Russians campaign to save Khimki Forest, 2010


Activists and environmentalists seek to indefinitely preserve the Khimki Forest from destruction for a highway to be built in its place.

Time period

29 April, 2010 to 26 August, 2010



Location City/State/Province


Location Description

A large, 1000 hectare birch tree forest in Moscow's "green belt"
Jump to case narrative

Methods in 1st segment

  • Collected over 20,000 signature on
  • On July 15, environmentalists began a round-the-clock vigil to prevent trees from being cut down
  • 25 organizers met and protested in downtown Khimki

Methods in 2nd segment

  • Collected over 20,000 signature on

Methods in 3rd segment

  • Collected over 20,000 signature on

Methods in 4th segment

  • Collected over 20,000 signature on

Methods in 5th segment

  • Collected over 20,000 signature on

Methods in 6th segment

  • Activists made speeches on Russia's National Flag Day in protest
  • Collected over 20,000 signature on
  • 2,000 activists attended a concert to protest the destruction of the forest

Segment Length

3 weeks


Yevgenia Chirikova, Defenders of Khimki Forest


Not known

External allies

Not known

Involvement of social elites

Bono of the band U2


Russian government

Nonviolent responses of opponent

Not known

Campaigner violence

On 28 July 2010, hundreds of masked protestors stormed Khimki Town Hall throwing homemade bombs.

Repressive Violence

Defenders of Khimki Forests were attacked while on vigil in the forest. Several had to be transported to hospital for medical care.





Group characterization

Environmentalists and activists seeking to halt construction on the new highway

Groups in 1st Segment

Defenders of Khimki Forest
Ecological Defense of the Moscow Region

Segment Length

3 weeks

Success in achieving specific demands/goals

3 out of 6 points


1 out of 1 points


1 out of 3 points

Total points

5 out of 10 points

Notes on outcomes

While Kimhki residents did suspend the deforestation, the plans for highway construction were approved, and deforestation was carried out again four months later and the construction of the road began.

Database Narrative

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. While the highway was needed due to the failing infrastructure of the current road connecting the two cities, residents of Khimki feared for the delicate ecology of the forest, as well as the destruction of popular hiking trails and the general beauty of the area. 

On 14 July 2010, officials began to log the forest. Beginning on 15 July 2010, Yevgenia led her group, Defenders of Khimki Forest, out to the logging site and held a round-the-clock vigil in protest. One night during the protest vigil, masked men in favor of the construction of the highway attacked members of the Defenders of Khimki Forest. Several campaigners were transported to the hospital and treated. 

Campaigners engaged in property destruction, as well, when they stormed the Khimki Town Hall on 28 July. Wearing masks themselves, members set off petrol bombs, broke windows, and vandalized the building, writing messages opposing the deforestation in spray paint. Nobody was injured in the attack, and neither side engaged in such an attack again in the campaign. 

Several campaigners, led by Yevgenia, held rallies in downtown Khimki to protest the plans of deforestation.  Seeking international help, Defenders of Khimki Forest began an online petition on to raise awareness of the issue. Eventually, nearly 20,000 signatures were recorded and French company Vinci, the private company contracted to head the project, found themselves up against an international audience. Famed musician Bono of U2 announced his solidarity with the movement during his tour through Moscow. Defenders of Khimki Forest organized a separate protest concert on 22 August 2010, Russia’s Flag Day. 

Finally, on 26 August 2010,  President Dmitry Medvedev announced on his blog site that he had halted the construction of the highway and asked for a period of further discussion. He noted that the large number of appeals to the construction influenced his decision. This announcement was seen as a victory for Defenders of Khimki Forest. 

However, only four short months later, construction on the highway would resume, to be completed by 2014. 


29 July 2010. 4 April 2013 <>.

Federman, Adam. 27 August 2010. 5 April 2013 <>.

—. 23 August 2010. 5 April 2013 <>.

Nikitenko, Yaroslav. 6 April 2013 <>.

Schwirtz, Michael. 26 August 2010. 5 April 2013 <>.

SOCHI. 26 August 2010. 7 April 2013 <>.

Name of researcher, and date dd/mm/yyyy

John Pontillo, 07/04/2013