Support The Moscow Times!

Now is the time to support independent reporting from Russia!

Contribute Today

Khimki Forest Activists Claim Workers Beat Them

Trees being felled in the Khimki Forest in 2010. Denis Grishkin

A construction company developing land in the Khimki Forest announced Monday that it will sue a group of environmental activists who claim to have been beaten up in the latest skirmish over the Moscow region woodland.

On Sunday, a group of 10 activists demanded that a construction foreman show them permits for working on land in the Khmiki Forest near the Fakel factory on Ulitsa Akademika Grushina, activist Sergei Ageyev told Interfax. A group of workers then attacked the activists, with three receiving severe injuries, according to Ageyev.

One forest defender sustained a broken jaw, another had head trauma and a third received a broken finger. The trio went to a hospital, then to a police station to file a complaint, Ageyev said.

The fight took place after environmental activists blocked the path of a truck, Moscow region police spokesman Yevgeny Gildeyev told Interfax, citing construction workers involved in the incident. Police are investigating what happened.

Meanwhile, the construction company is preparing a lawsuit against the activists for preventing lawful activity of the firm leading to financial losses, Gildeyev said.

Environmental activists, led in part by opposition leader Yevgenia Chirikova, have waged a battle against construction projects in the Kimki Forest since 2007. The activists' biggest effort, opposing the building of part of a Moscow-St. Petersburg highway, led to a confrontation with authorities in 2010, when then-President Dmitry Medvedev temporarily postponed the project. It was later modified to decrease the amount of forest that was cut down.

Read more