Greenpeace believes world heritage is poorly protected in Russia

Environmentalists are alarmed about the way Russia observers the UNESCO Convention concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage.

"Such an attitude to the world heritage is typical of several African countries where wars are constantly waged. But if in those countries, for example, Mali objects of heritage are destroyed by extremists, here all decisions are made by federal or regional authorities," head of the program for protected territories at Greenpeace Russia Mikhail Kreindlin has said.

 It was 40 years on Friday, November 16 since the adoption of the convention.

"Ten territories in Russia have been recognized as world natural heritage, however, five of them are under threat though each signatory country pledged to identify, protect, preserve and pass on heritage sites to future generations," says a Greenpeace statement received by Interfax on Friday.

For instance, geological prospecting and blasting operations are under way in the territory of a world heritage site - Virgin Komi Forests, and Lake Baikal is under threat due to the operations of a paper and pulp mill. "Attempts to weaken legislation protecting Baikal are constantly made," environmentalists say.

"The Golden Mountains of Altai is a world heritage pearl where prospecting is under way for the second year in relation to the construction of Altai gas pipeline. In 2011 the prosecutor's office of the Republic of Altai declared the operations illegal but in August 2012 the government of Altai adopted a resolution unlawfully permitting the construction of the pipeline in the territory of Ukok Quiet Zone natural park," the Greenpeace statement says.

"The plans of building Lagonaki resort continue to threaten the Western Caucasus world heritage site," Greenpeace noted.

"It would seem that this country should take pride in having ten natural sites with the highest status existing in the world - the site of world natural heritage and corresponding international recognition. We possess unique natural wealth the total size of which is comparable with the territory of Germany - about 320,000 square kilometers.

Instead of saving this beauty unscrupulous officials and businessmen are trying to satisfy their momentary interests," head of World Heritage program of Greenpeace Russia Andrei Petrov said.

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