A growing chorus of voices expressing environmental concerns has prompted the Russian government to consider setting up a “Green Party” controlled by the Kremlin, the RBC news website reported Wednesday.
President Vladimir Putin’s administration has been jolted into action by Russia’s nascent climate protest movement and frustration with nationwide waste-collection reforms, which critics warned would raise costs. The Kremlin acknowledges that it must pay more attention to the environment and has for months been debating three options for addressing the problems, three unnamed sources close to Putin’s administration told RBC.
Putin’s administration is considering “rebooting” Russia’s existing Greens Party “to work in constructive dialogue with the authorities,” the sources were cited as saying.
The Kremlin is also looking at giving eco-activists a public platform to discuss environmental issues or cooperating with activists through Putin’s ambitious 2024 public spending program, RBC said.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied RBC’s report in a daily press briefing Wednesday, the Vedomosti newspaper reported.
“This issue is not on the presidential administration’s agenda,” Peskov was quoted as saying. “I don’t know where this information came from.”
News of the government’s environmental debate comes on the back of Putin’s criticism of 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg as “a kind and very sincere girl” who doesn’t understand the “complexities” of the modern world.
A state-funded poll said Wednesday that 40% of Russian respondents viewed Thunberg’s climate activism positively.