Russian Environmental Activist Attacked in Moscow

An environmental activist who campaigns against controversial plans to build a motorway through a forest outside Moscow has been beaten in the Russian capital, she said.

Galina Golubova said she was approached by an unknown man as she walked towards an underground station in southern Moscow late on Thursday.

“He asked for a cigarette and started asking provocative questions,” Golubova told RIA Novosti. “I was trying to get away from him when I was attacked by another man with a baton, who attempted to hit me over the head. I dodged but he still managed to get at the left side of my head.”

“The attackers shouted: ‘Where is Chirikova?'”

Yevgeniya Chirikova is heading the efforts to save Khimki forest just outside Moscow, which has been partly chopped down to make way for a new government-funded road from the capital to St. Petersburg. She also helped organize this winter’s unprecedented mass protests against incoming President Vladimir Putin.

Several environmental activists and journalists who reported on the row have previously been beaten, including, most notoriously, Mikhail Beketov, the editor of a local newspaper who was left crippled by an attack in 2008.

Golubova is also campaigning against a project to build a motorway through Tsagovsky forest to the west of the capital, which the authorities say is needed to ease access to an annual air show.

Clashes are reported almost daily between campaigners and guards protecting the works there.

Activists say both roads could easily be rerouted.

Golubova said she would ask the police to carry out an inquiry.

The police could not be reached for comment.

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