The Danish queen arrived in Russia this morning to meet with top Russian officials and promote business connections between the two countries.
Residents of a small town in the Moscow region have less than a warm welcome planned for Margrethe II, however.
Local activist group Nash Gorod says that Danish industrial giant Rockwool has been polluting their home-town of Zheleznodorozhny.
“Take Rockwool back to Denmark” and “Stop poisoning our children” are among posters’ slogans that have been prepared to welcome the queen during her first visit in over 30 years.
Group members claim they can notice a “chemical smell”, especially at night, coming from a plant producing heat insulators in Zheleznodorozhny, 10 kilometres to the east of Moscow.
And despite somewhat aggressive slogans, campaigners want to appeal to the queen’s “humanity” and would like to “humbly ask” her majesty to pass this information on to the Russian government, they wrote in a letter addressed to the queen and released to the press.
Besides the plant, residents complained about corruption in their home-town and provided numerous links to their web-site materials.
Zheleznodorozhny has been included in the program for the royal visit, as well Grundfos Istra, another Danish plant in the Moscow region.
Both enterprises have significantly invested in their Russian businesses – Rockwool’s investment has reached some $200 million in 2010-2011. The total amount of Grundfos’ investment in the country is over 100 million euro.
Meetings with President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin indicate a further interest in collaboration between the two countries.
Oil and gas extraction in the North Sea, as well as energy projects have been mentioned by Danish experts as potential fields of cooperation, according to Rossiyskaya Gazeta.
The Russia-Denmark relations have cooled after Denmark hosted the Worldwide Chechen Congress in 2002.
At the time, Russia said that it was funded by Chechen terrorists, but Denmark nonetheless refused to deliver attendee Akhmed Zakayev, who was on a Russian wanted list on charges of terrorism.