Petition Closed
Petitioning Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation Elvira Sahipzadovna Nabiullina and 3 others

Tell the President of Russia to Stop the Destruction of the Future of Food


September 13 Update - Good news! The Russian Housing Development Foundation, which was poised to sell off the land at Pavlovsk to build apartments, has postponed the sale of a part of the collections following President Medvedev's instruction to scrutinize the issue.  They’ve also announced plans to convene an international commission to study Pavlovsk and evaluate its future.  This is an important step in the fight to save this priceless plant collection.

But that commission's outcome isn't guaranteed.  And it's only examining one part of the land.  The danger to the second part of the collection – which contains the most important fruits and berries at Pavlovsk  - isn't over.  (You can learn more here.)  Let's keep the momentum up and the pressure on the Kremlin!  

August 13 Update - President Medvedev has just announced, via Twitter, that he will be looking into the details of the Pavlovsk Station case. We have already collected over 2,700 signatures, and we now have proof they are being noticed in the Kremlin! 

Save Pavlovsk Station!

As Russia’s worst drought in 130 years continues to ignite catastrophic wildfires and ravage crops across the country, real estate developers are poised to bulldoze an incredibly valuable crop collection near St. Petersburg in order to build luxury houses on the land.  The Pavlovsk Experimental Station houses thousands of varieties of plants - 90% of which exist nowhere else in the world, and all of which are now in danger.

What can be done?

At the Global Crop Diversity Trust, we strongly believe that today’s court decision is no reason to give up hope for Pavlovsk Station. Over the next four weeks, we will continue our fight to save Pavlovsk, and we need your help.  We need to persuade the political authorities of the importance of the irreplaceable crop diversity growing at Pavlovsk Station, and request that the judgment be revoked.

We have already collected over 1,000 signatures to date. Every letter, every signature, every email, every tweet counts. We don’t have to sit back and let this happen. 

You can also tweet Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on behalf of Pavlovsk Station:

English: @KremlinRussia_E Mr. President, protect the future of food - save #Pavlovsk Station! http://bit.ly/d2H96s  

Russian: @KremlinRussia Господин президент, защитите будущее сельского хозяйства - спасите Павловскую станцию! http://bit.ly/d2H96s  

Please continue to sign this petition and tweet on the issue. 

Background

The take-over of Pavlovsk Station would involve bulldozing field collections amassed over the last century that contain thousands of varieties of apples, strawberries, cherries, raspberries, currants and other crops, 90 percent of which are not found anywhere else in the world. 

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin have not yet responded to public calls to save the experimental station and its collection.

The Pavlovsk Station matters because humanity needs crops to survive. As the climate changes and new threats to existing crop varieties appear, the ones we have now need to adapt, and the diversity found at the Pavlovsk Station provides this adaptation potential for a broad range of fruits and berries. 

Please join our petition to save the future of food. 

It may be just a start. But if we can get enough tweets and signatures, we're hoping that someone at the Kremlin will take notice and help us save Pavlovsk Station and protect our food supply for future generations.

Learn more

The threat to the collection, and its history: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/aug/08/pavlovsk-seed-bank-russia
President Medvedev's response: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/aug/16/russia-president-pavolvsk-twitter

Letter to
Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation Elvira Sahipzadovna Nabiullina
Deputy Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation Stanislav Voskresenskiy
President of Russia President Dmitry Medvedev
and 1 other
Minister of Agriculture of the Russian Federation Elena Skrynnik
I am writing to ask you to embrace Russia's heroic tradition as protector of the world’s crop diversity and halt the planned destruction of an incredibly valuable crop collection near St. Petersburg.

Russian scientists famously starved to death rather than surrender their seeds during the 900-day siege of Leningrad during World War II.

The Pavlovsk Station matters because humanity needs crops to survive. As the climate changes and new threats to existing crop varieties appear, the ones we have now need to adapt, and the diversity found at the Pavlovsk Station provides this adaptation potential for a broad range of fruits and berries.

• The plant germplasm maintained at the Pavlovsk Experiment Station of the Vavilov Institute of Plant Industry is a “gold mine” on a global scale, because it contains the genetic resources needed for the development of modern cultivars, i.e. for modern agriculture. In the case of the Pavlosk’s strawberry collection alone, genetic diversity from 40 countries and all continents is stored there.

• For all practical purposes, the collection cannot be moved elsewhere. It would cost some millions of dollars perhaps, and take over 10 years to ensure the safe duplication of all the accessions, and there is no guarantee of 100% success.

• An intrinsic part of the value of the collection is the expertise of the scientists who have studied it and maintained it. Continuous in-depth studies have provided vital information on detailed characteristics of major economic and biological traits, and allowed the collection to be used successfully in breeding many commercially successful crop varieties. The loss of the botanical wealth at the Pavlovsk Station would also result in the loss of the human knowledge associated with this important collection.

• The Vavilov Institute of Plant Industry remains a source of inspiration worldwide, particularly as a demonstration of the importance to humanity of the genetic diversity of our crops. It was the scene of great heroism during the Siege of Leningrad, when scientists chose to die in the Institute, surrounded by samples of seed that they could easily have eaten, but they preferred to ensure these
collections would be available to future generations.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,