Save Khimki Forest: Stand with Russia's Human Rights and Environmental Activists
  • Petitioned Mr. Walid Nagi

This petition was delivered to:

U.N. Global Compact Office
Mr. Walid Nagi
Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Vinci Investor Relations
Vinci Press Office
Vinci CEO Xavier Huillard
Pierre Lellouce, Secretary of state in charge of exterior commerce
French Government
President Dmitry Medvedev

Save Khimki Forest: Stand with Russia's Human Rights and Environmental Activists

    1. Yaroslav Nikitenko
    2. Petition by

      Yaroslav Nikitenko

      Moscow, Russian Federation

Take action to save Russia's Khimki Forest today. 

(Deutsch,   Française,   Русский,   БългарскиPolska,   Espanol,   Catalan,   Japanese,   Chinese)

Russian activists and journalists have survived beatings, arrests and intimidation during our campaign to save one of Moscow's last old-growth forests from destruction. Our movement to reroute the toll highway that would cut through Khimki Forest has become Russia's most inspiring and largest activist movements in a long time.

It is about more than just a forest.

We are fighting a legacy of corruption and bribery among government officials, law enforcement and industry that has allowed this project to move forward. Last year, after thousands of citizens protested in Moscow's center, we won a huge victory when President Dmitry Medvedev temporarily halted construction. One of our lead organizers, Yevgenia Chirikova, is a mother of two who lives in Khimki and who has bravely spearheaded this campaign since 2007 at direct risk to her family's safety.

Now construction is set to begin again.

As soon as this month, the French multinational construction company Vinci is authorized to begin the first phase of the highway.

This is the best chance for us to stop the project before construction crews arrive. We are turning to you to increase our international support.

Since the Russian government has failed us, we are targeting Vinci, which could make a huge profit from this project. It is the only Western company involved in the construction.

We are asking Vinci to end its involvement in the Moscow to St. Petersburg highway until an alternative route that spares Khimki Forest is selected.

We are also organizing an international week of action from April 24th to April 30th. We hope cities around the world will participate in demonstrations in solidarity. One action you can take to stand up for the environment and human rights in Russia is to support this petition.

Please sign now. You may also leave a personal message when you sign. And for more information on how to get involved email or follow this Facebook page. Please tell us if you represent an environment or human rights group and want to sign a coalition letter of support.

Thank you, Save Khimki Forest Movement and Campaign for the Release of the Khimki Hostages

Recent signatures


    1. Support Vinci!

      Yaroslav Nikitenko
      Petition Organizer

      Our pet company Vinci Group is at last appreciated and nominated for PRIX PINOCCHIO in "One for all, all for me" category.
      Vinci has a chance to win an award for the company with the most aggressive policy in terms of appropriation and exploitation of natural resources. Don’t stay by, give a minute to support Vinci!

      Les Amis de la Terre : Les prix pinocchio du développement durable

      Faced with the violation of their right to be consulted and decide their own development, the communities of Salta and Jujuy are taking action.

    2. Reached 25,000 signatures
    3. World-famous tree defender Julia Butterfly Hill shows support for Khimki

      Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      Polly and Julia displayed solidarity by being photographed holding a sign displaying the slogan of the Russian campaign, which roughly translates to “Stop Sawing!”...the word “sawing” can also be used as a slang term for taking bribes.

    4. Khimki Forest Movement organizes major opposition event

      Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      Read about the "Anti-Seliger" celebration and camp that took place over the last few days in Khimki Forest, organized as an opposition event for all of Russia's activists.

    5. A letter from the Save Khimki Forest Movement

      Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      Dear all,

      thank you very much for your interest to the Khimki forest.

      I'm sending to you the information on our closest European actions.
      Please, distribute it among your contacts.

      Please, sign the petition in defence of the Khimki forest!
      If you can sign it as an organisation, please write a letter to me and
      Jess (in the copy).

      Please, spread information about our international site
      There is information on the next actions: June 20, Paris, June 23rd Berlin.

      More about the actions is below, on you will
      find more languages.

      On June 20-21st a representative of the movement in defense of the
      Khimki forest (me) will be in Paris, and on June 22nd-23rd in Berlin.
      If you could arrange a meeting with an important organisation it would
      be very helpful for us.

      Please, spread the invitation to come to our camp in the Khimki forest
      during this summer between your networks!

      Thank you very much for your support.

    6. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      The Moscow Times writes a great article putting into context why the Khimki Forest protests this month are a challenge for the Kremlin:

    7. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      An update from the Save Khimki Forest Movement

      Dear all,

      Thank you very much for following the information about the development of the situation with the Khimki forest.

      I recall you, that we've arranged the site , where the most recent information on different languages appears. We ask you to put the banners to that site on you web pages if possible, please.

      We've arranged a constant camp in the Khimki forest for all the summer. That was visited by many people from all the world: Platon, the best photographer in the world, a delegation of Human Rights Watch from NY, there lived people from Estonia, Spain, French citizens.

      We're inviting you to come to the Khimki forest camp to see how local people non-violently block the illegal works (see e.g. from ) and to be with the forest defenders. The information
      on the camp is on (Russian).

      We're inviting you to take part in the following civil meeting in the Khimki forest from June 17 to June 20th. The invitation is in the attachment. More information can be found on

      Defenders of the Khimki forest will be in Paris on June 20th-21st and on these days you can meet with them or say to other interested people that they can meet the representatives of the Khimki forest defenders. The Khimki forest defenders will also be in Berlin on June 22nd-23rd. If you could spread the information to the important people, please help us in arranging meetings with them.

      On June 21st we're planning an action in Paris.
      On June 23rd we're planning an action in Berlin.

      If you could somehow help us with the organisation of the actions - please, write to us, CC

      More information about the actions we will send later.

      Please, help us to distribute the information.

      Thank you very much for the support.

      Best regards,
      Yaroslav Nikitenko
      Save Khimki forest movement.

    8. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      Important news: In a speech about human rights in Russia, a U.S. State Department official said he was concerned about the arrests and attacks on the Khimki Forest protesters:

      "Most recently, we were concerned about reports of intimidation and attacks by private security guards, police, and other parties on activists associated with the Khimki [HIM-key] Forest campaign. Police have repeatedly detained and interrogated the activists, while the tax inspectorate and child protective services have threatened their livelihoods and families."

    9. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      Watch this video of Yaroslav Nikitenko trying to stop the bulldozers:

    10. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      Dear all,

      Only few days after Russian Presidential Concil on Human Rights which
      announced that the violence in the Khimki Forest is stopped - police
      resumed their brutal and unlawful attacks against activists.

      Today (May, 27) eight people were unlawfully detained for their
      interest in the lack of the documents in site of controversial works
      in the Khimki Forest as a result of two repeated police attacks.

      See shocking video of one of the detentions:

      Witnesses remember that activists were forced to lay down on the
      ground, and policemen (one of them is known, his name is Vinovich)
      pressed activists' heads with boots.

      We have also just received the information that OMON is going to
      destroy the environmentalists' camp in the forest and to arrest all
      its participants.

      By the way, there appeared documents showing that Medvedev's decision
      to halt the works was neither cancelled nor fulfiled:
      Therefore, activists' interest in the
      documents allowing further destruction of the forest is undoubtedly

      Meanwhile, public opinion polls show that the majority of Muscovites
      support activists' cause

      We ask international community to support Russian environmental
      activists in their fight against violence, clearly backed not only by
      Russian authorities, but by French construction giant Vinci as well.
      Please, ask Russian president to stop any works in the forest and to
      release all the activists immediately:

      Also, please ask French group Vinci to quit the project immediately:

      On behalf of the Movement to Defend Khimki Forest

      Mikhail Matveev

    11. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      How to Support the Khimki Forest Activists. First sign this petition. Then read here for more you can do:

    12. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      The World Organization Against Torture has gotten involved in calling out the arbitrary arrests and human rights abuses to the Khimki Forest activists:

    13. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      Inter Press Service, an international outlet, covers the latest news of the fight in Khimki:

    14. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      Read this Greenpeace International blog post for the latest update on the continued struggles in Khimki:

      Russia's Human Rights Council has called on President Medvedev to halt the cutting and the violence:

    15. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      ACTION: This movement has launched a new website:

      They need help translating this website, and the many reports and documents related to this issue, into many languages. Can you help with these translations? Email:

    16. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      ACTION for U.S. citizens: Contact the Russian embassy about the bloody crackdown in Khimki. Email: + call 202-298-5700

    17. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      May 11th, 2011, from the movement leaders:

      Today, Khimki Forest activists were detained by OMON (Russian riot police) twice. Nevertheless, four persons still tried to stop cutting down of trees after police left.

      They were brutally beaten by bandits and securities.

      Police refused to come to the scene at all (though they were very quick to protect the loggers). Ambulance came with an hour delay. It took the injured activists to the hospital.

      Despite all the attacks, the camp in Khimki Forest still stands.

      We ask you all to demand Russian government to stop its shameful involvement into an illegal project, to investigate attacks against activists and stop to cover criminals.

      Please, ask French Vinci to stop all involvement into the Moscow-St.Petersburg project which is clearly associated with violence, corruption, and unlawfulness. Stop support anti- democratic forces in Russia!

    18. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      Arrested Khimki protesters are thankfully released:

    19. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      Adam Federman in Waging Nonviolence covers the Khimki Forest crackdown:

    20. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      The Washington Posts's Will Dobson covers the recent violence in Khimki, putting the events in dramatic context:

    21. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      "The Moscow Times": More than 200 people attend a rally over the weekend to protest violence, more than 20 detained:

      See some recent photos here:

    22. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      Over the weekend, Khimki police detained 20 more members of this movement, including its leaders, Evgenia Chirikova and Yaroslav Nikitenko.

      The activists consider the brutal police and security force action over the last week a "clear reaction" to the demands of NWCC LLC, the project concessionaire that is 100% owned by Vinci Corporation. Because of their request for a 4 billion ruble fine for construction delays, they are pressuring the government to eliminate the source of the "delay."

      A quote from the activists: "We blame NWCC LLC and its owners for all the violence and repressions of the last days in Khimki."

    23. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      I am really worried about the safety of the protesters at the camp in Khimki. Please see these dramatic photos, and do whatever you can to spread the word about their situation:

    24. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      A letter from Mikhail Matveev in Khimki:

      Dear all,

      Despite the lack of permissions and protests in Russia and abroad,
      the perpetrators of the scandalous Moscow-St.Petersburg toll motorway
      project are trying to proceed with destruction of Khimki Forest. Local
      police usually refuses to interfere leaving protesting activists alone
      against private security guards and unknown masked thugs.

      Despite fierce resistance, activists managed to stop the clearing of
      trees at night. The perpetrators of the project used special and very
      dangerous equipment (so-called harvesters) to destroy trees with the
      maximum speed. Those harvesters were falling trees in the darkness,
      despite lots of people in the close proximity. Private securities and
      masked thugs added to the chaos by attacking and beating activists.
      Police arrived only 2 hours after the call.

      Nevertheless, due to resistance of activists, the works were stopped.

      The works were resumed next day. To stop the harvester, activists were
      blocking it with their bodies. The ugly machine has not stopped first
      when activists appeared in its way. Securities and bandits were also
      attacking activists, appearingly seriously hurting a journalist from
      Klin's local newspaper.

      Harvester was stopped only when serious incident with victims seemed
      to be inevitable. Few minutes later, the machine and the bandits were
      forced to leave the clearing.

      Thus, the works were stopped again, but the threat of very serious
      consequences still exists.

      French construction group Vinci has a perfect possibility to stop all
      this by leaving the project openly and immediately. Nevertheless, it
      appears to turn a blind eye to all these violence and is still plans
      to take part in this

      Meanwhile, a study carried out by Bankwatch CEE and Russian activists
      found a complicated structure consisting of offshore companies behind
      the "french" owner of the concessionar of this PPP project
      It can be considered as a clear indication of large corruption
      interests behind the project.

      On behalf of the Save Khimki Forest Movement, I kindly ask you to
      distribute internationally the information about the last events in
      Khimki Forest, and demand Vinci to leave the project immediately.


      Mikhail Matveev

      Movement to Defend Khimki Forest

    25. Jess Leber
      Petition Organizer

      The Moscow Times on the violence in Khimki Forest and the beating of 2 activists today:


    Reasons for signing

    • Christopher Holbrook FINDLAY, OH
      • about 2 years ago

      This is cruelty for profit. Cruelty for Profit is EVIL! Period.

      • about 2 years ago

      Because, i am human.

      • about 2 years ago

      We have to take care our nature!Природа не прощает ошибок!

    • Jocelyn Slater FALMOUTH, MA
      • about 2 years ago

      No amount of progress is worth the destruction of nature.

    • Dianna Davis-Doud OTTUMWA, IA
      • about 2 years ago

      It is very important to all mankind and should be of interest to all countries.


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