[ A friend emailed me this excerpt of Putin’s annual presidential address, delivered two days ago. It’s an interesting excerpt and I wanted to post it because it underscores the importance the Russian leader places upon preservation of wildlife and the environment, and it’s also worth reflecting upon, I suppose, in light of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests currently underway in this country. ]
“…It is important that civil society takes an active part in deciding issues such as improving environmental protection legislation, protecting rare plant and animal species, and establishing a humane system for dealing with stray animals.
We have declared next year, 2017, the Year of the Environment. I am instructing the Government to draft programmes for protecting such unique symbols of Russia’s nature as the Volga, Lake Baikal, and Lake Teletskoye in Altai.
Throughout the country, we need to clean up polluted areas and clear the dumps that have grown up on the outskirts of many towns, as we heard recently from Russian Popular Front activists. This problem exists not just in big towns but also in small settlements.
Moscow and St Petersburg are already carrying out large-scale road modernisation programmes. Starting next year, we will begin similar projects in other big cities too, in urban areas that are home to around 40 million people. Over the next two years, at least half of the roads should be modernised. I will not go further into the details now. The decision has been taken and the needed funds earmarked. Now, we just need to work effectively.
We will also pay the needed attention to important federal roads and to building the bridge to Crimea, which is an infrastructure project of national importance. This bridge’s construction is going to schedule.”