Posts Tagged ‘Siberia’

Siberia – Renewable Energy Promise

Friday, June 11th, 2010

 

It’s this time of the year when the entire Russia Program team is heading out to Russia’s regions for site visits and program related activities. On June 15-28 my colleague Jon Spaulding and I are conducting a follow-up professional exchange on alternative energy and energy efficiency in Russia. This is a sister visit to our April alternative energy exchange whereby we hosted a delegation of  Russian renewable energy professionals and NGO leaders in northern California to learn about California’s latest technologies and regulatory policies for renewable energy and energy efficiency development.

Next week, we will be bringing a group of five U.S. renewable energy experts to Russia to share their knowledge about contemporary technology and legislative policies on renewable energy sources and energy efficiency in the United States.  One of the trip’s highlights will be meeting with Andrey Yalbakov, a Russian participant who was part of the Russian exchange that we hosted here in April and who recently was awarded the 2010 Young Entrepreneur of Russia Award for his work in solar, wind and mini hydro-generation in the Altai Republic.

Andrey Yalbakov, recipient of the 2010 Young Entrepreneur of Russia Award for his work in solar, wind and mini hydro-generation in the Altai Republic.

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High-Ranking Government Official Arrested on Several Counts of Extortion

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

 

New reports of corruption at the highest levels of government never fail to surprise, especially when cases of profiteering are coming from within a democratic, constitution-based administration. Still, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has pointed to official corruption as one of the biggest challenges his country faces since being elected in March. President Medvedev makes big talk about eliminating corruption from his government, but the most recent report out of Siberia illustrates exactly how pervasive systemic bribery is in Russia and how very much is yet to be done:

On December 9, director of the Siberian Federal District Office of the Russian Federal Service for Ecological, Technical and Atomic Supervision, Leonid Baklitsky, was arrested on extortion charges by the Novosibirsk FSB office as the result of an undercover investigation. The investigation revealed that Baklitsky had organized a racketeering system with directors of factories in Siberia that emit a lot of pollution. Baklitsky allegedly received a bribe in the amount of 465,000 rubles ($16,666) while sitting at his office desk (fittingly, December 9is International Anti-Corruption Day). The sum was handed over by the head of a government agency seeking to illegally acquire the right to conduct inspections and expert examinations that the institution is not licensed to do. Searches of the indicted official’s office uncovered undisclosed sums of cash and bank cards. The list of charges is long: an FSB investigator disclosed that during 2008 alone, Baklitsky received similar bribes from other organizations to for the illegal right to conduct technical examinations of buildings and equipment, inspections of dangerous industrial facilities, and to train and certify industrial safety specialists.

Among other things, Baklitsky was responsible for environmental regulation enforcement on the Boguchanskaya Hydroelectric Dam project that has been under construction in the Krasnoyarsk Krai for more than 20 years. In 2006, Ust-Ilismk city Duma deputies appealed to the President with the request to lower the dam’s height from 208 to 185 meters, citing that environmental expert reviews indicated a high likelihood that that the resultant reservoir would be contaminated by industrial runoff from facilities in the Irkutsk Region.

Baklitsky, however, protested this change. It is unknown whether his opposition to the measure was backed by actual scientific data or, perhaps, a different type of currency.