Russia’s leading environmentalist flees to Estonia

The Associated Press: Russia’s leading environmentalist whose fierce campaigning once threatened the interests of some of the country’s richest men has moved to Estonia to ensure she is not separated from her children.

Yevgenia Chirikova, 38, is best known for a 2010 campaign opposing the construction of an $8bn road linking Moscow and St Petersburg. Chirikova’s investigations shed light on some of the murkier aspects of a project that is partly owned by president Vladimir Putin’s childhood friend.

As her allies and environmentalists from other Russian regions face increasing government pressure, Chirikova has opted to leave her homeland.

“It is difficult to work in Russia because they can come for you at any moment like they blackmailed me once with my children,” she told The Associated Press on the phone from the Estonian capital of Tallinn. “Now I’ve eliminated my biggest vulnerability by leaving for Estonia.”

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