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Russia rules disputed road go ahead, despite protests

Source:  Copyright 2010, Reuters
Date:  December 14, 2010
Byline:  Alexei Anishchuk
Original URL: Status ONLINE


Russia has decided to restart work on a disputed motorway cutting through one of the last forests in Moscow's sprawling suburbs, overruling protests that prompted President Dmitry Medvedev to delay the project.

Medvedev's order in August to suspend construction in Khimki Forest was seen as a rare Kremlin concession to protesters and raised the hopes of environmentalists and other activists.

The decision to go ahead, announced on Tuesday, will disappoint them and could deal a blow to the image of the president, who had championed the idea of giving activists and ordinary Russians a stronger voice in a nation known for top-down rule.

Medvedev's original decision to halt construction was a rare moment of discord with his predecessor, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. His subsequent reversal has given credence to suspicions that Putin is behind the approval of the project.

Kremlin spokeswoman Natalya Timakova told reporters on Tuesday ...

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