March 12, 2013
France’s President Francois Hollande recently made an official visit to Moscow, where he met with several of Russia’s prominent public figures, including 2012 Goldman Prize recipient Evgenia Chirikova.
Chirikova told Mr. Hollande about her concerns of corruption regarding Vinci, the French company behind the Moscow-St. Petersburg Motorway project. Chirikova was awarded the Goldman Prize for her efforts to stop the motorway from bisecting and destroying large sections of the Khimki Forest, known as the “green lungs of Moscow.”
Chirikova also described the deteriorating situation for human and environmental rights activists in Russia, calling the situation “very alarming.” She expressed hope that Mr. Hollande would back the efforts of Russian civil society to stop repression of activists.
According to the Save Khimki Forest website, Mr. Hollande thanked Chirikova for the new information and promised to be in touch with Vinci about the issues raised during their meeting.