form aninsufficiency of love and attention from the part of the state and itsagencies.

Both sides need love and affection. Both sides hope and understandthat only mutual love is capable of leading to a good result. And it’sunlikely that both sides will succeed at anything in the circumstancesthat have evolved: if one partner is impotent, and the other frigid,then it’s hard to expect the appearance of a rosy-cheeked result. Atbest – a fake orgasm.

The state in the person of certain of its executives in its timemade a strong effort to relegate ecologists to the level of marginals[a currently vogue Russian term meaning “fringe elements”–Trans.]: itwas said about them in no uncertain terms and on no few occasions thatthey – are enemies of the people and spies. And not only said, but alsowritten – for example, in the texts of bills of indictment of thickcriminal cases. And although beyond the borders of the belovedmotherland, these executives were pontificating about their dreams inretirement of becoming ecologists, then in real life the dear officialsunderstood: you’ve gotta exterminate these ecologists, like cockroaches.

There are no more cockroaches. They’ve died out from our unwholesomeenvironment. But the ecologists are somehow still alive. And are stillsomehow trying to get something done.
For example, to move an oil pipeline further away from Baikal. To stopthe insane Olympic constructions in the region of Sochi… But all thisbecomes possible only with the participation of the second side – thestate. That is, those same agencies that want the mass informationmedia’s love so badly.

And how do the officials behave themselves now and then? I’ll giveyou an example. Already not the first year, the mass information mediaof the entire world are writing about the bringing of uranium tailingsinto Russia. Waste hexafluoride (uranium tailings) – a byproduct of theenrichment of uranium, arising during the production of fuel fornuclear power stations – is brought into Russia from beyond the borderin industrial scales. In several cities (Seversk, Zelenogorsk,Angarsk…) are already accumulated hundreds of thousands of tons of thismaterial.

In the opinion of ecologists, the transport of these tailingsrepresents serious danger: the spilling of the contents of just onecontainer with hexafluoride is capable of representing serious dangerfor people in a radius of 32 km.

In my time, I had written a letter to Rosatom head S. Kiriyenko with arequest to permit me a visit to the Angarsk chemical complex.A written reply did not follow. Then I – by accident, naturally – metwith Sergey Vladimirovichand asked: can I count on permission being received? He was genuinelysurprised and replied that he doesn’t know a thing about my letter andthat he does not see grounds for impeding me in visiting the Angarskchemical complex, and at the same time a couple of other Rosatom siteswhile I’m at it. In short, the official proposed to me to «calltomorrow». I called.

Some assistant of Kiriyenko’s, obviously waitingfor my call, said that I will never receive permissionfor a visit to Rosatom facilities.

How after this can I honestly write that the uranium tailings arestored in proper condition and do not represent a threat to humanityand the population, as an example, of Irkutsk Oblast?

How after allthis can I force myself to love Rosatom?

…But at the session of the Public Committee Under the Federal Servicefor Oversight in the Sphere of Nature Use, they decided «to create alist of editors of ecological publications who will enter into aspecial commission under the nature-protection agencies». By 30November, the list will be directed to all the federal organs for theprotection of the surrounding environment.

That is, the agency isn’t promising money even to those who aregoing to come to love them. But it is promising to enter into some kindof privileged list those to whom it will be permitted to love them,their beloveds, to the point of self-abandonment.

In the meantime, in the Russian mass information media for a longtime already problems of the ecology are covered through a choppingblock. Conceptually, a state trying with all its might to look decentat the international level ought to devote way more attention to theecological informing of Russians, and to the propaganda of ecologicalculture… Instead of this – nothing but calls to love it just the way itis. But it’s not wanted that way. Even for money.

Photo: the sculptural composition «Mutuality».