Chirikova refuses to join mayor's team if he stays involved in motor road project

High-profile environmentalist Yevgenia Chirikova, who has unsuccessfully run for mayor of the Moscow suburb of Khimki, said on Tuesday that the mayor-elect was inviting her to join his team but that she had made this conditional on his withdrawal from a project involving the partial destruction of a historic pine forest.

"[Oleg] Shakhov is inviting me with amazing persistence to work in his administration and send in my resume," Chirikova told a news conference at the Interfax headquarters in Moscow.

She said Shakhov was the initiator of an agreement to ban widening Leningradskoye Shosse, a current Moscow-St. Petersburg motor road, in a bid to encourage the use of a planned toll road between the two Russian cities that would cut through the Khimki Forest.

"I replied that I would be only able to send my resume to that administration if Shakhov removed his concessionaries from the Moscow-St. Petersburg highway project, otherwise I wouldn't be able to work with him," Chirikova said.

Earlier, Shakhov said the supposed deal to put a 30-year ban on widening Leningradskoye Shosse had been scrapped and advised Chirikova to "be more attentive in reading documents."

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