Greenpeace: preparation for Sochi Olympics threatens the ‘West Caucasus’ reserve

The authorities of Russia are planning, under pretext of getting ready for possible 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, large-scale construction projects in the immediate proximity to the borders of a World Heritage Object – the “West Caucasus” reserve – and in its buffer zone. In the opinion of environment experts, the construction process can harm the nature complexes of the region.

This is the topic of the statement of Mikhail Kreindlin, a Greenpeace expert for Russia, dated to the session of the UNESCO’s Committee of World Natural Heritage, now underway in Christchurch (New Zealand), where they plan to discuss the situation.

Ecologists assert that near the “West Caucasus” World Heritage Object they plan to build a cascade of hydroelectric power plants on Mzymta River, a high-speed railway, a mountain Olympic Village and a sledge-bobsleigh route with its respective infrastructure, and also 9 elite sports bases, which have nothing to do with the Olympic Games (such as a golf-club and a spa).

“We hope the Committee of World Heritage will give a proper estimate to the plans of the government of Russia and the commercial structures, which are closely linked with the government, who are trying, under the pretext of noble aims of getting ready for the Olympics, to seize the most valuable natural areas of the Caucasus with the aim to gain super profits by building elite sports and tourist objects there,” Mikhail Kreindlin, a Greenpeace expert for Russia, said.

The expert has also noted that the actions of Russian authorities are directly breaking the main principles of the Olympic movement, in particular, the requirements of the Olympic Charter.

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