26 October 2011
Environment Watch North Caucasus
A view of the preserve, with the unpaved road seen in the foreground.
UNESCO and environmentalists are alarmed over a government plan to construct a paved road through a UNESCO World Heritage Site to an elite ski resort linked to Prime MinisterVladimir Putin.
The winners for two tenders for road construction at the Shaposhnikov State Caucasus Nature Biosphere Preserve, worth a combined 250 million rubles ($8 million), are to be announced nextMondayand Wednesday, respectively, on Zakupki.gov.ru, the state tenders site.
Shaposhnikov preserve officials say the road is needed to connect the Solokh-Aul village near Sochi and a meteorological station on the premises of the preserve.
But the preserve does not host a meteorological station. What’s more, an unpaved road already passes through the preserve, allowing cars and pedestrians to travel across the terrain without comfort but also at no cost to the environment, ecological activists say.
Conveniently located near the end of the future road, however, is the Lunnaya Polyana (Moon Glade) ski resort, where Putin, a ski enthusiast, is believed to enjoy an occasional break from government ...