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Russia halts forest highway construction as opposition grows

President Dmitry Medvedev says further study is needed for the project outside Moscow. Activists, who have enlisted the support of the singer Bono, are cautiously optimistic.

Source:  Copyright 2010, LA Times
Date:  August 27, 2010
Original URL: Status ONLINE

Reporting from Moscow -- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday announced that he had ordered highway work crews to stop cutting down trees in a renowned nature preserve outside Moscow. The statement came just hours after leaders of the ruling United Russia Party had urged him to reexamine the controversial project.

Despite previous government and judicial approval of the construction effort, the project "demands additional analysis," Medvedev said in the statement on his video blog.

The fate of the Khimki forest has become a flash point in recent months as civic groups have organized increasingly large protests against the project, a badly needed highway linking Moscow and St. Petersburg.

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Activists reacted to Medvedev's statement with cautious optimism. ...

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