The authors of the 1993 Russian Constitution wrote, in Article 31, “Citizens of the Russian Federation shall have the right to assemble peacefully, without weapons, hold rallies, meetings and demonstrations, marches and pickets.”
Due to a large aging population, 34 million out of the 143 million Russian citizens lived on pensions in 2005. Prior to 2005, a typical Russian pension consisted of just over $70, which central and regional governments supplemented with free public transportation, housing subsidies, and for some pensioners, free prescriptions and telephones.
Gazprom, Russia’s largest oil company, intended to become the first company
to drill Arctic oil in the summer of 2012. Gazprom planned to use their aging Prirazlomnaya
oil platform to extract oil deposits made newly available with the retreat of
Arctic ice on the Pechora Sea. As a part
of their “Save the Arctic Initiative” Greenpeace targeted Gazprom in an intense
campaign to stop the beginning of Arctic oil drilling.
Yevgenia Chriikova was a 33 year-old mother of two who held two degrees in business and engineering. She moved to Khimki with her husband to start a new family free from the urban center of Moscow. A few years after they moved there, they noticed trees in the Khimki Forest marked with red markings. After doing some investigation, Yevgenia discovered the government had plans to raze the trees in the Khimki Forest in order to make way for a 10-lane superhighway connecting the cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Since assuming the role of General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev pushed for a program of economic openness and political restructuring, prompting resistance and suspicion from hard-line members of the Communist Party. Russia had declared its sovereignty in June 1990, beginning a period of constitutional reform. By the early 90’s, the Soviet Union, with Gorbachev as the first executive ‘President’, was in economic and political crisis.
Sakhalin, an island off the eastern Russian coast and home to many indigenous groups, has long been of extreme interest to oil and gas companies. Exxon, Shell, British Petroleum, and their subsidiaries (Sakhalin Energy being a main one) had been extracting oil on and around the island for 8 years. Shell started working on Sakhalin II, the world’s largest integrated oil and gas project, in 1999.