Russian Presidential heir pays lip service to ‘solving’ environmental problems

Publish date: February 28, 2008

Likely successor to Vladimir Putin Dmitry Medvedev offered a nod in the direction of greater care for Russia’s environment, urging citizens to report ecological damage to prosecutors, Itar-Tass Russian state newswire reported.

On an absolutely unchallenged campaign swing through Nizhny Novgorod, Medvedev was asked to address a remark from an audience member from the Chelyabinsk Region, home to the Mayak Chemical Combine, the most radioactively contaminated place on earth.

"There is a need to turn to prosecutors when someone refuses to listen to reason," Medvedev responded.

Indeed, residents of the Chelyabisnk region have turned to prosecutors many times to protest the dumping of liquid radioactive waste into the river system in the area, and the Mayak plant has only been shut down once for a short period of time in the last decade.

Yet Medvedev told the audience it was time for “the government to get down to solving ecological problems in earnest,” and supported a mechanism bny which polluting enterprises are held accountable for environmental damage. "We must create such conditions for business as to discourage waste dumping," he said without elaborating.